: Car and Driver review 2000 DTS



R6DTS
07-21-09, 03:38 PM
http://www.caranddriver.com/reviews/car/archive/cadillac_deville-first_drive_review



For Cadillac to introduce a new model at a racetrack seems about as natural as Hillary Clinton kicking off her U.S. Senate campaign by addressing a convention of the National Rifle Association. Yet there we were at Phoenix International Raceway, getting tips on braking and turn-in points before a hot-lap session. What's more, the subject of our cornering ministrations wasn't a hotted-up Catera, or an STS, or the exotic Evoq. We were evaluating the latest incarnation of that most baroque of luxury sedans, the DeVille.

To our shock and amazement, the most sporting version of this new DeVille, called the DTS--for "DeVille Touring Sedan"--did more than merely survive this trial by tire. It was astonishingly composed and capable, by any standard.

Braking hard into a corner produced none of the expected outside-front-tire howling as the rubber was overloaded by the combined effects of load transfer, body roll, and braking force. Accelerating hard out of a corner was similarly undramatic--there was no spinning of the inside wheel, nor much understeer from the outside front tire that was bearing so much of the cornering and tractive loads. Even in a variety of slalom tests, the front-drive, two-ton, 207-inch-long DTS responded accurately to our steering inputs with little extraneous wallowing or porpoising. A Lexus LS400 was provided for comparison purposes, and it felt notably sloppier and less willing in the same strenuous maneuvers.

Credit the big Caddy's new-found athleticism to the third-generation G-body platform, which this 2000 model employs, and also to the electronic magic performed by the latest generation of Cadillac's StabiliTrak active-handling system. It now coordinates seamlessly with the newest version of Cadillac's continuously variable road-sensing suspension (CVRSS).

For these 2000 models, the CVRSS uses a newly designed shock absorber that not only varies the damping rate in tiny steps over a wide range in 0.2 second but also varies it independently for compression and rebound. Previous versions of CVRSS could only alter the damping in both directions simultaneously. In combination with the DTS's vehicle speed, steering angle, suspension travel, and lateral-acceleration sensors, this more sophisticated shock-absorber adjustability allows the CVRSS to better tailor the suspension's performance to road conditions.

By coupling this greater suspension proficiency with the StabiliTrak system, Cadillac engineers have improved handling under all conditions. As with previous StabiliTrak systems, the brake on one of the front wheels is applied to reduce extreme understeer or oversteer. But now the CVRSS can also selectively stiffen or soften the extension or rebound tendencies of any shock absorber to help keep the body on an even keel and better balance the car well before the cornering limit is reached.

For example, by stiffening the compression damping of the outside front tire and tightening the rebound damping of the inside rear tire while braking into a corner, the DeVille avoids the sudden compression of the outside front suspension, preserving the geometry of that critical tire. It sounds like black magic, but the systems work perfectly to keep the DTS responsive to the driver's inputs and facilitate smooth driving.

All the credit can't go to the electronic wizardry, however, because the base DeVille and the DeVille High Luxury Sedan (a.k.a. DHS, it replaces the d'Elegance model) come with neither StabiliTrak nor CVRSS, yet their road manners are also quite capable. Those manners result from the new G-body platform, which has received numerous upgrades since its debut six years ago on the Oldsmobile Aurora. As applied to the DeVille, the platform gets several reinforcements to increase stiffness and crash protection, as well as a wheelbase extension of 1.5 inches to increase rear seating space.

Underneath, the basic suspension geometry used on all G-platforms is carried over, with rubber-isolated subframes front and rear. But the control arms locating the front struts, as well as the semi-trailing arms in the rear suspension, are now made of aluminum, rather than steel, to reduce weight. That rear suspension has a whopping 10 inches of total travel along with load leveling to maintain a constant ride height regardless of how many bodies you put in the back seat or in the trunk. GM's MagnaSteer rack-and-pinion system directs the front wheels and adjusts steering effort based on vehicle speed (and the lateral-acceleration sensor on the DTS).

Thanks to its superior stiffness and the improved suspension, this platform provides a fundamentally better combination of ride and handling than the old DeVille could muster. Moreover, in the interest of leaving the DeVille's baroque-land-yacht reputation permanently behind, even the base DeVille's suspension is calibrated to deliver more responsive and capable handling than ever before.

The ride and handling improvements come without a sacrifice in comfort. On smooth roads around Phoenix, the new car is better at smothering small bumps and pavement cracks than was the '99 model.

