Kicking out the old folks is a full-time occupation for many of today's marketers. It is an unkind acknowledgment that old people usually die before the young. Dead people don't spend money. Who needs them?
Most marketers, of course, are too slick to be that blunt. They'd rather sell "youth" than emphasize demise. Take new-car advertisements. They give the impression that no one over 45 drives. Middle-aged people and senior citizens don't exist in those pitches. They've joined the ranks of the disappeared.
Or, maybe, they've moved to Cadillac, where they are still treated as living, breathing and vital human beings. It's not that Cadillac ignores youth. The luxury division of General Motors Corp. has found new life in a crop of vehicles grown for the young and the restless. The CTS sport sedan and Escalade sport-utility vehicle are examples.
But in chasing the young, Cadillac has not treated its loyal older customers as road kill. It has rewarded them. The 2006 Cadillac DTS sedan is proof.
We need not mince words here. There is no reason for pretense. The DTS is a large, exceptionally comfortable, front-wheel-drive luxury sedan. It is meant to pamper bottoms and backs that have borne the blows of the School of Hard Knocks. It can run. But unlike the compact, rear-wheel-drive CTS sports sedan, the DTS is not a hard-charging car designed to support delusional claims of racetrack prowess.
The DTS, scion of the now-discontinued Cadillac DeVille line, is about cruising. It's about ease, simplicity and unadulterated pleasure. Unlike a 7-Series BMW, it does not require its owner to have an advanced technical degree to turn on the air conditioner or use the radio. Unlike a Lexus GS 430 sedan, it does not hide its switches for side-view mirrors and instrument panel lights behind a soft-touch, push-button door that, when activated, makes a grand presentation of what should be a straightforward affair.
In the DTS, everything is where it should be. Older people don't like fumbling for buttons. That means they should love the DTS. The car's optional Bose premium sound system is a case in point. You just turn it on. Isn't that something? Click it. Hear it -- music, news and commentary.
An auxiliary audio jack in the front lower-right corner of the radio allows the plug-and-play connection of equipment such as an Apple iPod or other MP3 player. Just plug it in and listen. Rewiring and rerouting are not required.
Check out the seats. Unlike the bolstered buckets in many cars for the young, which seem deliberately designed to make middle-aged people feel fatter than they are, the seats in the Cadillac DTS are made for wide behinds and broad shoulders. But there is nothing squishy about them. They feel snug, supportive. The eight-way power seats in the front cabin slide back an additional inch -- golden room for people long of leg or who are suffering from arthritis or other muscular pains.
The DTS recognizes several other truths: Middle-aged people and senior citizens enjoy sex and being sexy. Most see themselves as active, not sedentary. Not everyone in the same demographic group is the same.
So, the DTS comes with style -- sharp exterior lines; wide-mouthed front grille; wide-sail "C" pillar, the rearmost pillar, reminiscent of the sporting-life Coupe DeVille; and a sumptuous interior of leather and burled wood accents.
Some people are bona fide cruisers, which means they don't want to race around for anything or anybody. They want to ease on down the road. For them, there is the DTS with the 4.6-liter, 275-horsepower Northstar V-8 engine. It comes with 17-inch-diameter tires/wheels; a four-wheel independent suspension to ease the hustle and increase the flow of urban stop-and-go; and traction and stability control.
Other folks need a bit more speed. They get it with the DTS with the 291-horsepower, 4.6-liter Northstar V-8. It comes with 18-inch-diameter tires/wheels and a slightly upgraded suspension package.
Both DTS versions get an electronically controlled four-speed automatic transmission. It would have been nice had GM/Cadillac mated those engines to a more fuel-efficient five-speed automatic. But the four-speed works okay.
Buyers looking for a manual transmission should look elsewhere. The target audience for the DTS, people of means age 45 to 65, have spent enough years working the gears. As drivers, they've mostly retired from all of that.