After several years of new and revised models and a near-constant updating of its engines, the pace of change for the 1996 Cadillac and 1997 Cadillac lineups slowed, though there was one unexpected addition in the form of a foreign cousin come for a visit.
Alterations to the 1996 Cadillac line mostly ran to new features from the fertile minds of GM electronics engineers. The 1996 Cadillac Eldorado, for example, introduced optional "Rainsense" wipers that automatically activated when sensors detected moisture on the windshield (recalling a 1958 Eldo convertible show car).
The sporty 1997 Cadillac Eldorado Touring Coupe (ETC) added a new Continuously Variable Road Sensing Suspension (CVRSS). These were shock absorbers that automatically adjusted firmness according to input from sensors on road speed, wheel movement, steering angle and so forth.
The Continuously Variable Road Sensing Suspension also featured in the 1997 Cadillac Seville as standard equipment for both the 1997 Cadillac Seville SLS and the sporty 1997 Cadillac Seville STS. And both the 1997 Cadillac Seville SLS and the sporty 1997 Cadillac Seville STS offered GM's new OnStar communications system as a dealer-installed extra.
Using a cellular phone link to a satellite-based navigation system and a 24-hour staffed operations center, OnStar could provide "live" route and location assistance, track a stolen car, and even remotely open the doors should you lock yourself out. The system would also automatically summon emergency help if the airbags deployed in an accident.
Most people found OnStar much easier to use than the video-type in-car navigation systems then coming into vogue, and its emergency-services component was unique. OnStar was eventually spun-off as a semi-independent company whose basic hardware and services, both steadily improved, would spread to other GM divisions and even a few other automakers. But Cadillac offered it first on the 1997 Cadillac Seville, 1997 Cadillac DeVille, and 1997 Cadillac Eldorado.
Speaking of the Cadillac Seville, it wasn't really doing it job to snare young, rich, Euro-intending buyers away from Audi, BMW, or Mercedes-Benz. Cadillac trimmed prices of the 1997 Cadillac Seville by $2,500-$3,000 in an effort to spark sales, but model-year production disappointed at just over 45,000 units.
Fortunately for Cadillac, the full-size Cadillac DeVille remained a consistent, fairly solid seller. Thoughtful yearly improvements played a part.
The 1997 Cadillac DeVille, for example, offered optional OnStar and got a discreet facelift that omitted rear fender skirts, allowing a wider rear track for more-stable handling. Also new that season was a luxury 1997 Cadillac D'Elegance version priced between the base 1997 Cadillac DeVille and the sporty 1997 Cadillac DeVille Concours.
In 1998, Cadillac would introduce its version of a European sports sedan. For the lowdown on this new Cadillac, continue to the next page.
For more information on Cadillac, see:
- Cadillac: Learn the history of America's premier luxury car, from 1930s classics to today's newest Cadillac models.
- Consumer Guide New Car Reviews and Prices: Road test results, photos, specifications, and prices for 2007 Cadillacs and hundreds of other new cars, trucks, minivans, and SUVs.
- 1980-1989 Cadillac: America's top luxury brand was in crises in the 1980s. Learn about how it weathered the storm.
- 2000-2008 Cadillac: Discover how bold design, big power, and an SUV fuel a Cadillac comeback.