2013 Cadillac XTS Reviewed by WSJ’s Dan Neil

Aug 29, 2012 12:37 PM EDT

Dan Neil, who writes the "Rumble Seat" column for The Wall Street Journal, has reviewed the 2013 Cadillac XTS full-size sedan.

Much of the review focuses on Neil's experience with the XTS's "gadgety guts", namely the dashboard controls and the Cadillac User Experience (CUE) infotainment system.

Cadillac says of CUE: "Proximity-sensing technology detects your hand as it approaches the touch screen. When an icon is pressed, the screen pulses to acknowledge the command, keeping your eyes safely on the road."

Neil's impression is that the sensor system is both oversensitive and unresponsive. "Mainly my problem seems to be that I was applying too much pressure to the virtual buttons, or else I was missing them altogether as the car bounded down the road, or I was being impatient," he writes.

That's not to say that Neil dislikes the XTS, or even CUE. The system's lack of immediate user friendliness is excusable, he thinks, because a) it is learnable, especially for the younger buyers Cadillac has begun to chase, b) it offers a plethora of convenient options that could only be made to fit a touchscreen-type system, and c) the XTS's interiors, both in terms of technology and design, are appealing.

"My judgment is that the aesthetics of Cadillac's new glass-panel cockpit are worth whatever typing lessons are involved," he says.

He likes the XTS's exterior styling and its handling, but - while calling the sedan's 3.6-liter, direct-injection V6 engine "game enough" - he wishes it had more strength than the 304 horsepower it offers.

Neil speculates a bit on what the XTS means for Cadillac's future: "The system, which I sampled in a 2013 XTS full-size sedan, previews the cockpit of every new Cadillac for the next five years, and it is fairly named: If the CUE doesn't work fantastically well, the whole Cadillac experience stumbles."

He calls the XTS a "middle-child" of a car - it is not the performance-minded ATS and it is not the next flagship large sedan that Cadillac has yet to unveil. Though Neil says he didn't fall in love with the XTS, the sedan did seem to make him optimistic for Cadillac's further offerings.

He will receive a test model of the ATS in a couple of weeks.

Neil's full review of the XTS can be read HERE.

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