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Cadillac STS: Good Quality?

Karen@EdmundsKaren@Edmunds Posts: 5,028
Talk about STS quality here.

Karen-Edmunds Community Manager

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Comments

  • cumptrnrdcumptrnrd Posts: 52
    I'm thinking about buying a new car and the Cadillac STS is one of my considerations. I was wondering if owners could tell me any griefs they've had with the car, major or minor. I just want a car that will be as trouble free as possible. Also, if anyone knows any other useful information about the car (i.e. how the 2006 Buick Lucerne is using the '91 Northstar V8) it would be much appreciated.

    I have a '01 Pontiac Montana, and I'm very reluctant to buy another GM vehicle, be it a Chevy or a Cadillac. In 70,000 miles, we've already had the transmission rebuilt, AC compressor and condensor replaced, and the majority of the major brake system components replaced, just to name a few major problems. Compared to its competition at the time, at $35k, the car was not even cheap either.

    If I'm about to drop another $30k+ on another GM, I want to make sure it's not a money pit like our Montana. Thanks.
  • sls002sls002 Posts: 2,788
    Well, to begin with, the northstar engine went into production for the 1993 model year, not the 1991 model year. The Lucerne's northstar is the current FWD edition, which was redesigned for the 2000 model year. The STS has a RWD northstar which was also redesigned and is not the same engine as the FWD. The northstar engines have had some problems over the years but if the owner is alert most problems should not result in disaster. The STS price tag runs into the $50,000 plus range with V8. Perhaps you should consider a 300C?
  • cumptrnrdcumptrnrd Posts: 52
    I thought I read on an Edmunds review that the current Lucerne was using the outdated Northstar... Maybe I read it somewhere else...

    Anyway, I don't mind the price. I'm just saying, we already spent $35k on a GM van that has probably spent more time in the shop than on the road, and if I'm going to spend any amount of money for another GM car, I want to know that it will at least be reliable, if not blowing the doors off the competition.

    If we were to get an STS, we would probably get a full option V8, so at $60k+, it better at least live up to its heritage and stop getting outclassed by cheaper Japanese imports and its German counterparts.

    All I'm saying is to give me a reason to buy the STS, other than because it's 'just as good' as the competition and because I'll be helping the economy. Isn't that how every car owner should feel, especially at this level?
  • sls002sls002 Posts: 2,788
    There is no "outdated" northstar in production. However, the FWD northstar does not have variable valve timing, which the RWD version does have. The Lucerne has the same drive train (engine and transmission) that the DTS (old deVille) has.

    The long term J D Powers survey of owners puts the Cadillacs at somewhat worse than Buick. Buick is better than Toyota, but worse than Lexus, which is top rated.

    If you can afford to blow over $60,000 on a car, then you can probably afford to replace a few parts now and then. The magazines have not thought too much of the STS, thinking that the Germans are still better.
  • baltomanbaltoman Posts: 43
    I have a 2005 STS V6 lux. Got it in April 05. Now 13 mos old with 13 K mikes. Not a hiccup. I was a little GM shy myself from a previous Buick. But I love the in your face American styling - and I admit to liking USA products when they meet or beat the competition.

    Personally, I would do it again but get the new STS with even more goodies. My dealer is excellent, but since I have had only 2 oil changes, I haven't had to "put them to the test" - and don't think I will time soon.

    No transmission "hunting" a la Lexus and Toyota. No engine problems. Regular gas if you want. Plus the car automatically emails you monthly about it's service status and sends an emergency email if it detects trouble!

    Only dislike is the useless glove compartment, but it is the same for every other car in this class.

    BTW, the transmission is built in France by a GM - Franco group and it is the same 5 speed automatic as in the BMW 5 series. The V6 is peppy as heck and I saw little difference between it and the V8. If you don't want to spring for the Nav, wait for a June or after STS with the "turn to turn" On-Star feature. It's a Nav system with voice directions and turn indicators on the instrument panel, but no large (space eating) display above the console. On Star is vastly underrated - every car ought to have this or similar, including the built in phone.

    If you're looking for a full size car, go DTS. The STS is a smaller, sportier car but actually has a bigger wheel base than the DTS, but less interior room.

    If you are considering a rear wheel, BMW 5 series type car, this is a great choice and it has the largest interior in that class. Plus you can make a great deal with GM - they are out to move their iron.

    The Cadillac division has bent over backwards to be courteous and to thank me for my business. A refreshing surprise.

