2019 Cadillac XT4
What is a Cadillac these days?
If you’re of a certain age and generation, your definition of Cadillac is the “Standard of The World.” They were big, long, stuffed with a huge V8, and rode like nothing else. Those days are long gone, replaced by cars and SUVs sharper-edged designs, turbocharged engines, and driver-focused cabins.
To compete in a modern luxury car market, Cadillac had to adjust to the trends and match their rivals with equally compelling vehicles. One such vehicle is the XT4 SUV, the smallest Cadillac ever produced in decades.
We were as curious as you are whether this small SUV is truly a Cadillac. We had to put this to the test.
In some respects, there are some cues that it follows some of the classic elements that Cadillac is known for over a century. The front end mirrors a larger version of the crest badge as the grille, flanked by vertical headlamp units that integrate various LED elements. The roofline is more of a hatchback design than a long roof SUV. The lack of a glass pane in the C-pillar may be done for style, but it does induce a blind spot that also creates a dark cavern towards the rear of the cabin.
The rear end is equally compelling. You can see hints of the tailfin design with its vertical lighting unit running up the roofline of the XT4. However, those units extend onto the liftgate with a horizontal piece that almost meets the license plate enclosure.
Th new approach to Cadillac luxury is to go all-in on modern cabin design. The seats offer a chromed “V high up on the seatbacks and the crest shows up on the steering wheel and in the infotainment start-up screen. The rest of the cabin design is very advanced and unique in its class. The angled design is great for those who sit high up front with access to the infotainment screen and the controls below it. The instrumentation is interesting with dual TFT screens in-between two dials. You can switch the lower screen for vehicle information, while the digital speedometer in the upper screen provides a better readout than the dial next to it. In the center console, there is a shift-by-wire transmission lever flanked by a new set of controls for the infotainment system, including a large knob controller.
Up front, you can get quite comfortable behind the steering wheel with plenty of head and leg room to spare. The seats in our Sport tester are on the firmer side, but you can adjust the center of the seatback and the bolsters, if need be. Rear seat room is fine. Taller passengers may want to watch their head on the sunroof/headliner. Yet, a six-footer will be fine in the back. Cargo space is decent with 22.5 cubic feet behind the rear seats. Those seats fold down to expand the space to 48.9 cubic feet.
The XT4 comes with a 2.0-liter turbocharged engine, good for 237 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. It is a powerful motor for this vehicle, but we found some slight hesitation from the nine-speed automatic transmission at lower speeds. Once over the initial gears, the transmission settles down and maintains highway cruising quite well. Our tester had all-wheel drive, which can be switched on from the Drive mode button. That system comes on when the driver selects the Sport mode. Only the front wheels are driven in Tour mode.
In terms of fuel economy, we observed an average of 25.2 MPG in our care.
For a small SUV, the ride quality is very good. The long … wheelbase helped in balancing the XT4 over the miles. There is some firmness, but it smoothed out the bumps along the road. Handling is controlled, as is cornering. The steering action produced a sharp turning radius with solid feedback to the wheel. This system felt almost artificial overall, but it also produced a solid on-center feel. The braking system was OK overall, but was let down by interesting pedal action and feedback thanks to the brake-by-wire system in our XT4 tester.
Pricing for the XT4 starts at $35,790. Our Sport model with all-wheel-drive came with a sticker price of $50,685.
The XT4 enters into new territory for Cadillac. Its competitors are fierce with loyal customers for each brand. These competitors include the BMW X3, Audi Q5, Mercedes-Benz GLC, Jaguar E-Pace, Alfa Romeo Stelvio, Lexus NX, Infiniti QX50, Volvo XC60, and Lincoln MKC. Some may even include smaller premium SUVs to its competitive mix, including the Volvo XC40, Audi Q3, Mercedes-Benz GLA, BMW X1 and X2, Lexus UX, Infiniti QX30, and MINI Countryman.
If you set aside all of the history of the past 110-plus years of Cadillac, the XT4 represents the present and future of this historic and iconic brand. It is a solid offering by a company redefining itself in a modern luxury car market. Is it your kind of Cadillac? Drive one and decide.
Story Credits: CarSoup Editors