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In this ongoing series, Boston.com talks with automotive authorities about why you should consider driving — or avoiding — a specific model.
2019 Cadillac XT4
Cadillac’s newest and smallest crossover, the XT4, caps what the brand calls a “23-year innovation gap.” With its turbocharged engine, compact footprint, and sharply-appointed interior, the XT4 feeds the modern appetite for utility vehicles large enough to haul carpools and cargo but small enough to maneuver in gridlock.
The entry-level luxury compact ute runs on Cadillac’s new 237-horsepower, 2.0-liter, turbocharged, four-cylinder engine paired with a smooth-shifting, nine-speed automatic transmission. The automaker offers the XT4 in only one powertrain, but the engine provides adequate punch for freeway merging and passing. The cabin feels notably quiet and comfortable over long distances, with class-leading fuel economy and a commanding ride height — important credentials for a daily driver that does battle with the Audi Q3, BMW X3, and Volvo XC40. An optional all-wheel-drive system and adaptive suspension create an even smoother ride on most surfaces. Selectable drive modes tweak dynamics to handle ice, snow, and other challenging conditions.
The 2019 Cadillac XT4 seats five adults comfortably, with segment-leading legroom in the backseat. All models come equipped with four USB ports, a built-in Wi-Fi hotspot, satellite radio, HD Radio, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration, and an 8-inch touchscreen for Cadillac’s User Experience infotainment system. Wireless charging and navigation are optional. Meanwhile, buyers can outfit the XT4 with cabin materials and technology based on Cadillac’s new “Y” trim strategy: Shoppers start with a base model and add features and packages according to the XT4’s Premium Luxury or Sport themes. Premium Luxury models come with leather upholstery, satin chrome-accented door handles, and grilles with bright metallic accents. The Sport trim gets gloss black window moldings, alloy wheels, and a gloss black mesh grille based on Cadillac’s high-performance V-Series models.
Federal safety ratings agencies have not yet tested the 2019 Cadillac XT4. The small SUV comes with rear park assist and an HD rear vision camera. Buyers can add advanced safety equipment including blind spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control, front parking sensors, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, rear cross traffic alert, pedestrian detection, forward collision warning, automatic high beams, and automatic parking assist.
The compact crossover achieves 24 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway. Models equipped with all-wheel drive deliver 22 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway.
The Cadillac XT4 starts at $34,795. The Premium Luxury and Sport trims begin at $39,295.
What the experts say
“The XT4 is a compelling option for shoppers wading through the crowded subcompact space. It’s a handsome CUV — the exterior styling and the size is perfect for urban dwellers. It’s responsive and delivers a pleasant drive experience, but, frankly, it’s overpriced. The starting price of $34,795 is exciting, but you’re not getting much of what we love about the XT4 at that price point. A more realistic build of this vehicle gets you into the $40,000s, and, once you start adding all-wheel drive and the advanced technology and safety features we love, you’re looking at something closer to $50,000.” — Carrie Kim, managing editor at Autobytel.com
“The Cadillac XT4 is a very important part of Cadillac’s latest attempt to renew itself. Up until recently, a glut of sedans and not enough crossover SUVs in its lineup hurt the brand’s progress. In addition, Cadillac realized the need to become relevant to a new generation of young luxury customers. The entry-level XT4 attempts to address both issues. As the brand’s new entry-level crossover SUV, it certainly is more relevant to more young luxury customers, who are increasingly disinterested in sedans. The XT4 looks the part, with neat proportions and styling that successfully applies Cadillac design cues to a crossover body. If Cadillac is going to stay relevant in an increasingly tough luxury field, products like XT4 are critical and necessary.” — Ed Kim, vice president of industry analysis at marketing research at consulting firm AutoPacific
“Cadillac’s XT4 — the first in a larger product rollout from the brand to attract younger buyers — is a compelling crossover for city dwellers with upscale weekend getaway aspirations. The small crossover looks like a puppy version of the flagship Escalade and comes dressed in luxury or sport trimmings, mostly defined by the grille and head- and taillamp design. Optional 20-inch wheels add to its flashy look. The drive quality is better in all-wheel drive, and its suspension gives it a responsive, grippy feel on twisty country roads. But these upgrades are designed more for tackling inclement weather instead of varying terrain. The XT4 would be perfect for an urban professional who wants a handsome-looking vehicle that’s fun to drive but doesn’t need trailblazing capability.” — Carly Schaffner, managing editor at Trucks.com