Thats the dilemma we faced when we were
given the keys to a 2002 Cadillac Deville DTS for a weeks worth of driving and
critiquing. What a difficult job we have.
The Cadillac Motor Division of General Motors has been a pioneer in
luxury automobiles for 100 years and is poised to lead a new generation into the next
millennium with their Art & Science engineering giving us a fresh, modern approach to
the automobile with attractive angular designs and gobs of the latest technology.
Cadillacs biggest car right now, the Deville was redesigned a
few years back and was transformed into a remarkable vehicle. Some of our first thoughts,
looking at the white diamond tester, were of awe. Its clean, sleek lines and
largess, coupled with the mere fact that it was the Big Daddy Caddy, gave us goose bumps
just thinking about what this car is; a mode of transportation that most people can only
dream about. This car can hang with the biggest of the German luxo-cruisers in size,
weight and comfort.
We didnt take the car on our normal test loop because of its
girth, but we did head out into the local wine country and had a blast taking the long
sweeping turns at super legal speeds. What we didnt like was the wallow that has
been a Caddy trait for as long as this writer can remember. Though the suspension damped
more of these sensations than on previous editions, its still present and is a big
factor that could keep Cadillac out of certain buyers thoughts.
Out in the real world however, the Deville seems to demand respect
everywhere it travels. We found that most people, like us, were in awe of it, if not for
the high sticker price above $50,000 then for all the features and comfort items it came
When we first got into the drivers seat, we were struck by the
clean instrument panel and dashboard. The zebrano wood trim was tastefully placed and felt
good under hand on the steering wheel. The seat itself was extremely comfortable, thanks
to the "massaging air bladder" system and the firm, but comfy cushions. Finding
the right driving position took some time, mostly because the 10-way seats had so much
adjustability and room for movement.
The back seat, with its heated seats and rear seat climate controls,
was almost as comfortable as the front. We went out one Saturday afternoon with a couple
of friends and all four of us were snug as bugs in a rug. The seats held us in place
during spirited maneuvers and after a good four hours of nothing but driving, we felt
relaxed and ready for more. GM has always had good seats but these were above average in
And, for such a large car, we were not disappointed with the trunk.
There was enough space in there for the Indoor Football League to commission it as a
stadium. We liked the optional trunk tie-down (that way you dont have to scamper
around looking for something to hold the trunk closed when those long two-by-fours have to
stick out a bit) and the flooring was made from a material that looked like it would last
over many years of having golf bags, luggage, or whatever the owner threw into it.
We liked most of the features found in the Caddy. Of the few that
stick out in our mind we enjoyed XM satellite radio the most. Oh sure, youve seen
the commercials. And were here to tell you that it is every bit as cool as it looks
on TV. We had trouble getting out of the car at times because of the great programming,
especially on the comedy channels. And the only time we couldnt get a signal came
when we were traveling through a heavily wooded area with a large canopy of tall trees
with big leaves. Even then, we only lost the signal intermittently. Overall, wed
highly recommend XM to anyone that has a long daily commute or just plain drives a lot.
Another innovative gadget was the night vision camera and head-up
display it was connected to. We didnt get that many chances to really use it but it
got our inner geek going every time it got dark and the lights came on. The most
interesting thing was watching the exhaust pipes of vehicles in front of us. We got a good
thermal image of a trucks differential and the heat it was producing on the
too cool for any technophile.
Our Deville DTS stickered at $56,050.00. The base price ($47,780)
was augmented by well over $7000 worth of options, including a comfort/convenience package
that consisted of rear air bags, the seat/mirror memory package, trunk mat/with deck lid
tie-down, power tilt and telescoping steering wheel, ultrasonic rear assist and the
Homelink garage door opener ($1985); Night Vision ($2250); power sunroof with express open
($1550); 17" chrome wheels ($795); the white diamond paint ($650); XM satellite radio
($295); and destination ($745).
Overall, we found the Deville DTS to be a comfortable highway
cruiser thats sure to impress you friends with all the bells and whistles this car
has. For the money, we find it to be a very good deal. But, for Cadillac to regain its
reputation for world luxury leader, it needs to be something more. A little dose of
personality and a new persona might just do the trick.