President Bush and Donald Trump arent the only ones to ride in style in Cadillacs refreshed full-size sedan.

Beginning this fall, consumers will find the 2006 version of the Cadillac DeVille at dealerships, albeit several months after Bush and Trump received keys to their new Cadillacs.



BASE PRICE: $41,195 for Luxury I model; $43,695 for Luxury II model; $47,695 for Luxury III model; $49,695 for Performance Package model.
AS TESTED: $50,490.
TYPE: Front-engine, front-wheel-drive, five-passenger large sedan.
ENGINE: 4.6-liter, double overhead cam, Northstar V8.
MILEAGE: 18 (city), 27 (highway).
LENGTH: 207.6 inches.
WHEELBASE: 115.6 inches.
CURB WT.: 4,009 pounds.
BUILT AT: Hamtramck, Mich.
Cadillacs largest car is restyled, inside and out, for a more modern, upscale look, has new, more ergonomic seats and updated suspension tuning and adds 18-inch factory wheels for first time.

Cadillacs largest auto isnt called the DeVille anymore, though.

Following the nomenclature that Cadillac started to adopt some four years ago when it introduced its CTS entry luxury sedan, the 2006 DeVille is renamed the DTS.

DTS may sound familiar. It was the name of one of the trim levels of the DeVille in the 2005 model year.

Starting manufacturers suggested retail price, including destination charge, for the 2006 DTS is $41,990. This is $4,850 less than the base, 2005 model and makes the base DTS less pricey than many full-size, luxury sedan competitors.

For example, the 2006 Lincoln Town Car has a starting MSRP, including destination charge of $42,875 and the 2006 Lexus LS 430 starts at $51,175.

The new styling on this Cadillac did attract attention during the test drive, with even drivers in style-conscious Los Angeles staring and looking the car over. The front now has a look similar to the edgy style of Cadillacs CTS and Escalade, though its not quite as sharp.

The DTS rear is a long, streamlined trunk lid thats reminiscent of the back of a Cadillac Eldorado. Overall, the look is definitely contemporary.

Unlike the major competitors, Cadillacs big car remains front-wheel drive, even as new rear-wheel-drive sedans such as Chryslers 300C have become strong sellers. Some drivers prefer rear-drive for its predictable, sporty character and feel it belongs in large-sized cars.

But Cadillacs DTS continues to offer the cushioned, quiet ride that buyers in this segment seek. Even in the test DTS with performance package and new 18-inch wheels, the car sort of bobbed up and down over sizable highway expansion cracks, but I was never jolted. The DTS seemed to absorb much of the impact from potholes, too, and there was no roughness conveyed to passengers.

Long straight stretches of road were delightful, because the 4,000-plus-pound DTS sometimes seemed to skim the road surface lightly, rather than heave itself along.

But in mountain twisties, I readily noticed the back-and-forth weight transfer going on as this more than 17-foot-long auto took a lefthand curve, then a righthand curve. The tires didnt seem to be particularly performance-oriented, as they chirped easily in these maneuvers.

Front suspension is an independent MacPherson strut design with sizable stabilizer bar, while the rear uses an independent multi-link design and stabilizer bar.

The ride is quiet. Even with semi-trailers driving nearby on a freeway, I could talk in conversational tones to passengers. I didnt notice much road noise, even with the larger tires, and wind noise seemed mild.

Cadillac retains the two versions of Northstar V8 for this car, and power has been subtly tuned. The base, 4.6-liter, double overhead cam engine generates 275 horsepower at a lower, 5,200 rpm now, rather than the 5,600 rpm of last year. Torque is a healthy 292 foot-pounds at 4,400 rpm for noticeably quick get up and go.

But the uplevel V8 that was in the test DTS with performance package has more horsepower - 291. Peak torque is 286 foot-pounds at 4,400 rpm and came on smartly - and always smoothly. The engine sounds had a satisfying, big-engine quality to them but didnt deter from the comfortable, luxurious ride.

Note the DTS powertrains compare with the 239 horses in the Lincoln Town Car with 4.6-liter V8. The Town Cars torque peaks at 287 foot-pounds at 4,100 rpm. Meantime, the Lexus LS 430s 290-horsepower, 4.3-liter V8 provides 320 foot-pounds of torque at a low, 3,400 rpm.

Fuel economy isnt great in this big-sedan segment, and the DTS is estimated to carry a rating of 17 miles a gallon in city driving and 27 mpg on the highway. This is a bit less than the 18/25 mpg of the LS 430.

I wish the DTS came with something other than its four-speed automatic transmission. It dates back to the early 1990s, and while it has been shown to be durable, it doesnt include a shift-it-yourself manumatic feature, much less a higher number of gears that could improve fuel economy and responsiveness. The Lexus, for example, has a six-speed automatic. The long-running Town Car retains its four speed.

The DTS back seat is a highlight. Theres good room for three adults to sit back there without them having to squeeze tightly against each other. The middle passenger, however, has a slight hump to contend with in the middle of the rear floor and also doesnt have a height adjustable head restraint.

Dimensions for the new DTS are pretty close to that of the 2005 DeVille. Overall length, for example, has grown just 0.6 inch. And while the DTS is nearly an inch taller than its predecessor, front-seat headroom remains the same and back-seat headroom is reduced 0.3 inch.

Cadillac officials said they provided about an inch greater track for the front seats to go forward and back, but measured back-seat legroom is 41.6 inches now compared with 43.2 inches in the 2005 car.

The DTS trunk has 18.8 cubic feet of cargo room, which is less than the 21 cubic feet in the Town Car.

Night Vision, an option that helped drivers see obstacles at night and in foggy conditions, is no longer offered. Officials said few consumers - only 5 percent or so - bought it. But standard DTS safety equipment includes antilock brakes, stability control, six airbags and improved structural reinforcements.

Some safety equipment isnt available, however. For example, an automatic brake drying system that BMW is adding to its sedans to help ensure good brake performance in wet weather isnt available on the DTS. Neither is an automatic pre-collision feature offered by Mercedes and Lexus that helps prepare passengers and the vehicle for impact during an impending crash.

Indeed, the DTS arrives in showrooms without a factory-installed rear entertainment system. Officials said theyre still studying their choices for this feature.

Cadillac officials expect that early buyers of the DTS will be "Cadillac loyalists" who already like the brand and have been previous Cadillac owners.

Most are expected to be married.

But officials also look for younger buyers to be attracted to the new styling. This will help reduce the average buyer age from the mid to high 60s that has been characteristic of the former DeVille, they said.

There have been no safety recalls of the new DTS. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration also has not yet reported crash test results on the car.

Because the vehicle is new, Consumer Reports does not provide a reliability rating.