By on November 4, 2019

2019 Cadillac XT4 front quarter

2.0-liter turbocharged four (237 hp @ 5000 rpm, 258 lb/ft. @ 1500 rpm)

Nine-speed automatic transmission, all-wheel drive

22 city / 29 highway / 24 combined (EPA Rating, MPG)

22.7 (observed mileage, MPG)

10.9 city / 8.2 highway / 9.7 combined (NRCan Rating, L/100km)

Base Price: $42,790 US / $44,995 CAD

As Tested: $51,585 US/ $56,160 CAD

Prices include $995 destination charge in the United States and $2200 for freight, PDI, and A/C tax in Canada and, because of cross-border equipment differences, can’t be directly compared.

The race to fill every nook and niche within the crossover market is on. No gap between existing models is too small, as consumer demand for tall wagons seems insatiable. A crossover for every purse, right?

Cadillac has often been seen as trailing broad trends over the decades, and fittingly the lux brand from GM has been sedan-heavy of late. Still, the midsize XT5 has been selling well, so shrinking it a bit to fit more wallets makes sense. Thus, this 2019 Cadillac XT4 has appeared. Will it, like the marketers claimed years and years ago, become the standard of the world?

2019 Cadillac XT4 profile

Going on styling alone, the XT4 is a winner from all angles. The swooping LED running lamps defining the leading edge of each front wheel well are a lovely exaggeration of the more muted lamps on big-brother XT5. The pentagonal grille neatly apes the outline of the instantly recognizable Cadillac crest. The pair of creases on the hood create a traditional power bulge that doesn’t make sense on a transversely-arranged four-cylinder, but it still fits.

2019 Cadillac XT4 front

Squinting a bit at the profile, I see a bit of Ford Edge with more, well, of an edge. While I am fundamentally opposed to 20-inch wheels and the corresponding low-profile tires that tend to harsh the ride, the design of these 10-spoke alloys simply looks right here.

2019 Cadillac XT4 rear

Out back, the taillamps smartly flank the rear glass – the unique bit here is the clear lenses on the brake lamps. A feature well known in the import aftermarket as an “Altezza lamp” after the similarly-equipped Japan-market version of the Lexus IS300, poorly-made versions of these tails flooded tuner mags for a decade. I’m surprised to see them here, but they look stunning in this application.

2019 Cadillac XT4 interior

Unfortunately, the sheetmetal is the highlight of the entire XT4 package. The interior is not up to par. While it’s reasonably roomy and comfortable, the materials feel out of place in a car stretching to over $50k. The dash and the door panels tops are swathed in a decent-enough leather-like material, but the plastics used below the beltline are hard and cheap looking. The metal-finished HVAC buttons look and feel good, but a matching set of secondary buttons below would have been better than the cheap-feeling plastic switchgear for the seat heat/vent, hazard lights, parking sensors, and lane-keeping.

2019 Cadillac XT4 dashboard

The eight-inch touchscreen for the infotainment works well enough – GM’s audio controls have come a long way. However, in the XT4 the screen is tilted a bit too far toward horizontal, giving an awkward glare when viewed in the wrong sunlight – or in this photo. For those who might struggle to reach the screen, the console-mounted knob works intuitively.

2019 Cadillac XT4 center stack

Rear-seat comfort is good for this class, though the tall driveline hump can interfere when your kid unexpectedly invites a friend along for the ride and someone has to sit in the center seat. Here again, the cheap plastics are on display, making one unsure if you actually bought a Cadillac.

Driving the XT4 does little to change opinions. The drivetrain is jerky, with a serious lack of smoothness to throttle application. The nine-speed automatic never seems to be in the right gear, so it shifts constantly. Power isn’t bad for a 2.0-liter turbo at 237 hp, but the indecisive transmission leads to slower stoplight drags than you’d expect.

2019 Cadillac XT4 front seat

The suspension is equally unpleasant. I’m baffled, honestly, as I know the roads around Southeastern Michigan (where the XT4 was developed) are just as awful as the tarmac here in Ohio – but a simple freeway expansion joint will send loud shudders throughout the cabin. The constant craters and cracks on my regular commute elicits a cacophony of thumps and creaks at my ears and seat. Further, sound deadening isn’t well managed, as wind noise around the A-pillar fairly booms through the passenger compartment at interstate speeds. The lack of poise is completely inexcusable at a thirty-thousand-dollar price point. At this sticker price, it’s laughable.

