When Team Hall & Nass learned that 2011 would be the last year of the Cadillac DTS, we decided we just HAD to do a review of one before that last big Caddy build by the “old GM” sailed off into the sunset. Why? Because we like big, old school Cadillacs!
This review also happens to technically be a Team Hall & Nass review, but we also conducted it with our Motorama LIVE audience in mind. If you’re confused by all of this, visit both the TeamHallnNass.com site as well as the MotoramaLIVE.com site for more information on what both entities are all about.
Be sure to check out our 2011 Cadillac DTS videos, coming soon on our Team Hall & Nass YouTube channel YouTube.com/TeamHallnNass. Yes, a bit of hoonage of the DTS will ensue!
While the “new GM” has done a superb job of cranking out cool new cars under the Cadillac brand, such as the CTS sedan/coupe/wagon, the ground pounding uber Cadillac CTS-V sedan/coupe/wagon, and the ultimate new Cadillac SRX crossover, the DTS has kind of been relegated to second class citizen/afterthought status. The big bodied Northstar V8-powered Cadillac DeVille Touring Sedan (DTS) is the last of the big Cadillacs still being produced by GM that has been around since the “old GM” was cranking out profits on SUVs and DotComs were still considered a wise investment. Because of this, the DTS is often thought of as the “old man car” or “airport limo service car.”
But the DTS roots run much deeper than just a long-in-the-tooth platform car that has fallen behind its siblings in terms of power, options and design. It’s also the last in a long, storied history of the DeVille moniker, a badge worn proudly by big bodied Cadillac cruisers for half a century. In fact, it wasn’t so long ago that when you heard the word Cadillac, the Coupe DeVille or Sedan DeVille was likely the first car that came to mind (except for maybe the Eldorado).
Cadillac holds a special place in my family, and it all started with the DeVille. Growing up, we always had GM cars, but in 1980, my dad, my great uncle and my cousin all decided they wanted to step it up beyond just owning Corvettes and pickup trucks. So they walked into our local Cadillac dealer and bought all three cars sitting on the showroom floor. My great uncle got a red Sedan DeVille, my cousin got a black Coupe DeVille and my dad got a blue Coupe DeVille for my mom. In true old school fashion, they all paid cash and drove them right off the showroom floor. Thus began my family’s long run of driving Cadillacs.
Those three Cadillac Coupe DeVilles were true classic Caddys in every sense of the word. They were big, they were long, they had 500-cubic inch big block motors, they would light the rear tires up with a flick of the right foot, they rode like you were floating on a cloud, they had enough body roll to scare you to death, but they were indestructible. But more than anything, when you rolled up in a Coupe DeVille, people noticed. Why? Simple. Because it was a Cadillac.
Sadly, 2011 is the last year for the Cadillac DTS. Instead of being updated or refreshed, Cadillac has plans to launch an entirely new car to replace the DTS for 2012, under a completely different moniker. While there is little doubt the new car will be awesome like the rest of the new Cadillac line, it is also sad, because this may be the last car to ever be badged as a Cadillac DeVille. So in short, we HAD to review this car before it heads off into the sunset. In a way, it was almost like saying goodbye to a family member.
Many adjectives are associated with the DTS by today’s luxury car buyers and the enthusiast community alike. Most are less than kind, and we feel that is a shame. Why? Well, for starters, the DTS may be long in the tooth, but it’s still got more bite in terms of classic Cadillac style and comfort than anyone remembers. After all, when was the last time anyone took the time to review a DTS? Exactly. So let us refresh your memory of a true gem.
The DTS is the last Cadillac that instantly reminds you of what driving a Cadillac used to mean. It is big. It is plush. It rides like you are floating on a cloud, absorbing pot holes and bumpy roads like a dream so you barely notice as you cruise along. (We are convinced the powers-that-be in Dallas who can do something about the ridiculously bumpy roads must all drive Cadillac DTSes and thus not be able to feel how rough the roads are!) The hood on the DTS is long enough to play golf on, and its trunk is big enough to take your entire wardrobe on a road trip, while still allowing room for your golf clubs, the kitchen sink and anything else you might have riding around back there. We’re talking old school room and comfort at its finest here.
But isn’t all this talk of “old school” exactly what’s wrong with the DTS? In a word, NO. It is exactly why the DTS is the hidden gem of the 2011 Cadillac lineup. The CTS is a great car in any flavor. The CTS-V is the ultimate American uber sport luxo dream car come true. It’s like a Corvette Z06 with a backseat in a stealth wrapper! The SRX is a car any soccer mom or family on the go can enjoy. But only the DTS reminds you every second you are inside of it that you are in a Cadillac. Old school, new school, any school. The DTS is a true Cadillac no matter how you drive it, use it, or enjoy it. It’s got what the others, awesome as they are, seem to lack just a bit of – that classic Cadillac style.
