Road Test: 2019 Cadillac XTS Luxury

Here it is, the last Sedan de Ville. Well, for all intents and purposes. As I’m sure you’ve heard, production of the Cadillac XTS, which replaced the Northstar V8 powered 2007-2011 DTS, is ending sometime in October of this year.

And it will end close to thirty-five years of production of full-sized, front wheel drive Cadillacs. Most people won’t notice, most people would prefer an XT5 or XT4, if they’re shopping Cadillacs at all. But I’ll notice. I liked these cars. And I’ll miss them when they’re gone.

When the XTS first appeared as a 2013 model, I thought it was a nice car. From its swept-back, almost fastback-like rear end, it reminded me a bit of the neoclassical 1980-85 Cadillac Seville, Bill Mitchell’s swan song at General Motors. I even tested a 2014 for the old website, and enjoyed it very much. Over the intervening five years, I half kept an eye on XTS certified pre-owned trade-ins at McLaughlin Cadillac, in case they get one in in pearl white or ruby red with the creme leather interior. So far, the right one hasn’t appeared. But I remain vigilant.

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Road Test: Cadillac CT6 3.6L Luxury AWD

I’ve been wanting to try out a Cadillac CT6 ever since it was first announced and large, plush sedans started rolling into the inventory at McLaughlin Cadillac. They looked good, and combined with the also reintroduced Lincoln Continental, it seemed both remaining U.S. luxury makes once again had a proper flagship.

Oh sure, for many, the current flagships are the Escalade and the Navigator, but as a big fan of 1950s-1970s Cadillacs, Lincolns and Imperials, I have always, and will always, associate the top models with the vintage Fleetwood Broughams, Continentals and Town Cars, rather than anything truck-based.

Since both cars came onto the market, I’ve thought a modern ‘King of the Hill’ article would be pretty cool. For those too young to remember or not as into Brougham-era luxury as your author, back in the ’70s Motor Trend did several articles comparing the Cadillac Eldorado to the Continental Mark III, and later Mark IV.

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Road Test: 2019 Volvo S60 T6 AWD Momentum

I first spotted the redesigned 2019 Volvo S60 at my local dealer, McLaughlin Motors, late last year. It was sitting right outside the showroom, finished in gunmetal gray with black interior. My salesman buddy there, Brian Cox, informed me it was the first U.S. built Volvo. Interesting. I thought the car looked pretty good too. So I knew I was going to have to try one out sooner or later.

Sadly, a particularly nasty winter that didn’t really start ramping up until mid-January precluded any test drives for a while. But finally, on March sixth, Brian put me behind the wheel of a S60 Momentum, finished in Pebble Gray Metallic with an especially attractive off-white and black interior. So much nicer than the common all-black interiors, which have always reminded me of a cave. I prefer lighter interior colors; they come in handy during our Midwestern summers, too. A/C has to work a lot harder in 90 degree heat when the car’s interior is black.

Volvos of today are not quite the Volvos of my youth. My first one was a 940SE, built in Goteborg, unapologetically boxy, with a ‘redblock’ turbo four and rear-wheel drive. Today’s Volvos are anything but boxy (including the wagons), are front wheel drive (with AWD optional), and mostly sporting various four-pot mills with direct injection.

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2018 Lincoln Continental Reserve: Luxury, American Style

The new Continental. I like it. So many don’t. At least, on social media. I am co-admin on a Facebook Lincoln and Continental group, and whenever someone posts a 2017-present Continental, the whining commences. Oh yes.

Continental

How so Klockau, you may ask. Well, you see, a lot of angry folks on social media tend to foam at the mouth whenever someone, like your author, posts a new Lincoln Continental. “Dagnabit, that’s NOT a Lincoln! A Lincoln should have suicide doors, a stand-up hood ornament, and crushed velour!

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Road Test: 2017 Lincoln MKC 2.0 T AWD

Crossovers are taking over the world. I am not particularly fond of crossovers. But thanks to a gnarly parking brake on my 147,000 mile, 2000 Town Car Cartier last September, I found myself behind the wheel of one. Lincoln’s smallest CUV, the MKC, first came on the scene in 2014 as a ’15 model. So one Tuesday morning, I found myself behind the wheel of one. And…I didn’t hate it.

MKC

For all the angry old timers carping about the death of the Town Car in 2011 and that the new Continental doesn’t have suicide doors, the current crop of Henry Leland’s forebears are nice cars-particularly inside.

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Road Test: 2018 Subaru Outback 3.6R Limited

Imagine, in 2018, that there is a station wagon that sells. It exists, and it is the Subaru Outback. In today’s fractured market, with crossovers and teeny 2.0L turbocharged Singer sewing machines powering a vast majority of new cars, the Subaru comes with boxer four- or six cylinder engines. And although Subaru has joined the CVT transmission party, both powerplants are-GASP!-normally aspirated. Imagine that.

Outback 04

About a month ago I was wandering around the showroom at McLaughlin Cadillac-Subaru-Volvo when I leaned in the open window of a black Outback Limited. I hadn’t really paid much attention to these wagons, although I noted their regular presence in traffic. It was rather nice inside. The beige leather was pleasing, and the wood trim on the doors and dash were attractive.

