The Cadillac XT5 is a worthy crossover to consider – and especially if you like your cars home grown.
The Cadillac XT5 is a worthy crossover to consider – and especially if you like your cars home grown.
At times, it feels like the new car market is being flooded with premium SUVs, and from Cadillac we have yet another one in the impressive-looking XT5. Despite the skepticism, though, the Cadillac XT5 does have some rather satisfying elements. For starters, it certainly looks the part, to the point where it’d be a huge sales hit if choosing a premium crossover was based on the design alone. Better still, the Cadillac XT5 is also pretty pleasant on the inside, on top of being spacious and relatively affordable for such a high-end offering. However, those attributes are relevant to many a car in this segment, and the niggles that affect the Cadillac XT5’s appeal in comparison with more well-rounded rivals. As a result, whilst we feel it should definitely be on your radar, the Cadillac XT5 isn’t accomplished enough for us to feel you should rush out to buy one.
A considerable majority of the Cadillac XT5’s cabin is trimmed in suitably high grade materials.
Once upon a time, Cadillac wasn’t entirely renowned for interior build quality, but the XT5 is proof that those days are now long behind us. Though there are some areas that aren’t quite befitting of the base $38,995 asking price (there are a few too many hard plastics and cheap-feeling switches for our liking, for example), a considerable majority of the Cadillac XT5’s cabin is trimmed in suitably high grade materials. An Audi Q5 or Mercedes-Benz GLC may have the outright edge over the Cadillac, but the XT5 is still a pleasantly premium-feeling car in which to spend time in. It also helps that practicality is also a strong point for the Cadillac XT5. Again, the car isn’t quite a class leader in this regard, but overall comfort levels from the supportive seats and the amount of head, leg, shoulder and hip room does means five adults can be transported about with ample amounts of room to go around. Perhaps the only big criticism is the fact rear head room is compromised slightly by the sloping roofline – which is compromised even further on models with the panoramic sunroof installed.
The trunk is also very large by class standards.
The rest of the Cadillac XT5 is far more impressive when it comes to overall practicality, however. On top of the sizeable storage cubbies, the trunk is also very large by class standards: with the rear seats in place, a handy 30 cubic feet is available to play with, and stowing away the 40:20:40 split-folding rear seats completely flat extends that load bay to a class-leading 63 cubic feet. Better still, the trunk opening is rather wide and there’s no load lip to speak of, so sliding heavier items in and out shouldn’t be a problem.
If you’re the sort of buyer who craves a bit of engagement when you’re behind the wheel, you likely won’t be particularly enamoured with the way the Cadillac XT5 drives.
For the record, we don’t think the Cadillac XT5 is a bad car to drive. On the contrary, it’s fairly good for a vehicle of this ilk, and we can certainly see many owners enjoying their time behind the wheel of the Cadillac. However, we’d be dishonest if we declared the Cadillac XT5 to be the best overall vehicle in this segment to drive. Take the overall ride and handling balance as a prime example of how the Cadillac XT5 is just shy of where the best SUVs in this class are at. Whilst this SUV can hold a line around a corner and isn’t affected too badly by big bumps and sharper jolts, the Cadillac XT5 nevertheless isn’t quite as composed or as comfortable as a Mercedes-Benz GLC or a Land Rover Discovery Sport. Likewise, whilst body lean when cornering is well controlled and the steering is responsive enough for the needs of most buyers, the likes of the Jaguar F-Pace and BMW X3 offer that bit more precision and a more planted feel. If you’re the sort of buyer who craves a bit of engagement when you’re behind the wheel, you likely won’t be particularly enamoured with the way the Cadillac XT5 drives.
The Cadillac XT5 fairly well suited to life on the open road and highways.
Still, the Cadillac is at least a pleasantly refined vehicle, with only a slight amount of tire roar (on top of a hint of wind noise on models fitted with the panoramic sunroof) breaking the serenity of a cabin that’s otherwise well insulated from more intrusive sounds. The ride is also at its smoothest when you’re at speed too, making the Cadillac XT5 fairly well suited to life on the open road and highways. A shame, then, that visibility isn’t particularly great all around. Though the large windshield and high driving position that such a tall vehicle brings to the table ensures a good view out the front, the chunky pillars up front and out back are particularly thick, which results in some pretty sizable blind spots. It’s also worth pointing out that the rear window also isn’t particularly large by class standards either.
The Cadillac XT5 is only available with a 3.6-liter six-cylinder gasoline engine.