    Hope that helps.
  • sls002sls002 Posts: 2,788
    While it is true that at one time BMW used GM's 5 speed automatic, now they have a 6 speed from some other supplier. There is a possibility that the 2007 STS will get GM's 6 speed, perhaps as an option. I say this only because the XLR is getting the 6 speed. However, the Corvette is using the 6 speed, so perhaps this not really a clue.

    I think that BMW may still be using the 5 speed on the X-series trucks made here in the US.
  • rayainswrayainsw Posts: 2,476
    Since many (most?) of the GM cars with few changes for 2007 (CTS, Corvette, others) have their ordering guides out, I cling to hope that the STS (non-V-s, with no ordering guide yet posted) will (also) have the six speed automatic added.

    Though one could certainly argue that the CTS (with "only" 6 cylinder motors) might benefit more in performance, and I was certainly hoping for the six speed there as well, I suppose it is possible that the RWD six speed might be seen as the ‘most premium’ component, and appropriate for the most premium model = STS.

    We’ll see . . .

    - Ray
    Whishin’ & hopein’ . . .
  • baltomanbaltoman Posts: 43
    Per GM's Strasbourg website on May 2 2006:

    "The Strasbourg site provides automatic transmissions to a number of high level external customers, such as BMW, Land Rover, Opel and Cadillac"

    I believe the 6 speed is not yet available to any but Cadillac and Corvette until production ramps.
  • rayainswrayainsw Posts: 2,476
    (Outside the Corvette & Caddy) It is also listed as available for the 2007 Yukon Danali:

    "MYC Transmission, 6-speed automatic, heavy-duty, electronically controlled with
    overdrive, tow/haul mode and tap up/tap down shifting"

    - Ray
    NOT currently in need of such a large Sport Ute . .
  • sls002sls002 Posts: 2,788
    If you check with the BMW website you will find that all of their cars and trucks (3-series, X-3, X-5, 5-series...) have six (6) speed automatics only. At one time in the dead past GM's 5 speed automatic was used at BMW, but not now.
  • baltomanbaltoman Posts: 43
    I'm sure you are correct about USA models.

    But my point had to do with the quality of the STS - that high end autos such as the BMW use(d) the same GM designed and manufactured tranny.

    Back to the "does BMW still use the GM tranny"...

    Pls be aware that in Europe, the Z4, among others, is available w/ your choice of manual or 5 speed automatics.

    From the Ireland BMW web site:
    "In addition to a choice of 5- and 6-speed manual transmissions, the BMW Z4 also offers the option of 5-speed automatic transmission..."

    Looks like everyone is having problems getting enough 6 speeds for every model in every market. Consumers obviously want them with the cost of petrol so high.

    I'm sure every high end auto will move to 6 or 7 speed trannys as soon as possible.
  • sls002sls002 Posts: 2,788
    I do not think that BMW equips their car in Europe with a different transmission than the ones that are sent to the USA. The Z4 on the international site is shown to offer a 6 speed automatic only.

    The history of BMW using a GM automatic dates back to when they were using a ZF automatic and there were too many problems with those transmissions. So, BMW asked GM for a transmission, and started with a 4 speed, but this was upgraded to the 5 speed that GM has been using in the RWD sigma Cadillacs. I think that ZF has returned to supply BMW with a 6 speed automatic. I suppose that BMW has made sure that the new ZF transmission will be reliable.

    GM is correct in that the 5 speed was used by BMW, but the proper term is "was", not "is".
  • bigmike5bigmike5 Posts: 960
    Love the Northstar. If they are using the engine that is in my wife's 00 Eldorado ESC in the Lucerne, then I think it is one of the best decisions they ever made. No oil burn whatsoever, and her Eldorado gets [no bull] 32 mpg on the highway, and about 23-24 on around town driving. We had one issue with crankshaft sensors that were replaced under warranty. [It may have been a common problem because the svc. tech diagnosed it as soon as I told him the problem symtoms--stalling at a light-- but nothing else in five years. Gets better gas mileage by far than my 6 cyl. Chrysler 300M, and also just edges out my 04 Vette which gets about 30 mpg at highway speeds under 70. The fact that a Northstar was going into the Lucerne piqued my interest, but the car design is so bland I have not driven one, and will probably go for an STS first. :shades:
  • My wife and I purchased a used 2002 STS with approx 52,000 a year ago. Since then the check tire pressure is always on even after manually checking each tire against the man. specs, the auto. windshield wipers no longer come on when it rains, it vibrates at exactly 60mph but stops at 65mph and it continually leakes oil even after paying to have a gasket replaced which required the engine pulled out in order to get to the gasket. Now the 6 disk CD changer has gone on the blink. Is this what is to be expected from Cadillac? I've gone to the dealer and been told that they either don't know whats wrong with it and even if they did none of it would be covered under the extended warranty we purchased.