2019 Cadillac XT4 rear seat

Like I mentioned, everyone is getting in the compact crossover game. General Motors has one for each of its four brands in North America. At least GM is differentiating the four models much better than they did a few decades ago, back when every marque needed a subcompact sedan.

Unfortunately for GM, the company made its premium brand trucklet somewhat less appealing than the models below it in esteem. If I’m buying a crossover from GM with my own money, I’m headed down to pick up an Equinox from Chevrolet. While this Cadillac XT4 looks better from the outside, the rest of the car isn’t worth the premium.

2019 Cadillac XT4 rear quarter

[Images: © 2019 Chris Tonn/TTAC]

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52 Comments on “2019 Cadillac XT4 AWD Sport Review – In a Realm All Its Own...”


  • avatar
    carguy

    It’s the BMW X1/Volvo XC40 competitor that cost as much as as BMW X3/Volvo XC60.

    Nothing wrong with he vehicle but the price is delusional.

  • avatar
    rpol35

    I guess I have gotten old before my time; I can’t imagine who would want, or why they would want this car.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      Yea, I know they aren’t all the same platform but it doesn’t seem like you give up much going for the Terrain, Equinox, or Envision. Outside of GM, the Corsair seems like stiff competition for this (assuming Ford isn’t having any quality issues on the launch).

  • avatar
    dal20402

    GM was really getting interiors right for a few years around 2010. A shame that the cost-cutting has become so obvious again in the latest products. If you can’t have a nicer interior, there’s no reason to spend $10k extra to buy this rather than a mass-market 2.0T CUV.

    Those are some pretty wheels, though.

  • avatar
    RedRocket

    One of these (a rental) is in my driveway as I type this. I see few of the issues the author notes. Mine is not a Sport trim but a Luxury Premium I believe so perhaps that explains much. It has 18″ wheels instead of 20″ and the ride is composed on all surfaces.The usual BS about hard plastics (straight out of Chapter 3 of the Beginner Auto Writer’s Guide to Reviews) is hardly worth noting – the only hard plastics I noted are on the door bottoms where shoes are likely to contact the trim. Perhaps the author wishes for a return to carpeted lower door panels like in the 1970s, a move I would support. He failed to note the cushioned sides of the center console where your knee touches it, something that impressed me. Complaining about the quality of the plastic buttons used for minor controls is a new one on me – for the record, I checked the ones in my rental and they seem to be the same quality of plastic as used in the BMW and M-B models I have encountered recently. My one complaint is that I would like more engine power and less engine noise. Other than that, I was quite impressed.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      @RedRocket – I too struggle with the “hard plastics” complaint on any vehicle. If hard plastics are in a place where you routinely touch i.e. arm rests or consoles then that is a legitimate complaint. Elsewhere? WTF? I grew up in pickup trucks with almost all metal interiors.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        I don’t care about the hard plastics on the bottom of the doors. Whatever. What I *do* care about on this car is the stuff that’s at eye-level, and it’s all blah-looking, and blah-feeling.

      • 0 avatar
        Mike Beranek

        Agreed, the “hard plastic” in many GMs is practically indestructible and comes clean with a damp cloth.
        Have you looked at the soft interior panels on a 15 year-old Lexus? Cracks, tears, rips, ugliness all over the place. Fine for the first owner who will trade it in early, but makes it more of a disposable car.

    • 0 avatar
      Robotdawn

      I pretty much tune out the hard plastics chatter in car reviews. In fact, I consider it a big strike against any reviewer who mentions it nowadays. Every car has hard plastics where it makes sense to do so, and they should.

      RedRocket, thank you for the review as well. This has been short-listed for my wife’s next vehicle. Glad to hear someone who likes it.

