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2018 Cadillac XT5: New Car Review

If you’re looking for information on a newer Cadillac XT5, we’ve published an updated review: 2019 Cadillac XT5 Review

We’ll say one thing for the 2018 Cadillac XT5, it’s definitely distinctive. In appearance, there’s certainly no mistaking this small SUV for anything other than a Cadillac, with its broad grille, cascading LED running lights and trademark, fin-like taillights. Inside, the architectural mix of shapes, colors and textures contrasts sharply with the cabins of its European competitors.

Then there’s the matter of its size, as the XT5’s exterior measures between midsize SUVs like the Lexus RX and compact ones like the Mercedes GLC. This greater size is probably the reason the XT5 tends to cost more than those compact models, but it’s really not that big of a difference. Rear headroom in particular is a bit tight, and although its cargo capacity is bigger than the RX and many of the compacts, there are those that match or best it. The XT5’s V6 engine is also rare given the turbocharged 4-cylinder engines of most competitors, and although its 310 horsepower is impressive, resulting acceleration is merely average and its fuel economy is below average.

Really, it’s that distinctive style and an ample amount of standard infotainment tech that stand out from the luxury SUV crowd. Otherwise, the XT5 is a middle-of-the-pack choice that’s at least worth a test drive.

What’s New for 2018?

The XT5 was all-new last year, so for 2018 there are only the most minor updates, including an additional USB port. See the 2018 Cadillac XT5 models for sale near you

What We Like

Abundant standard infotainment tech; one of the biggest cargo areas in the segment; serenely quiet cabin; distinctive Cadillac style

What We Don’t

Lower fuel economy and performance than most competitors; panoramic sunroof significantly reduces headroom; a bit pricey

How Much?


Fuel Economy

The 2018 Cadillac XT5 has only one choice of engine: a 3.6-liter V6 that produces 310 hp and 271 lb-ft of torque. It has a standard 8-speed automatic with an automatic stop/start system. Front-wheel drive (FWD) is standard and all-wheel drive (AWD) is optional. Fuel economy estimates by the Environmental Protection Agency stand at 19 miles per gallon city, 26 mpg highway and 22 mpg in combined driving with FWD. Each lowers by one mpg with AWD.

Standard Features & Options

The XT5 is offered in four trim levels: base XT5, Luxury, Premium Luxury and Platinum.

The base XT5 ($40,600) comes standard with 18-in wheels, automatic headlights, rear parking sensors, adjustable-height power lift gate, roof rails, proximity entry and keyless start, remote ignition, a backup camera, dual-zone automatic climate control, power front seats (8-way driver, 6-way passenger), 40/20/40-split back seats (folding, sliding, reclining), a power-adjustable steering wheel, simulated leather upholstery, OnStar emergency communications, 4G LTE Wi-Fi, four USB ports, wireless smartphone charging, Cadillac’s 8-inch touchscreen interface, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and an 8-speaker sound system with satellite radio.

The Luxury ($46,600) adds front and rear parking sensors, blind spot monitoring and a rear cross-traffic warning system, automatic wipers, a panoramic sunroof, auto-dimming interior and driver-side mirrors, driver memory functions, heated front seats, leather upholstery, a heated steering wheel and a cargo management system. The optional Driver Awareness package adds forward-collision warning, low-speed forward automatic emergency braking, lane-keep assist, automatic high beams and the Safety Alert Seat (see Safety section). Heated rear seats, tri-zone climate control, integrated navigation and a 14-speaker Bose surround-sound audio system can be bundled together. Opting for that bundle opens the door to optional LED headlights.

The Premium Luxury ($55,600) includes the above options plus 20-in wheels, an adaptive suspension, selectable driving modes and ventilated front seats.

The Platinum ($63,400) adds unique exterior trim, a hands-free lift gate, a head-up display, a surround-view parking camera, Cadillac’s rear camera mirror, a configurable gauge display, upgraded leather upholstery, leather-wrapped dash, a sueded microfiber headliner and the choice of unique interior color choices.