    Any suggestions, constructive comments, ideas or anything else that may assist in getting this car to the level that I thought cadillacs should be at?
  • ohgeezohgeez Posts: 12
    Amazing, a few years back I owned a 94 STS and did some posting, nothing has change with Cadillac. Chronic vibration, oil leaks, wobble handling. I just don't get it, GM makes an excellent car like Pontiac GP or the Impala then they fail with Cadillac by giving us junk at double the price.
  • dmathews3dmathews3 Posts: 1,739
    First off you can't blame Cadillac for problems with a used car. How do you know that this vehicle was treated right. It could have been used, abused, and misused. I once sold a 76 Ford truck to a Olds dealer on a new 98. The following spring I came across the same truck on a sod farm. Guy said the dealer said he bought it from a lady who's husband had died suddenly. I said, guess what, I'm still alive. I have had 4 STS's, my buddy 2, my dad one and none of them have had the kinds of problems you are talking about. My 99 had a short in the main wire harness and that was fixed and only problem. None of the above ones have had a problem that put it in the shop for over night. Mostly just growing pains. I can remember a road test in one of the car mags that was complaining about a Lexus they were testing that everytime they parked it they would come back and the sunroof was open the windows were down or going up and down on their own. Also got wet inside a couple times. Seems Lexus could find nothing wrong with it. When you buy used it a big gamble.
  • dmathews3dmathews3 Posts: 1,739
    Ive had my share of STS's and Devilles without any of these problems. Northstar is a very smooth engine. Vibration could have been a tire out of round.
  • ohgeezohgeez Posts: 12
    I owned one of these used 3-4 year old STS's and experienced same exact things. Used cars are not a problem, this car is. A)Engine gasket, believe it or not i resolved this my self by loosening on the front as many bolts i could, soaked area with engine cleaner, dried it up with alcohol, finger applied silicone engine gasket seal, retightned bolts, leak stopped. re occurring northstar engine problem, GM doesn't care to end the disease. B) Chronic vibrations "at any speed", In my opinion the Electronic ride control that sounds fantastic but is inferior than a shock system, is temperamental and develops a basketball bouncing effect. Out of round is the usual excuse, nobody has this problem, only Cadillac...nothing worse than a shaking car, can't enjoy it. Changing tires or rims will not work, been down that road. MY friend you are probably thinking of selling and you will realize that It's very hard to find a Cadillac buyer and you will only get about as much as good 2002 Taurus if not less. Service Ride Control should be flashing very soon, fixing it may not improve the ride, 6K+?. A conventional shock absorber suspension system will run flat and perfect rebound control on a 20K car.
  • Hey everybody! I'm considering selling my '00 Toyota Camry LE and and looking at getting a '00 Cadillac Seville SLS with 58k... I was wondering how the quality of these are during the '98-'04 models? My Toyota has been trouble free for the past year and I'm ready to upgrade to something a little faster and alot more comfortable. I have found a SLS for around $9,950 (shocked at the low prices of these cars) Do you think that is a good deal? Thanks for the help.
  • mediapushermediapusher Posts: 305
    Sir-

    If you want a trouble free car, please don't buy a Cadillac Buy a Lexus or a Toyota. If you don't believe me just take a look at their track record throughout the years compared to GM's vehicles. If you want trouble free the chances of you getting one from General Motors is like the chances of getting a WILD CARD.

    The horror stories you mentioned that you had with your GM vehicles are notaberrations, they are the normal experience. I know, because I've had friends that have had their cars. They are designed and built to break. That's how they make their money. They make their money on parts.

    If loyalty is important to you, then buy a Cadillac, however, think about what loyalty is going to do to your wallet in the long run.
    ____________________
    reference text::::
    I'm thinking about buying a new car and the Cadillac STS is one of my considerations. I was wondering if owners could tell me any griefs they've had with the car, major or minor. I just want a car that will be as trouble free as possible>
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