The Cadillac Seville represents everything that is great in America. This car will get you noticed, and that is a good thing. If you’re the type of person who can overlook small things like a slightly cheap interior, less than excellent build quality, and the sticker price, well this is the car for you. Driving a Seville STS will have people turning heads, looking at the car over and over. It will be catching stares from people while you’re washing it in the driveway. It represents power, prestige, and the sense that you’ve made it. Sure, you can get a Lexus, but when have you ever caught yourself staring and dreaming about a Lexus? Exactly, you haven’t. The Seville is a different type of animal, and it’s the type that I love.
The specific model I’m talking about is the 2000 Seville STS. Sure, you can get the cheaper and plusher Seville SLS, but you’re basically getting a Deville in re-organized packaging. When you say, “Yeah I just picked up a Cadillac STS” people instantly know what I’m talking about. Try saying the same thing, only say Cadillac SLS. It doesn’t work; people seem confused. Still, regardless of what model you pick up, this car is an excellent value on the used car market. Take my “new” Seville STS for example. My car is a ’00 STS with 54k miles; Sterling Silver w/ Pewter interior. Fully loaded, only missing the Navigation system and sunroof. The sticker for this car brand new easily topped $52k. However, I just picked up this clean example complete with new head gaskets, water pump and motor mount for only $10,700. Yes, this 8-year-old car only cost me $10,700. Amazing, and that’s only the beginning.
Cadillac was on the emergence of a great renaissance when this car was introduced in late 1997. Not only was this car a huge improvement over the already great model it replaced, it was a huge hit with automotive journalists alike. Sales, on the other hand, dropped almost 11k units in the 1998 model year. Why you ask? Price. The base price for a ’98 SLS was almost $43,000 while the STS went for a staggering $46,000. This might sound reasonable to a Cadillac loyalist, but this car was up against some stiff competition. BMW had it’s excellent new for ’97 5-series, Lexus had its ultra refined GS400, and Mercedes had it’s super elegant E-Series. Suffice to say, sales floundered and the car went out of production in 2004 to make way for the brand new STS (minus the Seville moniker). However, there are Seville loyalists (like myself) who think this is the best modern Cadillac yet. Sure, there are a few downsides to owning this car, but they are worth accepting.
I have to say, this is the most beautiful and elegant looking sedan to ever come out of Detroit. Hell, it may be one of the best looking cars ever put into production. Sure, the new CTS and STS are impressive efforts, but none of them do it for me like the Seville STS. The car is perfectly executed, from the front grille to the rear taillights and everything in between. Cadillac was at its absolute highest from a design standpoint when this car was put into production, and there are few cars that “do it” for me like the Seville does. It turns me on, no matter where I see one or what kind of mood I’m in. I swear, I think I have a Seville monitor in my head, because I can always spot one coming down the road. The car looks stunning in Crimson Red, a lighter shade of burgundy, Sable Black, which is just badass. White Diamond is typical Cadillac, typically elegant. Sterling Silver is very clean, sophisticated, and sexy. Another of my favorite is Polo Green, an extremely rare color that looks black from a distance. The other colors are no match for the body of the Seville, and just dull the cars look. The ’98-’01 Seville SLS have a plain silver colored grille, ugly plastic molding on the bottom, and cheap wheels that look out of place on a car of this caliber. Starting in 2001, you could order a “STS Appearance Package” which added a body colored grille, 16” 7-spoke chrome wheels, body color appearance molding, among other things. This package became standard in 2003; the STS pretty much stayed the same throughout its 5-year run, with the exception of 2001 when Cadillac offered a STS Sport Package, which offered larger 17” 6 spoke wheels and other accessories. In 2002, both SLS and STS models left behind the old Cadillac logo in favor of the new “Art & Science” logo first introduced on the CTS. Other than this few appearance changes, there was nothing to distinguish the cars year to year. Only true Seville loyalists could spot these changes.
