SAN FRANCISCO: Cadillac DeVille is the last of the luxury nameplates many of us remember
now that the Chrysler New Yorker, Oldsmobile 88 and Buick Roadmaster are gone. The title
DeVille dates back to 1949 when it was attached to Cadillac's first hardtop, the Coupe de
Ville. And while the name itself may be a half century old, the 2000 DeVille is definitely
all new and incorporates the latest automotive technology. The DeVille now comes in three
versions - DeVille, the DeVille High Luxury Sedan (DHS) and DeVille Touring Sedan (DTS).
The completely restyled 2000 DeVille has a smaller, leaner look even though the new
model is only a couple of inches shorter and narrower than the previous DeVille and
Concours. The styling, which bears a close family resemblance to the handsome Cadillac
Sevilles, is quite successful in helping the DeVille shake its "old folks"
image. There has been no compromise in the DeVilles very roomy and extremely
comfortable interior. The base and DHS comes with a standard split bench front seat and a
column mounted transmission selector that allows for six passengers seating, one of the
few cars that can still do this. The performance-oriented DTS features front bucket seats
and a console mounted shifter, so it will carry one less person.
All Cadillacs come with the world-class Northstar, 4.6 liter, 32-valve,
dual-overhead-camshaft (DOHC), 32-valve V8 engine. When used in the DeVille and DHS models
the engine is rated at 275-horsepower at 5600 rpm with 300 ft-lb of torque at 4000 rpm. In
the performance-oriented DTS, the engine is tuned to produce 300-horsepower at 6000 rpm
and 295 ft-lb of torque at 4400 rpm. The engine is mated to General Motors smooth
shifting Hydra-matic 4T80-E, electronic four-speed, overdrive transaxle. The DeVilles are
all front-wheel-drive cars. While performance in the two-ton DeVilles is not neck
snapping, it is more than adequate and definitely smooth.
The base model has a list price of $40,170 while both the DHS and DTS list for $45,370.
As expected in a car at this price level, standard features abound. Anti-lock braking and
traction control are standard. Cadillac's StabiliTrak stability control system is standard
on the DTS and optional for the other two DeVille models. Leather upholstery is standard
on the DHS and DTS along with lumbar-massaging seats which can be replaced with optional
adaptive seating featuring optional body-contour air-cell cushions that use technology
originally developed for hospital burn units. While the base DeVille uses digital
instrumentation, which is still popular with many older drivers, the DHS and DTS feature
backlit analog gauges. All controls are nicely placed, operate smoothly, are easy to use
and have a high quality feel.
Handling and ride is excellent with the revised all-independent suspension shared with
the Cadillac Seville and other upscale GM cars. The new platform allows the suspension to
work better and gives the DeVille a more solid feel. Gone is any of the "float"
found in the older Cadillacs. The DTS also has a firmer, more-sophisticated
continuously variable road sensing suspension or CVRSS and larger wheels and tires
17-inch versus 16-inch on the other two models.
Cadillac has always been a pioneer in new ideas. It introduced the electric starter in
1912 and tail fins in 1948. This year, the DeVilles have light-emitting-diode stoplights
that illuminate faster for better visibility. An on-board navigation system can be ordered
on DHS and DTS and OnStar can be ordered for all three. Also available is the Ultrasonic
Rear Parking Assist option that gives both audio and visual warnings before you hit any
unseen objects when backing up.
However, the big news is the Night Vision System, a first for the automotive industry.
The $1995 option uses thermal imaging, that is heat-seeking infrared technology, to
"see" heat producing objects such as people, animals and vehicles that are
beyond the range of the headlights. A small image that looks like a black-and-white
photographic negative is projected on the windshield in front of the driver.
The bottom line is that the DeVille is a very good car that has to compete against some
great cars from Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Lexus and even the Chrysler 300M. Thus, the
DeVille, and especially the DTS, has to attract the younger buyers Cadillac desperately
needs. The DTS I test drove did everything well. It would be on my short list of cars to
take on a rapid coast-to-coast trip with a few friends. If you are the "Buy
American" type or want cutting edge technology, then the DeVille is worth a serious
look. By Bill siuru © AutoWire.Net - San Francisco
Cadillac Home Page
Byline: By Bill Siuru © AutoWire.Net - San Francisco
Column Name: "American Cutting Edge Technology"
Topic: 2000 Cadillac Deville
Word Count: 766
Photo Caption: 2000 Cadillac Deville
Photo Credits: Cadillac Media
Series #: 2000 - 14
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