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.
Cadillac has added important new technological features for 2001.
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.
The high-beam indicator is located next to the digital trip odometer and nearly the same blue color.
The optional ultrasonic rear parking assist system is really slick and very well executed.
The rear seat is also inviting and comfortable.
A second yellow light illuminates as you get closer.
A small yellow light above the rear windshield, visible in the rear view mirror or when looking over your shoulder, illuminates.
A third red light illuminates when you're right on top of the object.
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.
Also standard for 2001 is OnStar's Personal Advisor, which delivers Internet-based news headlines, sports scores, stock quotes, and weather reports.
Besides the safety benefits, it's very useful when parking the car or maneuvering in tight locations.
DHS and DTS add power lumbar massage.
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.
Heated front seats are available on the base model, standard on DHS and DTS; so is four-way power lumbar support.
Independent climate controls for rear passengers offer both fan and temperature adjustments.
Legroom seems endless; even with the front seat at its rearmost position, the tallest of our testers could easily fit.
Once behind the wheel the DeVille feels as roomy as ever, if not more so.
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.
There is plenty of room available as you open the rear doors and climb in.
This makes it difficult to see, so it's easy to leave the high beams on by mistake, blinding other drivers.
When backing up, it offers a chime as you approach a garage, a kid on a tricycle, or another parked car.
Aluminum suspension components reduce unsprung weight (the weight that moves with each wheel as it reacts to the road variations), so the springs don't have to be as stiff to keep the wheels in firm contact with the road.
Electronics help the driver control the DeVille in emergency maneuvers.
I was thinking about all this while heading out onto a rural road.
The DeVille DTS model's suspension filters out vibration and bumps, but it feels much firmer than Cadillacs of yore.
The DTS has lots of power and growls under hard acceleration.
What really impressed me was the calibration of the transmission and the way it communicates with the engine.
All those thoughts evaporated when I noticed way up ahead a state trooper standing next to his car pointing a radar gun at me.
An electronic brake distribution system helps reduce stopping distances by distributing the braking force front to rear for optimum performance.
Braking was sure, stable and effective, with nice firm pedal feel.
Bumps are felt, but muffled to comfortable levels.
Cadillac's StabiliTrak 2.0 s.
Completely redesigned last year, the system combines large four-wheel disc brakes with a small, lightweight anti-lock system.
Go around a fast, sweeping turn and potholes and bumps won't upset the suspension, a benefit of the DeVille's highly rigid chassis.
I accelerated out of a sweeping turn, noticing the well-controlled steering, thinking that the DeVille should be able to hang onto the rear bumper of a BMW 5 Series.
I first drove the DeVille to an Al Gore press conference, appropriate because I was wearing a coat and tie and the DeVille's suspension superbly soaked up Washington's rough, potholed streets.
I jammed on the brakes.
In case you're wondering, the DeVille's electronically controlled 4T80-E four-speed automatic transmission uses a viscous converter clutch for maximum smoothness with fuel efficiency.
In normal, everyday, around-town applications, the brake pedal feels smooth and progressive, making it easy to slow the car down smoothly.
It's a great drivetrain.
It's smooth and stable at high speeds.
Press the throttle to the floor and instead of accelerating in fourth gear, then violently downshifting to second the way many transmissions do, the DeVille shifts immediately but smoothly to third for smooth, quick acceleration that accomplishes your objective of gaining a position in traffic without upsetting your passengers, or piece of mind.
Slam the throttle to the floor, however, and the DeVille smartly shifts to second, the Northstar engine growls to life and the car rockets ahead.
That's good because the DeVille doesn't float around like those older machines, which could sometimes induce nausea in rear-seat passengers.
The ABS kicked in, preventing wheel lockup, so all the trooper noticed was a little nose dive as the DeVille quickly moved into compliance of the law.
The DeVille comes with the superb Northstar V8 engine, which develops 275 horsepower in the standard DeVille and 300 horsepower for the DHS and DTS.
The highway ride is as supple as you would expect of a Cadillac.
The Northstar engine was significantly re-engineered for the 2000 model year; in fact, there are just a few parts on the 2001 version that would fit in a 1999 or earlier edition.
The steering is precise and direct, so the car always goes where intended without having to think about it.
These refinements make the DeVille more responsive, more fuel efficient and quieter, all without sacrificing performance.
This makes the DeVille safer and more comfortable to drive in tight quarters, which is important in the big city where you're often surrounded by big trucks and aggressive cab drivers.
This translates into more comfort on the highway without having to sacrifice handling.
Though not as firm as a BMW 5 Series, the DeVille's suspension settings provide a well-controlled ride.
Yet, the new DeVille does not feel like the proverbial boat once associated with big American cars.
From the rear, the DeVille continues to carry the traditional Cadillac ambiance, but it looks much more contemporary.
In profile the DeVille still looks all Cadillac.
A grinning eggcrate grille extends between the headlights, providing an appropriate field for the Cadillac wreath and crest on the DHS and DTS.
Although it looks larger and richer than before, the current DeVille actually measures three inches shorter and two inches narrower than the '99 model.
DeVille was redesigned completely for 2000.
Large doors, massive body panels and expansive glass are broken only by a highlight trim piece along the lower section.
Large front lighting clusters giving all three models a bold appearance.
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.
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.
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.
The fins of yesteryear may be gone, but those twin vertical slashes still shout 'Cadillac,' loud and clear.
The rear turn signals look quite distinctive and stand out brightly when blinking.
The standard DeVille leaves the grille clean and retains the more traditional upright hood ornament.
The styling distinguishes it from other cars, including other Cadillacs.
This look is highlighted at night when the LED taillights create a thin vertical line.
Which is all it takes, in some cases, to prevent a collision.
Cadillac's new DeVille is a world-class sedan, big, comfortable, easy to drive, and fast.
It represents yet another step toward the day when Cadillac might regain its traditional position as 'The Standard of the World.