Cadillac’s reborn XT5 crossover looks like Hollywood and rolls with good Midwestern values.
Cadillac says it developed the XT5 from the inside out, and the result is a far more luxurious and drivable midsize five-seater than the SRX it replaces. Cadillac crossovers now wear the “XT” designation, which stands for “cross touring.”
There are many of these midsize crossovers now, but the XT5 has a compelling differentiator from the imports. Its designers know how to build a car with the features that will appeal to a North American audience.
The XT5 is roomy with contemporary interior design, V-6 power and a will to accommodate. It is a bit longer than the SRX with more rear-seat legroom (39.5 inches) and back seats that recline and slide fore and aft.
Sold in front- or all-wheel drive, there are four XT5 trim levels, all with a 310-horsepower 3.6-liter V-6 engine and eight-speed automatic transmission. Starting prices range from $39,990 with front-wheel drive to $63,495 for the Platinum AWD, which includes special interior and exterior elements and more advanced technologies. Pricing includes the $995 freight charge from Spring Hill, Tennessee.
The Premium Luxury AWD tester (one step down from Platinum) cost $57,725 with options for Crystal White tri-coat paint ($995), Carbon Plum/Jet Black upholstery and trim elements with Black Olive ash burl wood trim ($995), and a compact spare tire with a cargo net ($350). Standard features include a heated steering wheel, heated and ventilated seats, a wireless charger, leather-trimmed upholstery, a 14-speaker Bose audio system, an Ultraview sunroof with power sunshade, a power liftgate and LED headlights and cornering lights.
Standard safety features include Cadillac’s Driver Awareness and Driver Assist packages of automatic front and rear braking for low-speed conditions, lane-keeping assist, rear cross-traffic alert, side blind-zone alert, full-speed range adaptive cruise control and automatic parking assist.
The interior is elegantly dressed with more of Cadillac’s cut-and-sewn wrapped panels, as opposed to molded surfaces. The cabin is big on headroom (39.7 inches), elbowroom and shoulder room. The 8-inch touch screen and the Cadillac User Experience have been simplified with a more immediate response to the haptic-touch buttons, and there are separate controls for fan and temperature. While plum may be a trendy color, the tester’s Carbon Plum/Jet Black seat upholstery looked more like a mismatch or a bad dye.
The driver’s seat has more than 10 inches of fore-aft adjustment and more than 2.5 inches up and down. That should give about 97 percent of drivers an in-control position. It also has eight-way power adjustment; the passenger has six-way power adjustment. The driver area is well-organized with good sightlines over the hood, despite the fast angle of the windshield. Tall side glass helps over-the-shoulder views, and there is a quarter window at the rear sail panel.
The front-seat area has a number of handy slots, cup holders and plug-ins and a large lockable glove box. The wireless charger in the center armrest console has a clever slot to hold the phone in view but out of the way.
There is good entry to the back seat — the doors almost open perpendicular. The floor is flat for more three-across footroom. The seats have ample cushions to lean back and take in the mesmerizing view of nature through the Ultraview roof. The center fold-down armrest should have a strap to pull it into position, but there are other amenity details, such as grab handles, coat hooks, reading lights, seatback pockets and two USB ports.
The cargo area is large and square at 30 cubic feet behind the second row; there are almost 6 feet of length with the seats folded. The 40/20/40 seatbacks have a spring-loaded remote release in the cargo area, but it takes a big heave-ho to push them back into position.
The V-6 has cylinder deactivation to run on four cylinders under low or moderate loads. Other fuel-saving measures include auto stop-start at idle, though it cannot be switched off. That can be an issue for those in gridlock commuting, as the engine stops and restarts when the driver lifts a foot from the brake pedal.
A notable asset for commuters is the XT5’s 22-gallon fuel tank. The AWD tester’s fuel-mileage ratings on the recommended 87 octane are 18 mpg city, 26 highway and 21 mpg combined. I worked up to 22.3 mph, but more highway driving could bring it up to 26.6 mpg, as was indicated on the trip meter by a previous user.
The all-wheel-drive system is somewhat unique in that drivers can drive the XT5 in front-wheel drive (for improved fuel economy) and then engage all-wheel drive by a switch on the shift console. The twin-clutch AWD system can transfer all traction to either axle or across the rear axle to either wheel — whichever has lost traction.
The eight-speed automatic transmission keeps the power flowing, but there can be an occasional hesitation between grabbing a gear and the engine moving between four and six cylinders while the computer discusses the action with the myriad safety aids. The electronic gearshift lever was notchy to use when selecting reverse.
Sport mode adds noticeable kick and firms up the suspension. The four-wheel vented disc brakes are large at 13.6 inches front and 12.4 inches rear.
The XT5 is far more luxurious and drivable than the SRX, but it is not as quiet and luxurious as some of the competing crossovers. What it may lack in cabin quietness or nimbleness it overcompensates in American class function and usability.
Mark Maynard is online at email@example.com. Find photo galleries and more news at Facebook.com/MaynardsGarage