Cadillac goes small. I know, for a lot of people, that’s a bad thing to read. Remember when Caddy put out the Catera and the Cimarron? Yeah, those weren’t just bad cars, they were pathetic Cadillacs. Not so with the XT4, an all-new, compact SUV fitted for the next-gen of luxury customers.
It looks like fairly recently, someone, somewhere within the confines of the Cadillac office in New York City (did you know they were based there?) realized that simply telling people you’re the “standard of the world” is just the start. You can’t just say it, you have to do it. And, thankfully, Caddy seems to be doing it these days.
It’s hard to argue with rides like V-Series CTSs and stuff like that, and with everyone obligated to make a whole range of SUVs, Caddy has finally grabbed the last niche in that world too. The XT4 was ushered into existence by a team of young designers, a smooth move since “the young” are the heart of the XT4’s target demographic. The XT4 (although a bland and hopeless name) is part of Cadillac’s new “Y” trim strategy of Luxury, Premium Luxury, and Sport models, said to offer distinctive styling and trim finishes.
It breaks down like this: The XT4 Luxury has Light Platinum/Jet Black with Aluminum Metallized decor trim; the XT4 Premium Luxury gets Jet Black with Diamond-Cut Aluminum, Light Platinum/Jet Black with Linear Galaxy High-Gloss Wood, or Sedona/Jet Black with Fineline Calico High-Gloss Wood. The XT4 Sport gets lots of black and chrome bits: Jet Black with Cinnamon Accents with Twenty-Two High-Gloss Carbon Fiber, Light Wheat/Jet Black with Red Accents and Morello Red High-Gloss Carbon Fiber, or Sedona/Jet Black with Fineline Calico High-Gloss Wood.
The XT4’s cabin is all sweeping arcs and tapered lines to give it a taut, tightly-wrapped appearance. Even though it’s compact, the XT4 offers lots of space, especially for rear passengers, along with 48.9 cubic feet of cargo volume with the rear seats folded. Other interior elements of note are the three-spoke, leather-wrapped steering wheel, the heavily-bolstered, sport-inspired seats (with a massage feature), available white ambient lighting, and Cadillac’s first rotary controller for various vehicle features.
Naturally, since this is a Cadillac for 2019, there is a boatload of tech. The XT4 comes with the brand’s most advanced infotainment interface with smartphone-like controls and improved voice recognition, and there’s an available 4G LTE connection to boot. There’s an eight-inch diagonal screen, near-Field Communication for pairing a smartphone, a 15-watt wireless charging system, four standard USB ports, and three 12-volt accessory power outlets. There is even an SD memory card reader in the center console and a full suite of active safety features.
Power & Performance
The Cadillac XT4 gets an all-new, 2.0-liter turbo engine that puts out 118.5 horsepower per liter of output. Which is, to use the technical term, a lot. No word on how much boost that turbo is cranking out, but to get those numbers Caddy must be squeezing those cylinders till they squeal. The plant also has high and low valve lift and Active Fuel Management, which is essentially a cylinder deactivation system. When you add in the direct injection, active thermal management, and the twin-scroll turbocharger, the mill puts out an SAE-certified 237 horsepower and 258 lb-ft. of torque.
Power is put to the pavement (you’re going to seriously off-road this thing, are you?) through a nine-speed automatic that helps the XT4 get 30 mpg on the highway.
Chassis & Suspension
The chassis work is done by a strut-type front suspension and a five-link independent setup out back. The standard Driver Select Mode allows you to tune that as you see fit for different driving styles and road conditions. The twin-clutch all-wheel drive system offers a decoupling function to eliminate drivetrain friction and enhance efficiency. The Continuous Damping Control, found on the XT4 Sport’s available Active Sport Suspension, uses electronic sensors to monitor the road and adjust damping every two milliseconds.
Stopping is done via “electro-hydraulic braking assist,” a first for Cadillac. The new brake system replaces the traditional vacuum-assisted design to improve fuel economy and provide better packaging, according to Cadillac.
Pricing & Availability
The XT4 starts at $35,790, which is not bad at all, and goes on sale this fall. When it hits the lot, the 2019 XT4 will come in eight exterior colors.
Tony Borroz has spent his entire life racing antique and sports cars. He is the author of Bricks & Bones: The Endearing Legacy and Nitty-Gritty Phenomenon of The Indy 500, available in paperback or Kindle format. His forthcoming new book The Future In Front of Me, The Past Behind Me will be available soon. Follow his work on Twitter: @TonyBorroz.