      Also, I’m pretty sure the XT4 and XT5 are unrelated. XT4 is on the same platform as the Malibu, and is built in KC as well. XT5 is on the same platform as the Acadia-Blazer-Terrain-Equinox compact and mid-size CUVs GM builds. Perhaps the Malibu and the others CUVs are essentially the same, I wouldn’t know, I’m not an engineer.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      ” My one complaint is that I would like more engine power and less engine noise”

      Don’t you think that a Cadillac at this price point should of had that issue covered first thing? GM should be putting their best engines in all their Cadillacs. Up until Cimarron I never remember a Cadillac being under powered or noisy

    • 0 avatar
      thegamper

      My issue with hard plastics is more to do with looks. The materials that are intended to mimic aluminum or other metals often fail and just looking cheaper than actual plastic. Not only that, but some of these smooth plastic surfaces are too easily scratched.

      I dont know, for me it is a legitimate complaint, not one that would really be a deal breaker necessarily, but some cars take cost cutting measures that are so painfully obvious and could be so easily and cheaply remedied with better materials. Just one of those things where you can look at a piece of interior trim and say, “boy, sure would have been worth an extra ten dollars to make those out of actual aluminum”. I guess everything is built to a cost, but when you take highly visible elements/parts and cheap out, it is baffling to me at times.

    • 0 avatar
      Astigmatism

      I discounted the “hard plastics” complaint until I test drove a mid-aughts Saab 9-5 (not the short-lived one before the company went under, but the restyled version of the one that had been around since the late 90s), which looked nice enough in the photos but looked and felt like complete and utter cr_p in person. I may not touch the upper dash trim or the side of the center console all that much, but you can tell by looking when it’s made from econobox materials. If you care about being able to clean your car with a feather duster above all else, you’re welcome to it.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    I drove one of these new XT4s, and thought it was competitive, in terms of presentation. The plastics aren’t any cheaper than what you’d find on a BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Audi, or Volvo in this price range.

    I think the real issue is the diminutive styling. Especially with the lack of rear quarter panel windows, it looks more like it competes with the subcompact cars (GLA-Class, XC40, Q3, X1 and X2, etc). In fact, this is Cadillac’s compact offering (X3, Q5, XC60, GLC-Class), and it is on a very short version of GM’s midsize C1XX transverse-engined crossover platform—instead of the D2XX setup used by the Equinox, Terrain and Envision—which literally makes this a sawn-off XT5.

  • avatar
    dividebytube

    That dash looks very BMW-esque to me, like GM said: “copy that” and moved on.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Fifty two grand for this turd. Jesus wept.

    Not so long ago, Cadillacs were flawed, but generally had *something* compelling about them. The Alpha sedans might have had unconvincing interiors, but they had style, and their chassis were outstanding. The Escalade might be a Tahoe clone, but it’s first-class bling.

    Now we have this, and the CT5, and the only thing either compels me to do is shop elsewhere.

    Folks around here have been saying for a long time that it’s time to set Cadillac adrift in the frozen tundra, like an elderly Eskimo of old, and I disagreed with them. Now we have this silly little lump. I’m beginning to come around.

    • 0 avatar
      ttiguy

      No argument here about 52k being nuts. Keep in mind this one is about as pricey as they get I think. In reality the price is marked up, just to be marked down. The oldest GM trick around. I’ll bet most sell in the 45-47k range.

      As far as the CT5 goes, aside from the controversial C-pillar design it appears to be pretty well sorted out. Alpha chassis, much lower price and an updated/very competitive interior design.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      I’d be okay with the CT5 and CT4 if they offered more motor. With the “XT” stuff I have a tough time figuring out what premium/luxury CUV buyers are looking for.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      No that’s just dyslexia, the price is $25,000 not $52,000.

    • 0 avatar
      RedRocket

      The test vehicle had $12K worth of options, which means pretty much everything was added that could be added. Most are not that expensive and as was noted by others, they are not sold at sticker price. It is a bizarre strategy but there it is.

      Day two of my rental and I remain baffled by the author’s conclusions. Mine shifts fine, no jerkiness. My only complaint in that area is the BMW-like electronic shift lever which I’m sure one gets used to after a while but which continually baffles me. He also noted wind noise around the A-pillar. Mine has none. The interior is nicely done, with French-seamed pleather covering the dash and upper door panels. Mine has real textured aluminum trim where real wood could also be ordered. I had no issue with reflections on the infotainment screen.

