Cadillac XT5 Is The New Star Among Premium SUVs

by Hubert Mckinney / SUV

With respect to the Cadillac XT5, the definition of “completely new”, so beloved by marketers, is not just words. Not only the design but also the platform, the engine, the gearbox, the all-wheel drive transmission are really new. Renaming from the Cadillac SRX to XT5 does not just reflect the scale of the changes – it’s part of the transformed index system. From now on, all crossovers of the brand will be called XTn, where n is a certain part of the hierarchy. In the coming years, we are waiting for at least three more XT-line SUVs. The new line is global: Cadillacs should appeal to consumers from different countries. Curiously, Escalade will remain itself – apparently, in order to emphasize the status.

XT5 and is one of the key elements of the strategy to expand the global presence of the Cadillac brand.

Losing Weight, Increasing in Size

Cadillac XT5, whose dimensions – 189.5 by 74.9 by 65.9 inches, is built on the basis of a chassis with a unique design. The model is by 277 lbs lighter than the previous SRX model and almost 100 pounds lighter than the Audi Q5 with a length almost 6.6″ longer. Also, XT5 is more than 630 lbs lighter than the Mercedes-Benz GLE.

Despite the similar dimensions and the same layout of the chassis – a transversely located power unit and McPherson strut in front and multi-link in rear – the Cadillac XT5 and its predecessor have nothing in common. If the SRX was built on the platform of the European Chevrolet Captiva/Opel Antara SUV developed in the Korean GM subdivision, the XT5 is designed in the United States.

What is the effect? The space for the feet of the rear passengers increased by more than three inches at a time (up to 4″), and now XT5 outperforms this main competitor – Lexus RX (3.8″). Despite the fact Lexus SUV is longer. On a separate seats, whose “halves” also move back and forth in the manner of the Audi Q5, you sit like a boss. In addition, you can half-lie, tilting the back, or stretch into the diagonal: the transmission tunnel is missing.

Fancy Look

The first crossover of the XT5 series features a distinctive style, demonstrating the evolution of the Cadillac design language, which began with the new CT6 sedan.

Notice the new Cadillac in a rear-view mirror is simple – the creators of XT5 say that the glowing “blinkers” are visible for half a mile! This is a recognizable car, to which you can treat differently, but to confuse something is difficult. And in order to see the SRX successor in the novelty, the crossover was left with characteristic details of the appearance: a broken shape of the side glazing and door handles on a different levels.

XT5 has a blade of navigation lights, a monumental radiator grille, embossed sides and a dynamic silhouette. If in 1997 the average age of a Cadillac buyer exceeded sixty years (it’s not a mistake), Today, XT5 for pensioners is too bold and bright. In a word, the exterior is a very strong trump card of the US-made SUV.

The Interior We Deserved

The inside, it’s just luxurious. Old-school, without stuck out displays and a huge display instead of a dashboard. The former vertical way was replaced by the horizontal organization of space – and natural materials. “If it seems to you that it’s aluminum, then it’s aluminum, wood is wood, and the leather is only natural,” the Cadillac assure. Naked plastic in Xt5 you’ll find except on the lid of the glove box!

The pretentious console and unpretentious appliances are in the past. Interior of the XT5 restrained, but the clean style in it is much greater.

Clean surfaces replaced verticals, sharp corners and chrome decor, and emphasis was placed on horizontal lines that visually enlarged the space. More noble materials applied: natural leather, and alcantara, wood of three varieties, aluminum with carbon fiber. The steering wheel is similar to the previous one, and the basic dashboard did not seem to change at all. A box with a movable door disappeared from the center console. The touch control is just the management of the multimedia system, and the keys of the climate control require pressing, although they are disguised under a common glossy touch surface.

Seats, as well as in other Cadillacs, is under no complaints while long trips. The profile and density of the filler are optimal, the range of adjustments is sufficient for a tall person, even a tall driver would barely reach the pedals with a seat move backward. But the lateral support rollers are placed wide, under the big body. At the same time, we are told: the car, they say, is designed for men aged 30, but up to 40 years. It seems to me that in the whole world it is in this group that sport and a healthy lifestyle are especially popular.

The car’s driving selector is made in the form of a convenient electronic joystick a la BMW. The principle of the lever “drive by wire” freed from the mechanical filling of the central tunnel, so a comfortable shelf was built under the selector. The pedals has become better as well – the predecessor brake pedal was too issued in the cabin and had an unsuccessful calibration. And the platform under the left leg forced to turn out a foot – now everything is in order. Unusual electronic handbrake is also pleasing: this is a button, and not a lever-rocker, which you forget all the time, when to pull, and when to push. And here everything is simple – you just press it when needed.

Legroom and Convenience

In the back row, I just enjoy the expanse – at least put a foot on my leg. The distance between the backs of the front and rear seats increased by more than 3 inches. The tall man is sitting at ease, even if in front of someone tall decided to stretch his legs. The backrest is deflected within 12º, there are six fixed positions. If the rear sofa is not occupied, any part of it can be moved forward by 5.5″, releasing more space for luggage. It’s already a lot: 30 cubic feet (but just a bit more than in the predecessor).

