It's about time Cadillac's crossover lineup got some love.
Given the not so small amount of time it takes to design and build a car, changes in the auto industry seem to happen at a pace only a few clicks faster than glacial. It's why Cadillac's mistake in going after German luxury sedans rather than shifting focus towards SUVs is only being cleaned up now, after new models had to be rushed in to expand the brand's crossover lineup.
The first SUV in that charge was the XT5, which replaced the SRX and, due to its position in the market, quickly became Cadillac's best-selling model. But now that Cadillac has new and fresher relatives in the family, the XT4 and XT6, the company has put some polish on the XT5 in the form of a mid-cycle refresh in order to bring it up to par with the automaker's new offerings.
Chief to enhancing the XT5 was bringing the crossover's packaging in line with the brand's new "Y" trim strategy, with each branch in the letter "Y" being designated for either a luxury-oriented model or for the sportier variant. As such, the XT5 is now available in Luxury trim at the base level and can then be made even more luxurious by stepping up to the Premium Luxury model or oriented towards performance with the Sport trim.
Regardless of trim, the Caddy swaps its old stuffy chrome grille for one of two more sophisticated designs, gets standard LED headlights with Intellibeam technology, gains a portfolio of updated wheel designs, and acquires new front and rear fascia designs. The interior also sees a new steering wheel design, updated center console layout, improved acoustics, and an optional Bose sound system with silver speaker grilles.
From there, the changes depend on the trim level that a buyer chooses. The Sport trim is responsible for darker exterior features like a black grille, clear frosted taillamps, black exterior trim pieces, and carbon fiber interior trim. Meanwhile, Premium Luxury models get their own grille that lays patterned chrome spots over the black background, while shinier exterior trim components pair with tasteful wood and colored leather interior trims to make the XT5 look ready for a fancy dinner party.
What's nice about Cadillac's new Y strategy is that it's more than just about looks. Premium Luxury and Sport models actually drive differently from one another, with the former featuring suspension and steering systems tailored for a cushy and insulated ride as well as feather-soft maneuvering while the latter tightens things up in both departments so that the ride is tauter and steering more quick and aggressive.
And though the old XT5's 3.6-liter V6 carries over with the same 310 horsepower and 271 lb-ft of torque as the outgoing model, it's now only an option on the Premium Luxury model and standard on Sport trims.
Taking place as the new standard power mill is a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four that makes 237 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. Both engines now come mated to a 9-speed automatic transmission, while front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive options remain available across the lineup. Sport models can only be had with AWD since one of the trim's performance enhancements includes a dual-clutch Sport Control AWD system with active yaw control for better cornering, while XT5s equipped with the 2.0-liter engine see their vacuum-assisted brakes swapped out for an electrically-controlled system.
As if that wasn't significant enough, Cadillac also gave the XT5 loads of new technology including the latest Cadillac user interface infotainment software, which includes a new rotary controller to make selection easier, one-touch phone pairing and a plethora of charging options including wireless, USB, and USB-C ports, available night vision, and high-definition displays and cameras for the rear and surround-view systems.
If the new XT5 tickles your fancy, be on the lookout for its dealership arrival late this summer. Don't expect to get one without paying at least $45,090 for a FWD Luxury model and $47,190 to add all-wheel drive to it. Premium Luxury XT5s start at no less than $49,790, but stepping up to AWD in that model means shelling out a whopping $5,305 premium. The Sport now ranks as the top-of-the-line model, costing no less than $56,090., with all prices including destination.
For buyers wanting to go the extra mile, Cadillac offers the Platinum package for either the Sport or Premium luxury models, though no mention has been made about how much it will cost.