The new entry-level SUV, the Cadillac XT4, may very well be the best of all Caddy SUVs. It’s got style, performance and luxury.
I feel like I’ve been waiting years to write these words: This Cadillac, A CADILLAC, is a right proper alternative the nearly invincible German luxury car brands. As far as I’m concerned, this is huge.
It’s strange, really. I might be off my rocker but although I do like the Cadillac CT6, thought the ATS and CTS were nice, I never did get a sense that they were going to make a dent in their respective segments.
This is more or less how I feel about the upcoming CT5. It’s completely sexy but, in Canada at least, is unlikely to steal market share from Audi, BMW and Mercedes. On the SUV side, the XT5 is fine, the Escalade is old and my expectations for the new XT6 are mild at best. What’s strange I think I can sense the effort GM put into all these vehicles only to see them under-perform. Not so with the XT4.
Having fun with a Cadillac
Now, I’m not saying the new Cadillac XT4 will shred the Audi Q3, BMW X1/X2 and Mercedes-Benz GLA (it should this one until the new one comes) but that given the chance, it will win over many buyers.
The XT4 gives off a sense that those in charge of the project had more fun with design and were given far more liberties when it came bringing it all together. Of course, they had specific guidelines to follow and targets to meet but the result is too good in my mind to imagine strict black or white rules had to be obeyed.
It is very much possible that the XT4’s format lends itself better to exercising creativity as opposed to meeting expectations. Some might say that because the XT4 is an all-new nameplate, there was no legacy to build on. With the exception of the Escalade and CTS, no other model has a name older than five or six years – they have no history. As Caddy put it, this is a “New Approach. New Departure.”
The new XT4 is in fact fun. I see it as Caddy letting its hair down and giving its target market and beyond what they actually want.
This is what “they” want
The Cadillac XT4 is not pretentious, but it is classy and upscale looking. The proportions are tout and determined and perfectly framed by the best interpretation of Cadillac’s signature head-and taillights. So good is the XT4’s styling that the XT5 looks like an old hunched man in contrast.
The XT4’s youthful design carries on within the confines of its lovely interior. The dashboard is clean, sparse almost, as the principal switchgear is found on two horizontal that are accessible, unlike what’s found in the new Chevy Blazer for example. The standard 8-inch touch-sensitive display is trendily integrated into the top part of the center stack. Importantly, the latest version of the Cadillac user experience system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto is seamless and beautifully displayed.
The cabin is quite roomy as well. Trunk volume is limited but those who will consider the XT4 are unlikely to be the kayakers and campers. They’ll only need to boot to put re-useable shopping bags after a sprint through the mall. The rear seat is spacious and well suited for two, maybe even three friends. Up front it’s all good.
The list of standard features is also on point as even the $34,400 base Luxury FWD version includes a heated steering wheel, multi-way power adjustable heated front seats including lumbar, is 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot capable, dual-zone automatic climate control and way more. Truthfully, an AWD Luxury XT4 at $37,795 is nearly a bargain.
Despite what all the kids say today, or at least what their IG accounts and Facebook pages say, they ain’t got all that much money but they need to look the part.
And it’s good to drive to boot!
The standard-for-all turbocharged 2.0-litre 4-cylinder engine produces a healthy 237-horsepower and 258 lb.-ft. of torque. Mated to the included 9-speed automatic transmission makes for entertaining accelerating and passing manoeuvres. The AWD system is a must-have option but comes with an odd bug: AWD needs to be manually engaged in order for it function… This is backwards thinking on behalf of GM.
The Caddy XT4’s solid structure allows for compliant dampers which make light work of some of the worst roads you can think of. The Sport version includes adaptive dampers that will limit body roll that is prominent in the non-Sport trims. Myself, I really enjoyed the extra wheel travel.
The value I mentioned
My Premium Luxury tester is all set for life in the hot lane. At $42,795 it is loaded but as tested, with the Radiant, Driver Assist and Technology packages, it goes for nearly $54,000. Although it has everything at this point, lies heavily in fewer optional packages.
What’s important is that at $43k, the XT4 looks premium and expensive. You’ll need to spend over $45k on the BMW X1 and Audi Q3 to begin matching features and for once, I don’t think the German brands deserve to carry more clout because of their logos. Now, all GM has to do is want to sell the XT4.