Yet when you pick up speed and bound over larger rises, the body retains great composure. While driving the DTS, we unexpectedly came upon a big bump at triple-digit speed. We caught air with all four wheels, but our landing was soft, straight, and free of body-scraping-pavement sparks.

All new bodywork underscores this seismic shift in the DeVille's orientation, and it abandons completely the heavily chromed, knife-edged baroqueness of the '99 model. The new look is smooth and exceedingly clean--sleek enough to generate a 0.30 drag coefficient (the '99 DeVille scored 0.38 in the wind tunnel). The front and rear bumpers are organically integrated into the body, cut-lines are held to a minimum, the rear window is angled rather than formally upright, and chrome trim is used as an accent rather than as wallpaper.

What grabs your eyes, however, are the large headlight assemblies that bear an unfortunate resemblance to the sad-eyed lighting units on the late, unlamented European Ford Scorpio. In back, the tail-lights are similarly prominent, with a semi-rectangular shape and an unusual jewellike treatment that is illuminated by a bank of light-emitting diodes (LEDs) that illuminate a fifth of a second quicker than incandescent bulbs. According to Cadillac, this is the first such application of LEDs in the industry, but we've seen plenty of semis with LED brake lights.

Although we're pleased to see Cadillac move the DeVille into a more modern styling genre, the overall feel of the car reminds us of the hulking massiveness of the late Mercedes S-class. And the various details do nothing to enliven the image.

Inside, however, we have no aesthetic complaints. The control and instrument layout is clean, uncluttered, and very accessible. The Zebrano wood trim on the dash and the walnut accents on the shift knob and steering wheel are luxurious touches. And the massive highly sculpted and heavily chromed interior door handles lend an air of expensive solidity.

The seating is comfortable, and the driving position is excellent. But the dead pedal on the DTS model is so short that when you try to brace yourself against it, your left foot pivots on the top edge.

In the rear, the DeVille is nearly as comfortable, with a chair-height seating position and plenty of leg-and headroom. The trunk is usefully shaped and neatly finished, although its 19-cubic-foot capacity is down a cubic foot from its predecessor's.

Performance remains strong. A revamped version of the Northstar engine delivers either 275 or 300 horsepower, and it now works on regular rather than premium fuel, and fuel economy is slightly better. The 4T80-E four-speed Hydramatic transmission transforms this power into graceful, well-controlled thrust.

Although we're ambivalent about the new DeVille's appearance, we are delighted that the old cushy look and feel have been abandoned. While delivering even more comfort and luxury than its predecessor, the 2000 DeVille adds the dynamic excellence we've long found wanting in large Cadillac sedans. Such all-around superiority is exactly what we demand in a sedan with a base price in the mid-40s.

Lord Cadillac
07-21-09, 04:02 PM
Thank you for posting this up. I owned this car and it was really a lot of fun to drive. My only complaint was a very squeaky center armrest that I could never fix - and ended up getting rid of the car because of it. It was loud and very, very annoying. I doubt they all did this.. It handled really well for such a big car - and had plenty of power whenever I needed it.. Great, great car.. Major head turner as well..

R6DTS
07-21-09, 05:12 PM
The 00-05 are basically the same right? So basically this review would apply to all 00-05's?

That armrest issue would suck. I cant stand stuff like that. Glad my 04 DTS doesnt do that :)

Lord Cadillac
07-21-09, 05:13 PM
Yes.

eyekandyboats.inc
07-21-09, 06:32 PM
my armrest is very annoying. I hate it. it is the only thing. so i cleaned it with so much armoral that the bottle is half empty and it was shiny as hell... now it doesn't sqeek... LOL

Vinsanity
07-22-09, 01:37 PM
My car has a squeaky armrest. It bugs, but not enough for me to get rid of the car and take a 2-year depreciation hit on it.

I'll just wait for some other guy to take a 2-year depreciation hit on his 2nd-gen CTS so I can buy it off him ;)

Rodya234
07-25-09, 02:52 AM
I heard comments that the 2000-2005 Devilles had a severe reduction in their interior quality compared to their predecessors. Squeaky armrest within a few years sounds like proof-positive of this to me. My '91 is going on 20 years, and it's still as tight as piano wire.

R6DTS
07-27-09, 09:54 AM
Maybe..mine is fine but has huge panel gaps compared to the LS430 I almost bought. Its not on Audi's level but its definetely better than any other american car out there from 00-05.