The Cadillac Seville is a four-door sedan made over five generations from 1976 to 2004 model years. It was a smaller-size, more compact Cadillac with the usually luxurious interior but offering better fuel economy to meet the new demands that resulted from the energy crisis.
First Generation Introduction of the Cadillac Seville
Built on a unibody K-body platform, the first generation Cadillac Sevilles were made from 1976 to 1979 model years. The four-door sedan featured a fuel-injected 350 cu in (5.7L Oldsmobile V-8 engine producing 180 horsepower and a 3-speed automatic transmission). A diesel option became available in 1978. In an attempt to more closely compete with smaller sized European rivals, the Seville was the smallest and most expensive model in Cadillacs lineup. Bigger didn’t always mean better anymore. Some third-party customizations took this mentality to heart and created two-door versions of the four-door Seville. Crisp angular body styling, a wide Crome grille, and telltale Cadillac quad rectangular headlights allowed the Seville to stick out from the crowd. Weighing in at almost 1,000 pounds lighter than the full-sized DeVille, the drive experience was more responsive and less boat-like compared to other Cadillacs.
Second Generation Upgrades
With more than 50,000 units sold annually for the entire first-generation run, the Cadillac Seville was proving to be an in-demand car. Yet it still wasn’t reaching the targeted young buyers who were going for European imports. The second-generation transferred to an E-body platform with front-wheel drive which had similar overall dimensions. The diesel 5.7L V8 became standard, the first American car to do so, while the original 350 cu in gasoline and a new 368 cu in (6.0L) V-8 were available as options. 1982 saw the introduction of a smaller 4.1L engine. It proved to be problematic with bad castings and manifold gaskets. Premium stereo systems, brush-gold front panel, and heated rear-view mirrors filled out the list of luxury aspects of the second-generation Cadillac Seville.
Seville’s Third Generation Changes: Fuel Efficiency
In 1985, a smaller Seville was introduced with improved aerodynamics, a smaller size, and an impressive 30 miles per gallon fuel efficiency. The 15% price increase was a tough pill to swallow, however, and as sales faltered, an exterior redesign was completed by 1988. A limited run of Seville Touring Sedans (STSs) were produced in 1988, featuring 15 inch wheels, upgraded suspension, and rear bucket seats. These exclusive vehicles were mainly built for a short list of GM and Cadillac executives and major shareholders. 1990 brought about additional changes like a new fuel injection system, new side and rear body panels, and dual exhaust. A new 4.9L V-8 became available in 1991.
Fourth Generation and Fifth Generation Seville: The End
Making a splash with its debut, the fourth-generation Cadillac Seville was named Motor Trend’s Car of the Year in 1992. It had adopted a more European styling and as the 90s continued on, the engine power steadily increased up to 295 horsepower in the 1993 4.9L V-8, along with offered features like rain-sensing windshield wipers and redesigned rear suspension. While the Seville didn’t explode in popularity (actually couldn’t beat its introduction first-generation sales figures), it remained a solid seller with around 40,000 units sold per year through the majority of the mid 1990s. The 1998 model year saw the introduction of the fifth and final generation of the Cadillac Seville. It utilized GM’s G-platform with a slightly longer wheelbase yet shorter overall length. Exterior styling resembled the previous generation, yet many changes were present in the mechanical features of the Seville, resulting in an increased road handling and overall driving experience. As sales began to slump in the early 2000s, the Seville was phased out and eventually discontinued entirely after the 2004 model year. It was replaced with the Cadillac STS.