2002 Cadillac DeVille: The Last of the Big Guns
The last of the big body Cadillacs
…in the continuing saga of “As the Standard of the World Turns.”
The 2002 Cadillac DeVille is one of the last marques of distinction from the brand. At the time…Cadillac existed for an entire century; the name “DeVille” was attached to some of the most dramatic automobiles for well over half of this prominent existence. The Cadillac DeVilles were and still are America’s favorite luxury cars.
The design and engineering for 2002 is sophisticated and highly advanced among luxury automobiles. From the avant-garde styling…to the powerful Northstar V8 under the hood, the DeVille delivers the poised dignity that was the hallmark of every Cadillac. NotoriousLuxury presents the 2002 Cadillac DeVille’s intransigent eminence…in the continuing saga of “As the Standard of the World Turns.”
As Cadillac so eloquently stated: “Enduring style and sophistication is difficult to define…and even more challenging to achieve. But such élan is unmistakable in the Cadillac DeVille.” For the 2002 model year it was available in three distinctive trim levels.
There is the power and prowess of the DTS (DeVille Touring Sedan) which puts the emphasis on performance as well as presence. The DHS (DeVille High Luxury Sedan) provides luxury and panache with exclusivity…Cadillac-style. And last but not least…the base DeVille which is the quintessential luxury sedan that satisfies the most discerning buyers who seek automobiles of this stature.
The 2002 Cadillac DeVille unifies elegance with high technology in an automobile designed for today’s world. The eighth and final generation DeVille was built from 2000 until 2005.
The 2002 DeVilles are equipped with Northstar…it began as a high-performance engine and evolved into a sophisticated electronic network of art. The 32-valve DOHC engine is teamed with an anti-lock 4-wheel braking system, all-speed traction control, speed sensitive steering which adapts to the driver’s style, and a “thinking” suspension with electronic level control.
On-board computers coordinate this ingenious teamwork to result in refined driving dynamics under all driving situations to maintain optimum overall vehicle control. The DTS further refines the network to include as standard equipment, StabiliTrak 2.0 which can detect improper traction and steering issues through an array of sensors located throughout the suspension to instantaneously apply the correct calibration to the front brakes as required. The impressive Northstar system is a quantum leap forward in automotive engineering.
The Northstar V8 is a series of General Motors most technologically advanced 90 degree V-type engine architecture. Cadillac Motor Division offered two types for the 2002 model year. The high-output L37 powers the exclusive DTS and the high-torque LD8 powers the base DeVille and the upscale DHS. These aluminum transverse-mounted V8 engines are the industry’s most complex powerplants. When they are good…they are very, very good…but when they are bad they are horrid! The Northstar V8 was refined for the 2000 model year with updates to improve fuel economy and lower exhaust emissions making them operate on regular grade fuel.
I own a 2002 DeVille and have driven it since 2002 burning 93 octane premium fuel exclusively. Let’s be real…if you drive a high-performance automobile; burn high-octane fuel for optimum performance especially as the engine ages. I like the thrill of dropping the accelerator pedal to GO…like, right-now! You can do this easily with smoother performance on high-octane petrol. If you can afford the car…you should be able to afford the gas – ask any Cadillac owner with the Northstar and they will tell you; high-octane fuel is the way to GO!
The L37 is the original Northstar and is tuned exclusively for high-energy output. The LD8 is the luxury cruisin’ high-torque variant. They both are naturally aspirated and share the basic Northstar logistics. The LD8 uses a different cam profile lowering the hp but boosts torque output in the lower rpm range to improve throttle response for quicker acceleration.
The 2002 Northstar V8 engines have die-cast aluminum blocks built using the “Squeeze Casting” process for the lower crankcase to reduce aluminum porosity. The downside to this design is the fact they may promote oil seeping through and leaking. (Behave) A Nylon 66 thermoplastic intake manifold keeps the intake air cooler by conducting less heat from the engine.
The cylinders have cast-in-place iron liners that are not replaceable. Some think they can rebuild these with modern aftermarket products, but my advice is to just replace them with new heads. Each head has two camshafts; one for the intake and one for the exhaust. Direct-acting hydraulic lash adjusters are positioned over each of the 32 valves. It features roller valve lifters, a low-friction valve train, and coil-fired spark plugs. This coil-on-plug design eliminates spark plug wires which increases spark efficiency.