The interior of the Seville has its ups and downs, very unlike the exterior. At first glance, the car looks of the highest caliber, using exquisite leathers, high-end gauge clusters, smart controls, and beautiful wood trim. Unfortunately, this is quickly downplayed when looking closer. The headliner is made of a cheap, mouse like material found in Chevrolet’s, the plastics used on the door jams and around the console area is GM Corporate, which means of the lowest caliber. You can pull the A-pillar material off with one hand, and the weather-stripping around the door needs to be reattached on several occasions. However, none of this really matters to me. If I would have paid $53k for the car brand new, yeah I would have been disappointed with the materials. However, I’m not complaining one bit at $10k. Another thing I’m not complaining about is the features. Damn, this car really brings a new meaning to the phrase “fully loaded”. Power leather memory seats, Bose 425 watt sound system, 6-disc CD changer, and optional navigation system. Sure, most modern cars have self parking assistance, lane change warning and other useless crap you don’t need, but for a late 90’s car the Seville has everything a person would want. I’m personally the most fond of the Bose stereo, which I have still not found a suitable match for. Even the new STS with its 15-speaker system still can’t match the Seville for sound quality. This blows the competition away of the same area, with the exception being the LS400’s Nakamichi sound system. However, you might not need the Bose system at all…
…You might instead be listening to the Cadillac Northstar V8. Yes, the engine that practically saved Cadillac in the early 90’s is installed beneath the bonnet of this sexy machine. All 300 horses are driven through the front wheels, and it’s probably one of the best exhaust notes this side of a Ferrari or Porsche. The car has a typical V8 snarl when being started up, but it really shines when you floor it. You can get some serious trouble when driving this car. Most Seville’s never have the chance to be driven hard, since they are owned by old ladies driving to church. For this single reason, is why most people experience problems with the Northstar engine. The engine is extremely reliable if well maintained. The key to a strong running Northstar is changing the coolant. GM recommends the Dex-Cool get changed every 5-years/150k miles; I wouldn’t go by this, I would get it done every 3-years/48k miles. This way, you don’t have to worry about the engine blowing a head gasket. Also doing regular WOT (Wide Open Throttle; a.k.a mash that bitch to the floor) will help keep all the carbon deposits cleaned out. Do those few things (along with changing the oil of course) and you should be able to get 200k or more miles out of the Seville and its Northstar.
Ok you’ve heard me ramble on about the seductive styling, nicely laid out interior, and powerful engine, so how does it drive? Well, what do you think? It’s a Cadillac, so it has a smooth ride that soaks up the bumps like no other. It’s not super soft like the Deville, but no overly hard like the CTS. The ride motions are well controlled, and the handling is superb for such a heavy FWD sedan. It takes the corners with ease, and there is little understeer to be detected. However, if you want BMW handling this isn’t your car. The car does have a little more body roll than your average sports luxury sedan, but it isn’t anything 90% of people complain about. It feels confident throughout the ride, and the only hint of torque steer is when mashing the accelerator when exiting a corner. Overall, I give it a 7.5/10. In late 2002, Cadillac introduced the Magneride suspension for the Seville STS (and to be introduced on the 50th Anniversary Corvette) and was a marvel if anything. It uses a special fluid to adjust shock rates depending on the road. From what I have read, handling was largely improved and finding a late example ’03 STS is the best deal on the luxury market today. I haven’t had a chance to drive a Magneride equipped car, but I hope to in the near future.
The Cadillac Seville STS represents the best value on the used luxury car market today. Modern styling, loads of electronic goodies, powerful Northstar engine, great handling, and a low price makes the car the best of the best. You can find plenty of low mileage, good conditioned cars for under $10k. The ’03 STS w/ Navigation, Sunroof, and around 40k miles will set you back a very reasonable $15k. Not a bad deal for a car that stickered for near $60k when it was put to sleep. Now, I have an assignment for you: find a low mileage Lexus GS400, BMW 540i, or Mercedes E420 w/50k miles for under $14k. Might be a little harder than you think…
I'll be keeping a log in my review about my experiences with my STS. I'll probably update once a month or so, so I don't sound too repetitive. Here is my opinions after 3 days of ownership:
*The Seville is truly a highway car. In the past 3 days, I've put almost 300 miles on it and it truly soaks up the road. Engine is plenty powerful for passing grandmas, and the handling is predictable, if a bit soft. Luckily, soft is what I like best so kudos to Cadillac for creating a really great touring car.
*The interior has too many cheap pieces of trim. Even compared to my Camry, the car just has too many downfalls. My weatherstripping has been reattached several times already, and there is a persistent rattle (the old Onstar attachment thing; need to get that removed ASAP). Otherwise, a great layout. Clean and simple.
