Since its founding in 1902, America’s second oldest car brand has served as the iconic symbol of luxury American motorcars. The company has worked hard to maintain that reputation, and taken on challengers from its domestic competitors as well as imports.
In its effort to continue to be relevant to the mass market (experts often opine that Cadillac can’t sell a car to anyone under 50) the brand is always introducing innovations, particularly in performance and technology, and as such, quirks unique to the innovation have been known to occur.
To appeal to the performance buyer, Cadillac created the “V Series,” with high performance engines paired with six speed manual or automatic transmissions. The V Series models also include top of the line brakes and enhanced suspensions, and are available as a coupe, or sedan.
Some unique oddities can be pointed at in the V series power plants, as “performance innovation” can also be interpreted as a “limited number in production,” and thus owners are more likely to be vocal about problems, whether real or perceived. Common reported repairs by V Series drivers include needing to replace the ignition coil; past recalls have included the possibility of a fire under the hood, dysfunctional sensors, and faulty “check engine” light illumination. Fortunately, there are easily accessible sources for all types of Cadillac parts, regardless of the model or year.
In the technology department, Cadillac offers the perk available on all GM models, the driver assist hardware and software called “OnStar.”
OnStar, a wholly owned subsidiary of GM, provides paid subscription services for drivers, including turn by turn navigation, in vehicle safety, hands free calling, and remote diagnostics. Stolen vehicle tracking includes being able to monitor the car’s mobility if in the hands of unauthorized users, and can also enable an ignition block; if the car is turned off, it won’t be able to be restarted.
Owner observations and gripes about OnStar are not unique compared to similar services, however prospective Cadillac purchasers may want to make note of them. Difficulties reported include outdated POIs on the nav system, poor turn-by-turn directions from the live operators, and difficulties in dealing with billing changes. While one would think their dealer sales person would be an advocate with OnStar on behalf of the customer, apparently the “wholly-owned” status inhibits that from happening.
CUE, or the “Cadillac User Experience,” is a technology product/service that was introduced across many models in the line over the past couple of model years. A comprehensive, intuitive system, the unit seamlessly connects you with an entire spectrum of information, communication and entertainment. Including a 3D navigation system, and access to a world of audio entertainment, CUE is the first system to completely index your entire library of digital audio content, no matter the source, including files on thumb drives and up to ten Bluetooth enabled devices. Naturally, it provides access to streaming services as well, like Pandora. As with any new technology, users report a plethora of problems, from difficulty of use to complete system failure. As a fully-integrated unit, ‘board level’ repairs are not possible, so if the system fails, it will have to be replaced, and will be an expensive out of warranty repair.
The performance, comfort, styling and innovation of Cadillac makes it still one of the best choices in the luxury market and in most comparisons in the segment, it’s a good choice. Still, prospective buyers should be aware of potential problems that may occur during the life of their ownership or lease.