Each head has its own ignition module in the center of the valve cover. This advanced design ignition system runs in two modes of operation: module mode and ignition control mode. The PCM (Powertrain Control Module) controls ignition timing via sensor inputs.
The PCM controls both engine and transmission operation. Should the PCM fail, the module mode takes over operating the engine with a fixed 10 degrees of advance allowing the engine to continue operation in what the engineers call the “limp home mode” with somewhat reduced performance to protect the engine.
The overhead cams are chain-driven with an intermediate chain sprocket under the front cover that connects to the crankshaft. This design uses three separate hydraulic tensioners to keep the chains lightweight for efficiency. Two crankshaft position sensors and a camshaft position sensor are used to provide timing input. Each crank sensor is located on the rear head in front of the exhaust cam. The Northstar V8 has a knock sensor on the rear head between cylinders one and three to reduce timing if detonation becomes an issue under load.
The beauty of the Northstar engine is the on-board computer diagnostics monitoring the electronic network. The Powertrain Control Input Module monitors the sensor inputs, battery voltage injector pulse width, engine rpm, throttle position switch, brake pedal switch, and transmission gear switches. The PCM output checks the EVAP & EGR systems, torque converter clutch solenoid, A/C compressor relay, and transaxle solenoids.
The Northstar was designed to be a relatively low-maintenance V8 engine. “Out of the box” it comes with platinum-tipped spark plugs that have a 100,000+mile life span. I purposely wanted to see how long the plugs could last. I replaced them at 125,000 miles, not because I had to…I wanted to see the plugs.
She now has 134,000+ miles and “Donnajean” still runs like a scalded cat! (I named her after the Knots Landing vixen Donna Jean Miller aka Donna Mills) Even before the plugs were replaced, she still ran as smooth as silk without either misfiring or rough idling. This car runs at 134,000+ miles…just as it did with only 13 miles – fantastic. With its inexorable demeanor…it’s a keeper!
The Dex-Cool antifreeze is guaranteed for 5 years/150,000 miles. The chain-driven cams eliminate timing belt replacement. Even the oil change schedule is extended to 10,000 miles. For 2002 it is extended to 12,000 mile intervals. Depending upon the use, GM states it should be changed at least once a year. The oil is the life of the engine. I am old-school when it comes to this; I believe it should be changed every 3,000 miles. After all, an oil change is cheaper than replacing a Northstar V8 engine.
Then…add the fact that there are very few engine re-builders doing Northstar restorations because these are complex machines. The heads are cast away if the valve guides are worn, the cylinder heads are simply replaced since the liners cannot be replaced nor over-bored. (why even think about trying to rebuild the heads from an engine like this?)
There isn’t much left to rebuild. Cleaning the throttle body and EGR valve is recommended. The 2000-2001 Northstars have an idiosyncratic nature to build up carbon deposits in the combustion chambers causing cold-knock conditions.
2002 Cadillac DTS ($43,810 – $47,880)
The DTS is the ultimate touring DeVille experience. Its power is derived from the laudable L37 4.6 litre 32-valve 279 CID V8 engine with sequential fuel injection. The engine cranks 300 hp @ 6,000 rpm with a respectable 400 Nm of peak torque @ 4,400 rpm.
The transverse mounted V8 is mated to the GM 4T80-E front-wheel drive “Smart” 4-speed automatic transmission with overdrive and electronic shift control. Longitudinal acceleration is rated as: 0-60 mph in 6.7 seconds, 0-100 mph in 17.6 seconds, and 0-120 mph in 27.1 seconds. It has a top speed in the 147 mph range (ungoverned). It can do the ¼ mile @ 93 mph in 14.9 seconds.
2002 Cadillac DeVille ($39,299 – $42,950)
2002 Cadillac DHS (43,810 – $47,880)
Both DHS and the DeVille base sedans are powered by the venerable LD8 and are geared for an elegant ride with the emphasis on torque-thrust. They are also 4.6 litre 32-valve 279 CID performance behemoths equipped with sequential fuel injection and mated to GM’s 4T80-E 4-speed automatic transmission with overdrive.