We weren’t the only people who thought this, either. Just ask any of our Team Hall & Nass neighbors. These are the people who are always checking out the various automobiles that grace our driveway each week. There is quite often a brand new something out in front of our house, and believe me, the neighbors all notice. It’s not that uncommon to go outside and find someone looking over whatever we’re driving and asking questions about it. Until now, the Corvettes are always the crowd favorite. Well, guess what may have taken the crown?
We had more people stop by and ask us about the Cadillac DTS than anything shy of a Corvette. No, we’re not kidding. For starters, no one had to ask “what is that?” Just like they all know what a Corvette is, they all know the DTS is a Cadillac. But it didn’t stop there. Requests to sit inside and to take a spin around the block rivaled the last Corvette we had. You can’t make stuff up like this, folks. Young and old, guys and girls, they all wanted to check out the big Caddy. Once inside, they were amazed by the space. The air-conditioned seats. The massage chairs. The smell of the leather – that distinctive Cadillac leather smell. They loved the whole nine yards. We’d let them fire it up, and when the Northstar V8 rumbled to life, more than a few revved the throttle and grinned. They reacted exactly like they do when we have a Corvette on display. Only they could actually see themselves owning and driving the DTS. It was like having a magic carpet sitting out in front of our house for two weeks. Everyone wanted to take a ride! That’s the magic of an old school brand new Cadillac. Even we were surprised. VERY!
For starters, if you haven’t heard the sound of a Northstar V8 lately, then let me reassure you, you need to. Most luxury car makers try to make their cabins quiet inside. While the Cadillac DTS is fairly quiet, there is no mistaking the sweet sound of American muscle when you turn the key in the ignition and the Northstar rumbles to life. Pull the Caddy into gear and the growl invites you to stand on the throttle just so you can hear it. Go to wide open throttle and the combination of the roar through the firewall and the rush that propels the big DTS forward is, quite honestly, both surprising and addicting! So much so that we shouldn’t even tell you what our around-town MPG average was. It’s really not fair considering every single time we left a stop sign, a traffic light, or just felt the need to drive it like we stole it, we immediately went to wide open throttle and held it there as long as conditions would allow. We did this at EVERY opportunity.
While we had the DTS for two whole weeks, we sadly didn’t have a chance to do a lot of highway driving. What little bit we did resulted in fuel consumption just shy of 20 MPG with highway cruising average at 70 MPH. Of course, that was with my gal behind the wheel. I never saw better than 16.7 MPG, and far worse in town. It was just too hard to resist the urge to dig into the throttle and roll out every time. It sounds and feels that good!
As our local group that goes to Cars and Coffee found out one Saturday morning on the Dallas North Tollway, the DTS will accelerate a lot faster than anyone anticipates. It was fun blowing past a line of BMW Dinan Stage 3 cars and Burnout Radio’s Challenger SRT-8 in the DTS. Needless to say, when we pulled into Cars & Coffee with the Caddy in the lead, everyone in our group had a newfound respect for the Cadillac DTS. Seeing it get up and move also stopped the “old man car” comments.
Granted, most people who buy the 2011 Cadillac DTS will not drive it like they stole it. But they will be amazed when their big floating cloud of a Caddy takes off like it was shot out of a cannon and corners without the body roll they would have experienced in the Cadillacs of old. This big Caddy is a wolf in sheep’s clothing.
A couple of things shocked us about the DTS. After a few days, we popped the hood to clean it up for a photo shoot. Not only was the Northstar V8 sitting wrong direction in the engine bay (that’s right, the DTS is a front wheel drive), but upon inspection of the Cadillac.com website, we discovered that big Northstar V8 in the DTS is only putting out 292 horsepower. WHAT?!? That’s right. It has less than 300 horsepower, and it is putting it to the pavement through the wrong wheels. Obviously, we hadn’t really pushed the Caddy hard through a corner in the first few days, but there seriously wasn’t a hint of torque steer to give away that the DTS was front wheel drive. It took off like it was shot and rolled out quickly no matter how long you stayed in the throttle. It feels like you’re driving a 350+ horsepower rear wheel drive car, not a 292 HP FWD sedan. You might call this an engineering feat, but we have another word for it – amazing.