The Cadillac XT5 is only available with a 3.6-liter six-cylinder gasoline engine, and for the most part it’s a pretty good unit. Whilst the engine is admittedly a bit lacking in some areas when compared with what rivals offer, the 3.6-liter is still a powerplant that suits the Cadillac XT5 rather well. It’s certainly competitive when it comes to peak power outputs. With 310-hp on tap, the Cadillac XT5 is amongst one of the most powerful vehicles in this class, and the 271 lb-ft of torque is on par with what similar engines in rival cars generate (the 3.5-liter six-cylinder gasoline engine in the Lexus RX, for example, has 267 lb-ft on tap). However, as impressive as those outputs are, the Cadillac XT5 doesn’t gather pace in a particularly effortless manner, Though you don’t need to work the engine hard to extract the most from it, and the unit’s fine when it settles down to a cruising pace, the engine only produces a majority of its power and torque at higher revs. As a result, the Cadillac XT5 doesn’t have the same instant thrust as rivals with turbocharged engine options (such as the Lincoln MKX, BMW X3 and Mercedes-Benz GLC).
The eight-speed automatic transmission uses what the engine offers optimally to provide a smooth drive on the road.
Likewise, fuel economy isn’t good considering the engine that’s under the hood (19mpg in the city and 27mpg on the highway is pretty reasonable for a mid-sized SUV with a six-cylinder gasoline unit). However, if you’re after better efficiency than that, you’ll have to pick a different car as the Cadillac XT5 isn’t available with any other engine. The eight-speed automatic transmission uses what the engine offers optimally to provide a smooth drive on the road. Whilst it’s not the outright best transmission in its class – it’s a bit hesitant to select the most appropriate gear on occasion, for instance, and selecting reverse is a little bit awkward – this eight-speed setup is still very good overall system that suits the powertrain ratherwell.
The Cadillac is going up against many equally attractive ownership propositions.
The Cadillac XT5 competes in perhaps one of the most hotly contested segments of the new car market. While it’s got the looks, has a decent list of options through all three models available and more power on tap than the rest, the Cadillac is going up against many equally attractive ownership propositions. That said, the Cadillac XT5 does at least make a good case for itself if you’re after a more value-oriented premium SUV: with a starting price of $38,995, the Cadillac is a few thousand dollars more affordable than rivals like the Lexus RX, Mercedes-Benz GLC, Jaguar F-Pace and Porsche Macan. Standard equipment levels aren’t too shabby either, with cruise control, power-adjustable front seats, built-in 4G connectivity, a reversing camera, dual-zone climate control and rear parking sensors coming as standard. Buyers who are after more toys on their premium SUV, though, will likely find the Cadillac XT5 in the ‘Luxury’ specification. Starting at $45,890, this trim not only adds desirable items like leather upholstery, blind spot monitoring and heated from seats to the spec sheet, but also opens up the options book to include features like a $1,095 built-in navigation system and a $770 Driver Assistance Package that consists of safety features like emergency low speed autonomous braking, a lane keep assist and a lane departure warning device. At this spec, we feel this is where the sweet spot in the Cadillac XT5 is.
There will be four-years/50,000-miles bumper-to-bumper and six-years/70,000-miles powertrain warranties to fall back on.
Of course, you can also spend more money and buy a Cadillac XT5 in Premium Luxury ($52,890) or Platinum ($63,495) spec, but it’s not something we’d advise. These trim levels don’t really introduce anything that’ll improve your ownership experience in a drastic way outside of the all-wheel drive system on the Platinum trim (base, Luxury and Premium Luxury-spec XT5s are only available with front-wheel drive), and the steep increases in the price means the like-for-like rivals that were noticeably more expensive than the Cadillac XT5 are now worth similar amounts of money. Plus, those issues we have with the cheaper-feeling trim pieces are only exacerbated and put under further scrutiny once the Cadillac becomes a $50,000+ car. As we’ve discussed already, though, the Cadillac XT5 does impress when it comes to the safety equipment levels, with the aforementioned stability and crash prevention systems being backed up by front, side, curtain and knee airbags. Sadly, there aren’t any official crash test scores for the Cadillac XT5 yet, but we’re confident the car will end up being designated as a very safe one. Likewise, the newness of the Cadillac XT5 means residual values and reliability ratings are also an unknown currently. Should anything go wrong with your Cadillac XT5, though, there will be four-years/50,000-miles bumper-to-bumper and six-years/70,000-miles powertrain warranties to fall back on.
Overall, the Cadillac XT5 can be confidently summed up as a very good overall entry in the premium crossover segment. On top of looking the part and being fairly spacious, the Cadillac is also reasonably efficient for a big SUV with a six-cylinder gasoline engine and – perhaps most crucially – is also pretty good value when compared with pricier rivals. All of that, on top of being a home-grown car built in Tennessee by one of the country’s most famous high-end auto makers, should make the Cadillac XT5 one of the better vehicles in this segment. Sadly, the car does lag behind a bit in other key areas, which isn’t an ideal quality to have in a class as hotly contested as this. Long story short, there is a lot to like about the Cadillac XT5, and we do feel you should certainly consider the vehicle if you’re looking at buying a new premium SUV. That said, we do feel you should take a look at the car’s rivals before deciding which one to buy.