This transverse mounted V8 engine is tuned to deliver 275 hp @ 5,600 rpm packing a prolific punch with 407 Nm of peak torque @ 4,000 rpm. Longitudinal acceleration is rated as: 0-60 mph in 7.2 seconds, 0-100 mph in 18.5 seconds, and 0-110 mph in 23.8 seconds with a top speed in the 149 mph range (ungoverned). This version of the formidable Northstar can do the ¼ mile @ 94 mph in just 15.2 seconds.
The 2002 Cadillac DeVille is a contemporary masterpiece from the master craftsmen. The architecture is timeless…elegant, sporty, yet highly sophisticated. The DeVille is a wedge-shaped envelope of aerodynamic efficiency with a mere 0.3 coefficient of drag which adds to its excellent mpg average – it is the unexpected economy car. I have witnessed this first hand. I have a lead-foot and average 18-20 mpg in the city and have obtained 35+ mpg out on long stretches on the highway with speeds averaging between 75-85 mph…but this is burning 93 octane petrol.
Cadillac DeVille Limousine by Miller Meteor
Cadillac DeVille Presidential Limousine
A DeVille has always presented an understated luxury which made it America’s favorite luxury car. This genre Cadillac lacks the meretricious kitsch today’s luxury cars provide at no extra cost. The DeVille has a distinctive front end ensemble. The one-piece composite headlamps aid its aerodynamics and have a jewel-like appearance.
The aluminum hood slopes gracefully into the traditional Cadillac-style egg crate grille. There are no sharp edges or dangerous protuberances to interfere with its superb aerodynamic efficiency. The overall design is clean, tasteful, and stylish…as for its opulence, that’s for lagniappe compliments of Cadillac. The 2002 Cadillac DeVille has strikingly good looks and will challenge the years gracefully.
The rear end design is equally dramatic. The Cadillac DeVille was among the first production automobiles to offer LED tail lamps for the 2000 model year. This unique feature uses a thin light bar with a reflector to create a holographic effect reminiscent of the tail lamps from popular Cadillacs from the past. This creates a spectacular light show at night. Since LED tail lamps illuminate faster than incandescent bulbs it gives motorists behind the vehicle faster response times.
A thin LED light band across the face of the deck lid illuminates each time the brakes are applied for added visibility both day and night. The DeVille’s back-up lamps are neatly placed within the license plate housing. Dual quad chrome-plated stainless-steel exhaust tips augment the lower rear bumper diffuser and are tuned to a deep baritone for the sound of power it delivers…the stainless-steel exhaust system lasts longer than the previous versions.
The 2002 Cadillac DeVille is built by monocoque construction fusing the body shell to its platform framework. Its excellent ride quality is due in no small part to the independent 4-wheel suspension with electronic ride-height control. The front-wheel drive chassis is quite sophisticated.
It employs all-speed traction control, 4-wheel disc brakes with ABS, and standard on the DTS…StabiliTrak 2.0 for added security. The DTS is exclusively equipped with Continuously Variable Road-Sensing Suspension (CVRSS) which is a computer-controlled active suspension system with adjustable computer-controlled shock absorbers.
This genre DeVille is the last of the big-bodied Cadillacs. They ride upon a 115.3” wheelbase (which is considered long when compared with the present day make-believe Cadillacs), is 207.2” in length, 74.5” wide, with a 56.7” height. I like the size of my 2002 DeVille…this is the smallest car I will ever drive.
Here’s a chuckle…I had the hardest time finding whitewall tires for my car last year – I didn’t realize I was one of the few people who still like the look of whitewall tires on a Cadillac. The first tire store I visited, all I got was a hearty laugh from the salesman who thought I was joking…the second tire store I visited, I received a vacant stare when I asked for whitewall tires! This type of tire adds class to a Cadillac…they look like a utility vehicle without them…
2002 Cadillac DTS
The 2002 Cadillac DeVille uses a 21st century approach to cabin luxury. The DTS is the Cadillac of Cadillacs; it’s a five seat ambiance of sheer exhilaration. Two ergonomically designed individual front lounge seats coddle its passengers in elegance and share a center console. The gear shift lever is conveniently placed within the driver’s grasp.
