2019 Cadillac XT4: Review — Cars.com

with the exception of the
first-generation Cadillac SRX which was really more of a station wagon than an
SUV the smallest Cadillac SUV has been the second-generation SRX which is now
known as the XT 5 but for 2019 the XT 4 is the new small fry similar to the xt 5
the ext4 straddles a couple of size classes the 5 is between compact and
midsize the xt 4 is sort of at the high end of subcompact luxury suvs and into
the compact size and in its base trim level which is simply called luxury it’s
priced on the bottom end closer to subcompact set
just under $36,000 including destination now the two higher trim levels the ones
that are going to be more popular are the premium luxury and what we have here
which is called the sport a few things distinguish the Sport trim level from
the outside starting with a blacked-out grille where the premium luxury has
chrome facets on the front the door handles also are strictly body-colored
where the premium has an additional trim inlay and the taillights are white on
the sport as opposed to red there are not that many mechanical differences but
one of them is best understood when you’re on the road so let’s get behind
the wheel there’s actually only one potential mechanical difference between
the trim levels the sport that I’m driving is eligible for the active sport
suspension option which is $1,200 I like this type of feature but I have to say
even if you have the regular suspension it’s quite nicely done very well
controlled comfortable it’s not overly firm too no great effects like some SUVs
are it’s a nice balance of kind of controlled and a medium form very
comfortable even with the 20 inch wheels that come with the sport and the premium
luxury so even if you don’t get the active sport suspension
it’s I think one of the higher points of the XG for the actual option however may
increase comfort a little bit it’s not a tremendous amount the real advantage to
a system like this is that it automatically monitors conditions and
makes adjustments automatically on the fly and I emphasize that because if you
are going from a touring mode to sport mode you’re not going to feel a real big
difference in the ride quality when you’re going in a straight line and this
is a pretty common approach nowadays there’s really no reason to make the car
ride more firmly in sport mode just because you can in a straight line it’s
less important now when you start to turn that’s where the firmness plays a
part in controlling body motions and such and it does that it is a good
system but I’m pretty impressed with the standard suspension as it is the xt 4 is
powered exclusively by a new 2-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine good
for 237 horsepower 258 pound-feet of torque with a very nice broad torque
band really nice delivery it’s a bit noisy I find it a little bit noisy even
at idle and at higher revs you’ll hear it
founding a little bit unrefined you’re hearing it more than you want in
a luxury vehicle i was concerned to see that the xt4 had a 9 speed automatic
transmission and that’s partly because transmissions with high gear counts tend
to take too long choosing which one which gear this is a GM transmission and
it’s pretty well calibrated I think in normal driving people would be fine with
it I’m not gonna say it’s a favorite because sometimes it’s a little bit slow
if you downshift using the paddles on the steering wheel it kind of free
wheels a little bit too much between shifts but by and large the transmission
is not a problem and I’m thankful for that one of the more interesting aspects
of the XT 4 is that if you get the optional all-wheel drive your modes art
or all-wheel drive and sport in Tour mode only the front wheels are driven
and that is under all circumstances even if you come to a stop on ice or snow or
something and stand on the accelerator the front wheels may spin the traction
control will kick in but the rear wheels are not even connected to the system to
activate it you have to go to all-wheel drive mode or sport and what that does
is it can improve your mileage when you’re in the two-wheel drive mode the
engineer say with rounding you can lose up to 1 mpg if you drive with all-wheel
drive on when you don’t need it so what this does is it gives you the
opportunity to save a little bit now if you look at the numbers for the
front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive versions of the XT 4 you’re gonna see
front-wheel drive is 26 miles per gallon combined and all-wheel drive is 24 miles
per gallon combined you can’t make up for one mile per gallon because of the
added weight of the system it’s always there by disconnecting or decoupling the
drive shaft that leads to the rear you can save as much as 1 mile per gallon by
staying in two wheel drive mode by and large I
think the car handles a little bit better when the all-wheel drive is
engaged if you’re taking it around corners you’re gonna find that it has a
better balance that the rear wheels are kind of pushing the vehicle into the
curve when you have it in all-wheel-drive or sport mode now there
is a downside to the xt4 and that is the brakes specifically it’s the brake pedal
feel and your ability to modulate the braking finally and there’s actually
something to this this is a new advanced braking system that doesn’t use vacuum
for power assist like almost all brakes do this is an electro-hydraulic system
that’s technically a by wire system the problem is it doesn’t feel like they’re
there yet it reminds me a lot of electric power steering assist no reason
that that can’t be as good as or better than the old way of doing things and in
fact nowadays it finally is but there was a period when it was first
introduced where it was not up to standards I feel like that is the case
with the brakes in the XT4 another feature highlight here is the use of a
full time rear view camera that’s integrated into the mirror so I can see
you right there hello this is the regular mirror but flip the lever where
you would usually just go to the darker version of the mirror and instead you
get a camera system unlike some vehicles that have this I find that I’m sitting
just far enough away from it that it’s clear to me something to think about if
you need reading glasses or don’t have great near vision sometimes the rear
view mirror is too close to show you an image as opposed to reflecting something
that’s distance vision way behind you in the mirror itself the other thing I like
