For 2002, the Cadillac Seville adds new features and technology designed to deliver the comfort, safety and performance buyers expect from what has become one of America's best luxury sedans. An Advanced Vehicle Navigation system has a larger screen, incorporates voice recognition technology and covers the entire United States and Canada with a single, in-dash DVD. An XM satellite radio is available. At mid-year, next-generation road-sensing suspension cuts to one millisecond the car's automatic response to changing road conditions.
Adding such new features to its already brilliant acceleration, crisp handling, and Gibraltar stability, the Seville needs to make no apologies to expensive imported sports sedans. This Caddy is just the thing for covering lots of real estate in a big hurry, cruising effortlessly at 80-90 mph like a high-performance sports sedan. At the same time, it's smooth, quiet and comfortable around town.
SLS ($43,524); STS ($49,080)
Although the current-generation Seville is five years old, it still draws admiring glances on the road. On the Interstate, our STS had people slowing down and matching their speed to ours to look it over. I'm not normally a big fan of chrome wheels, but the optional 17-inch chrome wheels are very tastefully designed and look great on this car.
Available for 2002 is a new exterior color - Blue Onyx. Our test car wore Sable Black paint and looked like part luxury sedan, part hot rod. Its bold, egg-crate grille and strong, vertically oriented taillights are traditional Cadillac cues. Edges are soft and sculpted, however, presenting a refined look. The standard wrap-around projector headlights have a jewel-like quality. High-intensity discharge (HID) low-beam headlights are optional on STS and improve visibility on dark nights.
Our Seville's handsome interior was trimmed in Zebrano wood with black leather upholstery. The front bucket seats are plush, but not overstuffed, with enough lateral support to keep the driver firmly planted when maneuvering the Seville through tight curves. Yet the side bolsters are low enough to make getting in and out easy. The seats adjust every which way with adjustable lumbar support. I had trouble adjusting the lumbar to a comfortable position, but eventually came to terms with the seats. The front seatbelts are anchored to the seat, so they fit more precisely and feel much more comfortable to wear. Front and rear seats have heaters for cold mornings and bad backs.
The Seville's interior looks great and is highly functional. The center console, sweeping up into the instrument panel, houses an attractive radio and climate-control center. The gauges use a three-dimensional Vacuum Fluorescent, or VF, display that is as easy to read as it is sophisticated. The digital readouts are in blue, which is fine, except that the blue high-beam indicator is buried alongside blue trip odometers and other digital readouts, so it's very easy to ride around unaware that the high beams are on.
Like many of the interior features, the Bose 4.0 sound system uses computer technology to enhance both driving attributes and creature comforts. It sounds great. It punches out nearly 425 watts of music power through its eight speakers, which include a 12-inch subwoofer. The Bose system is smart enough to automatically adjust volume and tone levels to compensate for changing cabin sound conditions. Steering wheel controls allow volume adjustments and surfing among your preset stations. A weatherband gives up-to-the-minute weather reports.
Everything is programmable, including the security system, so you don't have to listen to a horn when you lock the car, or put up with automatic locking every time you put it in drive. A computer tells you when one of your tires is low on air pressure, and warns when it's cold enough for ice to be on the road.
For 2002, Cadillac offers an Advanced Vehicle Navigation system that uses DVD technology, with a single DVD replacing the nine CDs needed to cover the entire United States and Canada. A new 6.5-inch touch screen replaces the 5-inch monitor, and the system incorporates voice-recognition technology so you can keep your eyes on the road and your hands on the wheel. The price of this new option is $1,730 and includes the Bose 4.0 audio system and a six-CD changer.
The navigation system screen is mounted the top-center of the dashboard and tilts down to load the DVD. When the car's transmission is in Park, the DVD screen can be used to show movies. If you want to listen to music CDs, there's a new six-disc changer in the center console.
Also new for 2002, though not available with the navigation system, is an XM satellite radio, a $295 option that carries a $9.99 per month charge to select among 200 channels of digital-quality radio programming.
