2005 Cadillac STS
This 2005 review is representative of model years 2005 to 2007.
By Dan Jedlicka of MSN Autos
The new Cadillac STS sedan can be favorably compared with BMW 5-Series or Mercedes-Benz E-Class sedans, but has an American luxury car feel that isn't on the menu of those German automakers.
That American feel mainly makes the STS fall short of being a sports-luxury sedan that is a direct rival to BMW, Mercedes—or to the German Audi A6. It makes the STS a closer rival to the softer, more American-style Lexus LS 430.
Other STS faults include an interior that, while pretty upscale, falls short of those in some rivals and an enormously costly all-wheel-drive system. Some also may consider the audio settings to be too complicated for easy driver use.
However, in fairness, BMW and Mercedes have gone overboard with technical features—a move that is causing those automakers to back off a little from such features because they confuse American customers.
Not that the STS doesn't have its share of high-tech items. For example, a driver can start and stop the STS by pushing a dashboard rocker switch as long as a standard-looking fob is in, for instance, a pocket or purse in the interior. Also, the STS can be remotely started from as far as 200-feet away.
The 2005 STS is considerably different than the Seville. One major change is the new rear-wheel-drive design, shared by BMW and Mercedes, instead of the Seville's front-wheel-drive design. Rear-wheel drive allows better weight distribution and thus sharper handling.
Costly All-Wheel Drive
Alas, you can't get the all-wheel-drive system unless you order the more costly V8 version and add the (gasp!) $13,115 Preferred Equipment Group 1SG. That group also contains items such as upgraded leather upholstery, wider tires on larger 18-inch (vs. 17-inch) wheels and higher-performance steering and brakes.
Base list prices of the STS give it a leg up because they are significantly lower than those of major rivals. And both STS versions are loaded with comfort, convenience and safety equipment.
Costly Option Packages
My $40,300 test car had an $8,595 option that contained lots of items, including a navigation system, but raised its price to $48,895. Add $695 freight and the car stickered for nearly $50,000.
The V8 really isn't needed unless its driver needs lots of extra punch for merging into very fast-moving traffic—or lives where there is frequent high-speed passing on two-lane roads.
The V6 only requires 87-octane gasoline, while the V8 calls for 91-octane fuel. The V6 provides an estimated 17 mpg in the city and 24 on highways. The rear-wheel-drive STS is rated slightly higher at 17 and 26 because that engine's larger size lets it use a more economical rear-axle ratio. The all-wheel-drive V8 version is rated at 16 city and 22 highway.
A $795 Performance Handling package, with such things as larger 18-inch wheels and wider tires gives the STS slightly sharper reflexes—but only is offered for the STS V8 and also requires the $13,115 1SG option.
The best ride is gotten with General Motors' optional Magnetic Ride Control, which provides superb control over unwanted body motions when encountering such things as severe dips.
The brakes are strong and activated by an easily modulate pedal with a nice progressive action.
The driver's seat is well-bolstered and back-lit gauges are easy to read under various lighting conditions. Cupholders and controls are easily reached. There are large ventilation and sound system controls, but some audio control settings are absorbed by a large color dashboard touchscreen that makes their use more complicated than it should.
The front console has a roomy covered storage bin, and doors have pockets for small items. The trunk is large, with a low, wide opening and a lid with hinges that don't consume cargo space.
The STS V6 with a few options is the best buy in the STS line. No STS possesses the harder-edged sporty flair of rivals such as the BMW 5-Series. But this new Cadillac is a sound alternative for those wanting a solidly built sports-luxury sedan with an accent on good old-fashioned American car luxury.