The Cadillac Seville represents everything that is great in America. This car will get you noticed, and that is a good thing. If youíre 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 youíre washing it in the driveway. It represents power, prestige, and the sense that youíve made it. Sure, you can get a Lexus, but when have you ever caught yourself staring and dreaming about a Lexus? Exactly, you havenít. The Seville is a different type of animal, and itís the type that I love.
The specific model Iím talking about is the 2000 Seville STS. Sure, you can get the cheaper and plusher Seville SLS, but youíre basically getting a Deville in re-organized packaging. When you say, ďYeah I just picked up a Cadillac STSĒ people instantly know what Iím talking about. Try saying the same thing, only say Cadillac SLS. It doesnít 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 ďnewĒ Seville STS for example. My car is a í00 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 thatís 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 í98 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 itís excellent new for í97 5-series, Lexus had its ultra refined GS400, and Mercedes had itís 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 ďdo itĒ for me like the Seville does. It turns me on, no matter where I see one or what kind of mood Iím 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 í98-í01 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 ďSTS Appearance PackageĒ which added a body colored grille, 16Ē 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 17Ē 6 spoke wheels and other accessories. In 2002, both SLS and STS models left behind the old Cadillac logo in favor of the new ďArt & ScienceĒ 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 Chevroletís, 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, Iím not complaining one bit at $10k. Another thing Iím not complaining about is the features. Damn, this car really brings a new meaning to the phrase ďfully loadedĒ. 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 donít need, but for a late 90ís car the Seville has everything a person would want. Iím 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 canít match the Seville for sound quality. This blows the competition away of the same area, with the exception being the LS400ís Nakamichi sound system. However, you might not need the Bose system at allÖ
ÖYou might instead be listening to the Cadillac Northstar V8. Yes, the engine that practically saved Cadillac in the early 90ís is installed beneath the bonnet of this sexy machine. All 300 horses are driven through the front wheels, and itís 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 Sevilleís 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 wouldnít go by this, I would get it done every 3-years/48k miles. This way, you donít 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 youíve 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? Itís a Cadillac, so it has a smooth ride that soaks up the bumps like no other. Itís 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 isnít your car. The car does have a little more body roll than your average sports luxury sedan, but it isnít 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 í03 STS is the best deal on the luxury market today. I havenít 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 í03 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 thinkÖ