Standard on all Sevilles is GM's OnStar system. OnStar combines cellular technology with a Global Positioning Satellite, or GPS, receiver that constantly tracks the vehicle's position. No additional cellular contract is needed to use the system. Pressing a button connects you to an OnStar service center that can provide directions, call for a tow truck or remotely unlock the doors if you've left the key in the ignition. The service center can make airline reservations, provide restaurant recommendations, or send flowers for a special occasion. Most important, they will check in on you immediately after an airbag deploys and will summon help to your location if you don't respond.
Seville's sophisticated airbags use sensors designed to prevent deployment of the front passenger's bag when the seat is empty or a small child is sitting there. According to Cadillac, this system provides safety benefits to children that cannot be realized with dual-stage
This car is fast. The Seville's Northstar 4.6-liter V8 engine delivers 300 horsepower on the STS model. Punch it and this thing really takes off. It offers excellent throttle for brilliant passing performance. Step on the gas and you're by the offending vehicle in a flash. There's plenty of torque off the line to quickly propel you into Scofflaw County, and you can cruise all day at socially irresponsible speeds.
Cadillac's Northstar V8 engine is tuned differently for the SLS and STS models: The version used in the SLS produces 275 horsepower at 5600 rpm and 300 pound-feet of torque at 4000. The engine in the STS delivers 300 horsepower at 6000 and 295 pound-feet at 4400 rpm. That makes the STS the better choice for drivers who want a high-performance sports sedan, and the SLS better for drivers who prefer quietly cruising in luxury. Both will do fine in each mode, however.
The transmission works great. Cadillac's four-speed automatic transmission features a Performance Shift Algorithm that analyzes your driving style and adjusts shifting appropriately. Hammer the throttle and it mimics the crisp shifts of a manual transmission. Accelerate gradually and the transmission shifts smoothly. Go through a corner under hard acceleration and the system is smart enough to delay shifting until you are through the turn for improved handling balance. If desired, it's easy to pull it straight back from Drive into third gear. In fact, shifting it manually is as easy as shifting one of those fancy semi-automatic shifters that are the fad nowadays.
The steering is sharp and responsive. It has, in fact, been sharpened for 2001 with subtle changes to the front control arms, steering knuckles, front subframe, and front anti-roll bar. The Magnasteer rack-and-pinion steering system relies on an optimized 14.8:1 ratio throughout the steering range; rather than varying the ratio, the system uses a magnetic field to vary effort directly with speed or other conditions. It works well, giving the car a feeling of stability at high speeds and accurate steering on winding roads, yet it's light to the touch in parking lots making the Seville easy to park.
Standard on both models is the StabiliTrak system. It uses an accelerometer to sense even a minor skid. Then, by applying the brakes to individual front wheels and deftly controlling the throttle, it brings the car back under the control-often before you noticed anything was wrong. The latest StabiliTrak 2.0 also incorporates side slip-rate control, so if the Seville is sliding sideways, both front brakes are momentarily applied to slow the vehicle and allow it to regain stability and lateral traction.
The brakes are superb. They are easy to modulate in normal driving. In a panic stop, the ABS kicks in, quickly bringing the car to a halt without drama; understandably, they are prone to fade when used repeatedly in this manner.
Seville's Magnasteer steering system is linked to StabiliTrak's sensors, so steering effort is altered according to how aggressively a driver takes a corner. StabiliTrak even raises steering effort in low-traction or emergency-maneuver situations to enhance driver control.
At mid-year, Cadillac's Continuously Variable Road Sensing Suspension, or CVRSS, will be replaced by MR technology. This next-generation system uses a magnetic fluid and electric current to perform virtually instantaneous responses by the Seville's suspension system, thus minimizing damping forces as needed for improved road isolation and an even smoother ride.
This car is smooth and quiet around town, stable and secure at speed on the highway, and sporty and competent on winding roads. Out on the open road, it makes no apologies to BMWs, Mercedes-Benzes, Lexuses and Infinitis. You can keep up with them, pass them, or let them go while you relax in your luxurious surroundings.
Again for 2002, the Cadillac Seville delivers the refinement, performance and handling expected from a BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Lexus or Infiniti. The Seville is a sedan that truly loves to be driven, whether MR technology is helping you wind your way down back roads or if you're using the new navigation system to find your way through the streets of a strange city. The STS feels like a true sports sedan.