Rich Zebrano wood accents trim the dash, gear shift knob, and door garnish inserts to make the cabin of the DTS the epitome of automotive opulence. Back-lit analog gauges are easy on the eye offering information at a glance. DTS is for the driver/enthusiast who seeks a sporting elegance. The perforated Nuance leather seating areas are unique to this model. The DTS is more dash than flash. It’s designed to compete with the Mercedes S-Klasse and the BMW 7-Series. The 2002 DTS is a luxury sedan like no other luxury saloon; it has Cadillac exclusivity, Cadillac supremacy, and Cadillac character without ambivalence.
DTS is the Cadillac of Cadillacs with a sporting elegance
2002 Cadillac DTS
2002 Cadillac DeVille
2002 Cadillac DHS
The 2002 DeVille also offers traditional Cadillac luxury for the owner who demands elegance without sacrificing Cadillac’s poised dignity. Either DHS or the base DeVille is available for those who wish to travel Cadillac-style with a luxurious flair.
They both are spacious six-passenger luxury sedans with standard front and rear center folding armrests. Supple Nuance leather upholsters the seating areas graciously. The DHS offers standard Zebrano wood trim for the dash and door garnish inserts. This is the fashion which made the Cadillac DeVille America’s favorite luxury cars.
All 2002 Cadillac DeVille models are endowed with myriad comfort and convenience features and accessories as standard equipment. Tri-zone electronic Climate Control with digital settings for front and rear seat passengers; once set…no further intervention is required.
A central locking system has power programmable locks that maintains the doors, boot lid ,and activates the security system for safety and peace of mind. A digital instrument panel is standard on the base DeVille while the DHS and DTS are equipped with analog instrumentation.
The DHS features Cadillac’s Memory Package which automatically recalls settings for two drivers based upon their individual remote keyless entry key fobs. This feature remembers the position of the driver’s seat, exit seating position, exterior rear view mirror preference, Climate Control settings, and radio pre-sets. This feature is optional for the base DeVille and DTS models. The DHS provides a power rear sunshade with manual side shades; this feature is exclusive to this luxurious model.
All models feature power 8-way seat adjustment with reclining function, The DHS furthers the luxury with exclusive rear seat 4-way power lumbar adjustment for out board passengers. DHS and DTS are equipped with 4-way power lumbar adjustment for driver and front passenger with heated front and rear outboard seating. The heated seat is optional for the base DeVille at extra cost. The steering wheel houses controls for the audio system, Climate Control systems, voice commands, and cruise control; therefore the driver need not take their eyes off the road.
The base DeVille and DTS has tilt-wheel adjustment. The DHS furthers the experience with power tilt and telescoping steering wheel; it is optional for the DTS only. All DeVille models are equipped with the exclusive Cadillac Pass-Key III Theft Deterrent system with audible warning. All DeVille models are equipped with power windows with express-down feature; front seat passengers enjoy the express-up feature. Solar-Ray tinted glass is also standard on all DeVille models.
Popular options for the 2002 DeVille were available to personalize and custom tailor the car to the owner’s preferences. Fog lamps, glass sunroof with sunshade, vent, and express open feature; and 7-spoke 16” & 17” cast aluminum wheels were available for the exterior. The OnStar Communication system provides concierge services directing callers to restaurants, ATM’s, and businesses in over 250 categories.
This distinctive option can detect severe automobile accidents when the air-bag systems deploy and automatically summons emergency help to motorists. DVD and Bose sound systems with GPS-based 6.5” touch screen offers both voice activation and text operation. A unique Cellular Phone system integration offers hands-free operation. XM Satellite radio systems offer up to 100 channels of digital sound quality with coast-to-coast coverage. These are just a few of the options available to make one’s DeVille as unique as their own fingerprints.
Optional at extra cost is Cadillac’s Ultrasonic Rear Parking assist. Sensors in the rear bumper “beep” in the cabin starting softly then full crescendo when the vehicle is in within striking range of a rear object or vehicle. There is also a light in the upper rear window trim that is green when you are good to go, and flashes red the closer the car gets to a rear object or vehicle when the transmission is in reverse gear. This is very handy since the car is designed where one cannot see anything below the rear window while driving.
