New for the 2019 model year, the compact Cadillac XT4 dresses in high-quality materials, packs an impressive new powertrain, and has one of Cadillac’s most daring designs in recent times.
Priced from around $35,000, the 2019 XT4 comes in three trim levels: base Luxury, Premium Luxury, and Sport. Each version holds an eager new 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine that makes 237 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. For now, at least, the turbo-4 is exclusive to the XT4.
The turbo-4 mates with a smooth-shifting 9-speed automatic transmission and standard front-wheel drive. All-wheel drive costs an additional $2,500. It’s a part-time AWD system, engaged by tapping twice on a button.
Sport models get some appearance boosts, including gloss black window moldings and specific Sport alloy wheels. Helpful adaptive dampers are included. So are clear-lens taillights. Every XT4 gets a good-looking infotainment system with smartphone compatibility.
No official crash-test ratings are available as yet, from either the federal government or independent testers.
Blind-spot monitors are standard. Several active-safety features are available, as option packages for upper trim levels. A $770 Driver Awareness group includes low-speed automatic emergency braking, forward-collision warnings, active lane control, and automatic headlights. The $1,100 Driver Assist package provides forward/reverse automatic emergency braking and adaptive cruise control. Neither package is offered for the base XT4. A surround-view camera system, automatic parking assistance, and camera-based rearview mirror also are available.
Prices do not include $995 destination charge.
Luxury ($34,795 with front-drive, $37,295 with all-wheel drive) is equipped with 18-inch alloy wheels, synthetic leather upholstery, LED headlights and taillights, power-adjustable front seats, dual-zone climate control, three drive modes, 4.2-inch driver information display, and 18-inch wheels. The 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system includes a rotary controller, with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility.
Premium Luxury ($39,295 with FWD, $41,795 with AWD) turns to genuine leather seating, a power liftgate, blind-spot monitors, lane-change alert, and aluminum or wood interior accents.
Sport ($39,295 with FWD, $41,795 with AWD) reverts to synthetic leather, but adds black exterior trim, a mesh grille, and sport steering wheel.
Sharply styled, the compact XT4 is well-suited to its large, wide grille, creased-metal hood, and expressive headlights. Borrowing from the full-size Escalade, designers penned dramatic shapes, to good effect. The end result flaunts some of the most daring angles ever seen on a Cadillac.
Some Luxury and Premium Luxury versions get bright metallic grille accents. Standard LED daytime running lights thrust forward from the nose, along the fender tops and downward, creating quite a look. Cadillac’s wreath-and-crest badge floats within the mesh-textured grille.
Unlike compact crossovers that follow the plunging-roofline trend, the XT4 maintains a more traditional roof profile. Short overhangs help disguise the comparatively long XT4’s dimensions. Vertical taillights suggest those used on Escalades, if not Fifties tailfins.
The sharpness of exterior details also extends into the cabin, which has tall window lines. Quality of materials excels, as does fit-and-finish. An XT4 may be accented with wood or simulated carbon fiber. Soft-touch materials with stitched accents add a luxury tone. Light colors help brighten what could otherwise be a somewhat dark cabin.
Front occupants can expect comfortable, contemporary seating that’s helpfully supportive. Optional leather upholstery feels soft and durable. Power-adjustable, massaging leather seats are available.
Two adults fit comfortably in the back seat, though three are likely to rub shoulders. Six-foot riders can sit one behind the other.
A generously-sized 8.0-inch touchscreen for the great infotainment system dominates the dashboard. Refined and easy to use, the system features a clear, sharp display and bright menus. The surround-view camera system, optional on upper trims, is worth considering.
At 22.5 cubic feet, cargo volume with all seatbacks upright trails some competitors, but not by much. Folding the back seat expands that area to 48.9 cubic feet. The true drawback is the XT4’s high load floor. Some people might have trouble loading a heavy item.
In both ride comfort and power, the XT4 scores above average for its class. The smooth and refined 2.0-liter turbo-4 engine delivers ample power without fuss. A mere hint of lag may be evident during hard acceleration. Otherwise, the powertrain easily propels the XT4 around town.
Cadillac’s 9-speed automatic produces silken-smooth gear changes, keeping the turbo-4 as efficient as possible. Only a brief delay occurs when dropping gears to pass on the highway.
Handling varies among trim levels. Sport models get continuous-control dampers that limit motions neatly for a pillow-soft experience. A quiet ride can also be expected from Luxury and Premium Luxury models, with their standard springs. Adaptive dampers on Sport versions react swiftly to pavement flaws, yet aren’t too stiff.
With the XT4, Cadillac debuts an electronically-powered braking system. The brake pedal feels stiff, with shorter-than-expected pedal travel.
In Sport mode, the optional part-time, dual-clutch all-wheel-drive system modifies power output between the rear wheels, permitting sportier motoring.
Fuel economy ranks as respectable. With front-wheel drive, the XT4 is EPA-rated at 24/30 mpg City/Highway, or 26 mpg Combined. All-wheel drive impacts those figures slightly, EPA-rated at 22/29/24 mpg.
The 2019 Cadillac XT4 puts crisp style into the compact-crossover realm. The XT4 might be best as a Premium Luxury edition, with leather seating, massaging, heated and cooled front seats, a panoramic sunroof, and all the latest in active safety protection.
Driving impressions by The Car Connection. James M. Flammang contributed to this report.