--, w hey sure don't make Cadillacs like they used to, do they?

" We heard QI over and over in the cwrsc of two weeks with a Seville STS. Dcpcndent on your time frame of reference. this is either good or bad news. For those whose ideas about Cadillacs were formed befm h t 1972. that phrase is uttered with scorn. Like the guy who could bmly conceal his disgust when this car parked next to his Chevy Monte Carlo of a vintage predating the back-formation of the verb "to downsize." Asked for his impressions, he let loose a stream of invective. To wit: llx SeviUe is loo small. Sure it's got a VB, but at undcr MO cid, what's it doing in a Cadillac? It's too blandly styled -"it looks l i e a Buick." It's front-drive. "Ain't hardly inny chrome ohnit." It has no wire wheels, n o j m for crying out loud! For the younger or shorler-of-memory among us the story is different. For those

r:-r

Give it instruments, a facelift and better build quality and Cadillads Seville S T S could rank with the best
By Kevin A. Wilson
like thev used to ... that's Linda i c e . Good-looking paint. The wood's real isn'l it? And the leather. too? Got the 4.5-liler? How's it handle? What's it cost?" The interest was real-until, at least, it became clear there was no such animal as a five-speed STS with real instruments. nor one built to imwrt qualily smndards. . b & S& project with Cars & Concepts designed to heighten the Seville's enthusiast appeal--is not so much good news in and of itself. T m many things about it are not at all world-class, and a Cadillac of any stripe should be a leading contender for that accolade. But its t i n e platform, well-tuned suspension, interior trimmings and good if not terrific powerplant suggest that Cadillac is o cap closer to understanding what it takes t lure modern enthusiasts' hearts than we've previously had reason to believe. In fact. if the Scville STS cost 55.000 to $10.000 less it would be a fine alternative to the likes of a Sterling. Saab 9000.5 or Vulvo 740 Turbo. Purely American in style. and thus different from all those, but fully competitive. But based at $33,R5O beforc sunroof or Delco-Bose topgrade stereo (or about $15.000 over a plain old Seville), it seeks buyers who could also afford a BMW 325ix. Mexcdes-Benz 190-2.6, Audi Turbo Q u m . Saab 9000 Turbo M Volvo 760. So what does the STS offer enthusiasts to lure them from those cars? It ain't stvlina. The STS looks about as

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who d l pernaps 15 model years' w d of mushy-riding, ill-handling, c b - and velour-lined boudoirs on wheels (in short a e h e d ex= of style covering a paucity of substance), the STS can be seen as a signpost pointing the way on Cadillac's comeback trail. What we have here is substance disgrused by aaditional style. b w n t e r s with folks who don't expect a Cadillac you can actually drive rather than simply sit in, generally ran like this: "Boy, they sure don't make Cadillacs

I

AUTOWEEK JUNE 13. 1988

dm,sLhtr,Mdtlluatofcbmm(ayou It's (be dadbod, smldd Snille gear, ~ t I l I t c i n o m e i s l l l l s b s o ~ l l s e a s i t yt h * I c p d O w n t b e d d e h a t . W b n f s ~ m a C d i l l . c ) m d A n a u t c ~ g i v c i t a inglycalkd. hccdmofa ehm, pmpoatful I d . Prom (be A-piltr digital SpadometQ md oBorsdcrs (total IoRud it's a good &-day CdiUr mdh'ip)mdadigitalrrdootingUmsfu baL.Pmmtbaebsfk*'sgalaicB-OC. fud. Ibn's it. O h , , yes, m a e ' a a digital ThcSevilbhoatoodisoewthi8~mda t r h d o v n i n ( b e R m r l n t o r r r m i o a ~ mac thwugb rewortlag is due in '89. A jvrtrh.adof(beeonrdbmmntaisbiRer m I K 4 I - M investmnt, w w me sp wbcn it's ureless. pul is supposed to be to treditionalists lbirisllocadrivdsdghbord.Ab, bccwse (be Seviilc STS rmld be a p*Pm =impon haidekF&forkaUmmdwood drkus's c a r . D y l m d d y , it.8 mm .nd wich the exaptioa of lea* aomc ~ - ~ p l r r ( i c o n d . s h m d ~ .

dnw*Lnlionfranbumycrbga* cxpamcireaaklpcrform.Itb.sagmd ridcAandling mix, decent s t m h g fed,

Qsritwell.Most,lloc.11,oftbeimpomdo
a a e a a j o b o f ~ ~ few&qm).wiharilh.apsc*Itym me srs's pia k . Tbc *mber, motlgb plurie-coated for protcetion as is much modan automotive Lnhcr sad tbcdmr rnsteprrmmodfromitsmostappmhg wpecm. is nicdy rmderrd wih m,bmdsome top~tiIching.Ths multirdj~tab1e gents are comforuble, but don't offer ~ r i d c ~ . T b c c x t c M k d ~ ~ ~

&ylilcaimdssriousbnLPldlhm. ~ i s W e ~ q L i D B l mdPrimnkUp~llllPllirollbfa the independent reat. . I d bigger s.SIe OT+4lilca.nIiS~allusly~ Smoom ride md p o d hading. Tbc only quibkbhmuaivethcnoi&owhmpc Aulae'sLap~tha~brvtbclpsd. Tbc 155 hp 4.5-Iitu V8 fcrda (be fma whkb a wide, s1udy. mmch acrum of torque.butnaquitcmdamrd.Inkk .. tenstofIrlmmmm lcqmity, (be Osnenl's "computer-controlled elceaonic m r q u e l n m g w m " ~ ( b e ~ s
~24Olbfirlmta(beamsLradyk a slight lag in raspma at l o w speeds. A better solrlrioh is coming, we bat four-whklQiw fa a 199h SevlOs. We ue wm concerned about quality f l a m i n ~ ~ w c s s m p l c d . ~ 6 t dfUlisbwac~ygood,~wna major-league misfit bctween hood and ~mkicftsidc.Adtkatttu8~ (be~*bclt(lutwoclldn't&(a paurbsetopnkCdillr'stno~ beltsmmbrLLcsySm4ar~~
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A~WPBI(JUNE 13,1988

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adjust pmperly than OM'S lypical loop systerns). And power seat coatrols w i d backwads so Ulat pushing the bumn for "up" moved the seat down, sloppy-looking Irunk c a r p , a vihlion buw in the instrument

panel, and some i s o l d squeaks and rattles. Not at all worldslass. Let's look to Cadillac's traditional stnngth, comfon and convenience features. The steering column both tilts and tele-

scopes. the climate conml is among the best. lhc lighting, power accessories and stera, top rank. But hem, t c n ,wmc impom excel. The Seville needs a logical central laking system (you have lo push a bunon t w i c e to get the rear doors l o unlock ... most imports have k n c r systems) and height adjusters for the shoulder belts front and rear. So the STS chassis and engine appeal to the scrim driver. but style and accoutnments arc still aimed at Cadillac's aging "traditional" market, including many Automotive Know-Nochigs who wouldn't pull 0.5 g in a comer if their lives depended on it. Those who like lhc Seville's styk won't appreciate the dynamics, and vice versa. 'IhPt this car works on the mad so well is a sign of progress. If Cadillac continues along t h i ~ - ~ a l we h may someday find it making a car that is not only allCadillac. but one enthusiast drivers will appreciate Whether that's a case of making a CadiUx "like they uwd to" depends entirely on what ihsc mcans t a you.

# y . .J &

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AUTOWEEK JUNE 13. 1988

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