Premium midsize car; Built in USA
  • 4-door sedan
  • transverse front-engine/front-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $2,400 – $5,700*

1998 Cadillac Seville STS

1999 Cadillac Seville STS

1998 Cadillac Seville STS interior

2000 Cadillac Seville STS

2000 Cadillac Seville STS interior

  • Acceleration
  • Automatic-transmission performance
  • Handling/roadholding
  • Interior materials
  • Interior storage space
  • Fuel economy
  • Rear visibility

Sevilles seem solid and well-assembled, and interior materials are top-notch. However, one test model suffered a wind leak around the driver’s window, ill-fitting rear-door seals, and a wiring harness dangling beneath the driver’s seat–not quite what’s expected in this price league.


Cadillac’s sport-luxury sedan got a serious revamping for 1998, again equipped with front-wheel drive and a Northstar V8 engine. Striving to recapture the “Standard of the World” title that once applied to the marque, Cadillac sought to step beyond the quality and value of such brands as Lexus and Mercedes-Benz. Some of Seville’s underbody structure was shared with the Buick Riviera and Park Avenue, and the Oldsmobile Aurora. Styling was evolutionary rather than a dramatic turnaround, but overall body length shrunk by 3.1 inches, while wheelbase stretched by 1.2 inches. All Sevilles were built in Michigan, but about 20 percent were earmarked for overseas markets. Standard features that were carried over from the previous generation included StabiliTrak, which improved control in evasive maneuvers by selectively applying the front brakes. An electronic suspension, also continued from before, could read the road surface and continually adjust itself to soften the ride and control body motion. The Northstar V8 engine was rated at 275 horsepower when beneath a base SLS hood, versus 300 horsepower in the sportier STS model. Front-seat-mounted side airbags went into a redesigned interior. New safety belts attached to the seat frame and included the first belt pretension system in a U.S.-built automobile. STS sedans could be equipped with a new Adaptive Seat System, in which 10 air cells in the front seats adjusted automatically to accommodate to various people’s bodies.Radio data system (RDS) capability was standard on the STS and optional on SLS. RDS displayed song title and other broadcast information, and could interrupt programming with emergency messages. GM’s OnStar satellite emergency/communications system also was available, as a dealer-installed option. Seville’s rivals included the BMW 5-Series, Infiniti Q45, Lexus LS 400, and Mercedes-Benz E-Class.

Yearly Updates

1999 Seville
Front seats that give back massage were new this year, but little else changed on Cadillac’s sport luxury sedan. The optional system used “rolling” lumbar bolsters that massaged the lower back of a front-seat occupant in 10-minute cycles. Either the SLS or STS model could have Cadillac’s optional “adaptive” front seats, with internal air bladders that continuously adjusted to the passenger’s body contours. This year’s version was heated.
2000 Seville
Both engines now ran on regular fuel, not premium. Both Seville models also gained a revised version of GM’s OnStar emergency communications/assistance system. The Continuously Variable Road Sensing Suspension now selectively varied shock absorber firmness for both up and down wheel motions, working with StabiliTrak to minimize body lean and front-end “plow” in turns. The StabiliTrak system could now briefly increase steering effort when needed, and brake the front wheels to recover from a 4-wheel-drift type of skid. A new front-seat sensor could deactivate passenger airbags when the presence of a child–or no occupant–was detected. New options included an onboard navigation system and Ultrasonic Rear Parking Assist, which warned of obstacles while the car was backing up.
2001 Seville
Seville got an optional e-mail system and auto-reversing power front windows. SLS versions were upgraded with the monochrome appearance introduced at midyear on the short-lived TX7 variant.
2002 Seville
A new DVD navigation system with voice recognition was added this year. Newly standard were heated seats and a rear-obstacle-warning system. Added during the 2002 model year was a satellite radio that played commercial-free programs for a monthly fee.
2003 Seville
Appearance alterations include a body-color grille for the SLS and standard chrome wheels for the STS. The SLS also gains a standard driver-seat memory and, like the STS, now comes with a power tilt/telescoping steering wheel. Rain-sensing windshield wipers are newly standard for STS.
2004 Seville
During the sedan’s last model year, the ’04 300-hp sporty Seville STS model was dropped to make way for the all-new 2005 STS.


transverse front-engine/front-wheel drive

Cadillac’s 4.6 liter Northstar V8 engine, with dual overhead camshafts, came in two flavors: 275 horsepower and 300 pound-feet of torque for the base SLS, or 300 horses and 295 pound-feet of torque when fitted beneath an STS hood. Both models used a 4-speed automatic transmission. The STS was dropped in ’04, the car’s last model year in production.

dohc V8
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 4.6/279
Engine HP 275
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 300
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
4-speed automatic



dohc V8
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 4.6/279
Engine HP 300
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 295
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
4-speed automatic



Road Test

Seville again ranks among the class leaders in acceleration, courtesy of the unaltered Northstar V8 engines and little-changed curb weights. Behavior of the smooth 4-speed automatic transmission is beyond reproach–smooth and responsive. The SLS sedan focuses on low-speed acceleration, whereas the STS emphasizes high-speed responses. Both engines are on the thirsty side, achieving only 14.8 mpg in our tests. At least, the 2000 models manage on regular gasoline.

