I recently had the chance to drive the new Cadillac XT4, which has finally arrived. I say "finally" because virtually all of Cadillac’s rivals have many more SUVs than Cadillac. In some cases, several multiples of Cadillac’s SUV count. BMW and Mercedes, for instance, have seven SUVs. Cadillac has two.
Or, at least, Cadillac had two until now. Cadillac has just rolled out its third SUV, the XT4, which is a compact crossover model designed to slot between the ultra-small luxury SUVs like the Audi Q3, the BMW X1 and the Lexus UX, and the somewhat small luxury SUVs, like the Audi Q5, the BMW X3 and the Lexus NX. Power comes from a 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder that makes 237 horsepower, and the XT4 offers front- or all-wheel drive.
From the outside, I like the general look of the XT4. Although I initially thought it seemed a bit too low, and thus more "station wagony" than "crossover-y," a quick drive disavowed me of that notion as the seating position is definitely high enough to provide the visibility crossover drivers like. Otherwise, the exterior styling is modern, fresh, and sharp, and I like it.
The interior is a bit of a mixed bag. Materials are nice, but I don’t think they look as nice as they feel. Most rivals use gloss trim that gives a more luxurious air, and the XT4 doesn’t have that. Still, there’s leather on most surfaces, nice stitching and high quality control buttons in the center control stack that look and feel good. The "Sedona" leather in the one I drove was gorgeous — a rich, textured reddish-orangish-brown that’s precisely the color I’d choose if I was getting one.
Technology is excellent, with a camera in place of an interior rearview mirror, a new infotainment system from Cadillac that’s surprisingly easy to use, and probably most camera angles of any vehicle I’ve seen at this price point — which, incidentally, is around $36,000 to start, or around $55,000 for a fully-loaded model with everything on it. That’s affordable compared to some European rivals, but obviously the Cadillac brand name isn’t as desirable as "BMW" or "Mercedes-Benz" to most people, so one would expect the XT4 to be a bit cheaper than those.
As for the driving experience, the XT4 was exactly as expected: reasonably nice, relatively comfortable, but not thrilling or exciting. Performance is decent, as 237 hp is fairly strong for the XT4’s sizing, though when you get high in the rev range there’s excessive engine noise. In normal driving, though, road noise is muted. The seats are comfortable, visibility is good and all controls and adjustments are within easy reach. Handling and steering are predictable, but not "sports car like" in any way.
If you’re sitting in the back, you’ll find surprisingly good interior space, with enough room for a larger adult even with a larger adult in the front seats — both for heads and legs. Cargo space is about average for the class — bigger than the small luxury SUVs like the Volvo XC40 and the Lexus UX, but smaller than the larger ones like the Audi Q5 and the Lincoln MKC.
In the end, the XT4 is a highly competent small luxury crossover — but it competes in a world with a lot of highly competent small crossovers, and Cadillac is late to the party. The good news for Cadillac is that it’s good enough to merit serious consideration — assuming shoppers haven’t already formed allegiances to other brands who beat Cadillac to the small luxury SUV punch.