The eighth and final generation of the Cadillac DeVille was built from 2000 until 2005. These elegant luxury sedans are equipped with transverse-mounted Northstar LD8 & L37 V8 engines with front-wheel drive. They are among the last of the big-bodied Cadillacs. The formidable Northstar began as a high-performance, high-tech V8 engine and evolved into a network of advanced automotive technology. In 2002 Cadillac had existed for a century and DeVille nomenclature is attached to some of the most dramatic automobiles for half this time span.
The Cadillac DeVille was and remains America’s favorite luxury car. The 2002 DeVilles are sophisticated and highly distinctive among 21st century luxury automobiles. From their avant-garde styling…to the powerful Northstar V8 under the hood, the 2002 DeVilles deliver the poised dignity which was the hallmark of every Cadillac. NotoriousLuxury presents this encore performance…in the continuing saga of “As the Standard of the World Turns.”
1958 Cadillac Series 62 Coupe deVille
Photos courtesy General Motors
1959 Cadillac Series 6300 Sedan deVille “Flat Top”
1961 Cadillac Series 6300 Coupe deVille
1967 Cadillac DeVille convertible
Photos courtesy Wallpaperup
2006 Cadillac DTS Presidential Limousine
Cadillac DTS-L Coachbuilt sedan with Livery package
2006-2011 Cadillac DTS
Cadillac Sixteen Concept
Here’s the elusive sixteen cylinder V-type architecture
Welcome to Greg’s World
Greg’s World is NotoriousLuxury…
1970 Cadillac DeVille convertible
Special thanks to Daniel Schmitt Classic Cars
“Though nothing can bring back the hour of splendor in the grass, glory in the flower, we will grieve not…rather find strength in what remains behind”… William Wordsworth
“As the Standard of the World Turns”
"As the Standard of the World Turns", Cadillac, Cadillac Historical, Classic American Marques
Too bad they are gone, but to me, the true last Cadillac was the 1993 model year, full siza car, with some noticeable chrome appliqués. Cars with plastic bumpers, of any make, whatsoever, are no real vehicles, just a poor imitation of a long gone era. Just to cope the European invasion? Too bad that Cadillac lost its cachet as a luxury flagship and fall into a classification that no longer represents what it used to be. Even though they tried to use fake wood trim in the interior.
THIS HAS GOT TO BE AN ALL TIME LOW DESIGN WISE FOR CADILLAC. THE BLUNT FRONT END THAT WITHOUT A WREATH AND CREST YOU’D NEVER IDENTIFY AS A CADILLAC. THE REAR UNTIL ABOUT 2007 WAS JUST AS BAD WITH THE DRAB TAIL LIGHTS.
CADILLAC PLEASE MAKE THE ELMIRAJ.
MJU – your ‘technology’ is showing again! This car has to be stripped naked of stylish contours typical of the “Standard of the World.” That can be no more. The more contours and ‘puff’ put into architecture takes away from its aerodynamic efficiency which you will see in the very near future WHY cars are being stripped. They are ultimately going to become electric. Try electrifying something like a 1970 Fleetwood Series Sixty-Special Brougham! OMG, you’d need batteries the size of the car just to get to the re-charging station 2-3 time per day. I’ll put it this way – you would be re-charging more times than actually being behind the wheel. Should one of the many many batteries go out – OMG you couldn’t afford to replace it!!! This is why cars are being stripped to the bare essentials. Highways will ultimately become ‘programmed’ to your vehicle as AUTONOMY will be king. Your vehicle will have a brain of its very own – cars we love will be around but just for show!
I have been thoroughly enjoying your wonderful newsletters for years. With all due respect and that said, I have to take issue with the story I saw today which you title: “2002 Cadillac DeVille: The Last of the Big Guns”.
I have some issues with this story. A minor one, perhaps is the fact that you specifically singled out the 2002 DeVille as the “last of the big guns”. That DeVille (of which I currently own one), is the eighth generation of DeVilles. That style began in model year 2000 and ran through 2005.
