By Frank S. Washington
DETROIT – We spent a short week test driving Cadillac’s XT4 crossover and came away impressed. We had the 2019 XT4 AWD Sport.
They said the all-new compact is tailored for the next generation of luxury buyers. We have no idea what that means.
However, we do know that the XT4 had expressive styling. It sported The Cadillac grille and badge. The grille was in gloss black, there were gloss black window moldings and 20-inch alloy wheels with 10-spoke diamond cut and satin finish.
The XT4 had LED lighting fore and aft including low and high beams. The LED-illuminated vertical light blade formed the daytime running lamps and was stretched horizontally. The crossover certainly had the familial look.
Under the hood was a 2.0-liter four cylinder engine that Cadillac engineers managed to get 237 horsepower out of along with 258 pound-feet of torque at 1,500 rpm. This gave the 2019 XT4 plenty of oomph from just about any speed.
The four-cylinder had what Cadillac has branded Active Fuel Shutoff, meaning two cylinders would deactivate when not needed. The engine had direct fuel injection and start/stop technology.
It was mated to a nine-speed automatic transmission with manual shift capabilities and of course there were paddle shifters. Depending on the gear, sometimes there was a little bit of a jolt when downshifting. But it was barely noticeable.
What is important is that this powertrain accelerated the XT4 with authority. Often it drove like a sports sedan rather than a crossover. We had the all-wheel-drive model and it got 22 mpg in the city, 29 mpg on the highway and 24 mpg combined.
The ride was great and adjustable. The XT4 had three drive modes: touring, sport and all-wheel-drive, this marks the first time we’ve seen the later feature in drive modes. Putting more traction to the ground at all times made handling a tad sharper.
There was a Macpherson strut with direct acting stabilizer bar in the front, with an active sport suspension with continuous damping control which activated when you put the XT4 in sport mode. In the rear was a five-link independent suspension with coil springs and fully isolated cradle. This suspension dampened and deadened many of the thumps and bumps in the pavement here.
Inside was a spacious cabin made more so by a low dashboard. Sight lines were great all round. They anchored the sideview mirrors to the doors rather than the A pillar. That cut down on sight obstructions and blind spots especially when cornering.
The XT4 had a smart key and loads of luxury features. There were heated and cooled front seats as well as heated rear seats. A heated steering wheel and automatic high beams were just the start to the technology.
The luxury crossover had a distance indicator, low speed forward automatic braking, front pedestrian braking and forward collision alert. None of which, thank goodness, we needed.
There was a touch infotainment screen that going against the trend was embedded in the dash. At the base of the center console was a compartment behind a sliding door where two USB jacks and a 12V plug were housed. The wireless smartphone charger was in a slot that led to the interior of the center console.
Cadillac has gotten good at hiding buttons in plain sight. The bulk of them were underneath the infotainment screen but they weren’t that noticeable. On the center console was a rotary controller for the screen. But it was also touch, thus it was a redundant system. There were controls on the TFT screen between the odometer and speedometer as well.
We thought that was a mix of old and new technology. The gauges which also held the fuel and temperature gauges were analog. And the digital TFT was in the middle. And the rims around the gauges were three dimensional semi circles. It was nicely done.
We still have not gotten used to the pulsating seats which activate as a cross traffic alert or when the XT4 ventures outside of the lane with the lane departure warning system. But with ownership comes familiarization.
We climbed into the back seat and found plenty of headroom. However, we did think the seat backs were a little upright. But after a while we found those back seats were more like sitting in soft chairs. It was not a bad feel. There was plenty of hip room but the tunnel would make three people seating abreast cramped at the least.
In addition to Bluetooth, satellite radio, voice controls, navigation, streaming, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, the 2019 XT4 had OnStar. It supplied navigation direction that could be downloaded, an in-vehicle Wi-Fi hotspot, safety and security features including roadside assistance, an automatic crash response, marketplace that lets you make purchases from your car or make reservations and in vehicle apps. And that is just some of the stuff you can do with this technology.
We thought the power tilt and telescoping steering wheel as well as the power automatic liftgate were also nice touches. But nice touches, well some of them aren’t free. Though our test vehicle had a base price $41,795, it had $9,295 worth of options. To us, that meant you could outfit an XT4 to your taste and your pocketbook.
Anyway, add the base price, the options and the $995 freight charge and our test vehicle had a sticker of $51,585. What’s more, the 2019 Cadillac XT4 didn’t seem overpriced.