Handsome New Cadillac XT4 Teased at Oscars Before New York Debut

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
handsome new cadillac xt4 teased at oscars before new york debut

Cadillac is showing off the upcoming XT4 before its official debut at the 2018 New York International Auto Show by tossing it into a handful of commercials scheduled during the 90th Academy Awards. While the television spots seem to be intended to whet appetites prior to the vehicle’s launch later this fall, it’s the best look we’ve had at the model to date. That said, careful lighting and smoke machines allowed the XT4 to show plenty of leg without unbuckling its belt and giving us a real show.

The overall design is on par with what we’ve come to expect from present-day Cadillac, with vertical headlights cutting deeply into the front fenders. However, it looks to be a more shapely SUV than everything else the brand currently offers. Styling was clearly a priority here, and every element that identifies a model as a Cadillac appears to have been exaggerated without going too far.

With three ads geared up, Cadillac features the XT4 in two of them. The model is the primary focus in one spot, backed by the song Uptown Funk by Mark Ronson. In the other, it only makes a brief cameo as the brand highlights all the things that makes it great. While both can be accused of lacking substance, the brand should be praised for highlighting its products instead of trying to achieve consumer loyalty though a tacked-on narrative.

Last year’s Oscar ads from Cadillac took some heat for being too sanctimonious and focused on New York City. They weren’t terrible, but the brand took note of criticisms from dealers and outside experts and adjusted the game plan for 2018. Regardless, Cadillac’s marketing has vastly improved since its “Dare Greatly” campaign from 2015 — which associated the company’s vehicles with important people changing the world.

“Luxury brands don’t sell products, they sell dreams,” Cadillac’s then chief marketing officer, Uwe Ellinghaus, said at the time.

One of the ads didn’t even feature a product, just a woman narrating President Theodore Roosevelt’s “Man in the Arena” speech while we watched a POV shot from some vehicle’s bumper as it tooled around Manhattan.

“We thought we started off in a good place leaving last year’s Oscars, just in terms of making our products front and center,” Cadillac Director of Marketing Renee Rauchut told Automotive News in a recent interview. “I think looking at the past couple of years of ‘Dare Greatly,’ that wasn’t always the case.”

We would agree and, thankfully, those strange days appear to be over. Conveying sentiment is important in any car ad because people often make purchasing decisions for emotional reasons. But it’s incredibly easy to take things one step too far. Fortunately, the new commercials take about 15 steps back in the right direction, letting people know Cadillac is not some weird new religion — rather, it’s a quality automaker providing innovative products that it’s proud of.

The ads will air Sunday evening and the 2019 XT4 will be at the New York Auto Show later this month.

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2 of 48 comments
  • El scotto El scotto on Mar 03, 2018

    In my company's parking garage; there are few parking spaces that are reserved 24/7, then there are reserved parking spaces for management types. Yeah, the ones where people leave there windows/convertible top down in the summer time. This Caddy ain't getting parked there.

  • Tandoor Tandoor on Mar 03, 2018

    Navigator. Escalade. Cadillac HDFJKB? I already don’t care about it. Stop with the 3 letter nonsense.

  • Kwik_Shift Regardless, I have a good variety of on-going and current topics to scan through. if nothing, back to my USB stick of music. CB radio can be entertaining as well and useful when travelling a highway in inclement weather or bear traps.
  • Kwik_Shift If I'm in that situation of being in an unfamiliar area looking for an address/parking, I'll put on my hazards. If you want to pass, then pass. Otherwise you have warning.
  • Tassos Strictly a collectible, nota daily driver. Way too old. Even the Awesome S class from 1991-99 is getting to old to be a daily driver these days.
  • MRF 95 T-Bird The small van segment is quite popular in Europe. Many business owners and crafts people buy the Transit, the Renault Kangoo or Peugeot Partner since it fits their needs and can navigate the narrow streets. They should have done better here for folks whose Ranger or S-10 with a cap is getting old.
  • Kwik_Shift So well-used ones can be further overpriced.