By on September 18, 2018

2019 Cadillac XT4

“Dare Greatly,” Cadillac’s slogan du jour, is open to a wide spectrum of interpretation.

Daring greatly could mean being the first to achieve something of note, like when Amelia Earhart became the first female pilot to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean; it could mean being the first to not do something, like that one kid at school who talked to the new guy instead of making fun of him; it might even be refining or simplifying existing memetics, like Apple did when it changed the way we interact with music through the iTunes ecosystem. Then there’s the case of the late-arriving Cadillac XT4.

Sure, it may be the last of the major-branded luxury-compact crossovers to report for duty in a segment that has been glowing red hot for several years now, but Cadillac’s great dare in this space is a bet that consumers won’t really care which chicken came before the egg, just if there’s a vegan alternative to the omelette. As a late entrant, Cadillac claims it’s been able to study the segment, getting to know the intimate needs of the younger demographic it’s been working to understand and engage for the past five years. And if there’s one thing the thirty-something, upwardly mobile, cosmopolitan, condo-dweller loves more than engineering a career, spinning, and brunch, it’s a puppy.

So it’s not that surprising to find out that internally the XT4 project became affectionately known as the “Escalade puppy.”

Cadillac’s chief exterior designer, Robin Kreig, detailed how his team scaled the tough, overt, masculine bits of the Escalade down into something more digestible and approachable without abandoning Cadillac’s contemporary styling edge. From the ground up the XT4 is easy to look at: its big wheels, stretched wheelbase, squat stance, and widened track give it a set of oversized paws, compared to the spindly wheeled offerings from Lexus and Acura. Chiseled LED lighting elements both front and back strongly ape the Escalade, while the rear end shaping respectfully nods to the bygone and beloved CTS-V Wagon. Machined wheels, tasteful body sculpting, and an attractive hip-to-waist ratio further define the XT4 as distinctly Cadillac.

(Full disclosure: Cadillac flew me to Seattle and fed me, housed me, and offered me booze so that I could drive this new XT4.)

2019 Cadillac XT4

Interestingly enough, the drive for aesthetics actually required a new platform for the XT4 to ride on. While GM’s Epsilon platform already makes hay under products like the Buick Regal and Chevrolet Malibu, this is the first time the sedan platform itself has been used underneath a crossover, with the larger starting point directly enabling the stretched wheelbase and wide track stance. However, pedants will note that the Chi platform which underpins the Cadillac XT5 and GMC Acadia is actually a crossover-specific version of the Epsilon platform itself.

What’s clear almost immediately is that the XT4’s road manners are far closer to the sporty new Regal’s than they are to the cumbersome Acadia’s, while behind-the-scenes commonality between the Epsilon and Chi architectures allowed Cadillac to plug and play bits from the larger XT5. The front half of the chassis uses a solid-mounted front cradle and lateral cross bracing which provide a support structure for the MacPherson strut front suspension, out back there’s a five-link independent suspension borrowed in its entirety from the XT5.

The rear end is mounted to a fully isolated rear cradle system that’s been engineered to silence the boominess of open cargo areas. The additional lateral bracing is definitely noted on the ribbons of asphalt that run through the Cascade mountains outside of Seattle, just a touch of left-foot brake overlap when you chuck the XT4 into a B-road sweeper at two times the posted limit chasing a balding man with the roof of his Abarth 124 retracted will convince you the XT4 is more than sporty enough for the softcore existence it’s likely destined for.

2019 Cadillac XT4

I wouldn’t go so far as to call turn-in on the XT4 sharp or talkative, but you can be sure that anyone who calls it loose or vague is most certainly either lying to you, or not very good at understanding what their hands are telling them. It’s hyperbole of the greatest degree to claim the front wheels get lost through switchbacks. They don’t, they just don’t give you status updates every time a small pebble gets lodged in the tread like a 1996 Miata or something.

More parts from the XT5 filter their way down to the XT4’s option list. Its twin-clutch AWD system is an option across all trim levels, it’s also ostensibly the same GKN system on offer in the Focus RS, and it works to laterally move torque across the rear axle in order to help corner exit or to keep you from getting stuck, whichever comes first. In Tour mode you can completely disconnect the back half of the drive line to reduce parasitic losses. Sport models gain a version of the XT5’s Continuous Damping Control as part of the Active Sport Suspension package. The system isn’t quite as good as GM’s lights-out magnetic damper system, but as the engineers told me, CDC is also vastly more cost efficient and weight friendly, which is fine, as the XT4 is capable of filtering out all but the most vicious of road imperfections.

2019 Cadillac XT4

The whole package rides on a set of custom-developed Continental all-season tires which were designed to optimize the XT4’s performance metrics, along with adding a dash of quietness. Cadillac says more than a year was spent refining the compound and tread design of both the standard 18-inch and optional 20-inch tires, so don’t go skimping on rubber when it comes time to replace them.

In order to address some of the unrefined noise complaints leveled at its use of small, turbocharged four-cylinders, Cadillac went and got itself a new four-cylinder. The XT4’s 237-hp 2.0T is new from the ground up and sees significant changes made in the name of smoothness — namely, ditching the old engine’s square bore and stroke in favor of a longer stroke that made the engine silkier and torque-laden. The twin scroll turbo uses an electronic wastegate and offers a torque curve that is both fat and flat, delivering 97 percent of available twist between 1,500 and 5,000 rpm, which makes driveability and throttle application suitably linear, especially with Sport throttle mapping. The throttle mapping in Sport mode actually feels the most linear, it’s almost as if the engineers started from the Sport setting and simply retarded the response rate in order to achieve the softer feeling maps for the Tour and AWD modes.

