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- Highs Quiet interior, distinctive exterior styling, spacious cargo bay.
- Lows Somewhat gruff V-6 powertrain, muddled driving dynamics, busy interior design.
- Verdict A solid effort, but far from the luxury segment's best.
From nose to tail, the XT5's styling is pure Cadillac, sharing the same edgy design theme and 3.6-liter V-6 with the brand's sedan lineup and more than a few design elements with Caddy's full-size SUV. Its lackluster driving dynamics, however, don't match up with the athletic ATS, CTS, and CT6 sedans, and its cabin doesn't pamper occupants quite like the Escalade's does, making the XT5 a sort of black sheep in the Cadillac family. While the XT5's interior design might be considered fussy, it is highly practical and spacious, and it's filled with plenty of standard high-end infotainment features. While there are more luxurious and better-driving luxury crossovers available from Europe and Japan, the XT5's unique styling and well-packaged interior might be enough to keep it in the running for some buyers.
What's New for 2019?
The 2019 XT5's wireless smartphone charging pad gets an upgrade and now offers 15 watts of juice (versus last year's 5 watts) to speed charging times. Other changes are limited to four new colors—Shadow Metallic, Red Horizon Tintcoat, Dark Mocha Metallic, and Manhattan Noir Metallic—and a new Kona Brown leather interior with Sapele wood trim.
Pricing and Which One to Buy
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Our chosen XT5 is the Premium Luxury version with front-wheel drive. Avoiding the costly top-spec Platinum model by selecting this midrange trim keeps the outlay reasonable yet still nets plenty of premium features, including a Bose 14-speaker audio system, in-dash navigation, automated emergency braking, lane-keeping assist, and LED headlamps with automatic high-beams.
Engine, Transmission, and Performance
Likes: Quiet operation, decent acceleration times, available adaptive suspension.
Dislikes: Too-firm ride, lacks sportiness of more focused rivals, engine lacks refinement.
One of the hallmarks of a luxury vehicle is an unobtrusive powertrain. The XT5's engine and transmission do little to disturb the serenity of the cabin when cruising but lack refinement when pushed hard. While the XT5's 3.6-liter V-6 is no match for the engine in a performance-oriented SUV such as the Porsche Macan S, it stacks up favorably against the Lexus RX350 and the Volvo XC60. In light-footed, day-to-day operation, we've found the Cadillac's engine to be impressively quiet and well isolated from the cabin; under heavy throttle, however, the engine's harshness makes itself known in a most unflattering way. There's adequate power for passing on the highway and for squirting through heavy city traffic, and the XT5's standard automatic stop/start and fuel-saving cylinder-deactivation functions work seamlessly.
Encounter a twisty road and the XT5 can tackle it with confidence, although it won't make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up even when equipped with the optional adaptive suspension. Body roll is well controlled and the XT5 feels substantial and planted, which is especially comforting on long highway slogs. Over rough stretches of broken pavement, however, our Platinum tester felt jittery and allowed sharp impacts to reverberate through the cabin. This is a disappointing trait, especially considering the suspension doesn't remotely match the sportiness of the Macan. Steering is accurate but lacks any visceral feedback—another missed opportunity to appeal to enthusiast drivers.
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
The XT5's EPA fuel-economy estimates parallel those of other V-6–powered rivals. All-wheel drive costs it 1 mpg both in the city and on the highway, a small concession for added confidence in inclement weather. In our real-world testing, however, the XT5's performance was worse than expected; our all-wheel-drive 2017 XT5 Platinum managed just 23 of its promised 26 mpg during our 200-mile highway fuel-economy test.
Interior, Infotainment, and Cargo
Likes: Spacious front and back seats, comprehensive suite of standard infotainment goodies, plenty of cargo space.
Dislikes: Busy interior design, ugly steering wheel is covered with buttons, seats could offer more support.
Passenger space is good, and accommodations are as deluxe as expected from a modern Cadillac. The materials used throughout the XT5's cabin appear upscale when examined individually, but when viewed as a whole, the result is a design that appears unfocused. The all-black interior of our test vehicle appears less busy than the two-tone black-and-beige theme, but the bronzed faux carbon-fiber trim seemed out of place in the decidedly unsporty XT5. The interior's layout is good, and the driving position is agreeable. The button-heavy steering wheel looks unflattering but provides the driver with controls for common functions without having to reach to the dashboard.
All XT5 models come well-connected right out of the gate, with niceties such as an 8.0-inch infotainment touchscreen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and an onboard 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot as standard fare. Four USB ports are located conveniently throughout the cabin so that everyone can have a place to charge their mobile device, and a wireless inductive phone-charging pad is provided between the two front seats. Even base XT5s get Bose audio with eight speakers. Audiophiles can upgrade to a 14-speaker system on Luxury and Premium Luxury versions; Platinum models offer the upgraded sound system as standard equipment.
Even luxury crossovers should be practical, and the XT5 excels in this category. Above-average cargo space, plenty of bins for stashing smaller items, and an easy-to-fold rear seat allow this Caddy to easily transform from luxury liner to cargo king. The XT5's cargo hold accommodated an impressive 10 carry-on cases with the rear seat in place. Folding the 40/20/40 split-folding rear seat is easy: Pull a lever in the cargo bay and the corresponding seatback flops forward to create a completely flat floor. Once folded, we managed to fit 24 carry-ons inside.
Safety and Driver-Assistance Features
Overall Safety Rating (NHTSA)
The XT5's crash-test results are good, and two separate optional driver-assistance packages allow buyers to select only the features they want. Unfortunately, those who value driver-assistance features such as adaptive cruise control or automated emergency braking will find themselves shelling out beaucoup bucks. Key safety features include:
- Available automated emergency braking
- Available lane-keeping assist
- Available adaptive cruise control
Warranty and Maintenance Coverage
Cadillac's standard warranty coverages match or exceed those of most of the XT5's rivals. The Caddy also offers complimentary scheduled maintenance for three years or 36,000 miles, tying the Volvo XC60.
- Limited warranty covers 4 years or 50,000 miles
- Powertrain warranty covers 6 years or 70,000 miles
- Complimentary maintenance is covered for the first visit