Test Drive: 2019 Cadillac XT4 Sport
2019 Cadillac XT4 AWD Sport
Class: Premium Compact Crossover
Miles driven: 259
Fuel used: 10.8 gallons
|CG Report Card|
|Room and Comfort||B+|
|Power and Performance||B|
|Fit and Finish||B-|
|Report-card grades are derived from a consensus of test-driver evaluations. All grades are versus other vehicles in the same class. Value grade is for specific trim level evaluated, and may not reflect Consumer Guide's impressions of the entire model lineup.|
|Big & Tall Comfort|
|Big & Tall comfort ratings are for front seats only. "Big" rating based on male tester weighing approximately 350 pounds, "Tall" rating based on 6'6"-tall male tester.|
|Engine Specs||237-hp 2.0L|
|Engine Type||Turbo 4-cylinder|
|Drive Wheels||All-wheel drive|
Real-world fuel economy: 24.0 mpg
Driving mix: 60% city, 40% highway
EPA-estimated fuel economy: 22/29/24 (city, highway, combined)
Fuel type: Premium gas recommended
Base price: $41,795 (not including $995 destination charge)
Options on test vehicle: Comfort and Convenience Package ($2450), Cadillac User Experience infotainment system with navigation and upgraded audio system ($1500), Red Horizon Tintcoat paint ($1225), 20-inch satin-finish alloy wheels ($1100), Cold Weather Package ($850), Driver Awareness Package ($770)
Price as tested: $50,685
The great: Impressive passenger space, considering the compact exterior dimensions; competitive base prices
The good: Nicely designed infotainment interface; peppy powertrain
The not so good: Road and engine noise; so-so level of standard equipment for a luxury-brand vehicle; unconventional gearshift lever is awkward to use for some drivers
More XT4 price and availability information
You can be “late to the party,” but even so, it’s what you bring once you finally arrive that matters. In this case, “the party” is the premium compact-crossover market, and what Cadillac brings to it—now that its XT4 is here at last—is competitive pricing.
Delivered starting prices range from $35,790 for a front-wheel-drive Luxury to $42,790 for a Premium Luxury or Sport with all-wheel drive. In its well-staffed class, the junior Caddy SUV is slightly undercut on the low end only by the Buick Envision and Lincoln MKC (which is replaced by Lincoln’s new Corsair SUV for 2020), but is exceeded on the high end by everybody but Buick—sometimes by quite a lot at that. To achieve those price levels, Cadillac leaves some perhaps-expected features off the standard-equipment list. However, you can get them optionally, as Consumer Guide’s tested AWD XT4 Sport demonstrated, and still finish with a very competitively priced small luxury crossover.
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To draw even with the Premium Luxury model, the Sport swaps the former’s standard bright exterior bling and leather upholstery for more purposeful-looking trim and Active Sport Suspension. However, the various option packages added to CG’s test vehicle inserted leather seating surfaces, heated seats all around, ventilated massaging front seats, heated steering wheel, a hands-free liftgate, navigation, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto smartphone connectivity, Bose 13-speaker surround-sound audio, automatic high-beam control, lane-departure warning and lane-keeping assist, and more at a final price of $50,685. A front-drive XT4 Sport optioned the same way would cost $2500 less.
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Regardless of how they’re ultimately equipped, Sports are singled out by their black grille, roof rails, and side-window moldings; white taillight lenses; satin-finished open-design alloy wheels (18-inch standard); front cornering lamps; carbon-fiber or wood interior trim; and alloy-faced pedals.
The sole XT4 powerteam is a turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine paired with a 9-speed automatic transmission. The engine delivers a good 237 horsepower at 5000 rpm. Its maximum 258 lb-ft of torque are available from 1500 to 4000 rpm, so after a moment of turbo lag passes, the XT4 springs into action with decent go that lasts into midrange speeds, albeit with a little more noise under hard acceleration than might be expected in a luxury-nameplate vehicle. Trans shifts are perceptible but not jarring, and kickdown occurs quickly for secure passing. Sports are equipped with steering-wheel-mounted shifter paddles for manual gear selection should a driver be so inclined.An engine stop/start feature is standard. EPA estimates for fuel economy with all-wheel drive are 22 mpg in city driving, 29 mpg in highway operation, and 24 mpg combined. This driver recorded 23.2 mpg after running the test truck for 186 miles, 55 percent of that in city-style conditions.
The nameplate may say Sport but you can still get a soft, compliant ride out of it, even with extra-cost 20-inch wheels like those that were on the test vehicle. The Active Sport Suspension incorporates continuous damping control that adjusts damping forces every two milliseconds. Steering is quick, which aids maneuverability of an SUV that weighs almost 3900 pounds before you put a load in it.
Passenger room is quite good in front. Rear legroom is OK and headroom, while about an inch less than in front, still leaves plenty of clearance. Cadillac lists the XT4 as a 5-passenger vehicle, with three across the back seat, but realistically only two of them can be adults. Front seats provide good comfort. Rear seat backs are positioned fairly upright—and they’re not adjustable.
Driving controls are clearly displayed. Infotainment functions are funneled through the Cadillac User Experience—CUE—which has been improved over time. Audio, navigation, apps, and more are accessed on the 8-inch color touchscreen, through voice commands, or via a couple of dials on the console (one being a volume knob). Storing audio presets through the CUE touchscreen is a lot more logical and direct than what you’ll find on a good many other luxury-car systems. The XT4 has what looks like a conventional transmission shift lever on the console, but it’s a “toggle” lever that requires developing some familiarity before you’ll feel comfortable using it solely by feel. Climate controls are operated by a long row of flipper levers for functions including temperature and fan-speed settings.
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Personal-item storage space for front passengers include an ample glove box, a decent console box, smallish pockets in the front doors, pockets on both sides of the console, a covered bin with device and power inputs at the front of console, and two uncovered cup holders in console. Rear storage falls to small door pockets, a pouch on the back of each front seat, and cup holders in the pull-down center armrest.
As for the main cargo area, it holds 22.5 cubic feet of stuff behind the second-row seats. This reviewer was able to get a pair of large plastic storage boxes in under the standard cargo cover, so two people’s weekend luggage will fit easily. Capacity shoots up to 48.9 cubic feet with the rear 60/40-split seats retracted. They fold flat to easily accommodate larger loads. Liftover to the load floor isn’t too high, and there is little bit of room for small items under the floor next to the spare tire.
The XT4 is Cadillac’s first compact crossover, which makes it a curiosity for a couple of intertwined reasons. One is why it took so long to appear when other manufacturers—including other prestige brands—have been pumping out similar vehicles for some years now. The other is why it doesn’t stand out more from that pack. The years without a small SUV should have given the Caddy folks the opportunity (and motivation) to come up with a groundbreaking feature or two to hold over the abundant competition. There’s nothing terribly disappointing about the XT4. Indeed, it’s nicely executed overall with some better-than-average characteristics. But there’s no one great “must-have” feature or quality about it. At least it is relatively inexpensive.
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