2019 Cadillac XT4

At 118.5-hp per liter, it’s actually one of the most power-dense engines GM has ever created. It makes more jam pound for pound than the beefy, supercharged 6.2-liter V8 in the CTS-V. Go do the math, I’ll wait. Power makes it to the wheels via GM’s new nine-speed automatic transmission, which shifts smartly and crisply, keeping engine speed right in the meaty bit of the torque band. Even up long grades it was intelligent enough to keep itself from hunting around for a sweet spot. Gear shifts can also be actuated by the set of wheel mounted paddles, which are nice for downshifting, if anything, but the ECU is far faster and smoother, especially on the uptake.

XT4 also gains a new tripower valvetrain, which uses a unique sliding camshaft barrel to switch into different valve lift modes to either optimize power, efficiency, or cut the cylinder count in half. From a dig, the 2.0-liter can sound somewhat course until you shoot past 2,500 rpm, and you can definitely find some nasty harmonic vibrations between 1,300 and 2,000 rpm, especially if you go looking for them with the radio off. Moving toward the top half of the rev range there are extremely pleasing high-lift sounds, even if power and thrust decay rapidly near redline.

2019 Cadillac XT4

From a driveability standpoint, my only real issue with the XT4 was the absolutely numb feeling brake pedal. I’m talking stamping on a limp fish kind of numb, with literally no actuation in the first half inch of travel. The reason is because Cadillac has switched from an engine vacuum-driven master cylinder to one that’s driven electronically, in the name of efficiency, of course. But maybe it’s fine and the problem is that racing karts have made my foot too sensitive.

There’s definitely more room in the engine bay to fit something larger, be it in terms of displacement or cylinder count, but as of now there are no future plans to offer additional engine choices. When prompted over extracurricular beers one engineer told me bluntly: “No one who shops this segment cares about a V6.”

It’s true that the XT4 will be bought primarily based on cabin experience. Just about every surface is wrapped in soft leather, including the upper and lower sections of both the dashboard and the door panels. The seats are comfortable enough and are available with heated, cooled, and massage functions, there’s wireless charging, an air ionizer, and driving aids like surround vision, a rear camera mirror, adaptive cruise control, and collision mitigation, if you’re willing to pay. Interested in all of those options listed? Well, you’ll have to select six different option packages which will spike MSRP by some seven grand, and that’s before the $1,500 needed if you want navigation.

All shoppers do get 4G LTE connectivity and the totally revamped Cadillac CUE system, which is offered through an 8-inch diagonal touch screen interface, along with a new redundant rotary controller.

2019 Cadillac XT4

GM continues to offer one of the best infotainment systems in the industry: well laid out, easy to navigate, and fairly slick to look at. Additionally, there’s Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality, along with Near Field Connectivity which allows you to connect your phone in seconds by tapping it on the little NFC logo on the dash. The most used buttons are laid out horizontally beneath the touch screen. It looks like a mouthful of teeth, but at the same time it’s preferable to burying functionality within the screen. In fact, the only real part of the interior experience I didn’t like was the feel of the steering wheel, it was just chunky for no reason and very much felt like it came from the parts bin in Spring Hill, Tennessee.

Elsewhere in the cabin, Cadillac claims best-in-class rear-seat leg room, which is definitely believable if you spend any time whatsoever in the second row, another benefit of opting to use a larger donor platform. Just don’t expect to get both passengers and cargo in the back of the XT4. The decision to push the wheels to the corners absolutely murders the rear cargo area – you’ll need to fold the seats down to have enough room for two pairs of skis and weekend bags.

2019 Cadillac XT4

Lastly, XT4 also debuts Cadillac’s new Y trim strategy, which splits content off into two distinct streams of luxury and performance as you move up the trim ladder. Starting at $35,790, Cadillac PR is happy to throw around the title of most contented car in class, which is true. There is a ton of class-exclusive content available, available for a rapidly scaling price. The Sport model tested here, for example, stickered at north of $55,000. But then again that’s also really not that expensive in a world where both BMW and Mercedes have unleashed pricey performance models on unsuspecting Whole Foods shoppers and Lamborghini now makes SUVs.

Realistically though, the XT4 should help Cadillac print money, and at the end of the day that’s all that really matters.

[Images © 2018 Michael Accardi/TTAC]

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

Recommended

130 Comments on “2019 Cadillac XT4 First Drive – The Cadillac of Compact Luxury Crossovers...”


  • avatar
    NoID

    If I come to TTAC for one thing, it’s certainly not phoned-in review titles.

  • avatar
    RedRocket

    I like the looks of this although the cladding, like all cladding, leaves me cold. The interior looks nice too. When you take into account that nobody pays anywhere MSRP for most GM vehicles, I look for this to do well.

  • avatar
    gtem

    “From a dig, the 2.0-liter can sound somewhat course until you shoot past 2,500 rpm, and you can definitely find some nasty harmonic vibrations between 1,300 and 2,000 rpm, especially if you go looking for them with the radio off. Moving toward the top half of the rev range there are extremely pleasing high-lift sounds, even if power and thrust decay rapidly near redline.”

    Wow that sure sounds like a motor fit for a “premium” automobile that rings up at $55k lol. So let me get this straight, between idle and 2500 RPM it sounds like crap, but if you really wring it out its flat on the top end. Should owners just keep it in the presumed sweet spot of 3k-4k rpm then?

    • 0 avatar
      TwoBelugas

      I was just gonna say, what RPMs does this thing cruise at 45 and 70mph? I can’t imagine it having to turn at 3000 rpm on the highway or driving 45 in a 25 zone(like most newer Caddy owners I see what are trying to prove their sportiness) all the time just so the owner doesn’t have to listen to a “course”(!) engine and feel nasty vibes.

    • 0 avatar
      VW4motion

      You also have to take into account the bias towards Cadillac and American brands in general. Toyota can build a 4 cyl camry that vibrates your hands yet this is probably sold as a hand massager.
      Hands down this XT4 is damn sweet and not as generic as many other smaller premium suv’s.

