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- Highs Distinctive styling, roomy for people and cargo, smooth-running turbo four-cylinder.
- Lows Unpolished interior, unrefined ride, questionable value.
- Verdict A decent subcompact crossover, but one that doesn't deliver on its luxury mission.
Cadillac is late to the compact-luxury-crossover party, but the 2019 XT4 is prepped to make up for lost time. Its angled sheetmetal is decidedly Cadillac; under the hood is a supersmooth 237-hp turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder. Front-wheel drive is standard; all-wheel drive is optional. A Sport model offers an adaptive suspension, but any of the XT4's sporting intentions are deflated by the imprecise feel of the steering and by the slow-shifting nine-speed automatic. Simply put: The XT4 isn't as athletic as the Cadillac marketing mavens would have you believe. Inside, it misses the mark on the luxury front as well, with too many cheap-feeling materials and rough edges.
What's New for 2019?
The whole kit and caboodle. The XT4 is Cadillac's first subcompact crossover.
Pricing and Which One to Buy
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Since the Premium Luxury and Sport models are both the same price, we think it's a no-brainer to go with the latter, as it offers the aforementioned adaptive suspension plus racier exterior and interior styling elements. We'd also choose the Comfort and Convenience package, which includes an eight-way power-adjustable front-passenger's seat; heat, ventilation, and massage functions for both front seats; leather upholstery; and a hands-free power liftgate.
Engine, Transmission, and Performance
Likes: Smooth-running four-cylinder, peppy enough for most drivers, firm brake pedal.
Dislikes: Many rivals are quicker, harsh ride over rough pavement, steering feels imprecise.
Under the hood of all XT4s is a turbocharged four-cylinder engine that makes 237 horsepower. A nine-speed automatic is standard, as is front-wheel drive, and the four-cylinder features cylinder deactivation to save fuel when cruising. All-wheel drive is optional, and our Sport test vehicle was so equipped. At our test track, our test vehicle sashayed its way to 60 mph in a lackluster 7.8 seconds. For comparison, the 10Best Award–winning BMW X1 only needed 6.3 seconds. Despite the result, the XT4 feels spry around town, and when merging onto the highway we suffered no anxiety.
Ignore Cadillac's assertion of sportiness with the XT4. It's more of a boulevardier than a sports car. The ride is okay, so long as the road is relatively smooth. Rough stretches of asphalt translate plenty of vibrations and sharp impacts into the cabin, especially when riding on the optional 20-inch wheels. The steering is similarly disappointing and is neither feelsome nor direct in its action. The XT4's only decisive control are its brakes, which hauled our test car down from 70 mph in our emergency-stopping test in 172 feet with one of the firmest brake pedals we've encountered.
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
Despite the fuel-saving cylinder-deactivation trick, the XT4 earns wholly average EPA fuel-economy estimates, with front-wheel-drive variants reaching 30 mpg on the highway metric. In our real-world highway fuel-economy test, our all-wheel-drive example managed just 27 mpg of the 29 shown on its window sticker.
Interior, Infotainment, and Cargo
Likes: Spacious cabin, high-tech features come standard, plenty of room for cargo.
Dislikes: Interior materials lack polish, infotainment control knob feels cheap.
The XT4's interior, while comfortable and spacious, isn't as high-class as we're used to in this premium segment. The dashboard and upper door panels are covered in a stitched, faux-leather wrap, but lower on the doors and center console, cheaper, sharp-edged plastic persists, and the buttons and switches look and feel as though they're likely to be shared with less expensive offerings in the General Motors portfolio. Space is great for the front-seat occupants and actually pretty decent in the back seat, too.
All XT4 models come with an 8.0-inch infotainment system with Cadillac's CUE software. The touchscreen looks nice and crisp and is tucked slightly into the dashboard. The interface is reasonably easy to use, too, and in addition to touching the screen, the user can also interact via a console-mounted knob. Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, an onboard Wi-Fi hotspot, and a seven-speaker audio system are all standard; navigation is optional, as is a 13-speaker Bose audio system. Selecting the available Technology package (Premium Luxury and Sport models only) adds a digital gauge cluster, a head-up display, and a wireless smartphone-charging pad.
As with its passenger compartment, the XT4's cargo space is spacious. Behind the XT4's rear seat we fit six of our carry-on suitcases, and with the seatbacks folded flat, we managed to fit 18, slightly more than smaller rivals such as the Mercedes-Benz GLA-class and the Mini Cooper Countryman. If you're looking for a small SUV that can haul cargo like a larger one, the Volvo XC40—which held 23 carry-on suitcases—is worth a look.
Safety and Driver-Assistance Features
Overall Safety Rating (NHTSA)
As it's a new model, the XT4 hasn't been tested by either the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration or the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Cadillac does offer it with a plethora of driver-assistance features, but few of them are standard fare. Key safety features include:
- Available front and rear automated emergency braking
- Available blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert
- Available adaptive cruise control
Warranty and Maintenance Coverage
The Cadillac warranty outdoes several of its rivals with powertrain coverage that stretches six years or 70,000 miles. Cadillac offers one free maintenance visit with the purchase of any 2019 model; last year's crop of Caddys came with three years of complimentary maintenance.
- Limited warranty covers 4 years or 50,000 miles
- Powertrain warranty covers 6 years or 70,000 miles
- Complimentary maintenance is covered for 1 year or 12,000 miles