Kelley Blue Book ® - 2003 Cadillac Seville Overview

Vehicle Overview from Kelley Blue Book

KBB.com 2003 Cadillac Seville Overview

Body
Cadillac's V8 Powered Touring Champ

For well over two decades, the Seville has been the primary Cadillac charged to do battle with the big boys from Europe and Japan. Only recently has the Seville received some relief in the form of the new CTS, yet with more and more refined entries coming ashore all the time, it looks as if there will be little rest for Cadillac's diehard performance sedan. Though getting up in years, the Seville benefits greatly from an extremely flexible platform that allows for state-of-the-art upgrades to be added as they come to fruition.

Technology is what the Seville STS is all about—well, technology surrounded by copious displays of American luxury. There are so many computers and controls on the Seville that it's hard to pinpoint any purely mechanical functions. The ride is completely controlled by computers that monitor everything from pitch and yaw to the amount of body lean relative to the speed of the vehicle. All this data is fed into a central processor that then regulates the suspension travel via a quasi-magnetic fluid inside the shocks. Driving the Seville is sort of like being in the Pirates of the Caribbean ride; you know you're having the time of your life, but what you don't see is all the people and computers hidden behind the rock wall, controlling every aspect of your journey.

Whether you like advanced technology or not, there is no denying that the Seville's suspension returns a taut ride that is soft and controlled over the roughest surfaces yet still remains connected to the pavement in the sharpest of turns. The Seville's front-wheel drive layout not only gives it excellent traction on rain-soaked and snow-covered roads, it frees up more passenger room by eliminating the need for a large center driveshaft tunnel. The variable assisted power steering allows easy maneuvering of the car at low speeds—as when you are parking or backing up—but becomes much firmer for when you really want to push the Seville to perform. We like the feedback that is telegraphed through the Seville's steering wheel, allowing the sporty Cadillac to be tossed about as if it were a much lighter car.

Cadillac has enslaved more electrons to serve duty at the front wheels where its standard traction control helps negate the torque steer generated by the Seville's massively powerful Northstar V8 engine. This fiercely competitive powerhouse pumps out an astounding 300 horsepower yet runs without complaint on regular 87-octane gasoline. The Northstar is the most sophisticated engine in the Cadillac arsenal and its adrenaline pumping potential is matched only by its refined manners and silky operation. You'll find acceleration and passing prowess to be at the top of the Seville's qualification list.

Backing up the Northstar engine is a remarkably adept transmission featuring a performance algorithm shift control that adapts the transmission's shift points to better maximize power and fuel efficiency based on the way you routinely drive.

We should point out that besides the STS, there is another slightly less aggressive Seville—the SLS. The SLS offers the same level of luxury as the STS, but with a slightly less powerful engine and a traditional shock/spring setup calibrated for luxury over performance. The SLS gets a new body-colored front grille and standard integrated fog lamps. Both SLS and STS share the same spacious cabin, handsome and intuitive dash design, real wood trim on the doors, center console and steering wheel, and deep—yet easily accessible—trunk. You'll find ample passenger space for four persons and though the Seville can accommodate a fifth, it is not the most comfortable configuration for the rear seat passengers.

No matter which trim you choose, SLS or STS, we doubt you will ever hear any complaints about the level of bells and whistles for which Cadillac is famous. Beyond the prerequisite power windows, door locks, seats and mirrors come a bevy of standard and optional equipment guaranteed to satisfy even the most fanatical technology wonk. Standard equipment includes 10-way power front seats with power lumbar support, heated front and rear seats, OnStar guidance and assistance service, front side impact airbags, dual-zone climate control, power tilt/telescopic steering wheel (STS), leather interior, power heated outside mirrors and an ultrasonic rear parking assist. Available options include a DVD-based navigation system, 425-watt Bose audio unit, power glass moonroof, HID headlights and 17-inch chrome wheels.

Comments From the Other Seat.

Cadillac has been wooing younger buyers with modesl like the CTS (and they really need to build the Cien), but the Seville is in the unenviable position of having to compare with the best from Europe and Japan without alienating its core group of affluent customers. The Seville STS does a surprisingly good job in many areas. The interior layout and wood trim accents are first rate and tastefully done. And the Northstar engine delivers very crisp acceleration and yet returns fuel mileage figures not even dreamt of in a car this size just a few short years ago. But although the handling is also light years beyond what Cadillacs have delivered in the past, it is still a big car with front wheel drive. You may be tempted to race your neighbor's Lexus down the block, just don't try to beat him or her around the corner.

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