      Re. my comment above about engine power and engine noise: the vehicle is zippy enough in the power dept, but I would like an optional power upgrade choice. The engine noise was a surprise to me and they need to address that. It seems like an odd oversight, or maybe they think it is in line with Cadillac’s newish “driver’s car” mindset. However that is really the only negative I found. It is roomy, comfortable, well-trimmed inside, handles well and drives nicely. I like the looks but that is subjective of course. I just find this review very much at odds with what I am experiencing.

  • avatar
    Menar Fromarz

    Thats a beautiful shade of Cimmaron!

  • avatar
    Lou_BC

    “The drivetrain is jerky, with a serious lack of smoothness to throttle application. The nine-speed automatic never seems to be in the right gear”

    That appears to be a common complaint with various vehicles made by GM. One of my local GM dealer mechanics was telling me recently that GM can’t seem to make a vehicle that shifts right. I was talking to him about pickups mostly. Their diesel trucks are okay (Colorado included) but other stuff could use some work.

    • 0 avatar
      2manycars

      A nine-speed automatic is ridiculous. No wonder the thing doesn’t work right. Probably never will. All you really need are two or three speeds, four at the most. Anything more is just asking for problems.

  • avatar
    Lokki

    For me, I just can’t see the appeal. It has the appearance of an entry level Cadillac, which at $52K perhaps it is.

    However, I still have trouble with answering the question, “Why choose Cadillac?”

    I could make a justification for the upcoming 2020 CT6-V – a big, powerful, sexy, American car. Then there’s the Escalade if you’re into the “Yo baby! I got Bling! thing…. But bet on those, I got nuthin.

  • avatar
    Conslaw

    Seeing this CUV for $52,000 makes me think Chrysler gets a bum rap when people say its $50,000 Pacifica Hybrid – full zoot suit, with more equipment than this Cadillac – is overpriced, especially since the tax credit brigs the effective price to $42,500.

  • avatar
    jkross22

    The pricing is 20k too much. This middling effort is so blatant and so in our face as to be an insult.

    The styling is fine. It looks like a Cadillac which isn’t a compliment, but at least I know what it is.

  • avatar
    ToolGuy

    I am not in the market for a Cadillac. If you are, congratulations.

    Having said that:
    – My 14-year-old daily driver has more power and gets better fuel economy than this vehicle.
    – I am pretty sure I have less than zero interest in driving a 2019 Cadillac XT4 AWD in 2033 (14 years from now). I shudder to think at the list of problems this could develop between now and then.

    tl;dr – Knock yourself out, but I don’t get it.

  • avatar
    LectroByte

    52 thou and I don’t even get a wiper for the rear window like the new Escape my brother-in-law just bought? Or is it hidden at the top under that overhang?

  • avatar
    Jerome10

    I don’t know anything about this car other than I think the exterior style is spot on. Looks great every time I see one.

    Just want to comment that we’re talking a bit over $50k for this…just a few days ago we were talking about a $50,000 Toyota Tacoma!

    I’m not excusing it, its just that it seems the price of everything is getting jacked lately since everyone seems willing to borrow money with artificially low interest rates to buy things that cost too much.

  • avatar
    monkeydelmagico

    Almost every single small lux SUV would be a better choice than this. Even with $10k on the hood I’d still probably pick something else. Cadillac is in trouble. Again.

  • avatar
    krhodes1

    Looks great on the outside, kind of meh on the inside, and the sadly usual underwhelming GM small-vehicle powertrain, and stupidly priced. Hard pass, though I am sure it will be a perfectly fine rental for me once Hertz buys a pile of them, as they inevitably will.

  • avatar

    Cadillac: great product, horrific marketing starting with names.

    nice vehicles the public shuns due to image.