Available on the Premium Luxury and Platinum, the Driver Assist package adds forward and reverse automatic braking, automatic parking and adaptive cruise control.


Each XT5 comes with airbags (driver and front-passenger, front and rear side-curtain and driver-knee), rear parking sensors, a backup camera and OnStar emergency communications (automatic accident notification, an SOS button and stolen vehicle locator).

The Driver Awareness package (optional on Luxury, standard Premium Luxury and Platinum) includes forward-collision warning, low-speed forward automatic emergency braking, lane-keep assist, automatic high beams and the Safety Alert Seat that vibrates the driver seat in response to the above warning systems. Available on the top two trims, the Driver Assist package adds forward and reverse automatic braking, automatic parking and adaptive cruise control.

Government crash test scores unusually differ by drivetrain, with the AWD XT5 getting a 5-star overall rating and the FWD model getting a 4-star one. The 4-star frontal and 5-star overall are the same with both drivetrains. The non-profit Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the XT5 the best-possible ratings for crashworthiness and crash avoidance technologies. It missed out a Top Safety Pick award because of a Marginal headlight score.

Behind the Wheel

Cadillac has been quietly remaking its lineup with a new focus on the driver. Forget the soft and floaty, traditional, American luxury-car ride and meet the sharper, crisper handling of the new Cadillac. The XT5’s chassis, suspension and steering mate with the smooth V6 engine and smart 8-speed automatic transmission to deliver a driving experience that is much better than the outgoing SRX. On top trim levels, selectable drive modes include an assertive Sport mode with stiff suspension settings, shift points that hold revs and sharper steering. Touring mode smooths out the ride and performance in a good way for road trips and highway drives. Unfortunately, those same top trim levels come with 20-in wheels that don’t get along well with pockmarked pavement. Seek out bumps on a test drive.

In the cabin, Cadillac’s designers and engineers have improved the look and build quality of the dash, doors, center console and seats compared to the old SRX. Is it as high-lux or meticulous as a Mercedes GLC or Audi Q5? Probably not, but you may prefer its style. The latest generation of Cadillac’s CUE infotainment system works quite well, and although the screen is prone to fingerprints and glare, many should find it easier to use than rival interfaces.

Second-row passengers will be greeted with a generous amount of legroom and a seat that both slides and reclines. However, those of above-average height will find the panoramic sunroof standard on most trim levels robs them of precious headroom. It can be a bit confining back there, especially since visibility all around isn’t great (including for the driver).

Cargo capacity is among the best in the segment, especially with its seats-up number of 30 cu ft., since most competitors are in the 20’s. With the seats lowered, space increases to 63 cu ft.

Other Cars to Consider

 2018 Lexus RX — Given the XT5’s exterior size, V6 engine and heftier price, the midsize Lexus RX should be considered as well. Its finely crafted cabin is particularly impressive. You can also get an RX hybrid.

2018 Mercedes-Benz GLC — Mercedes’ well-rounded lineup of GLC compact crossovers isn’t quite as large as the XT5, but it boasts a lovely interior, excellent engines and, surprisingly, better value when we compared the XT5 to the GLC 300. Read our comparison article, Cadillac XT5 vs. Mercedes-Benz GLC: Which Is Better?

 2018 Acura RDX — The RDX certainly can’t match the XT5’s style, but its size compares quite favorably to the XT5. As we noted in our comparison between the XT5 and RDX, the Acura is the more sensible shoes alternative. Read our comparison article, Cadillac XT5 vs. Acura RDX: Which Is Better?

Used BMW X5 BMW wrote the book on midsize SUV’s that are involving to drive. It costs considerably more than the XT5, so considering a used or certified pre-owned on is recommended.

Autotrader’s Advice

The base XT5 offers a tremendous amount of value for the money, especially given all its standard tech features you often have to pay extra for with competitors. As you move up the trim lineup, however, the XT5 gets awfully pricey, and that value proposition disappears. A $65,000 XT5 Platinum, in particular, is questionable.

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