1997 Cadillac DeVille Concours
When Alex Law filed his article in praise of the latest edition of the Cadillac DeVille Concours, I couldn't believe anyone would put a big 'ol Caddy on a must buy list.
GM's flagships are dinosaurs, boats, puff-mobiles, right?
Maybe I needed to experience one myself.
Not having a Concours in the press fleet, General Motors Canada entrusted me with the boss' car.
It's fitting that the company president, Maureen Kempston Darkes, gets to drive the top of the line: a fully-loaded 1997 DeVille Concours finished in oh-so-pastel Shale Beige paint, trimmed in side with matching cream coloured leather.
Mmmm. Like stepping into a tub of French Vanilla. Where's a candy-striped seer-sucker jacket and straw boater when I need one . . .
Then I discovered my , 6'5" frame would not get comfortable under the optional power sliding glass sunroof.
I wasn't getting off on the right foot, until that foot hit the gas.
Wow. Someone mixed some Tiger's Tail into the French Vanilla.
At the first highway on-ramp, I fully expected the smooth-riding springs to turn into camp fire marshmallows.
But instead, the suspension firmed up, snapping to attention like a new recruit thanks to "ICCS II" (Cadillac's computer run chassis control system).
I spent the next 200 kilometres with growing respect for how GM engineers had managed to endow a fullbore luxury sedan with the handling of a mid-size car.
Some bump-thump on highway expansion joints is heard, but not felt. The body structure is rock solid, and the 4.6litre, V8 is good for 300 h.p. and sings a sweet serenade if you let it rev.
The nicest surprise of all? Despite some enthusiastic lead-footing, the onboard computer allowed that I was only using 14.5 litres of fuel per 100 km.
But I do wish the designers would bring the interior into the 1990s. The stiff and clunky Smart Switch (combination turn signal, cruise control and wiper stalk), like on a 1980 Chevy Citation, does not belong in a $60,000 car (the 'base' price is $56,985).
Also, the headliner wasn't firmly attached to the top of the windshield, and its soft pile was looking threadbare after only 2,500 km.
But if you judge on touch rather than sight, this is one fine sedan.
Perhaps I should borrow the boss' wheels more often.