I recently purchased a 2007 DTS, which as you probably know stands for Deville Touring Sedan. While the DTS (model years 2006-2011) is quite similar in appearance to the eighth gen DeVille, it has a bit more updated front end and a taller rear deck lid with new, slimmer taillamps.
I was in the market for the newer Cadillac look, but couldn’t downsize to a CTS. I attend twenty car shows and cruises from April through October setting up a booth in support of SEMA’s Take a Kid to a Car Show program. I also have been writing the weekly Old Car Column for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch for the past sixteen years… over 800 stories in all. If my trusty Trailblazer is down, I resort to loading up the 600 pounds of TKCS gear in the trunk and back seat of the Cadillac. It barely fits, but I can cram it in if necessary!
The DTS is every bit as large as the eighth gen DeVille. As a matter of fact in wheelbase, overall length, height and width, the DTS is fractionally larger! The figures respectively are as follows:
DeVille- 115.3 / 207.2 / 56.7 / 74.5 / curb weight: 3,800 lbs.
DTS- 115.6 / 207.6 / 57.6 / 74.8 / curb weight: 4,009 lbs.
I just have to point out the discrepancy in your 2002 DeVille story. BTW, I just realized that I didn’t check the original publication date of your story to see if it was from 2002, in which case this entire e-mail is of no value, and I beg your pardon!
Anyway, keep up the great work. I enjoy your well-written stories immensely and look forward to each one.
Very truly yours,
Bruce Kunz- The FIN MAN
Hello Bruce! The Cadillac DeVille was redesigned totally for the 2000 model year. It had NO OTHER major redesign. All you are looking at is a model year when in fact the car was the same from 2000 until 2011. Oh sure, it had minor refreshing for the 2006 which included a new nose clip, rear deck lid bumper and taillamps. Otherwise…it is the very same car. If you place them side by side you’ll notice the same doors, roof, and glass. Engine and underpinnings are verbatim. Just like Ford did the Lincoln Town Car. The final revision was 2003 which ran until 2011 when the model ceased production. From 1998 until 2011 it was basically the same car with revisions. So no, it is not my error. I should have titled it 2000-2011 The Last of the Big Guns. My beater is a 2002 DeVille that I bought brand new and still am driving it with 139,800 miles on it and still runs like a scalded cat. It is the same car dude.
Okay, I’ll give you that. And, if you had titled the story “2000-2011” I suppose I would not have challenged it.
By the way, my 2002 has 160,000 miles on it and also runs like that scalded cat you referred to! The leather interior is in excellent condition, no tears or serious cracking. The car was totaled out six years ago by the big hail storm we had in 2013. We spent the money on other things including bills, and my wife said she didn’t mind driving the car with the dimpled sheet metal. So, drive it she did for another six years, turning it over to me when she moved to Australia in July of last year. (Long story.)
As far as I know it still has the original plugs in it. A few years back it was running a bit rough and I figured it was time for an old fashioned “tune up”. I happened in to a repair shop in Collinsville one day and asked the proprietor “how much will it cost me to get this thing tuned up?” Without hesitation and without even popping the hood, he replied “$800”! I said, not in so many words, “Thanks, don’t call me, I’ll call you.”
I took it to my regular mechanic in Pontoon Beach. He tore into it and found a cracked rubber boot between the intake and the intake manifold. Forty dollars for the part and $240 labor and it ran like a champ again… and still is to this day.
Many people warned me, when I bought the car, not to ever let it overheat. If it does, they said, pull over and call the tow truck. Shortly thereafter I learned that there are more than a few repair shops that won’t even touch a Northstar engine! If you have head problems on that back cylinder bank near the firewall, you can just about hang it up.
I also learned that it is not unusual for a Northstar to burn a quart of oil very one to two thousand miles. And, when you start them up on cold winter days, the sound is pretty scary! Clattering and clanking sounds that go away after the engine gets up to operating temperatures.
At least I’ve learned enough to not be scared to drive and own a Northstar. If cared for and treated properly, they can be long running engines. My DTS has only 86,000 on it and I’m looking forward to a number of good years down the road.
Thanks for your reply, and thanks for enduring my rambling prose! I appreciate it very much.