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Tuesday, August 21, 2018

2019 Cadillac XT5 Review

The 2019 Cadillac XT5 is a solid, if forgettable, crossover. Consider the Caddy’s myriad rivals, too.
The 2019 Cadillac XT5 doesn’t do much to set itself apart from other luxury crossover SUVs.

Cadillac’s entry into this competitive market is a competent handler and feels luxurious enough inside, but some touches are lower-market than its price tag would suggest. We’ve given it 5.8 out of 10 points overall. 


After incorporating a heated steering wheel into most trim levels last year, the 2019 XT5 gets a similarly-slim slate of changes, adding three new colors for 2019: Shadow Metallic, Red Horizon Tintcoat, and Dark Mocha Metallic. Trim levels still include base, Premium, Premium Luxury, and Platinum, but don’t look for a sporty variant like the brand’s sedan models.

All versions of the XT5 come with a stalwart 3.6.-liter V-6 with 310 horsepower as standard. An 8-speed automatic transmission sends power to either the front or all four wheels, and all-wheel drive comes standard only on the top-of-the-line Platinum model. This is no off-road vehicle though, but that’s typical for a segment that includes comfort-oriented options like the Audi Q5, BMW X3, Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class, Lexus RX, and Volvo XC60.

The XT5 starts a hair over $40,000, but the sticker price can climb fast as you add trim levels and options. A fully-loaded XT5 Platinum comes with a $70,000 asking price, which is frankly far too expensive given the strength of this Caddy’s rivals.

The standard XT5 is fitted with a full suite of airbags and stability control like most modern vehicles, but Cadillac restricts advanced safety tech like automatic emergency braking to only higher trim levels.

Styling
The 2019 Cadillac XT5 crisp styling inside is offset by a forgettable exterior.
The 2019 Cadillac XT5 wears the brand’s unique recent styling language, but in a softer, more anonymous guise. We’ve rewarded the XT5 for its handsome interior, but the exterior design is painfully average, earning a 6 out of 10 on our scale.

A tall side profile and few standout styling elements make the XT5 an exercise in restraint, but one that doesn’t quite work for us. The swept-back headlights with the signature vertical LED design are cool, but the rest of the car looks bland, a stark contrast to bold and brash Cadillac sedans of the last few years and over time.

Inside, GM parts bin switchgear abounds, though the dashboard and infotainment display are wide, flat, and appealing to look at. This comes at the expense of functionality, though, as the capacitive touch buttons for the climate control system (just give us real buttons, please) are hidden below the trim.

Faux or real wood accents adorn the cabin, as well as faux or real aluminum depending on how much you’re willing to spend. If you don’t mind fake trim that is a convincing alternative, save your cash and opt for a lower-spec interior package.

Performance
The 2019 Cadillac XT5 manages strong acceleration and performance from its lone engine option, but things fall apart when the going gets twisty.
The 2019 Cadillac XT5's upscale feel starts with the way it rides and drives. It's far from fun, but the XT5 has a comfortable ride that earns it a 6 out of 10. 

In terms of ride and handling, the 2019 XT5 has a subtly sporty feel, and the powertrain provides decent grunt from a tried-and-true V-6. The power steering unit is light under low load and centers nicely at higher speeds. Selecting Sport mode dials up the heft, but most drivers won’t notice the difference before significant time behind the wheel.

The XT5’s main competitors use a combination of rear- and front-wheel drive platforms, and the Cadillac makes use of the latter, suffering many of the same drawbacks. The optional all-wheel drive system (standard on Platinum models) helps make things grippier but isn’t intended for off-road use like some of its more hardcore rivals, namely the Land Rover Discovery Sport.
The fully-independent suspension system provides a comfortable ride, and top trim XT5s get magnetic suspension that continuously adjusts damping, a noticeable and necessary addition given the 20-inch wheel diameter on Platinum models.

A 3.6-liter V-6 is the only engine option and makes 310 horsepower and 271 pound-feet of torque. That’s good enough for robust acceleration and just a hint of torque steer in front-wheel drive models. The only transmission on offer is an 8-speed automatic, and it shifts well enough, but the drive-by-wire gear shift feels like a cheaper BMW knockoff, and doesn’t provide the same tried-and-true functionality as a traditional shifter.

Comfort & Quality
The 2019 Cadillac XT5 is comfortable and high quality but beware of spending over $70,000 on a Platinum model when lower trims will suffice.
The 2019 Cadillac XT5 lineup spans a wide range of prices and options despite only one powertrain option, with the base model coming in at almost half the price of a fully-loaded example. All XT5s have an upscale feel and comfortable front seats, as you’d expect from a luxury crossover. We’ve given it a 7 out of 10.

Base models feature a durable, if not exactly luxurious synthetic leather upholstery, while the Premium and Luxury trim levels offer nicer-feeling real leather. The Platinum model takes things a step further with semi-aniline hides. Some competitors such as the Audi Q5 come standard with leather trim, so it's a shame that XT5 buyers have to pay extra.