about this particular one is how adjustable it is there you can adjust
the brightness you can zoom in and zoom out you can move it
up and down it really addresses some of the early complaints that people had
about this technology which is that it was a fixed perspective now you can
adjust it to your liking the advantages to this are many primarily if you have
people in the back seat or you have cargo especially if it’s piled up high
it doesn’t matter because the camera is in back at the top of the lift gate
where it has a great view unobstructed by those things another feature that’s
well executed is the regular back up camera and optional 360-degree view it
gives you many different views there’s the bird’s eye view overhead this is the
forward view that’s a wide forward view straight down from the front and here’s
one of kind of the vehicle as if from behind it from the surroundings kind of
neat there are the front wheels one thing we’re positive about in the xt4 is
the multimedia and control system Cadillac has a history of some
not-so-great approaches with touch sensitive sliders and all that other
nonsense bad menus here we have a very simple layout with regular old buttons
yeah there you know quite a few of them but why is that scary and there’s an
eight-inch touchscreen which is nicely laid out
it also supports apple carplay and android auto if you prefer using those
as most of us at cars.com do all pretty good one objection I have though
unfortunately is the screen is tilted back and as a result it reflects light
especially if the moon roof is open I prefer if the screen is facing you but
some people think that looks added after the fact it looks stuck on as opposed to
integrated I have seen vehicles that have it tilted back like this where it
doesn’t reflect so much and they seem to have kind of a matte fin
to them and that might be the solution the Cadillac needs here to address that
aspect of the problem but by-and-large really nicely executed multimedia you
don’t even have to think about it in case you’re concerned that there’s no
knobs up here specifically no volume knobs which most of us like there is one
it’s just down here here’s your volume knob it also has a
couple of tracks skip buttons on either side and some buttons that are redundant
with the touch screen menus down here you’ve got your little audio icon
navigation back and phone and then a knob to select among things on the touch
screen this is the most useless device I’ve seen in a vehicle not because it
doesn’t work well but because the touchscreen is so close and so usable
there’s really no point to it but there is a volume knob so if you’re hardcore
on that at least it’s here for this class we find the interior quality to be
quite good the base trim and the base port come with leatherette seats that’s
imitation leather this one happens to be equipped with real leather which is an
option across the board pretty good materials all around there are a few
things we’re not quite as crazy about the cup holders here are actually quite
small and the door pockets don’t have integrated bottle holders to hold those
bottles one thing I like is that even though it has this panoramic moonroof
which is great gives it a much more open feel especially in the backseat it has a
sliding sunshade powered sunshade but it’s not a thin mesh that allows light
to get through it’s opaque and it’s also thick enough that it actually does a
decent job of helping to block sound which you might not realize is a thing
it’s definitely a thing when it’s raining this helps damp some of that
noise one of my favorite features is the wireless charging pad for smartphones
this is a feature that’s gotten pretty widespread among new cars but the
location for these pads isn’t always good sometimes they’re too small for a
large phone here’s what I like about this one it’s a good location to begin
with because it’s reachable in the xt4 and it’s big but it also has
this adjustable shelf which I know some people will say you’re gonna lose it
maybe you’ll lose it maybe you won’t you set it to whatever height you need and
then you drop your phone in there and as soon as if it starts charging you see a
little lightning bolt on the phone icon on the touch screen but what I like
about it is that you can still use it not while you’re driving but think about
it you come to a stop stoplight for example you flip it up you can just
reach down here use it real quick light turns green you had you head off again
many people are surprised by how much room there is in the backseat just based
on the exterior dimensions of the xt4 I have the driver’s seat almost all the
way back where I Drive and my knees are just clearing it my knees are raised a
bit but the floor isn’t as high as it is in some vehicles overall it’s pretty
impressive there are a couple of things that people have called to our attention
though one is if you’re six feet tall it’s very close here Headroom wise if
you have the optional moonroof which tends to decrease your Headroom by
lowering the height of the ceiling essentially and what doesn’t help is
that the backrest is relatively vertical some people actually said it might be a
little bit more vertical than they’d like it for comfort and even though it
does fold forward to extend the cargo area it doesn’t recline but overall for
the size of the vehicle on the outside the backseat works out pretty nicely now
here’s a real neat feature you may have seen cars out there that project logos
on the ground from say their side mirrors it’s a luxury thing and some non
luxury cars very showy Cadillacs approach was to put it here
and if that seems weird it’s actually for a purpose because this shows you
this little Cadillac crust bat-signal shows you where you need to kick to
operate the optional power hands-free power liftgate
neat use of the technology as you can see the cargo area is pretty generous
again for the size of XT4 in general one of the things that really impresses
about this is its packaging as we call it the amount of space you get on the
inside for the amount of space that takes up on the outside it’s one of the
strongest aspects of the xt4 overall the Cadillac XT4 makes a very good impression
it doesn’t do anything extraordinarily well but it also doesn’t do anything
really poorly with the possible exception of that brake pedal feel so if
you test drive it make sure that that is not objectionable to you and if it’s not
then the XT four should be to your liking
I suspect Cadillacs gonna sell an awful lot of these little boogers