2013 Cadillac XTS
Engine: 3.6L V6
Power: 304hp 
Torque: 264 lb.-ft
Wheelbase: 111.7 in.
Fuel Economy: 17/28/19
Starting MSRP: $44,075
The great American automobile is shrinking. Once a bastion of over-sized SUVs and ultra-long sedans, our highways are embracing nimble, environmentally friendly designs. Still, there's power in traditionally appointed American luxury and the Cadillac XTS fits the niche.
 
Built on a stretched Epsilon platform (the same architecture that supports the Buick LaCrosse and the Chevrolet Impala), the 2013 XTS runs on a 111.7-inch wheelbase. The vehicles length pails in comparison to Detroit-born sedans of old, but maintains the backseat legroom expected of a car with great livery potential. No diss, but the XTS doesn't inspire the same hit-the-open-road lust as the new ATS or CTS. Instead, instant desire is to pack the car and roll forth on a casual trip.
 
 
I tossed my father, owner of several Cadillacs from 1995-2005, in the back. His initial reaction: "It's comfortable." We drove from Hartford to Chester, CT. My father's feeling about seats remained the same and he enjoyed the sound system, but he had reservations about the trim. He was looking for a "wow" factor, and was disappointed by the generic appointments of the vehicle. It feels like something you wouldn't mind being transported to and from the airport in, but not like something you'd clamor to get in your garage. 
 
Entertainment is driven by GM's Cue system. Although it successfully connects mobile devices, the pace of the touch screen creates some frustration. There's an art to pulling up the exact iTunes track you want, and the tactile element of Cue (a vibration when controls are clicked) doesn't inspire much confidence. There are pluses, though—once you've figured out the systems quirks, music pumps from 14-speaker Bose speakers and offers fluid, surround sound. 
 
 
The drive itself is where the XTS surprises. Underneath the vehicle's standardized luxury—the stuff that makes it feel like the last of a dying breed—is a spritely 3.6L V6 with 304 hp and 264 lb-ft of torque. It's not super sporty (even in sport mode), but the handling is deft and you get some road feel through the wheel. Piloting the XTS is thus an entirely different experience than being chauffeured in it. Sitting, naturally is passive. And, in some cases, passivity has extended to driving in the American luxury cars of the past. Situated in an ample seat, it's been easy to lean back and take the road on a crawl. In the XTS, there's a little growl, and when flipped to sport mode, that new Cadillac DNA comes out of hiding. 
 
 
The internal conflict of the XTS—one part new Cadillac, one part old-school livery vehicle—is the cause of some confusion. It's ultimately a sleeper, a car that speaks more to GM's contemporary approach than the tired interior suggests. Rather than think of it as the last of a dying breed, think of it as a large-scale American trying to break free of its rolling-sofa past.
 
Bottom Line: America's last big sedan looks forward rather than looking back. While the interior drags a little, the drive and exterior styling speak to Cadillac's future looking approach and gives traditional comfort enough spunk to make it interesting.