Standard power-adjustable seats up front provide solid support, and lumbar adjustment is included on Luxury and higher trim levels for driver and passenger. The XT5 is somewhat narrower than many rivals, a characteristic that rears its head in the back seat. Two adults will find themselves comfortable, but a third passenger makes things a tight affair.

The XT5 manages 30 cubic feet of cargo space that can be made larger by moving the rear bench fore and aft, and the rear seat features a 60/40 split that can increase total cargo capacity to 63 cubic feet.

Overall, the XT5 offers a high-quality feel with nice materials, though noticeably a step behind German rivals. The top-tier Platinum trim is a bit too dressed up, with a $70,000-plus price tag that puts it out of the league of many competitors.

Safety
Curious crash test scores and reservation of the best safety tech for higher trims hurt the 2019 Cadillac XT5’s safety score.
The 2019 Cadillac XT5 has earned good crash test ratings government, but with some important caveats. Automatic emergency braking is a costly extra, too. We’ve given it 5 out of 10 accordingly. 

The XT5 comes standard with seven airbags, stability and traction control, and anti-lock brakes, par for the course for modern cars. We think that some advanced safety tech should be standard though, as low-speed automatic emergency braking is only standard on Premium Luxury and Platinum trims, the two top-tier options. It’s optional on the XT5 Premium model and not available on the base XT5. Vehicles that are equipped with the technology also come with active lane control, blind-spot monitors, and automatic high-beam headlights.

Full-speed automatic emergency braking is only available on the Driver Assist Package, an extra-cost option on Premium Luxury and Platinum trims only. This package also includes adaptive cruise control and automatic emergency braking while in reverse. It’s commendable that Cadillac offers all of these technologies, but while key rivals like the Lexus RX 350 and Volvo XC60 are making it standards, Cadillac could stand to do more.

In terms of crash test ratings, the XT5 returns some curious scores. The NHTSA rates the 2019 XT5 a split score for front- and all-wheel drive models, with all-wheel-drive XT5s earning five stars overall and FWD versions only earning four. Both models get four stars for rollover and front crash protection.

The IIHS rates the XT5 “Good” in every crash test, but its “Marginal” and “Poor” headlights keep it from earning a Top Safety Pick award.

Features
The 2019 Cadillac XT5 ranges from comfortable to thoroughly plush, with prices that rise accordingly.
You can’t quite have your 2018 Cadillac XT5 any way you want it, but there are plenty of choices to make. With four trim levels available and a high level of standard and optional equipment including an 8.0-inch touchscreen for infotainment with Apple and Android capability, the XT5 rates a solid 7 out of 10.

Once you’ve narrowed your XT5 hunt down to front- or all-wheel drive (unless you pick the pricey Platinum, where AWD is standard), it’s time to look at trim levels: base, Luxury, Premium Luxury, and Platinum.

At a hair over $40,000 to start, the base XT5 is hardly basic. Its feature set includes a power liftgate, power front seats, leatherette upholstery, and GM's OnStar concierge and safety connectivity.

The XT5 Premium adds $7,000 worth of leather, heated seats, parking sensors, blind-spot monitors, rear cross-traffic alerts, and a panoramic moonroof. We'd add the Driver Awareness Package that adds automatic emergency braking and active lane control, lane departure warnings, and automatic high-beam headlights. Navigation, Bose audio, and 20-inch alloy wheels are also available.

The XT5 Premium Luxury includes the Luxury trims’s two option packages plus LED headlights, 20-inch alloy wheels, and an adjustable suspension. Adaptive cruise control and full-speed automatic emergency braking are also available.

Topping the lineup, the XT5 Platinum is pricey but feels almost worth its cost thanks to its upgraded leather trim, head-up display, and 8.0-inch instrument cluster screen. Surprisingly, advanced active safety tech is optional on the Platinum.

All versions of the XT5 share an infotainment system that's flawed but functional. It's flashy, if light on utility. For instance, instead of a volume knob, users must swipe a finger across a capacitive bar. 

Fuel Economy
The 2019 Cadillac XT5 is reasonably thrifty given its V-6 power and it uses regular unleaded.
Given its potent V-6 engine, the 2019 Cadillac XT5 is reasonably efficient. It also uses cheaper regular gasoline than premium grade like competitors. We’ve given it a 4 out of 10 accordingly. 

Front-wheel drive models are the most efficient, with 19 mpg in the city, 26 on the highway, and 22 combined. Opting for all-wheel drive drops each number by 1 mpg for a total of 18/25/21.

All versions of the XT5 use one of the better start-stop systems out there, but that’s not factored into the EPA’s testing, so your mileage may vary if you spend a lot of time sitting in traffic or at red lights. There’s no thriftier turbocharged model available yet or for the foreseeable future, and a hybrid version is not on the slate either.

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