      • 0 avatar
        gtem

        Toyota could build a car that expelled unicorn farts out of its exhaust and powered your house at the same time and you’d still sit there in a corner, foaming at the mouth and ranting about them.

        $55k for some hateful turbo-wheezer crossover? I just don’t get it I guess.

        • 0 avatar
          VW4motion

          XT4 starts at $34,795 this article added $1000
          All options yes the price goes up. Not so different from the anemic Toyota/Lexus NX
          Facts are facts, remove your emotions and make a critical thought. Ones issues with the XT4 is just excepted in other brands. Example the Camry. I test drove the 4cyl rental car last month. When stopped in drive the steering wheel felt like my old 1983 Jetta when the engine mounts wore out. But this is just fine with toyoda fan boys.

          • 0 avatar
            gtem

            Who said I was okay with the Camry’s “improved” noisy/clattery DI version of the 2.5 or the rest of that cost-cut disaster of a car?

            $55k is the price of the as-tested car, which is what I’m commenting on. I’d love to hear the $35k variant reviewed by an impartial reviewer, I’m guessing it would not go too well for the Cimarron-CUV.

            “remove your emotions and make a critical thought”

            I’ll give you even simpler advice: “make a thought.”

          • 0 avatar
            56BelAire

            How many $$$$ is the Northstar V-8 option?

            I want one.

      • 0 avatar
        NormSV650

        Especially the “parts bin” reference where a Acura or Lexus have linear feel with Honda or Toyota.

    • 0 avatar
      bumpy ii

      From the review:
      “significant changes made in the name of smoothness — namely, ditching the old engine’s square bore and stroke in favor of a longer stroke that made the engine silkier and torque-laden”

      That is not how that works. Undersquare (longer stroke than diameter) is torquey but rough; oversquare (shorter stroke than diameter) is smooth.

      • 0 avatar
        Featherston

        @ bumpy ii – That was my reaction as well. I suspect the change was in the name of efficiency: http://www.caranddriver.com/news/why-0-5-liter-cylinders-will-soon-dominate-automotive-engine-design

      • 0 avatar
        bunkie

        “That is not how that works. Undersquare (longer stroke than diameter) is torquey but rough; oversquare (shorter stroke than diameter) is smooth.”

        I think it’s a bit more complicated than that. Longer stroke means smaller and, hopefully, lighter pistons for a given displacement and a lower rate of piston acceleration/deceleration. I could see that careful matching of engine characteristics to transmission shift points could yield smoother operation using a longer stroke.

        • 0 avatar
          Featherston

          You’re very likely right, Bunkie. Apples and oranges, but ultra-smooth Packard straight 8’s were undersquare whereas rough Iron Dukes were oversquare. Bore/stroke ratio doesn’t exist in a vacuum.

          Nonetheless, I’d still guess the bore/stroke ratio was chosen for efficiency reasons. But that isn’t mutually exclusive to the factors you list. I’d have liked some insight from the author or from someone at GM.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      No different than a 4 banger German sedan costing twice the price, or literally any of this thing’s competitors.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Being exactly the same as the competition, when you *have* to be better because of your trainwreck past, is kind of a fail. I can’t really get in the mindset to buy this thing, but if I could, what incentive do I have to buy this over zee Germans? If everything is basically the same, I’m going Q5 or GLK all day long over this thing.

        • 0 avatar
          sportyaccordy

          Of all the places to beat the Germans, I’d say the engine is one of the least important and most difficult. Actually, considering how slow the top selling NX is, I almost wonder if the engine really matters.

          GM has to go back to its tried and true German fighting formula for now- big car for small $. Add to that with good design and a luxurious interior and they have something. This seems to have succumbed to some of the same pitfalls that killed the Alpha ATS/CTS.

          • 0 avatar
            Dan

            “Of all the places to beat the Germans, I’d say the engine is one of the least important and most difficult. ”

            Certainly not the most important, doubly so in chick cars like this one. But as far up the German pricing ladder as you have to go to get to their (admittedly really nice) boosted sixes, just putting the good motor in the $45,000 trims instead of the $70,000 ones would win everything between those price points by default.

            The number of people who care what’s under the hood certainly isn’t as large as I wish that it were. Maybe it’s not large enough to justify building cars for us.

            But the number of people buying Cadillac’s store brand at full price version of BMW is even less than that.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I agree with you on returning to the previous formula and that this may befall similar limitations as the Alphas did.

          • 0 avatar
            Featherston

            “considering how slow the top selling NX is”

            0-60 in 7.0 is slow?

        • 0 avatar
          NormSV650

          No, I believe Lexus is the competition for Cadillac to pass and keep out in front of in the non-sport t utility vehicle.

    • 0 avatar
      Michael Accardi

      It doesn’t sound crap, it just sounds like a regular 2.0T, it doesn’t go flat until 6,000, redline is barely north of that.

    • 0 avatar

      Yes, what is up with the mandatory 2.0 turbo ? It has become the engine for literally everything. A 2.0 turbo is for an FWD car, a hot hatch…NOT a car for which you want more than the average year’s income in places…

  • avatar
    Sub-600

    I like the old Cadillac crest that had the ducks on it. GGM should revisit that one, of course now they’d have to be Peking ducks.

  • avatar
    Superdessucke

    BMW might be in trouble if this has a nicer interior.

  • avatar
    Lightspeed

    Caddy could invent an entirely new market segment by ditching the cheap, gray wheel opening cladding and dropping the suspension 2-3 inches: Voila! The Compact Sport Utility Wagon!

  • avatar
    sckid213

    This model trounces the new Acura RDX. Whether or not it’s actually a better vehicle is to be seen, but in comparison the whole aura of the XT4 seems more mature, luxurious…a class above.

    • 0 avatar
      VW4motion

      I test drove the new RDX and it drove nice. Same drivetrain as in the Accord 2.0 T
      The interior on the other hand was clown like. Center stack looks like something from a 1984 sci-fi movie. Also you cannot get side roof rails standard. Dealer says they can drill into the roof to add the rails. Not something I would recommend on a $40,000 vehicle.