*I love the seats. Plenty comfortable for a road trip, and after 1 1/2 hours of driving I still felt relaxed. The gauges are extremely easy to read, if a bit cheesy looking (I'm comparing this to the new CTS and Escalade), the Bose stereo is amazing, and the climate control does a great job of cooling down the car.
*Fuel economy is pretty good for a large V8 car. I'm getting around 17MPG city and 22 highway. I'll be driving a lot less now I have this car, but thats fine with me.
*The styling is a huge plus. I've had more compliments on this car than I ever thought possible. Nobody believes me when I say the car is 8 years old (I can thank the original owner for keeping the car garaged! ) and the car still looks sexy today. Personally, I prefer this body to the new Cadillac's.
Overall, I'm extremely pleased with the car. There are a few downsides, but none of them hinder what I think is a wonderful machine. My mom, grandfather, and I will be driving to the mountains soon and we've planned to take this car. I'll report back after that and see how well she does on long distance cruises (the car, not my mom!).
It's been a busy month for the Seville. I find any reason possible to drive the damn thing. It's smooth, powerful, and extremely comfortable. Compliments have been plentiful. Most people find it hard to believe the car is 8 years old; thats always a good sign. I often find people looking at the car while going down the road (or either at me. "What the hell is that kid doing driving a Cadillac? He most of stole it") The car simply shines on the open road, where it effortlessly soaks up the road. The ride is super smooth, and handling continues to impress for such a large FWD car. Gas mileage is town is 17-18, but on the highway I'm seeing 23-25MPG. Northstar is extremely powerful, and has a great sound. Interior trim is holding up well, with few rattles emitting through the cabin. Seats were comfortable on 6 hour road trip; heated seats are wonderful. Complaints are few:
1. Service Theft System randomly appears once or twice a week. Simple remedy: turn the car off and start her up again. No problems there, just a nagging issue. Nothing serious here.
2. Front end shutter under braking. This is my biggest annoyance with the car. The rotors were just resurfaced and it has pretty new brake pads, so I'm guessing another alignment is in order. I'll have dealer check this out when I take her in.
3. Steering column rattle. This turned up about 3 days ago, but it's pretty obvious. When taking the car over rough payment, the steering column makes a faint, but noticeable rattle sound. Just check out thread on Seville forum that pretty much explains my problem. I'll have the dealer lube the area first, but I'm sure that won't solve it. As long as the steering doesn't start to go screwy, I'll be fine with it.
So overall, a good first month for my Seville. There are a few little issues to work out, but nothing major. I adore my car and plan on taking her to 100k+ miles.
Took the car to the dealer today to get the oil changed and have them check the rattling noise and vibration during braking. The rear rotors were resurfaced at their expense (I only payed for labor! ) and are smooth as silk. Finally, I don't hate stopping anymore. According to my ticket, the rattle was solved by adjusting a cable - it didn't work. At first, I thought it was gone because the steering was tighter. Alas, when I took the car down a rough road it came back. However, it's not as high pitched. I'm not going to worry about it, I know is the intermediate shaft and bearing. I'll have the parts ordered and get them to fix it when I get the oil changed next time.
The car is doing great. Planning on getting a new passenger side headlight because the old one is foggy, and the drivers side has a brand new one. Looks terrible together.
The steering wheel gets louder when its cold outside.
I got to the point where I dreaded turning the wheel in the winter ... you coud hear the
groaning sound and feel the crappy feedback.
I can't say how long the needle and grease fix lasts, because I sold my car soon after having
the inexpensive lube repair.
Having said that, its amazing how much nicer the car felt driving down the road without the
steering wheel noise.
Definitely worth the effort.
Automobile(s): 1999 White Diamond STS with Sirius, 2001 Silverado
Chapel Hill, NC
Re: 2000 Cadillac Seville STS
Ryan: I agree with you on the interior to a small degree. I bought one of the newer V8 Northstar emblems to put over the radio on that plastic piece. Doesn't look so bad anymore. That was the only part of the interior I hated. I like the rest. I'm thinking about getting the STS emblem from the trunk of the new STS's and putting it over next to the rightmost AC vent on that woodgrain over there.
