1995 CADILLAC DEVILLE
Used Car - 1995 Cadillac DeVille in Omaha, Ne
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1995 Cadillac DeVille ReviewThis car review is specific to this model, not the actual vehicle for sale.
Luxury with a bite.
A TV commercial from the go-go '80s once told us that we could have it all - that we need not feel compelled to pick between comfort and excitement.
And that ethic seems to be at the heart of the Cadillac DeVille Concours.
When it made its debut in 1994, the Concours (pronounced kahn' kor) combined Cadillac's market-tested luxury appointments with the muscular Northstar powertrain. Cadillac seemed to be telling its traditional buyers - mostly middle-aged and older - that they could still ensconce themselves in Cadillac-style luxury without completely forgoing the speed-demon impulses of youth. Evidently, that message struck a chord, as the Concours accounted for 30 percent of all DeVille sales in '94.
The '95 Concours offers a bevy of luxury and performance features as standard equipment - most notably, the aforementioned Northstar engine. In the Eldorado Touring Coupe and Seville Touring Sedan (STS), the Northstar is powered by 300 horses. In the Concours, however, the 4.6-liter DOHC V8 is a bit tamer - yielding 275 hp (five more than in '94) and 300 lb.-ft.
The Concours' performance is enhanced by standard equipment such as a 4-speed electronic transaxle, speed-sensitive steering, road-sensing suspension, full-speed traction control, anti-lock brakes and a new-for-'95 Integrated Chassis Control System (ICCS). The ICCS is designed to shorten straight-line stopping distance, stabilize the brakes during high-speed turns and level out the traction control system in tight, low-speed maneuvers.
Also standard on the Concours are cast aluminum wheels, dual airbags, remote keyless entry, flash-to-pass feature, rear-door child safety locks, leather seats, electronic climate control, two-position memory driver's seat, interior Zebrano wood appliques, 12-way power seats, illuminated front and rear vanity mirrors and stereo cassette player with 11 speakers.
Our test model had a base price of $39,400 and came equipped with the following options: chrome wheels, premium sound system with CD player, PASS-Key II theft-deterrent system, heated front seats and electronic compass. These options boosted the MSRP to $42,141.
Let's start with the hood. This sleek stretch of metal is so expansive that you could get out the high-backed chairs and serve Thanksgiving dinner to an entire family - the Corleone family. Indeed, with its tinted windows, weighty quarter panels and gleaming black paint job, this Concours is imposingly stately: It looks like a car from which you might get an offer you can't refuse.
We know that stolidity is a Cadillac hallmark, but to us, the Concours' low-skirted rear-quarter panels looked too blocky and hefty for a model that's trying to woo a more style-conscious market segment. In fact, more than anything, these sturdy hind quarters recalled the back fenders of the '72 Plymouth Fury our test driver commandeered during his college days. We felt ourselves yearning for some kind of styling flourish in the back - or maybe just something a bit more svelte in the quarter-panel department.
However, the judicious use of chrome side molding provides a minimalistic antidote to the gaudy Caddies of yore. The no-nonsense body-colored door handles, window trim and mirror housings lend the Concours the kind of earnestness that could make it the car of choice for a CEO - or, for that matter, a head of state.
Handball, anyone? The interior of this yacht seems roomy enough for a quick game; meanwhile, the panoramic windshield appears vast enough to allow for the proverbial thousand-mile stare.
And unlike some vehicles that claim to accommodate six passengers (that is, as long as two of them are under 4-feet tall), the Concours is a true 6-seater, with enough shoulder- and legroom for the New York Knicks' starting five plus Pat Riley.
The driver's door opens up nice and wide, allowing you to slide comfortably behind the wheel. And once in position, you can choose from a wide array of seat position options on the door armrest - not to mention the power-mirror switch, the four power-window buttons and the power door and rear-window lock. The Cappuccino Cream-colored perforated leather seats are plush and cozy, and the heated-seat option ensures a toasty ride on a cold night.
Thumbs-up to the digital instrument panel, especially the mileage-range readout to the left of the steering wheel that counts down how many miles remain until the fuel tank runs dry. Also conveniently located is the climate control data to the right of the steering column, featuring inside/outside temperature. And for those whose eyes grow weary of the cathode glow of these brightly hued digits, a turn of the display knob will fade out everything save for the speedometer reading.
Rear legroom is superior, the rear-seat vanity mirrors are a nice touch, and the rear-seat head bolster is a conscientious nod to those who might care to take a nap during a long trip - which one could make quite comfortably in the Concours.
It wasn't very long ago that the words Cadillac and performance were rarely used in the same sentence. But that was before the Cadillac STS zoomed onto the scene and opened up a whole new world of possibilities for General Motors' luxury-line division. And although we wish the Concours was fueled by the same 300-hp powerplant as its Seville and Eldorado cousins, it performed impressively during various acceleration, steering and passing maneuvers.
For instance, its 0-to-60 mph time of 8.2 seconds would be nothing to sneeze at even in cars significantly lighter than the 2-ton Concours. And during a bracing 65-to-85 mph push in a passing situation, the Northstar engine engaged with authority, emitting a full-throated roar that was like music to our ears.
The old saw about Cadillac owners - that they may love their Caddy, but they hate the road itself - is addressed by the Concours' suspension, which offers a beatific, floating-on-air ride. But unlike the mushy suspensions of yesterday's highway hogs, the Concours protects its passengers from the road without causing the driver to actually feel cut off from it.
One negative note: Although the speed-sensitive steering cuts down on the wobble and float of the old days, there's still a bit of drift to the steering. In fact, a few times on the freeway, we took our eyes off the road for a second or two and found ourselves travelling in whatever direction we were gazing in. Needless to say, that's not safe.
But the Concours is a perfect car for taking a drive in the country - which is exactly what we did. The Concours' ride was so unobtrusive, even serene, that it didn't get in the way of our car full of nature lovers soaking up the beauty of some lush late-autumn colors.
To most, a high-performance 6-passenger luxury sedan probably sounds like an oxymoron. When attempting to appeal to a broader segment with the DeVille Concours, Cadillac hedged its bets by not going too far afield; hence the blocky hind quarters, downsized Northstar engine and slight steering drift.
But all things considered, we were quite unprepared for the Concours' responsive handling and brisk acceleration in highway passing situations - not to mention its rubber-burning capacity from a dead stop.
Established luxury-car buyers who still think of themselves as brimming with youthful vigor - but saw the STS as breaking too abruptly from the Cadillac tradition - should find the Concours to be an attractive compromise.
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