Just because the 2011 Cadillac DTS is near the end of its long production run doesn’t mean it’s any less than a great car. In fact, it means they’re had quite a long time to refine it into one sweet ride. This Caddy is absolutely loaded! The DTS has a great sounding Bose stereo system with in-dash navigation and XM satellite radio, OnStar, plush comfortable front seats with two-position push button memory combination driver seat, tilt/telescopic heated leather steering wheel with wood grain, power mirror settings, three-position driver and passenger seat air conditioning, three-position driver and passenger seat upper and lower zone heating, and last but not least, massage seats that allow you to alternate the heating and cooling for relief of back or leg discomfort on long road trips. The options carry into the roomy back seats with three-position heated rear seats, flip down leather center arm rest with two large cup holders, and separate rear passenger HVAC heating and cooling controls.
The DTS is the last car that Cadillac makes that actually looks, rides and feels like an old school Cadillac. It has a long hood, a massive trunk, floating ride, and big V8 growl. It is plush, it is comfortable, and even though it weighs nearly three tons, it will flat out get up and haul. After spending two weeks behind the wheel, the better-looking half of the Team Hall & Nass duo coined the DTS “the Cadillac of Cadillacs.” I couldn’t agree more.
Team Hall & Nass Buy, Wait or Skip Rating
Based on our impressions of our time behind the wheel of the Cadillac DTS, coupled with other enthusiasts, friends and neighbors we showed the car to, we’re going to give the 2011 Cadillac DTS a ‘Buy’ rating. Cadillac has gone in a different direction with all of their new cars, and while they are all pretty awesome, there is something special about this last of the old school Caddys. We wish it wasn’t front wheel drive, but then again, it doesn’t drive like one. We’re not entirely sure what Cadillac is going to replace the DTS with (ATS, XTS, ???), but no matter what they come out with next, this is likely your last chance to buy something remotely close to a true Cadillac DeVille. That alone is reason enough to buy this car in our book. After all, the DTS is “the Cadillac of Cadillacs.”
When you visit your Cadillac dealer to test drive the DTS, do us a favor and tell them Team Hall & Nass sent you. If you do buy a DTS, please let us know! We always love hearing about our fans’ rides, and so does GM when we tell them about you. In turn, it makes them feel better about giving us access to their cars to review and share with you. We appreciate your support!
Team Hall & Nass and Motorama LIVE Cadillac DTS Coverage
We hope y’all have enjoyed our Team Hall & Nass 2011 Cadillac DTS coverage. Be sure to check out our videos on the 2011 Cadillac DTS, coming soon to our YouTube channel at YouTube.com/TeamHallnNass. Stay tuned as we continue to share our experience of what life is like behind the wheel of other exciting new vehicles on TeamHallnNass.com and on MotoramaLIVE.com.
Our 2011 Cadillac DTS Was NOT a GM Media Car
This is usually where we publicly thank our friends at GM and on the GM South Central US Communications Team for allowing us to review another one of their cars. However, this particular car didn’t come from the GM media fleet. In fact, to our knowledge, GM no longer has Cadillac DTS sedans available for media reviews since this model is near end of life. Because we wanted to review this car before it drives off into the sunset, we rented it from the Hertz Rental Car Company. It was only a month into service and had just over 5,000 miles on it when we picked it up. Granted, coming out of Las Vegas, it was filthy beyond belief inside and out, but after the healthy dose of detailing elbow grease and car care products we applied, it was (almost) back to looking as good as new.
As many of you are aware, Team Hall & Nass rent a LOT of cars from Hertz every year for business and personal travel. Thanks to our Hertz Presidential Status, we obtained a Caddy that usually rents for well over $100 per day for less than $600 for two weeks. That’s right. We spent our own hard-earned money to rent a fully loaded brand new Cadillac DTS from Hertz just to review. Ever hear of any automotive review team doing that? Well, we’re anything but conventional, and we hope y’all enjoy that about us, too!
Due to FTC guidelines, please note that GM did not pay us to write or film any of this, nor did they ask us to. After reading this and/or watching our videos, they may even prefer that we hadn’t. The same could probably be said for the fine folks at the Hertz Rental Car Company! We sincerely thank all of you, our amazing fans for taking the time to read all about it. We appreciate you all!
This site entry has been approved by Pirate Pig, official mascot of Team Hall & Nass. Learn more about Pirate Pig at TeamHallnNass.com. Pirate Pig offers hamthrax protection for all, and would like to remind you, “IF YOU’VE JUST BEEN PASSED, THEN YOU’RE NOT HALL & NASS!” :@)~
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