For a long time, the Deville was the flagship sedan for the Cadillac division of General Motors. The Deville had a great run, but was eventually replaced by the DTS for the 2006 model year. The Cadillac Deville was first seen with the 1949 Coupe Deville, but it wasn’t until 1965 that Deville became Cadillac’s flagship model. The Deville then fell between the Calais and the Fleetwood in the Cadillac lineup. Except for a brief period in which the Deville was downsized, the Deville was a very successful for Cadillac and General Motors.
While the Deville was popular in 1965, 1968 saw the first exterior changes to the vehicle. These changes were made so that the Deville would pass emissions and federal safety regulations. The Deville of this era was powered with a 7.7 liter V8 engine that produced 375 horsepower. The Deville was more visible when in 1971 a Coupe de Ville took third place in the Cannonball Run. The average speed was more than 80 miles per hour, which broke a record. From the late ‘70s to the early ‘80s the Deville was much like the Fleetwood, in fact, the only difference was trim, interior options, and equipment.
In 1985 the Deville went through its second downsizing and was placed on a front wheel drive platform. From 1986 through 1992, the Fleetwood became a package option on the Deville, which did not prove as popular as Cadillac had once hoped. Unfortunately, consumers had become accustomed to the Deville being a larger vehicle, and did not take to the smaller version of the once very popular vehicle. Cadillac was disappointed when Lincoln vehicles soon began to outsell the Deville.
In 1994, the Deville was placed on the K body platform, the same platform used by the Seville. Customers were relieved to see that the Deville was once again a full size vehicle and had a wheelbase that measured 113.8 inches. Either a Northstar V8 that produced 270 horsepower or a Northstar that provided less horsepower powered the Deville during this time. While Cadillac had once opted for a downsize of the Deville, a redesign in 1997 did not include downsizing. The new design features new headlights, a new grill, front side airbags, and OnStar telecommunications systems being the big additions. Other than those changes, the interior as well as the exterior remained largely unchanged.
The engines used on the Deville varied from year to year as well as from one trim level to another. The base model of the Deville used a 4.9-liter V8 engine that provided 200 horsepower from 1994 through 1995. The base model also used a 4.6-liter Northstar V8 engine that produced 275 horsepower from 1996 until 1999. The Concours trim level used a 4.6 liter 270 horsepower for the 1994 model year. Horsepower was increased for the following year to 275 horsepower, with the same engine. From 1996 trough 1999 a 4.6-liter L37 Northstar V8 engine that was capable of producing 300 horsepower was used.
The 2000 model was the last major redesign of the Deville and was the start of the last Deville generation. Cadillac gave the Deville a whole new look that was a lot more sporty than the previous generations. Not only were there exterior changes made, there were also interior changes made. Interior changes included new seats, a refreshed dashboard, new radio, and new door panels. Overall, this redesign breathed new life into the Cadillac Deville that it needed to get through the last generation with strong sales. This generation was powered by an assortment of engines such as the 4.6 liter Northstar V8 that produced 275 horsepower from 2000 until 2005, but also the 4.6 liter L37 Northstar V8 engine that produced a respectable 300 horsepower from the beginning until the end of the generation.
While 2005 was known as the last generation of the Deville, it was simply the name that changed on this popular Cadillac vehicle. Starting in the 2006 model year, the Deville became known as the Cadillac DTS, which is an acronym for Deville Touring Sedan. Acronyms have become quite popular with Cadillac, with nameplates such as the STS and the CTS. Although the Deville name is technically gone from the Cadillac lineup, the vehicle behind the name is still very much alive.