Cadillac XT4 Sport
SEATTLE ó For
years, General Motors has turned its back on Cadillacís heritage
in effort to emulate its German competition.
It hasnít worked
out so well as consumers have ignored the German-emulating CTS or
ATS sedans in favor of Cadillacís most traditional four-door, the
XTS. Similarly, itís the Escalade SUV that yields Cadillacís
highest transaction price, and no wonder. Itís as close as you can
get to a traditional Cadillac of yore: extravagantly big, bold,
comfortable, powerful and unapologetic.
Given its success,
youíd expect Escaladeís essence to filter down to the brandís
other trucks. Instead, the midsize XT5 crossover bears little
resemblance to its larger sibling, yet it outsells it nearly 2-to-1.
This explains why Cadillacís first luxury compact crossover, the
2019 XT4, owes more to the XT5ís understated suburban chic than
the Escaladeís luxurious bravado. Itís an initial salvo in a
stream of new Cadillacs being launched over the next two years in an
effort to restore brandís luxury luster.
Filling a gaping hole
in the lineup, the 2019 Cadillac XT4 follows the premium compact
crossover template, yet itís distinctively a Cadillac, wearing the
brandís new grille and accented by vertical LED lighting and sharp
body lines. It makes itself seen, if a bit more quietly than its
Power comes from a
2.0-liter turbocharged double-overhead-cam four-cylinder engine
mated to a nine-speed automatic transmission with automatic
stop/start. Cadillac says the new engine is 15 pounds lighter than
the existing power plant of the same displacement and uses new
technologies that makes it up to 15 percent more efficient. Part of
the credit goes to the automatic stop/start, which unlike too many
German competitors, is blessedly unobtrusive and quick.
Rated at 237
horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque, the engine produces its
peak torque at just 1,500 rpm, so it feels willingly quick off the
line, easily pumps out the power. Turbo lag is non-existent and
engine noise is well suppressed. The transmission proves responsive,
quickly and unobtrusively snapping off the shifts. That said, when
shifting manually, particularly with the paddle shifters, the
transmission seems a bit slower to respond.
Initially, the XT4
will be offered in base Luxury trim, starting at $35,790. From
there, buyers can choose either the Premium Luxury or the Sport,
both of which start at $40,290. But the Sport does offer adaptive
dampers and a livelier suspension, with other differences being
include Forward Automatic Braking/ Reverse Automatic Braking/
Adaptive Cruise Control, which make up the $1,100 Driver Assistance
Package, although you must also order the $770 Driver Awareness
Package. This adds Forward Automatic Braking, Forward Collision
Alert, Lane Keep Assist, Lane Departure Warning and automatic
headlights. Thereís also an $850 Cold Weather Package with front
and rear heated seats (which Cadillac patented in 1955 and first
offered 10 years later) and a heated steering wheel.
The test models were
equipped with on-demand four-wheel drive, a $2,500 option, which
reverts to front-wheel drive when not needed in the name of fuel
economy. Front-wheel drive is standard.
impressively nimble, with quick, accurate light steering that
doesnít feel like a video game. Maneuvering around downtown
Seattle was stress-free. Body lean is well-controlled but
noticeable, with impressive grip that lent drivers a feeling of
confidence and comfort. Bump absorption is impressive, without undue
body motions on rebound. And despite the difference in names, there
seemed to be minimal differences in driving feel between the Sport
and Premium Luxury models. However, highway and tire noise are
surprisingly prevalent, but not enough to drown out conversation.
That this is an issue in a Cadillac is unexpected.
Front seat occupants
enjoy substantial front seat space, with supportive and comfortable
front seats. In the rear, passengers will appreciate more legroom
than just about any competitor in the segment, although headroom is
average. Cargo room seems ample.
horizontally-oriented instrument panel is anchored by an 8-inch
screen thatís controlled by touchscreen or a knob on the center
console. It houses an improved version of Cadillacís Cue
infotainment system thatís Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
compatible and far better than previous versions. It was a pleasure
to use. Less pleasurable was the feature that transforms the
rear-view mirror into a rear-view monitor. It induces vertigo, not
to mention motion sickness. Thankfully, it can be turned off. The
overall interior trim seems upscale, but not luxurious, especially
when the XT4 is trimmed entirely in black, although this is common
to this class of vehicle. The two-tone interiors livened the
proceedings and felt richer.
The XT4 is
unquestionably good, with impressive excellent engineering offset by
an interior thatís merely competitive and styling that seems
timid. That should change somewhat when the new Platinum and V-Sport
models arrive at a later date.
The 2019 Cadillac XT4
merits consideration, even from those who until now would never
consider a Cadillac. Itís far better than the competition from
Lincoln and others.
But it should be a
baby Escalade ó and itís not.
DOHC 2.0-liter four-cylinder
EPA fuel economy
(city/highway): 24/30 (FWD), 22/29 (AWD)
Length: 181.4 inches
22.5-48.9 cubic feet
Curb weight: 3,660