- The Washington Times - Friday, March 8, 2002

It is easy to become "tuned into" the 2002 Cadillac STS. This car is equipped with XM Satellite Radio.

No two ways about it, XM Radio is the wave of the future. This system provides the choice of listening to any of 100 stations offering digital-quality programming that ranges from rock, jazz, classical, pop music, talk, religious, news, humor, and favorite recordings from various decades. Thirty stations do not have commercials.

I tuned to the music of the 1950s and listened to bands and vocalists of yesteryear. Not only was it nostalgic, but helping me to recall the name of the artist, band and song, a message flashed on a screen. The sound quality is "out of this world" as the signal comes from above, which means one could listen to the same station driving all across the country, without regional interruptions. What didn't sound good, however, was the charge of the $10-a-month subscription fee.

On the other hand, OnStar also has a monthly service fee. Since I wouldn't want to be without this type of satellite communication system, which offers helpful concierge services, I suppose 10 bucks for XM Radio is worth the additional cost as well.

Actually, monthly cost shouldn't be a major consideration, for this Seville STS sells for $53,920, including options and worth every cent considering what you get. Incidentally, Cadillac makes an SLS that has a slightly weaker engine and a softer ride.

My preference is the STS equipped with the Northstar 4.6-liter V-8 engine that produces 300 horsepower and 295 foot-pounds of torque. While that's a lot of power it is not a sports-car "brumm-brumm" type engine; the sound coming from the engine compartment is very minimal yet the acceleration is excellent.

Not only is the engine quiet, the interior of this midsize sedan is also lush and hush. Decked in Zebrano wood and leather trim, this car represents top-shelf elegance. All the thoughtful features expected of a luxury car are part of the package: express up and down front windows, heated front and rear seats, dual climate control with air filtration, and a power tilt with telescopic steering column.

When the seat preference is set into one of two memory systems, everything returns to the original settings, including my preferred station that plays the 1940s music. Or if I didn't want to listen to the XM Radio, I could switch to the Bose 425-watt eight-speaker AM/FM sound system that accommodates six CDs in the center of the dash.

The Seville features more than power, luxury and sound. Safety fits into the Cadillac's equation with StabiliTrak. When confronted with an unexpected zig and zag and the car goes out of control, StabiliTrak kicks in to do what the driver isn't capable of doing. It applies brakes or power to the proper wheels to get the car back on course.

The STS also features Magnasteer sensitive power steering, raindrop-sensitive windshield wipers, and an ultrasonic rear parking system that alerts the driver if the car is getting too close to an object when backing up.

In the event of an accident, the steel-reinforced cabin with crumple zones, side door beams and numerous air bags will probably allow all the occupants to get out OK. And right away, OnStar will be asking if an ambulance is needed. If you don't answer, one will be dispatched to your exact location. They know where you are.

It's amazing how satellites have become a part of today's lifestyle. In addition to providing emergency help, they now offer a new way of listening to the radio.


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