Outback 05

Intrigued, I got in behind the wheel. This was pretty cushy. It was especially nice with the light beige leather, and wood trim. Airy. No Bat Cave interior, with loophole windows, this! I thought perhaps it would be a good candidate for a test drive for Riverside Green. Continue Reading →

Reader Review: 2018 Range Rover Velar

Please welcome Martin, whose loaner-vehicle experience was somewhat more upscale than most, yet not quite up to the level set by his everyday ride. As you can see from the picture, this one’s been in the queue a while — JB

During my time with the 2018 Range Rover Velar, the SiriusXM subscription included with the car introduced me to a variety of contemporary pop music that I had “missed” since I basically stopped listening to terrestrial radio about a dozen years ago. I guess that my arrival into my thirties might have been accompanied by a vague bigotry against modern pop culture, which had become so brainless, coarse and artificial that I retreated to earlier books, movies and music, looking for the intellectual and emotional meat that the current culture could seemingly not produce. I am sad to say that my negative suspicions of the mainstream music industry were confirmed, and in fact my expectations were too high. Top 40 radio is truly the negation of art, a soulless industrial product defecated from a machine fired with cynicism and hypocrisy. I sailed to the safer harbors of earlier decades, jazz, and classical.

Similarly, I had a bias against the small crossover segment. Here it is, the industry giving you what you want, or at least an imitation of it: tall, stilted hatchbacks, offering no greater interior space and worse fuel economy than the vehicles on which they are based. In many cases, actual ground clearance is only the matter of an inch more than the equivalent normal car. But you are sold the frisson of a ruggedly independent lifestyle, in which mountains are crossed and streams forded.

If you want to drive an SUV, you should buy one, and not these poor simulacra, which are neither fish nor fowl. I wanted an SUV, so I bought a Range Rover, and when it was down with the British flu recently (located in some part of its electrical sensor package, obviously), the dealership gave me the keys to a 2018 Range Rover Velar, in P250 S trim. Here was my chance to test my biases against reality. Ain’t nothing like the real thing?

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2016 Cadillac ATS Coupe – Cadillac Style For The 2010s

Today, we discuss something seldom seen in modern traffic: the Cadillac ATS coupe. Yes, it’s still available! But what with ATS sedans outnumbering the svelte coupe by probably 15 to 1, they are kind of rare. Oh, Cadillac. What highs and lows have been wrought over the last thirty years! Certain know-it-alls on the coasts think Cadillac should just give up. I disagree. Things have changed a lot, even since the ’90s, for GM’s finest marque, but there’s still a lot of style and elegance in evidence. Let’s take a closer look.

I have a friend over at our local Cadillac dealer. And even though he sold me a Lincoln instead, I still like modern Cadillacs. I also love the classic, Broughamtastic Cadillacs. For some, it seems as if you can only like one or the other. Go onto Facebook or certain self-indulgent GM-hatin’ blogs and you may think the current Cadillac lineup doesn’t have a chance. Plenty of, well, let’s be blunt, angry old farts, carp about the looks, the price, and basically everything else about modern Caddys.

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Retro Road Test: 2011 Lincoln Town Car Signature Limited – The Last American Car

The Town Car. The last Lincoln. Or so some say. Frankly, I think the current, resuscitated Continental is a fine automobile, but that’s not the subject of today’s post. Nope. It’s all about the Town Car, that famous full-sizer that started out as a trim package on late ’60s Continentals and became a luxury car mainstay for decades afterward.

Of course I am biased, being a Town Car owner myself. And while, like all cars, they have their drawbacks and advantages, I do enjoy them enough to have two of them.

2007 Town Car Signature Limited

As a result, I am known alternately as “That Town Car Guy” and “That Fool” locally. Enough so that my preferred salesman at Strieter Lincoln, Peter Clarke, emails me when a nice Town Car gets traded in. Just a couple of weeks ago this nice ’07 in Dark Cherry Metallic arrived with 77,000 miles on the clock. Moonroof too, which was the last year it was offered-Canadian TCs were not available with it. If you see an 08-11 with sunroof, it’s aftermarket. I was tempted, but not enough to trade off one of my existing TCs. And I’m not a fan of the aftermarket tops. Priced at $9900, it sold in less than a week. I think the general manager told me it was on the lot about five days.

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Rental Review: 2017 Ford Fusion SE Hybrid – Silver Silvermist Anonymity

Last November, I found myself in the position of having a silver Fusion Hybrid, courtesy of Hertz. How so? Well, due to bad luck.

I was downtown at the county building, paying the last installment on my property tax. Job done, I waltzed out to the Town Car, happy that the city wouldn’t be getting any more money out of me until next year. It was spitting sleet, cold and crappy out. All I wanted to do was drive home, have some dinner and watch a little TV. Unfortunately, I turned left at the courthouse, went halfway down the block, and a car came out of the alley off to the right-right in front of me. Yep!

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