2011 Cadillac DTS

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2006 Cadillac DTS

This 2006 review is representative of model years 2006 to 2011.
By Dan Jedlicka of MSN Autos
Rating: 7

Bottom Line:

New DTS is essentially a slicker, more refined DeVille for affluent, over-60 drivers with more hip attitudes.
Pros:
  • Roomy
  • Fast
  • Luxurious
Cons:
  • Notchy shifter gate
  • Hard rear center seat area
  • Only a 4-speed transmission

The 2006 Cadillac DTS may seem out of place in the new line of Cadillac rear-wheel-drive autos, but this big sedan should definitely appeal to many older American luxury car buyers, judging by the long success of its predecessor, the DeVille.

The DTS is basically a DeVille with slicker but still-conservative styling, an improved interior and tighter build tolerances that result in the exceptional fit and finish of such European hero cars as Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz.

Comfort Wins
Cadillac has kept the DeVille's front-wheel-drive setup because many big Caddy owners want the traction advantages of front-wheel drive. They couldn't care less that European sedans with rear-wheel drive have better weight distribution that's better suited to sharp handling during hard driving. As with owners of the DeVille, which long has been one of the top-selling big luxury cars, DTS buyers are more interested in a comfortable ride.

Of course, DTS owners have become more sophisticated, along with younger car buyers, and Cadillac says they also demand solid handling, which the DTS delivers. Besides a good suspension, the new Cadillac has advanced stability and traction control systems to keep absent-minded drivers from losing control if moving faster than intended in, say, the middle of a curve.

Another Revered Name Gone
The 2005 DeVille was sold in base, DHS and DTS trim levels. The sportiest, most costly DeVille was the DTS. It had the most powerful V8, front bucket seats with a console and a more sophisticated suspension with larger tires.

Cadillac just calls the 2006 model the "DTS" in keeping with its use of letters to identify various car models, which include the CTS and STS. Alas, it's thrown away glamorous old Caddy names such as "Eldorado." Its "DeVille" name was used for decades.

Revised Styling
Revised front styling includes a crisper-looking grille and Cadillac's new, edgy, vertical-headlight treatment. There also are large new vertical taillights inset into rear fenders, and the trunk lid has a crisp trailing edge.

The quieter, updated interior has a posh-but-understated appearance—an almost European look. Gauges can be easily read, controls are large and premium materials are used throughout.

However, one drawback is a shifter gate that's notchy when, for instance, a driver moves the shift lever from "park" to "drive" gear.

Lower Prices
The DTS is offered with Luxury I, II and III packages—and with a Performance package. Prices have been lowered for 2006, which makes the DTS seem like a genuine bargain.

The base DTS with the Luxury I package costs $41,195, while the Luxury II goes for $43,695 and the Luxury III is $47,695. The top version is the $49,695 DTS with the Performance package.

The 2005 DeVille came in three trim levels and had list prices from $46,045 to $51,600.

Various Trim Packages
A DTS with the Luxury I package has many upscale auto comfort and convenience features and such items as power seats, faux burled wood, remote engine start, six airbags with an industry-first dual-depth front passenger bag and tri-zone automatic climate control.

Move up to the Luxury II package and added are heated and cooled front seats, heated rear seats and steering wheel and even a heated windshield washer fluid system. This version also has ultrasonic front/rear park assist, which seems nearly essential because a driver can't see where the front or rear of the car ends—or if a child's bike is directly behind it.

Opt for Luxury III and there's genuine burled walnut interior trim, massaging front seats, Bose premium audio system, "rainsense" wipers and chrome wheels.

Most Powerful V8
The main feature of the DTS with the Performance package is a 4.6-liter V8 rated at 290 horsepower for 2005 and 291 for 2006 under new SAE standards. Other DTS versions have a 4.6-liter V8 with 275 horsepower.

Options include a sunroof, adaptive cruise control to keep the car at a set distance from a vehicle ahead, a DVD-based navigation system, power rear sunshade and body color grille.

Performance is good with either V8, but the 291-horsepower version is best if more punch is needed for towing a heavy object or carrying heavy loads.

Decent Highway Fuel Economy
Both V8s get nearly the same estimated fuel economy. It's 17 in the city and 25 on highways with the 275-horsepower version and 17 and 24 with the higher-horsepower V8.

The DTS has a 4-speed automatic transmission that works well enough, but the car really should have a more modern 5-speed unit; it would result in faster initial acceleration and stretch fuel economy a little.

Chassis refinements improve the ride, and the DTS can tackle winding two-lane roads surprisingly well. BMW or Mercedes owners might find the ride a little soft, as is brake pedal feel. But the pedal has a linear action for smooth stops and the larger anti-lock brakes provide decent stopping distances.

Sharper Handling
The Performance package allows sharper handling with no sacrifice in ride comfort because it contains Magnetic Ride Control and bigger 18-inch wheels and tires (up from 17-inchers).

The DTS comfortably seats four tall adults with front bucket seats (you can get a front bench seat with a steering-column shifter, but a middle passenger will be squeezed). Five adults would fit with the front buckets, but the center of the back seat is too hard for comfort.

Huge Trunk
The big trunk looks large enough to carry golf clubs for every golfer in the neighborhood and has a low, wide opening. But it calls for a long stretch to reach objects at its far end. The lid should have hydraulic struts instead of old-style manual hinges, although they're enclosed to prevent cargo damage.

While the DTS is expected to appeal mainly to over-60 luxury car buyers, that's an affluent crowd that Cadillac says is more vibrant and youthful-thinking than it once was.

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BB06 - 7/30/2014 10:41:47 PM