The SLS feels appropriately soft without being sloppy–nicely composed during directional changes. With its tauter suspension, aggressive tire tread, and lower ride height, an STS responds more quickly to steering inputs and corners with a greater degree of flatness. The STS also is prone to irritating steering-wheel tug in hard takeoffs, and its magnetic power steering can lag behind driver inputs. Cadillac has claimed that Seville was as quiet as a Lexus LS 400. That’s almost true, but not quite.

Despite the 5-passenger claim, four adults is the comfortable limit inside a Seville. At that, back-seat riders must tuck their legs and swivel their ankles to negotiate narrow door bottoms. Front-seat space is generous. Rear-seat room ranks only as adequate. Tall riders’ heads are likely to brush the headliner. Optional adaptive seats in the STS are comfortable, if not vastly more so than the regular seats. A new instrument panel, illuminated by fluorescent backlighting and LED needles, gives the gauges outstanding definition. If desired, the driver can eliminate the illumination, leaving only a digital speed display. Switchgear is logically arranged, except that the climate controls sit low.

Wide rear roof pillars and a tall trunk limit the driver’s view, both aft and over both shoulders. The trunk is spacious. Inside, the Seville boasts a class-leading array of 19 separate pockets, boxes, and a pouch.


Model Tested: 2002 Cadillac Seville STS

Ratings values are on a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the best. With the exception of Value, these numbers reflect how the vehicle compares against the universe of vehicles, not just against rivals in its class.


Acceleration - 7
Fuel Economy - 4
Ride Quality - 6
Steering/Handling - 7
Quietness - 7


Controls/Materials - 6
Room/Comfort Front - 7
Room/Comfort Rear - 5
Cargo Room - 4


Value - 3

Total: 56


4-door sedan
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
112.2 201.0 75.0 55.7
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
15.7 18.6 5
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
38.1 38.0 42.5 38.2
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: 1999 Seville 4-door sedan


(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

Driver Injury - N/A
Front Passenger Injury - N/A

Side Impact Test

Driver Injury - N/A
Rear Passenger Injury - N/A


(A score of 100 is average. Lower is better)

Collision 105
Injury 45
Theft 115

Trouble Spots

Brake noise
Description: The front brakes make noises (squeals, grinding, groaning, etc.) requiring new brake pads and redesigned rotors. (1998)
Engine knock
Description: The engine makes ticking noises and knocking noises that sound like main bearing knock, often due to cylinder carbon buildup. (1998-99)
Engine knock
Description: Engine knock, especially when cold, may be due to carbon buildup in combustion chambers. (2000-01)
Engine temperature
Description: Overheating and coolant loss may be due to rough surface on radiator filler neck. Neck should be sanded smooth and cap replaced. (1999-2000)
Fuel gauge
Description: The fuel gauge reads empty or swings between empty and full due to problem with the in-tank sending unit. (1998)
Oil leak
Description: Beware rear main seal leaks on Northstar engine. (1996-99)
Poor transmission shift
Description: Transmission is slow to engage between drive and reverse, often accompanied by a clunk requiring a transmission rebuild under warranty. (1998)
Audio system
Description: The company is replacing radios that have poor AM reception or FM bleed into the AM band. (1998-99)
Description: On white cars, the door handles turn yellow from the lock cylinder grease staining them. The company will replace the cylinders under warranty and there is a colorless grease available for service. (1998-99)

Recall History

Description: Windshield wiper “Low” speed function can become inoperative if motor is switched from “High” to “Low.”
Description: Electrical short can develop in generator, even when engine is off.
Description: Inner tie-rod nuts on some cars are loose and can result in separation of tie rod, which can cause unexpected steering input.
Description: Due to internal fluid leakage in some cars, rear-brake proportioning, ABS, traction control or stability control may not perform as designed.
2001 w/235/55R17 tires
Description: These vehicles can have an incorrect tire-pressure label.
Description: Steering-gear attachment bolts may be undertorqued or missing, resulting in uneven steering response or unusual noise during turns.
2002-03 V8
Description: Faulty fuel tank sensors may have been installed in certain vehicles, leading to fuel leakage. Dealer will inspect and replace all affected parts.

Equipment Lists

Equipment lists are only viewable on larger screen sizes.


Used-car pricing varies widely depending on local market conditions. Therefore, we recommend visiting websites that list used cars for sale to get a better idea of what a specific model is selling for in your area.