Manufactured from 1975 until 2004, the Cadillac Seville was a mid sized luxury sedan. The Seville is often thought of as a large Cadillac offering, but it was always second in the lineup after the Deville. The Seville was more performance oriented than the Cadillac Deville.
Cadillac Seville First Generation
The first generation of the Cadillac Seville was seen from 1976 until 1979 and was first based on the GM X body platform, which was a rear wheel drive platform. This was the same platform that was used for the Chevy Nova. Cadillac added a more stylized body to the vehicle that made the Seville stand out, though the platform had been used before. The German Opel Diplomat was also an option, but Cadillac ultimately chose the X body platform because of budget concerns. In the beginning, the Seville was almost identical to the Nova, right down to the brakes and the lug nuts! It wasn’t until the 1977 model that Cadillac changed up the Seville so that it had different lugs as well as new rear brakes. Luckily for the Cadillac division of General Motors, the Seville was a hit with consumers despite its very expensive first model, costing almost $12,500!
This first generation of the Seville was powered by a 5.7 liter V8 engine that boasted a Bendix/Bosch electronically controlled fuel injection system. This type of fuel injection was attractive to consumers because it gave the Seville silky handling and performance. The engine was the source of 180 horsepower and could accelerate from 0 to 60 in 11.5 seconds. Cadillac added a 5.7 liter V8 engine in 1978 that was diesel powered, but it was never known as a reliable engine or one that could perform.
The Second Generation of the Cadillac Seville
The second generation of the Cadillac Seville was produced from 1980 until 1985 and was a four-door sedan and was based on the FF K body, which was a smaller front wheel drive platform than was used in the previous generation. This generation sported the bustle-backed body that has been the subject of much controversy over the years. In addition to front wheel drive, the second generation of the Seville also boasted an independent rear suspension. Sales for the second generation seemed to be going well at first, but then when an attempt at the V8 6-4 variable displacement gasoline engine proved to be a disaster, sales plummeted. Engines for the second generation were a 6.0 liter Cadillac V8 that provided 145 horsepower, a 5.7 liter 105 horsepower Diesel V8, a 6.0 6-4 V8, a 4.1 Buick V7 that provided 125 horsepower, a 4.1 V8 engine, and a 4.1 135 horsepower V8 engine. Unfortunately, poor quality control and bad engines plagued this generation.
The Third Generation of the Cadillac Seville
Cadillac manufactured the third generation of the Seville from 1986 until 1991, and although it was on the same platform as the second generation, it was more modern looking with rounded edges, yet still had that sharp Cadillac style. This generation of the Seville boasted a transverse mounted V8 engine. The resulting look of the vehicle wasn’t all that exciting, and many consumers were not impressed. Although the look wasn’t all that popular, the vehicle did boast almost 30 miles to the gallon in the way of fuel efficiency. This was also the first vehicle in the world that had a computer system that was able to manage all of the systems and engine. The bright dash displays also made the third generation of the Seville very unique to the car market. Despite some world firsts, the third generation wasn’t selling well, so Cadillac refreshed the Seville for the 1988 model. The third generation of the Seville saw four engine offerings which were a 4.1 V8 that produced 130 horsepower, the 155 horsepower 4.5 liter V8, the 180 horsepower 4.5 liter V8 engine, and a 4.9 liter V8 engine that produced 200 horsepower.
The Fourth Generation of the Cadillac Seville
Cadillac produced the fourth generation of the Seville from 1992 until 1997 as a four door sedan, still based on the FF K-body platform. The fourth generation was styled much different than the previous generation, which was considered a huge disappointment in styling. This new look was an instant success with consumers as well as critics and was even named as Motor Trend magazines Car of the Year for the 1992 model year.
Another great change that this generation saw was the addition of the Northstar System, including a Northstar quad cam 32 valve V8 engine. The fourth generation also saw a new rear suspension system. The Seville was also changed into two sub models or trim levels, which were the SLS and the STS. The SLS was the Seville Luxury Sedan and was fitted with a 4.9 liter V8 at the beginning of the generation but was ultimately fitted with a 270 horsepower Northstar V8 in 1994. The STS was the Seville touring Sedan and was the more performance oriented sub model, featuring a 4.9 liter 295 horsepower V8 engine in 1993. Both the STS and the SLS had base model prices over $40,000.
The Fifth Generation of the Cadillac Seville
The Cadillac Seville fifth generation was produced from 1998 until 2004 and was a four-door sedan. Again, the Seville was on the FF-K body and its main competitors were the BMW F-Series as well as the Mercedes Benz E-Class. The new Seville didn’t look all that different from the fourth generation, though the STS became known as the most powerful front wheel drive car available at the time, boasting more than 300 horsepower. The Seville models also sported a new adaptive suspension system during this generation. The fifth generation was the last of the Seville, as the Cadillac STS replaced it and production officially stopped on the Seville STS and the Seville SLS on December 5, 2003. A couple different engines powered this generation. Just one engine powered the STS, which was the 4.6-liter Northstar that produced 300 horsepower. The SLS was powered by just one engine, which was the 4.6-liter V8 that produced 275 horsepower.
Though the Seville is no longer produced today, it is the car that many people envision when they hear the term Cadillac. The Seville had a long, relatively successful run and can still be seen quite often today. Though the STS has replaced the Seville in the Cadillac lineup, Cadillac enthusiasts have not forgotten it.