Gadgets On Board

Virtual buttons on the touchscreen pop up as soon as you hold your hand to it. And the multimedia system called CUE (Cadillac User Experience) is equipped with a more intelligent processor, is trained to “mirror” the phone or tablet with Apple CarPlay or Android Auto.

The most interesting option is the Rear Camera Mirror System. This is a mirror with a monitor mounted in it, allowing you to see a picture with a wide-angle camera in the fifth door. Naturally, in such a “mirror” you do not see any rear passengers, head restraints, or pillars. Very unusual feeling!

Technical Features

The all-wheel drive version weighs less than its predecessor by 176 lbs and at the same time 660 lbs lighter than the comparable length of the Mercedes-Benz GLE! And less mass – less fuel consumption. Declared combined fuel consumption of 18 mpg.

And it even managed to meet, and without much effort. A new engine contributes to the economy. At first glance, it’s the same 3.6 liter V6. But with the engine of the SRX, it is mostly related only to these figures. In the XT5, the unit received a system for disconnecting two cylinders (the transition from V6 to V4 and back is completely invisible) and a start-stop system. The amount of inaccuracy increased the recoil: now it is 320 hp. And 273 ft lb. But since it is a non-turbocharged engine, a decent thrust here started on high revs.
In this terms, the feedback is not impressive, but convincing, V6 sounds noble. The Chinese market will get another engine, close in terms of power and torque, but more economical 2-liter turbocharged engine. However, US buyers are unlikely to regret it. Gearbox is also new, which now has 8 speeds instead of 6. The Aisin automatic (almost like in the Volvo V60 or BMW X1) is sometimes fussy, but on the whole rather it works invisible. Manually you can use the paddle shifters or the joystick on the central tunnel.

On-Road Experience

With a sharp start, the XT5 manages to polish the front axle, but switching to a sport algorithm or forced blocking of the transmission solves this and other problems of the handling. For example, in the steep ground ascent XT5 on the 18″ rims all-weather scrambled very confidently.
But the smooth running of the car on the asphalt caused questions. The suspension is not “liquid”, as on the SRX, but harsh. But on a country road XT5 was racing without a breakdown! But the cars with the 20-inch rims are equipped with adaptive suspension ZF. And this thing is really cool – despite the low profile of the tires, this version was actually comfortable.

It became easier to turn the steering wheel, because the hydraulic booster was replaced with an electric one mounted on a “short” rail. That’s just on one of the machines on the rim of it was an unpleasant background itch… Controlled XT5 in European way – it turns more accurately and “flat.”

Driving Modes

In Tour mode, the car is 100% front-wheel-drive. Even with the slip of the front wheels, the rear wheels will not come to the rescue. In addition, this mode is economical: the reactions to gas are smoothed out, and the switching of the gearbox seems to be lazy. For the route is good, but in the ragged urban traffic this mode driving crazy.

The AWD mode seems to me to be the best candidate for the role of the standard one. The motor is sharper and linear reacts to the accelerator, the box is more sensitive to the nuances of pedaling – in the end it is felt that there are more than three hundred “horses” in the Cadillac. The clutch of the rear gearbox already works with a small preload, the degree of understeer is reduced, the behavior in the turns becomes more neutral. On the ground clearly felt help the rear axle. The smoothness of the move, in my opinion, does not fundamentally change, and if there is a small difference, it is elusive.

The Sport mode is perfect for everyone, except for the unnecessarily detailed translation of unevennesses in the interior. The suspension is noticeably clamped, saving energy, but the rolls become smaller. The box allows you to twist the crankshaft to the cut-off, snapping the steps without ceremony, periodically shoving into the back while switching. The car responds to gas almost without delay.


From the place, the XT5 accelerates convincingly for a large crossover: it’s easy to believe in the claimed acceleration time to 60 MPH – 7.5 seconds. However, there is little emotion in the set of speed, it is too smooth, and the husky buzz of the engine seems to be specially muffled – the “six” may sound much more impressive. Even the SRX was distinguished by its voice… The crossover accelerates briskly, unexpectedly for others. On the unlimited stretch of the highway I accelerate to almost 140 MPH on the speedometer, while the top speed declared by a manufacturer is just 130 MPH.

Pricing and Trims

The price for the new XT5 starts at $39,395 MSRP. For this price you receive front-wheel drive SUV with 18-inch rims, keyless access, power accessories (including tailgate), rear view camera, 8-inch multimedia with eight speakers, dual-zone climate and many more. Luxury trim starting at $46,290 and adds power sunroof, leather seats with heating, various electronic assists, heated steering wheel and memory function for seating position. Premium Luxury trim for $53,290 adds cooler multimedia (14-speaker system) and built-in navigation. There are also 20-inch rims, retuned suspension, LED lighting and ventilated seats. All first three trim levels could be either FWD or AWD. The surplus for all-wheel drive system is around $8,000 depending on a trim level.

Top-end trim called Platinum could be aggregated only with an AWD system, costs $63,890 without options and features many more equipment: drive mode select for AWD transmission; redesigned grille and exhaust; 360-degree cameras; leather-wrapped instrument panel; 8-inch color dashboard; innovative rear camera mirror; head-up display; hands-free tailgate; tri-zone automatic climate control; heated rear seats; advanced security package, include advanced anti-theft system.