      • 0 avatar
        MLS

        The dinner-plate-sized Acura logo on the grille is also embarrassing. I parked beside a colleague’s new RDX the other day and involuntarily laughed aloud upon sight of the the outsize emblem.

  • avatar
    jack4x

    A $55K lifted Malibu. Offering that for sale with a straight face certainly is daring greatly.

    Luckily it makes more HP/liter than the CTS-V, that will really attract the millennials!

    • 0 avatar
      TwoBelugas

      IT works for a 55k lifted K platform Camry AKA Lexus RX.

      • 0 avatar
        VW4motion

        Thinking is not common place when referencing Toyota products on this site. But, yes you have a great point and this XT4 is damn nice.

        • 0 avatar
          jack4x

          The RX is nearly a foot longer and available with a V6 (If that doesn’t matter to buyers per the engineer, why would Toyota continue to offer the option?). It also carries the appeal of Toyota’s reputation, for whatever that is worth.

          While I find its price to be egregiously high as well, it’s more defensible than this thing.

          • 0 avatar
            APaGttH

            You did read the review right that the chassis is lengthened and the wheels moved out? Right. You know, like the RX.

            Given I can drop almost $90,000 on a 4 cylinder 5-series if so inclined, I would say most US buyers don’t care about V6s anymore.

          • 0 avatar
            jack4x

            Sorry if I was confusing, even the ‘short’ RX is a foot longer than the XT4.

            192.5 in vs 181.1

            15% more cargo space.

            And even if people don’t care how many cylinders it has, they probably care about 295 hp vs 237.

            To be clear, I wouldn’t buy either (or a $90K 5 series), but I think the RX is a lot more for your money than the XT4.

          • 0 avatar
            VW4motion

            XT4 is more in lines with the Toyota/Lexus NX
            XT5 is comparable to the RX.

          • 0 avatar
            56BelAire

            My wife has a 2015 RX350 and we love it…..except for the V-6, acceleration sucks, plus it gets what I consider crappy highway gas mileage at 20-21MPG.
            I miss my old DTS for trips which got 28-30 MPG highway.

          • 0 avatar
            gtem

            ’56Belaire,

            What kind of DTS did you have? Seems like a ’15 RX350 would have similar (or even better) acceleration times, 0-60 anyways. Unless you had similar complaints about the DTS.

          • 0 avatar
            Featherston

            @ 56BelAire & gtem – 0-60 for both that DTS and a ’15 RX 350 would be a tenth of a second or two below 7 seconds. (How that constitutes “sucking” is completely beyond me. Do people around here take driver’s ed in hypercars?) Fair to say the DTS was faster for its era, being a platform that was about a decade or so older than the 3rd-gen RX.

            If your DTS drove similarly to the 5th-gen Seville, then I’d agree it would have been a much nicer vehicle to drive than a 3rd-gen RX. RX’s are great in many respects, but ride-handling combination is not one of them. As others have commented, you can’t fool Isaac Newton. A sedan should drive better than an otherwise analogous CUV. I do love the isolation the RX provides, and I think a lot of people’s brains interpret that as a smooth ride.

            20-21 mpg is poor. My parents used to have a ’10 RX 350, and I got 25 mpg highway on two roadtrips. I think my parents would get high 23-24 typically. Prior to the RX, they had a ’99 Seville. Highway economy was exactly in line with your DTS’s. 29 mpg was what my father seemingly always calculated.

            I’d opine that the 2GR-FE is one of the great engines of recent years. It’s not the issue with the RX’s performance; the vehicle’s height and weight are. But I’d also agree that the Northstar definitely was more enjoyable.

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            jack4x and others talking about how small this is, in terms of wheelbase and overall length, are on to an analogous Achilles Heels shares with the ATS (one of many critical flaws that doomed the ATS) – cargo room.

            “Just don’t expect to get both passengers and cargo in the back of the XT4. The decision to push the wheels to the corners absolutely murders the rear cargo area – you’ll need to fold the seats down to have enough room for two pairs of skis and weekend bags.”

            This is not the only problem with this XT4 (price, build quality, motor harshness, CUE, Malibu donor platform and many others to numerous to list), but lack of rear cargo space to this degree in a vehicle of this type, where one has to fold rear seats down to get normal luggage for 2 (or maybe even 1) for a trip is a BIG problem, akin to the incredibly small and oddly shaped 10.0 cubic foot trunk of the ATS.

            People will inevitably claim I’m just criticizing Guangzhou-Guadalajara Motors (GM) again for the f*ck of it, but I’m not.

            These issues are big ones, and the paltry luggage/cargo space/area is a major problem among them.

            Let’s see how the reliability/durability of this thing holds up, also, because it’s not launching with a great amount of trust in those terms.

            So, this is a poorly packaged, relatively unrefined, grossly overpriced vehicle, based on what we know now.

            It could become much worse if GM’s typically QC issues plague it.

            And now for the surprise from the likes of I; the XT5 is probably the best vehicle (as long as one opts for the upgrade cluster/gauges) Cadillac makes. The XT5 is somewhat competitive with other manufacturers’ similarly sized and priced CUVs, much like the SRX was.

            Most CUVs are ho-hum, though, so what is that really saying?

            The XT4 seems to be a much worse value and competency proposition, with some really fatal flaws, unlike the XT5, however, given the XT4s extremely high price point for a compact CUV, its lack of cargo space, etc.

            The easy decision is to get a Mazda CX-5 for $25k, which will be better to drive, have more useable space, more brand prestige, look better inside and out, feel better inside, last far longer with far fewer issues than this laughably overpriced turd (orange peel rampant paint included) that is a shortened Malibu on stilts, and call it a day.

