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2000 Cadillac Deville

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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 Seville’s, is quite successful in helping the DeVille shake its "old folks" image. There has been no compromise in the DeVille’s 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 Cadillac’s 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 Motor’s 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 Cadillac’s. 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

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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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