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2005 Cadillac STS

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San Francisco: Cadillacís new STS flagship is clearly inspired by the CTS. It has the same fresh, modern lines of the smaller Caddy, but itís toned down slightly to give it a more refined, elegant look. Soft leather and real wood are what you expect to find in a top-of-the-line Cadillac, and the STS is no exception. It feels solidly constructed and has a brilliant dash layout that avoids unnecessary clutter with buttons and switches.

Only a few years ago, I hated driving Cadillacís. They were big, quiet and had lots of gadgets in the cabin, but they were about as exciting to drive as a John Deere tractor through a Kansas cornfield. To put it bluntly, Cadillac designed its cars for rich old ladies. Today, though, things are different Ė way different Ė from behind the wheel of a Caddy.

Consider: The edgy CTS is drawing young, image-conscious buyers who would have only bought from imported brands a couple of years ago. Itís got some of the best styling and performance in its class. The XLR convertible is adding some much-needed excitement to Cadillacís traditional lineup of luxury sedans. Itís based on the new ĎVette, for Peteís sake. The Escalade SUV is the darling of hip-hop singers and professional athletes, serving as the poster child for ďbling-blingĒ transportation.

And now Cadillac has introduced a new flagship sedan, the STS, which fits perfectly into the companyís lineup of fresh, good-looking, high-performance vehicles. Itís aiming straight for the European and Japanese competition - a perfect way to finally shed the brandís rather stodgy image.

The STS is a fairly big car, but itís not the size of a one-bedroom apartment like some of its predecessors. Itís big enough to be comfortable, but not so big that it feels like driving a yacht. Goldilocks would love its just-right dimensions.

It also has a suspension thatís absolutely heavenly. Cadillacís engineers brilliantly merged comfort and performance to give it a ride thatís buttery smooth on the highway but still firm enough to have fun driving through corners. It feels very controlled and poised at any speed, neither wallowing like a marshmallow nor feeling rough and harsh. Itís probably the best handling sedan Cadillacís ever made.

Two engines are available: a 255-horsepower V6 and a 320-horsepower V8, both of which are smooth, refined and powerful. My test vehicle came with the V6 engine, which offered plenty of power for passing on the freeway and rocketing from stoplights. I canít imagine why anybody would really need the V8 engine Ö but hey, itís a Caddy. Iíd pick the V8 anyway.

A five-speed automatic transmission sends power to the rear wheels, a dramatic switch from the front-wheel-drive Cadillacís of recent vintage. Performance enthusiasts prefer rear-wheel drive for its better handling characteristics, and new technology; such as traction and stability control make driving the front wheels almost unnecessary. It was a wise move.

The new STS is a real looker, too. Itís obviously inspired by the harsh angles and dramatic creases of the smaller CTS, but the edgy style is toned down for a slightly more sophisticated look. I think the styling is a home run, giving it enough spunk to have personality but not so much that people say ďyuckĒ when it drives by. Itís tasteful, trendy, modern and elegant.

Inside, youíll find the typical plush Caddy cabin. Thereís soft leather that contrasts beautifully with aluminum and real wood trim, giving it a much more upscale feel than the cheaper, plastic-laden CTS. The seats are comfortable with plenty of room to stretch out for a long highway trip.

It comes with a long list of gadgets, but one of my favorites is ďKeyless Access.Ē It lets you unlock the car and start the engine without ever touching a key. Computers can sense the electronic key fob in your pocket, automatically unlocking the car for you and letting you start the engine with the push of a button on the dash.

Other features include remote start, adaptive cruise control, a four-color head-up display, and a 15-speaker Bose stereo. Thereís also an eight-inch color touch screen for the navigation, stereo and climate control systems. Itís snazzy. All in all, itís clear Cadillac has another big winner with the STS. It drives great, it looks good, itís comfortable, and itís reasonably priced compared to flagships from most imported luxury brands.

Why buy it? Itís one of the best all-around luxury cars on the road, with performance, style and comfort to spare. If youíre looking for a giant, boat-like Cadillac, this isnít it. To get more room in a Caddy, youíll have to buy an Escalade. The 2005 Cadillac STS, whatís more to want?  By Derek Price  © AutoWire.Net - San Francisco

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Byline:  Syndicated content provided by Tony Leopardo © AutoWire.Net
Column Name: 
 STS keeps Cadillac on the right track
 The 2005 Cadillac STS
Word Count:  
Photo Caption: 
 The 2005 Cadillac STS
Photo Credits:  
Cadillac Internet Media
Series #:   2005 - 14

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