          • 0 avatar
            gtem

            Featherston the sad thing is the third gen RX350 is actually a smidge slower than the 2nd gen (’07-’09 with the 2GR) it replaced, owing to quite a bit of weight gain. Not even the upgrade to a 6spd auto from the old 5spd could offset the 400lb+ it picked up. Not sure what it gained from that mass, certainly not interior room or better materials, and it wasn’t exactly a loud car in the first place.

          • 0 avatar
            Featherston

            @ gtem – I think I looked up some of the same numbers as you, and I was similarly dismayed. It may’ve been Motor Trend’s website. I don’t have that web page open right now, but I think their post-facelift 3rd-gen was a tenth or so slower than their pre-facelift tester. My theory is that they added oil-filled dampers at each corner, a la solid-axle prewar luxury cars. ;-)

            OT: Did anyone else find this a specious criticism, “The decision to push the wheels to the corners absolutely murders the rear cargo area – you’ll need to fold the seats down to have enough room for two pairs of skis and weekend bags”? I’m genuinely curious: What non-pickup vehicles on today’s market can accommodate that cargo without folded seats? I’m guessing there are a handful of modes with a large pass-through or a 40/20/40 rear seat that allows for this, but it can’t be a long list.

    • 0 avatar
      Superdessucke

      I think that part’s fine. The author nailed it when he said “it’s true that the XT4 will be bought primarily based on cabin experience.” The driving dynamics of this, so long as they’re basically competent in daily low key commuting, won’t matter. The keys are going to be how soft the leather is, how big the cupholders are, and, most important, how well it integrates into your Smart Phone.

  • avatar
    RHD

    It’s slightly less ugly than a Hyundai, and has pretty nice wheels. But if you remove the Cadillac crest, and no one would know what brand it is.

    This late to the party, Cadillac should leapfrog the competition in every measurable category. But they don’t… there are too many other brands in the market segment that Cadillac used to occupy.

    It’s nothing really special or unique, so sales figures will probably be less than what GM wants. There are zillions of 2.0 four cylinder cars out there now. This will be just another duck among the flock.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      ^^This^^, right here as usual Cadillac/GM is offering up it’s least they can get away with while staying in the game. Late to the party with nothing more then mediocrity. 237HP?… adequate, as in Hyundai, Kia, Ford and Honda, which is fine, but I want more, not from Cadillac, go see BMW, Merc or Audi.

      I now know for sure that GM/Cadillac no longer wants to excel at anything they just want to phone it in, don’t make waves then pick up your pension. Dare greatly? Not from these folks

  • avatar
    thegamper

    I generally consider myself a fan of Cadillac, but I cannot get over the look of these crossovers, the Cadillac design language just works so much better on longer, lower vehicles. I’ll readily admit that I will not be in the market for a compact luxury crossover anytime soon or ever, but if it were my money, I would buy a CX5 for half the price and blow the rest on anything, literally anything. NASCAR commemorative plates…anything. I cannot wrap my head around the price approaching $60k either obviously, I don’t see the value in it. I have failed at the crossover craze apparently.

    • 0 avatar
      TwoBelugas

      “I generally consider myself a fan of Cadillac, but I cannot get over the look of these crossovers, the Cadillac design language just works so much better on longer, lower vehicles. ”

      Yeah well the CT6 sales isn’t exactly setting new records despite Caddy going back to long, low, and even RWD in segment for the first time in 20 years.

      • 0 avatar
        thegamper

        That is true. I didn’t buy last time around but I looked, for the first time ever. If this sells, which I assume it will, looks better than the XT5 anyway, that’s what matters.

  • avatar
    VW4motion

    Very nice vehicle. This should give Lexus and Audi customers a great option.

  • avatar
    ablenotready

    Certain angles it looks much like the Ford Edge. Happy that there is another contender in this ring as competition can be useful. I like the fact that Cadillac has smoothed some of the creases it is known for.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Y’all kept saying you wanted soft-riding Caddies. Well, here it is.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      They want anything Cadillac doesn’t do. If they came out with an Elderado 56 feet long with two V-8s going 0-60 in 1.2 seconds while riding like a cloud and handling like its on rails, they’d be complaining that it doesn’t compete with the Lexus NX and that’s where they SHOULD be.

      • 0 avatar
        jack4x

        All I want is something styled like the Elmiraj, that rides like a ’96 Fleetwood, and has an LT1 and a nice interior, for $75K.

        I’d forgive 10 overpriced crossovers in Cadillac’s lineup if they would offer me something that would actually represent American luxury. As it stands now, the best American luxury car is made by the Koreans.

        • 0 avatar
          Lie2me

          “All I want is something styled like the Elmiraj, that rides like a ’96 Fleetwood, and has an LT1 and a nice interior, for $75K”

          ^^My father^^

          He has literally said these exact words, except he wants it for $30K

  • avatar
    Hummer

    Looks a lot better than the arts and crafts design language they were using, but that’s about all I have for it. The miserable 2.0 should stay in the Audis where those things belong.

    The worst part of the entire car is the 2.0T badge on the back telling everyone you couldn’t afford a real Cadillac so you had to get the Cimarron of Cadillacs.

    • 0 avatar
      bumpy ii

      “What’s a XTA Zot?”

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      Again, you can spend almost $90,000 on a 4-cylinder 5-series right now.

      You can get a 2018 E-Class with a 4-cylinder to over $83,000.

      You can get a 2018 A6 to over $63,000 with a 2.0T.

      the Audi Q5 doesn’t even offer 6 cylinders and you can get the price to $58K.

      The “whaaaaa it has a 4-cylinder,” complaint is a trope at this point. Auto makers are building to global market and taxation demands and the largest car economy in the world, which isn’t in North America anymore.

      • 0 avatar
        gtem

        By the sound of the review, the gap in refinement and power delivery of something like a current gen Audi 2.0 TFSI and this new Caddy 2.0T is non-trivial.

