It’s said being fashionably late gives the impression that you are a busy, popular person that was held up by some other business or social event. That might be fine for socialites, but in terms of entering one of the fastest growing automotive segments, being fashionably isn’t quite so cool. And Cadillac has come late to the party. But after a week behind the wheel of the all-new 2019 Cadillac XT4, we can confidently say that they’ve spent that time perfecting the XT4’s outfit.
Just look at it. Our AWD Sport XT4 arrived in Autumn Metallic paint, a hue that shimmered orange or copper depending on the light. With gloss black trim and the optional upgraded 20″ twin five-spoke diamond cut wheels, it turns heads and elicits second glances. That’s really saying something for a segment where previously the most interesting design elements were the Volvo XC40’s two-tone roof or the BMW X2’s c-pillar badge. The sharply cut lines and sweeping front and rear lighting distinguish the XT4 both day and night. But those looks can come at a cost. While the XT4 FWD Luxury starts at less than $36,000, our more-than-well-equipped AWD Sport rang in at $50,985 as tested.
That’s not to say you don’t get a lot for that price, however, The technology and luxury features are extensive. Our tester featured leather, heated and ventilated, massaging, 8-way power front seats with adjustable side bolsters. There’s also a power adjustable steering column, touch-free rear liftgate, heated steering wheel and rear seats, wireless charging, and a heads-up display. A suite of driver awareness options includes automatic high beams, a following distance and pedestrian alert warning system with automatic braking, forward collision alert, and lane keep assist. Finally, there’s an all-new and much improved Cadillac user experience infotainment system with Apple Car Play and Android Auto integration and an upgraded Bose audio system. Consumers have come to expect many of those features to be standard or available as standalone options. But surprisingly, there’s quite a few things we missed from our tester. For one, adaptive cruse control was notably absent from the driver awareness package, included only as a separate driver assistance package. Second, a sunroof is a rather pricey standalone option.
The features we did have were welcome as we spent a lot of time on-the-go in the XT4. The touch-free rear liftgate is great when your hands are full and the wireless charging pad tucked smartly in the front of the center console is great to keep your phone topped up. The Cadillac user experience has been nicely streamlined and given a new rotary dial and independent volume knob to interact with in addition to the touch screen. There’s even a NFC connectivity point right on the dash to quickly pair phones with the car. Unfortunately, for all the front seat’s features and adjustability, we just never got comfortable. The base of the seat was too short and the firm headrests were fixed at just the right forward angle to poke you in the back of the head.
Despite the XT4’s “Sport” trim level, there’s really nothing sporty about this new crossover. Cadillac’s new 2.0L turbo engine produces 237 hp and 258 lb-ft torque and features cylinder deactivation for two cylinders. The engine has sufficient low end torque and a steady enough power band to almost make it feel as if the car isn’t turbocharged at all. With a nine-speed automatic transmission and standard FWD, it returns an EPA-estimated 30 mpg highway. From the driver’s seat, there’s very little noise in the cabin. It’s an isolating experience, with very little feedback through the steering wheel. The driving dynamics are drama-free, with the AWD system splitting power to the rear wheels as needed. The brake pedal was firm, though the resistance felt overly artificial compared to the actual brake application. The ride was also firm, thanks to the stylish oversized wheels.
Better late than never. Cadillac may not have been first on the scene, but the XT4 is a well-thought-out package that brings loads of technology and features in one of the most popular segments. Bucking the bland trend, our tester’s bright Autumn Metallic really flaunted the XT4’s sharp design. We actually turned heads…in a compact crossover! Big points for Cadillac there. Unfortunately, the over-$50k as-tested price kept us from giving it our top recommendation. Take it easy on the options, however, and you’ve got yourself a stylish and sophisticated year-round ride. Besides, nobody remembers when you show up, only that you were there.
|2019 Cadillac XT4 AWD Sport
|Comfort & Technology Preferred Package||$3,850|
|Cadillac User Experience w/ Navigation||$1,500|
|20″ Diamond Cut Alloy Wheels||$1,100|
|Cold Weather Package||$850|
|Driver Awareness Package||$770|
Comfort & Technology Preferred Package Rebate
|As Tested MSRP||$50,985|