Well it's time for my monthly update, and the car continues to impress with its excellent powertrain, super smooth ride, and comfortable interior. Gas mileage is also quite good for such a large V8 car, about 17 in mixed situation (learning more on city driving). My only issue with the car this month is a massive trunk leak I discovered about a month ago. I came back from the beach and decided to vacuum out my dirty trunk, when I discovered my spare tire well was full of water. I initially vacuumed it out and thought it had been there for a couple of years; no big deal right? Well yesterday I notice a putrid smell coming from the trunk... and I open it up to reveal the area is full of water again, though this time it was nasty, dirty water that looks like it came from our river. I figured out that it must be coming between the license plate area and the plastic cover surrounding the inside of the trunk. I'm going to get it looked at next time i take the car in for an oil change; I'm also going to switch out my old headlight with a new one eventually, its starting to look really terrible.
Well the culprit of the great trunk leak mystery has been caught; turns out, the weatherstripping around the trunk lid did a really crappy job of keeping the water out. It was coming in near the trunk latch and dropping into the spare tire well. While I was at work today I asked my boss what he thought, and he said that was the best explanation. So they have the part ordered and it should be here tomorrow, and I'll get it replaced on Thursday when I head into work. They are also going to reseal near the taillights to make sure I don't have any future problems. I'm also having them look at my slightly rough idle, which I've thinking is the cracked plenum. They have that part in stock, so if that is the issue they are replacing that. Here are some pics of the really terrible looking seal on the ws:
Automobile(s): Cadillac Seville STS 2003 47000 miles
Re: 2000 Cadillac Seville STS
mY 03 sts that I just bought has the same issue. I resealed around the entire weather strip with some 3M black weather strip adhesive and it has stopped about 98% of the water from coming in. I checked in my truck today as we had some very heavy rain over night and I noted a very small ( talking 1/2 a teaspoon) amount of water in the bottom of the trunk. I might just take it in to the dealer and get a new weather strip and have them seal it with some butyl rubber sealer.
I actually got it fixed at the dealer the other day. $70 installed... and so far no water is getting into the trunk. I might get the piece that goes along the rear window fixed too just for the hell of it.
I also had them check the rough idle, but they didn't find anything. I'm thinking its the intake plenum and I'll have them check it out the next time I change the oil.
Ok so it's that time of the month again... and no people my period doesn't come in until later on, so watch out for abnormal bitchiness. Anyways, no new problems have surfaced on my Seville this month. The trunk is now dry thanks to new weatherstripping, and everything is still running smoothly. I'm still having problems with my security light and that random noise from the speakers when I start the car... but it does it much more often when it's cold outside. I'm really beginning to narrow it down the ignition switch, but I'll cross that road when I get to it.
I let a friend of mine drive it down the road real quick, and when I asked him how he liked it, he said "It's really smooth, and has a lot more power than expected". Ha, that's what happens when you cross a luxury car with an obnoxious muscle car.
Ryan, is it possible that the noise you hear on colder mornings isn't coming
from the tiny square grille on the left side of your dash?
If so, then its a bad bearing in your asperator fan motor. That's the
tiny fan used with a temp probe to determine the ambient cabin temp
for your automatic climate control. Mine got to the point of being unbearable ... I simply stuffed some foam down the opening, careful
of the temp probe, and it stopped the buzzing noise.
How goes the steering shaft ... the lube procedure worked for me.
How is your ride ... smooth up to 80mph, or any shimmy?
One regret I had was that I couldn't hack my DIC to display actual temp readouts ... on my 97, that was an easy hack code and a welcome feature.
I don't think so, because when I turn the radio off upon hearing the noise it stops. The noise is also occurring when the "Service Theft System" shows up on my DIC, though sometimes it does not. The best solution right now is just turning the radio off when exiting the car.
I haven't actually noticed a ton of noise coming from the steering shaft... though I'm sure it's still an issue because the steering seems a little sloppy compared to a '04 SLS I was driving the other day. Until the noise starts to really bother me, I'll leave it as is.
I did forget to mention I have the shimmy. It starts at 66-67MPH and does it all the way up to 75MPH, though 72MPH is the sweet spot where it levels out. I'll get my dealer to balance the tires at my next oil change, and that should solve it.