      • 0 avatar
        Hummer

        Just because it can be done doesn’t mean it should. The US auto market is so big there shouldn’t be a single 2.0T engine for sale in its borders, yet for some reason we get the left overs from the rest of the worlds poorly constructed government regulations? Nah, this another nail in Cadillacs coffin, this car has no reason to be saddled with such a small and coarse engine.

      • 0 avatar
        drivelikejehu

        There’s a difference between what is theoretically possible on a ‘build your car’ page and what actually happens in the real world. But the 4 cylinders isn’t really the issue anyway, so much as the inferiority of the engine in the XT4 compared to the Germans. The interior appears to be vastly inferior as well. The value proposition on this escapes me.

        • 0 avatar
          APaGttH

          So wait, a “build your car,” load example for $55K on the XT4 is lambasted when it starts at $34.7K (see correction by another poster above) but an apples to apples comparison then of murdered out trim isn’t OK.

          Got it. As far as “superiority” the stop/start system in the Mercedes I recently drove makes the Malibu look refined in comparison – and the current Malibu is a steaming pile of cost cutting poop.

  • avatar
    gtem

    I don’t “get” luxury crossovers but a quick perusal online indicates that $55k is just $2k short of a Jaguar F-Pace S with a supercharged V6 making 380hp. Or get the “lesser” 3.0L supercharged V6 (340hp) and a higher “prestige” trim.

    I think the engineer isn’t grasping that most lay-people see more value in a supercharged Jaguar than they do in a two-point-oh-tee Cadillac crossover.

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      Based on what, F-Pace sales are in the toilet.

      *I’m a huge Jaguar fan but the sales numbers don’t match your observation. You can’t even get a 6-cylinder in an Audi Q5.

      • 0 avatar
        gtem

        Hmm, well my basic reasoning would have been Jaguar = fancier/more desirable/better looking than Cadillac and SUPERCHARGED V6 sounds like a lot more motor and is probably a hell of a lot nicer to drive than the 2.0T Caddy based on this review. The fact that the MSRPs are the same is just crazy to me.

      • 0 avatar
        NeilM

        “You can’t even get a 6-cylinder in an Audi Q5.”

        Sure you can. The 6-cylinder version is called the SQ5.

    • 0 avatar
      drivelikejehu

      No need to worry about that, the XT4 is brutally crushed by basically every small-medium size, 4-cylinder, German or Japanese crossover.

      The discounts on even the low- and mid-level XT4 trims will have to be very significant to move them.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Chevillac lost me somewhere between the Ipad dash and 2.0T, the engineer in question is incorrect.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    This is interesting. I still feel the exterior is a mix between the last 9-3 wagon and the Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross. I don’t see any Escalade anywhere on this thing. I think the Escalade’s design language could have worked on this and set it apart from the amorphous non descript competition.

    Bellyaching over the price seems silly. If GM is aggressive with their leases it won’t matter.

    My only fear is the size. It’s supposed to be a competitor to the GLA, X1 etc but it’s priced and sized very close to the GLC/X3 etc. Same with the XT5 I think. GM should have added another 5″ to both vehicles.

  • avatar
    ajla

    I’m not going to complain about the 2.0T because everyone is doing it and at least the XT5 still offers a V6.

    However, I am going to complain that the 2.0T used here is less powerful than the 2.0T offerings at the other GM brands and that Cadillac’s attempt at smoothing out the engine were unsuccessful.

    • 0 avatar
      NeilM

      “However, I am going to complain that the 2.0T used here is less powerful than the 2.0T offerings at the other GM brands and that Cadillac’s attempt at smoothing out the engine were unsuccessful.”

      Bingo. Refined and powerful 4-bangers just aren’t in GM’s playbook, and never have been.

      • 0 avatar
        sportyaccordy

        News flash, everyone’s DI 2.0Ts sound like mid 90s diesels. Some just dress it up with more sound insulation and synthesis.

        • 0 avatar
          gtem

          “Some just dress it up with more sound insulation and synthesis.”

          And for whatever reason, GM didn’t.

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            Plus, if it is going to be a thrashbox anyway, why not give it the full beans? What’s the gain of making your “luxury” CUV less powerful than the pleb brands? It gets the same fuel economy as the Equinox 2.0T and Regal TourX so I don’t even see any CAFE advantage.

  • avatar
    carguy

    To be clear, this competes with the X1, XC40, GLA and Q3 and is more expensive than all of them. In fact, its as expensive as a fully loaded X3 2.0 which is the next size up.

    It will also be full of the lowest bidder Chinese electronics that plagues the rest of the GM lineup.

    Make no mistake, it will sell – but with steep discounts.

  • avatar
    PJmacgee

    All other luxury makes are electrifying for easy smooth silent torque, so this is actually even more late to the luxury game. Ze germans have been foisting rough/dieselly sounding 4-bangers on us for years already. GM has Voltec, whyyyy isn’t that tech making it into more GM stuff yet??

    • 0 avatar
      Wodehouse

      Exactly!! Late to the game and nothing stands out or attempts to move the needle forward. It’s so safe and timid. Why does it not look like an Escalade Mini Me with an electrified or hybrid powertrain?

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    THERE’S NO NICER $55,000 MSRP LIFTED 4-BANGER CHEVROLET MALIBU ANYWHERE.

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    $55,000 MSRP CHEVRILLAC CADIBU.

  • avatar
    tomLU86

    It’s “coarse”, not “course”.

    ALso:

    The XT4’s 237-hp 2.0T is new from the ground up and sees significant changes made in the name of smoothness — namely, ditching the old engine’s square bore and stroke in favor of a longer stroke that made the engine silkier and torque-laden.

    I didn’t realize that a longer stroke made a 4-cyl, or any engine, ‘smoother’.