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    “The suspension is equally unpleasant. I’m baffled, honestly, as I know the roads around Southeastern Michigan (where the XT4 was developed) are just as awful as the tarmac here in Ohio – but a simple freeway expansion joint will send loud shudders throughout the cabin. The constant craters and cracks on my regular commute elicits a cacophony of thumps and creaks at my ears and seat. Further, sound deadening isn’t well managed, as wind noise around the A-pillar fairly booms through the passenger compartment at interstate speeds. The lack of poise is completely inexcusable at a thirty-thousand-dollar price point. At this sticker price, it’s laughable.”

    ^^^Cadillac, and GM, a total f*cking disgrace, with absolute imbeciles running the company. Here’s a asininely priced rebadged Chevy Equinox, wearing the Cadillac emblem, little piece of crap, rolling dumpster fire, chock full of Chinesium-produced parts, with pitiful ride quality, awful unibody structure,
    that allows for body shudders, and an inexcusably creaky and loud interior – at the 50k mark.

    There are vehicles from competitors in spades that ride way better, way more quietly, with way better interior materials, AT THE 27K TO 35K PRICE POINT, THAT WILL ALSO BE FAR MORE DURABLE, RELIABLE, AND THAT HOLD A MUCH HIGHER % OF THEIR RESALE VALUE.^^^

    “Unfortunately, the sheetmetal is the highlight of the entire XT4 package. The interior is not up to par. While it’s reasonably roomy and comfortable, the materials feel out of place in a car stretching to over $50k. The dash and the door panels tops are swathed in a decent-enough leather-like material, but the plastics used below the beltline are hard and cheap looking. The metal-finished HVAC buttons look and feel good, but a matching set of secondary buttons below would have been better than the cheap-feeling plastic switchgear for the seat heat/vent, hazard lights, parking sensors, and lane-keeping.”

    ^^^SAD. GM will need another quick-dunk prepackaged Bankruptcy – it’s inevitable even after al the prior debts they discharged in their recent, prior BK. They literally do not deserve any more chances, especially if a single penny of taxpayer money or government subsidy is provided to them. They are our British Leyland. Dirt Nap For Good Is Necessary.^^^

    “Unfortunately for GM, the company made its premium brand trucklet somewhat less appealing than the models below it in esteem. If I’m buying a crossover from GM with my own money, I’m headed down to pick up an Equinox from Chevrolet. While this Cadillac XT4 looks better from the outside, the rest of the car isn’t worth the premium.”

    Don’t buy either the XT4 or Equinox, which are the same vehicle anyways.. Both are dumpster fires. GM sucks so badly that it’s literally impossible to sufficiently describe how badly given the constraints of the English Language.

    ALL YOU GENERAL MOTORS EMPLOYEES, DEALER SALESPEOPLE, AND OVERALL HACKS, COME AT ME BROS/HOES. You should least be honest to yourselves and others that Guangzhou-Guadalajara Motors is a miserable, shimmy failure mainly due to the total imbecile executives running the dumpster fire company into the ground – AGAIN. *I am giving passes to GM line workers. You are not to blame, despite some periodic slapshod efforts on your part, at particular assembly facilities (GM execs are to blame 97% of the way for insisting on lowest-bidder grade sh!t parts, and not investing in retraining, facilities, and being short-term thinking, total lack-of-pride, absolutely incompetent morons).

  • avatar
    Hydromatic

    This doesn’t look or feel luxurious at all. It looks cheap and judging from the review, it apparently drives just like it looks.

    And it’s overpriced, to boot. GM has delusions of grandeur concerning this vehicle and its price point.

  • avatar
    legacygt

    I’m trying to think of a single way in which this car is better than a Mazda CX-5. That car in Signature trim is about $36K. In lesser trims that car still might be as nice inside as the XT4 and you save even more money.

  • avatar

    Yet another flop from the Barra era.

  • avatar
    Wodehouse

    Looks like that Mitsubishi Eclipse thing only with more black plastic on the outside. That wimpy, anodyne new Cadillac face is disappointing. Zero gravitas. Too bad GM is going to slap that same visage onto the next Escalade so that the visual neutering of the Cadillac lineup will be complete.

    I’ve been hoping for Cadillac to give me something with which to replace my CTS coupe, but, alas, nothing but 100 percent pure mediocrity.


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