This was a trip of supreme importance, a trip that required the right kind of wheels to make sure that the job would be completed and everyone would end up happy. You don’t transport America’s best bacon in anything less than America’s best big sedan, especially when the round trip is 1,000+ miles and you’re hauling a five and seven year old with you. That’s why we called up the fine people at Cadillac, made some thinly veiled threats regarding compromising photos we had of their staff and demanded a Cadillac XTS V-Sport for our journey. Big bacon requires a big car and that’s exactly what we got. The trip was simple in description but far more intricate in execution. We were driving from BS eastern world HQ down to my sister in law’s place in Virginia for a pre-Christmas visit and to deliver some Benton’s Bacon to her family, primarily to her husband who is an active duty Marine Captain. Standing at 6′ 4″ tall and coming in at 245lbs, Jeff is the kind of guy who knows good bacon, he also knows good cars and we planned on getting his opinion of the XTS-V Sport as well as the hickory smoked pork products.
It was actually good timing that the we were rolling in the XTS-V Sport just days after we hard turned in the Hyundai Equus that I recently wrote about and got torn to shreds for. The reason this timing was fortuitous is because the cars are direct competitors. They are both large luxury sedans that run in the $70,000 price range and since they are both fighting for the same audience, it was cool to be able to basically compare them directly having the impression of the previous vehicle fresh in our minds. While I want to you continue reading the whole story, I’ll give you a brief synopsis on my impressions. The Cadillac does not match the Equus in shock and awe value but destroys it in driving experience, handling, design, and every other element a youth minded or style minded buyer would lean towards. If the old retired guy is driving the Equus, the investment banker handling his money is driving this Cadillac.
Any drive down the eastern seaboard kind of sucks. Sad to say because I have lived here my entire life but you’re basically playing this huge roulette game of timing entrances and exits from metro areas to avoid traffic and you are also bleeding money like a stuck pig on tolls. While we certainly had the appearance of a ballin’ family in the Cadillac, we were wincing every time we handed more and more cash to old ladies in toll booths on the highway. It was way more than $50.00 to get from eastern Massachusetts to the Quantico, Virginia area where we ended up. We left the Lohnes manse well before dawn. The kids were loaded in the back seat while wearing their pajamas and the massive trunk swallowed all of our luggage (I’m looking at you doomsday packer wife-o-mine) as well as Christmas presents for Julie, Jeff, and their kids. Our two rapscallions had immense amounts of room in the back seat. The Cadillac stacked up even and maybe a little better in the rear leg room department against the Equus. Even at 6’4″, Jeff was able to fit in the rear of the car with lots of room to spare.
Once on the road, the Cadillac exhibited awesome driving feel and great agility from what is a truly “big” car. The Haldex AWD was seamless in its operation and the 3.6L twin turbo engine which makes 410hp was a blast, always right in the big torque wheelhouse we love to be in. Nose into the pedal and the car would accelerate well and when you went for the gusto, a wave of power would come on, the boost gauge would start telling a story, and the big Caddy would just GO. The power was not as violent as the 430hp in the Equus but that’s not to say it was any less impressive. Standing on the gas at like 30mph will literally press you back in the seat and put a grin on your face a half mile wide. The thing I found to be coolest about the engine and the way the power comes on is that the uninitiated would never know it was turbocharged. There’s not even a hint of lag. It isn’t like you are waiting for the power to come on. It really acts a lot like a larger displacement naturally aspirated V8. Advertised fuel economy is 16city and 24 highway. When not trying to win the US Nationals, we saw that mileage and actually a hint more on the highway. The deep sixth gear in the automatic transmission seemed to be a big part of the mileage program. It would nestle into that gear and just lope down the highway.
The interior quality of the car is very good and frankly if we had driven this thing before we drove the Equus we’d have been even more impressed but it was the Equus that edged the Cadillac for interior quality and materials superiority. The Cadillac had far better seats that had some bolstering and a much more driver oriented feel than the plush buckets in the Equus. The seat material was not of the same standard as the Hyundai but certainly fits the criteria of what you’d expect in a premium luxury car. Interior noise was virtually non existent. The car is very, very quiet. The motor has a nice tone and scream to it when you get after it but it doesn’t match the nice noise of the other car’s V8. Performance-wise we bet that these cars are a virtual dead heat on a drag strip but the Cadillac would completely destroy the Hyundai on any sort of course with corners. Is it a road racer? Hell no, but can you get it on twisty Virginia woodsy roads and dive into corners, work the big brakes, and have fun? You bet!
So we had our pre-dawn departure from Massachusetts loaded with the bacon and presents. Things were going pretty much according to plan until we got near Washington D.C. The GPS took us on a sort of cross town route that had us off the highway and onto surface roads. Unfortunately for us, there had been some sort of major league crime committed in the area that we needed to pass through and that led to a lengthy delay with detours and all kinds of badness. Truth be told, once we hit D.C. it took hours to get back up to a constant speed above 30mph. The gridlock and traffic issues in that whole area are simply horrific. We did manage to spot this cool Maverick parked on the side of the road in inner-city D.C. Note the Ross Perot bumper sticker. It may be filled with some of his legendary charts. From the neighborhood this thing was sitting in, we bet that the Mav has “seen some things” during its life in the city. All things considered, it looks like the car had weathered the elements and the years well. My suggestion that a I stop to get a better look was met with a threat of violence from my wife. On we drove.
WE’RE GOING TO CONTINUE THIS ADVENTURE THROUGH PHOTOS AND CAPTIONS….SO COME ON! WE’VE GOT BACON TO DELIVER!