DeVille was redesigned completely for 2000. The styling distinguishes it from other cars, including other Cadillacs. People kept asking me, "What kind of car is that?"
This is the first Cadillac to be solely designed using AutoStudio, a computer-aided design tool. Although it looks larger and richer than before, the current DeVille actually measures three inches shorter and two inches narrower than the '99 model. Large front lighting clusters giving all three models a bold appearance. A grinning eggcrate grille extends between the headlights, providing an appropriate field for the Cadillac wreath and crest on the DHS and DTS. The standard DeVille leaves the grille clean and retains the more traditional upright hood ornament.
In profile the DeVille still looks all Cadillac. Large doors, massive body panels and expansive glass are broken only by a highlight trim piece along the lower section. Large, full-arch wheel wells are filled by 16-inch alloy rims and all-season tires on DeVille and DHS or 17-inch wheels and performance tires on DTS.
From the rear, the DeVille continues to carry the traditional Cadillac ambiance, but it looks much more contemporary. This look is highlighted at night when the LED taillights create a thin vertical line. The fins of yesteryear may be gone, but those twin vertical slashes still shout "Cadillac," loud and clear. LED lights also serve a practical propose: They are easier to see and light up much faster than normal incandescent lighting, giving drivers of following cars an extra fraction of a second warning. Which is all it takes, in some cases, to prevent a collision. The rear turn signals look quite distinctive and stand out brightly when blinking.
From inside the DeVille, as from outside, it's hard to believe that this car is actually a little smaller than the familiar Cadillacs of 1994-99. Once behind the wheel the DeVille feels as roomy as ever, if not more so. Heated front seats are available on the base model, standard on DHS and DTS; so is four-way power lumbar support. DHS and DTS add power lumbar massage. Adaptive front seating, optional on DHS and DTS, uses sensors to detect pressure points and automatically adjusts ten individual air cells to conform to the occupant's body, changing the seat contours every ten seconds if necessary.
The rear seat is also inviting and comfortable. There is plenty of room available as you open the rear doors and climb in. Legroom seems endless; even with the front seat at its rearmost position, the tallest of our testers could easily fit. Independent climate controls for rear passengers offer both fan and temperature adjustments.
The high-beam indicator is located next to the digital trip odometer and nearly the same blue color. This makes it difficult to see, so it's easy to leave the high beams on by mistake, blinding other drivers.
The optional ultrasonic rear parking assist system is really slick and very well executed. When backing up, it offers a chime as you approach a garage, a kid on a tricycle, or another parked car. A small yellow light above the rear windshield, visible in the rear view mirror or when looking over your shoulder, illuminates. A second yellow light illuminates as you get closer. A third red light illuminates when you're right on top of the object. Besides the safety benefits, it's very useful when parking the car or maneuvering in tight locations.
Cadillac has added important new technological features for 2001. OnStar, which is standard on all DeVilles, now includes Personal Calling, which allows drivers to initiate and receive hands-free, voice-activated phone calls without an additional cellular contract. Also standard for 2001 is OnStar's Personal Advisor, which delivers Internet-based news headlines, sports scores, stock quotes, and weather reports.
Another new Cadillac feature this year is an optional ($150) tire pressure monitor, which uses sensors in the wheels to read air pressure levels in the tires.
New for 2001, is the optional Infotainment system, which integrates CD-ROM, personal assistant, memo recorder, e-mail, cell phone, and satellite navigation functions into a Bose audio entertainment system.