    I’m not disputing your claim, and I’m sure it is smoother. The current 2.0T (I have one) makes lots of power and revs smoothly (for me at least), but at idle it sounds rather plebeian. Also, when started up, it idles at 1500 rpm. Does anyone know why?

    Does the new 2.0L do that?

    But what disappoints me about the engine description is omitting that the old 2.0L had 259 hp. The new one has 22 less. It may be “one of the most power-dense engines GM has ever created”, but it is less so than the engine 2.0L that powers Regals, Cadillacs, and Chevys.

    • 0 avatar
      Dan

      “Also, when started up, it idles at 1500 rpm. Does anyone know why?”

      High idle at start up warms the cats up faster to meet emissions rules.

      Besides, who doesn’t want to back out of their driveway faster while you’re barely awake?

    • 0 avatar
      Michael Accardi

      at .9:1 the engine is barely undersquare, def not outside the realm of balancing. The old motor sacrificed refinement for performance, especially in ATS. It’s the main reason they decided to dumb it down. Also, Megan doesn’t care if the 2019 XT4 has less hp than a 2014 ATS does, especially considering it’s using a motor of the same displacement.

    • 0 avatar
      Featherston

      @ tomLU86 – Yeah, bumpy ii and I had the same question about that claim regarding smoothness. It’s a shame, because undoubtedly a lot of factors can affect smoothness, and it’d be interesting to hear a reviewer with some technical insight or a GM engineer weigh in. We didn’t get that here.

  • avatar
    Dan

    Accepting for the sake of discussion that 2000cc chitboxes are the future, and that a stitched dash and a $50,000 sticker make said chitbox a luxury, what makes this particular 2000cc chitbox in any way a Cadillac?

    It looks like a five year old Kia with an Acura grill.

  • avatar
    NN

    So is this made in Mexico or China?

    I like the looks of this, but it doesn’t look like a Cadillac…it looks like an AWD hatchback from Opel or maybe Mazda.

  • avatar
    probert

    Nicely written review. The car’s not my cup of tea, but it’s a handsome devil, and I sure do like that color.

  • avatar
    Art Vandelay

    “From a dig, the 2.0-liter can sound somewhat course until you shoot past 2,500 rpm, and you can definitely find some nasty harmonic vibrations between 1,300 and 2,000 rpm”

    So for the record, this sounds way more gen 1 Saturn SL than Cadillac.

  • avatar
    DC Bruce

    Having spent 10 years with a Saab 2.1 motor — that produced 250 hp without DI or VVT — coupled to a 5-speed automatic, I would say that, left to its own (electronic) devices and accelerating normally, the engine never reached 2500 rpm even going to 70 mph. The electronic gizmos obviously manipulated boost and throttle opening (more is better) to keep engine speed low and fuel economy high.

    It was not a model of smoothness compared to any V-6 i have owned or do own. The only smooth 4-cylinders I have owned, or driven, were of less than two liters displacement and did not have forced induction. And, other than idling at a traffic light, you never spun the engines less than 2k rpm.

    The “variable displacement” feature should really add to the roughness when it kicks in.

    If I’m forced to own something that looks like every other lump CUV out there (varying only in size) and its going to be powered by an agricultural engine, then what I’m going to own is just transportation. I don’t spend a lot of money on “transportation,” and I’m not seduced by “prestige.”

    Just another lump with 4 wheels and a big price tag.

    Buy a Honda CRV and be done with it. The money you save will provide a nice vacation.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      Neither a CR-V nor its ritz’d up cousin the RDX have an interior this nice. That alone may make the cost worth it for some, considering how many hours one spends in their car every week.

      • 0 avatar
        Hummer

        I’m sorry but how good are all those nice interiors in the Mercedes from this century stacked neck deep in junkyards doing? I can’t physically lay on my dash nor do I spend an inordinate amount of time carressing my dash. I’ve learned from years of being around old cars the only thing certain about a “soft touch” dash of any variety is that it will inevitably crack, peel, or otherwise look ratty with age. Give me a nice steel dash or hard high quality (longevity) plastic dash.

        Comfortable seats, that’s all that matters in basic transportation, if it’s going to be a 2.0turdnugget then it better be comfortable because that’s all it has going for it. No one is impressed about a $50k 5 series with a 4 cylinder, and no one looks down on you if your in a 20k Camry with a bigger engine than said turd.

        Buying a luxury car (outside of a handmade RR) is not like buying good furniture. When you buy furniture you clearly don’t go to Rooms to go or IKEA, you go to a local vender that hand makes his furniture with a team of skilled employees. You buy that furnture because you know your great great grandchildren can appreciate the craftsmanship of it 100 years later.
        When you buy a car, particularly an overly complex tiny boosted engine FWD chit box (clearly excluding trucks and valuable vehicles like BOF SUVs and American V8 cars that continue to attract interest years after being produced) you do so knowing full well it probably won’t be on the road in 20 years because it won’t be worth fixing a complicated system in a car that’s virtually worthless as anything other than basic transportation.

        So knowing that, why put your money down for a “nice” dash that will be junked in a couple decades.

        • 0 avatar
          Lightspeed

          Exactly! New cars may be initially very reliable, they handle well, have good power and economy. But, my sneaking suspicion is they have no durability. No, they likely won’t rust, but yeah, those soft dashboards will peel, that ‘piano black’ will fade, and those boost-baby 4-cylinders will burn themselves up beyond 15-years. I can’t afford new cars, so I look to durability. That means for me Lexus with V8, or Body on frame with V8 engines. My next ‘new’ car is likely a 2005 Lexus LS430, which I will drive for 10 years after I buy it. And that thing will still look nearly new with regular care.

          • 0 avatar
            APaGttH

            …And that thing will still look nearly new with regular care…

            A Hyundai Accent with regular care and kept in a garage overnight will look nearly new with regular care.

            I’ve got an ’85 Isuzu Impulse with 124K miles on the clock that looks nearly new because the original owner did regular care.

        • 0 avatar
          MLS

          Longevity simply doesn’t matter. The target audience will simply turn it in at lease end and pick up another.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    Cadillac had a ‘winner’ with the CTS wagon, in particular the CTS-V.

    Why couldn’t the just jack it up about 4 inches, bolt on an Escalade type grille, change the rear greenhouse/window, add some cladding and chrome and market the heck out it as a ‘sport CUV’?

    And I tend to agree with the comments of ‘Hummer’ above.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      So something like this?

      img.autobytel.com/2006/cadillac/srx/2-550-oemexteriorfront-39808.jpg

      Unfortunately for Cadillac and Infiniti they were building “enthusiast CUVs” back when the segment was still in its infancy and those offerings didn’t find sustained success. Now neither brand seems interested in giving it another go even though crossovers are red hot and “sporty” versions are becoming more common.

      • 0 avatar
        Arthur Dailey

        If they could change the appearance of the side/rear, then add in either the engine from the CTS-V, or a 3800 or an LT-1, heck even an updated Northstar and I would like to see how the market reacts.

        And the development costs would have been rather minimal.

        Would have loved to see a Cadillac version of the Maloo for the horsey set.

  • avatar
    Jerome10

    Oh boy, another 2.0L turbo luxury car!

    I’m with Hummer. At this point, are you really getting something much nicer at this price than a well-equipped Honda Accord or Ford Fusion with a 2.0T?

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    From the Best & Brightest:

    * The new Cruze is just a Daewoo, it will never sell and the quality will suck
    * No one will buy a Buick Encore
    * Just wait until the competition comes out, no one will buy a Buick Encore then
    * Sub-compact SUVs are just a passing trend and will go away soon
    * No one will pay fullsize truck money for a midsize truck
    * No one will drop $100K on a Cadillac Escalade
    * No one will drop $75K on a Chevy Suburban
    * Chrysler can survive with a two-product lineup
    * No one wants a luxury car with a 4-cylinder engine

  • avatar
    cimarron typeR

    Actually most people in the near luxury wont be able to tell the difference between a 4 or 6cyl motor.As much as we can make fun of this one, GM will move a pile of them, I mean the Encore is a top seller . It has a nice interior and a quiet unobtrusive motor(C&D thought the motor was at least in their First Drive)
    I’m hope this new 4 will end up in their sedans. My only gripe with the ATS was the coarse motor ( as compared to a VAG product, N20 etc.).Not CUE, not interior space.
    BTW I got the Get Shorty reference. I even watched the reboot Epix serial on cable (not as good)

  • avatar
    Drew Cadillac

    Great review Michael, lots of info here that you don’t see elsewhere. Based on this write-up, I don’t think those relatively disappointing horsepower and torque numbers will hurt sales, IF people test drive the XT4. However if they simply compare numbers, the XT4 might lose out in that game.

    It’s interesting that one of the strength of the XT4 is apparently the sporty driving dynamics. That’s nice I guess, but how important is that to the likely buyers of a small luxury SUV/CUV? I would think the buyers of this segment care about things like cargo space (where the XT4 comes up very short for the relative exterior size, even with back seats down) and interior luxury.

    It seems to me that XT4’s heavily plastic interior (including vinyl seating in the lowest trim)is not very “luxury”. And while seating needs to be experienced, those front legroom numbers below 41″ do not exactly scream “Cadillac” or luxury. Also the gear shifter is apparently non-traditional when it comes to reverse, which may irritate some people during the test drive.

    As far as the exterior, this may be the best-looking little SUV/CUV out there. If exterior looks equal sales, this could sell well. But I’m disappointed that the XT4 breaks with Cadillac’s long iconic vertical taillamps, which hearkened back to the old tailfin days. Apparently Johan de Nysschen really loved the way the new XT4 taillamps looked, but he clearly didn’t understand what made Cadillac iconic to North Americans and beyond.

    As far as the soft or mushy brakes, I hate those in any car. And it might kill some of the enthusiasm from the “sporty car” market, even though I don’t think that group is going to be looking much at this segment anyway. But if one of the attractions here is the sporty driving dynamics, too bad that didn’t extend to the feel of the brakes.

    All in all, credit to the exterior appearance but beyond that it seems to be a mixed bag, even less than an average mixed bag. It doesn’t seem to be great on utility with the small cargo space, it doesn’t seem to have a roomy front or luxury interior (and why can’t Cadillac drop these ridiculous “base” models which are in no way close to Cadillac standards?) and when you get it nicely equipped, it doesn’t seem nicely priced. Who knows if this will sell; the target market is apparently rich people under 33, and I’m not in that demographic.

  • avatar
    MLS

    This review is the most positive take on the XT4 I’ve yet read. Most others have deemed the vehicle middling.

  • avatar
    bufguy

    To all those complaining of the price….go to the BMW website and build an X!. An X1 is a transverse engined vehicle that shares its platform with MINI….Front drive based with a transverse 2.0 liter turbo engine that makes 227 hp….Load it up….over $53,000


Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Recent Comments

  • jacob_coulter: Less taxes are not the same thing as a handout.
  • sgeffe: Next time, he’ll buy the damned TruCoat! “You’re darn tootin’, I gotta deal for ya!”
  • Hummer: Sporty, True about focus and fusion already built elsewhere. Though an executive car like a new Crown Vic...
  • bumpy ii: The Frontenac had maple leafs on the hubcaps.
  • NoID: [TRIGGERED] I can’t say that any of that money is specifically slated for veterans, but in 2018 FCA...

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Staff

  • Contributors

  • Timothy Cain, Canada
  • Matthew Guy, Canada
  • Ronnie Schreiber, United States
  • Bozi Tatarevic, United States
  • Chris Tonn, United States
  • Corey Lewis, United States
  • Mark Baruth, United States
  • Moderators

  • Adam Tonge, United States
  • Corey Lewis, United States