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2019 Cadillac XT4 Preview

2019 Cadillac XT4 Preview

By Christian Wardlaw, March 27, 2018

Fast Facts:

  • New compact crossover SUV
  • Luxury, Premium Luxury, Sport trim levels
  • Turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine
  • 9-speed automatic transmission
  • Front-wheel or all-wheel drive
  • 5-passenger seating
  • 22.5 cu.-ft. trunk expands to 48.4 cu.-ft.
  • Maximum of 6.7 inches of ground clearance
  • On sale in fall of 2018
  • Built in Kansas City

Introduction:

Cadillac wants younger people to consider its cars and SUVs, and the new 2019 XT4 crossover is built especially for Millennials whose grandparents never drove a Caddy.

When it goes on sale in the fall of 2018, for a starting price of $35,790, the XT4 will be offered in Luxury, Premium Luxury, and Sport trim levels. Primary competitors include the Acura RDX, Audi Q3, BMW X1 and X2, Infiniti QX30, Jaguar E-Pace, Lexus UX, Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class, and Volvo XC40.

Exterior Features:

Though it weighs a minimum of 3,660 pounds and sits on a wheelbase that is longer than a GMC Terrain Denali’s, the new Cadillac XT4 is a stubby little SUV. Front and rear overhangs are short, and when fitted with its available 20-inch aluminum wheels, it looks tidy and lean.

New lighting treatments help to give the folded-and-creased XT4 added character compared to its larger XT5 sibling, and Cadillac wisely avoids tacking simulated skid plates to its new crossover, sticking with dark gray plastic to convey a sense of rugged utility. However, with just 6.7 inches of ground clearance available, the XT4 is best used for battling blizzards, not ripping across rough terrain.

If you like shiny exterior detailing, choose the Luxury or Premium Luxury trim. If you prefer a blacked-out look, get the Sport trim.

Interior Features:

The most significant thing about the XT4’s interior is the new approach Cadillac takes to the control layout.

Gone is the massive gloss black, touch-sensing plastic center dashboard panel that was never a suitable replacement for traditional knobs and buttons. In its place, Cadillac installs a row of classy, understated piano-key switches that operate the standard dual-zone climate system, while a new round dial, shortcut buttons, and volume/tuning controls is placed on the center console for using the Cadillac User Experience (CUE) infotainment system.

Seating is provided for five people, but four are likely to be happier aboard the XT4. The problem isn’t rear seat legroom. In fact, Cadillac says the XT4 supplies more of it than any competitor. Rather, width is likely a challenge when it comes to squeezing three people into the back seat.

Behind the rear seat, cargo space measures a paltry 22.5 cubic feet. Fold the rear seat down, and the space expands to no more than 48.4 cu.-ft. A power rear liftgate is available for the XT4.

Optional Features:

Each version of the XT4 can be upgraded with extras, but Cadillac does reserve the more appealing features for the Premium Luxury and Sport trims. For example, the more expensive variants include leather seats; a choice between real wood, real aluminum, and real carbon fiber interior trim; ambient interior lighting; a power rear liftgate; and a blind spot warning system with lane-change and rear cross-traffic alerts.

All three versions of the XT4 can be upgraded with all-wheel drive, a navigation system, a Bose premium sound system, a power sunroof, and a Cold Weather Package. Cadillac reserves 20-inch aluminum wheels, and multiple, undefined option packages for the Premium Luxury and Sport trims. The package names are: Comfort and Convenience, Visibility, Technology, Driver Awareness, and Driver Assist.

Under the Hood:

Cadillac installs a new turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine in the XT4. It has a twin-scroll turbocharger to help reduce turbo lag, Active Fuel Management cylinder deactivation technology to help improve fuel economy, and automatic engine stop/start to also raise gas mileage. Horsepower measures 237 at 5,000 rpm, and the engine makes its maximum 258 lb.-ft. of torque from 1,500 rpm to 4,000 rpm.

An updated 9-speed automatic transmission powers the XT4’s front wheels. The optional active twin-clutch all-wheel-drive system is designed to decouple the rear wheels from the drivetrain when they are not needed, yet another attempt to maximize the SUV’s efficiency. As a result of these efforts, Cadillac estimates that the XT4 will get 25 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway, for a combined-driving rating of 27 mpg.

The XT4 rides on a MacPherson strut front and multi-link rear suspension. As an option for the XT4 Sport, a continuously damping active sport suspension is available to maximize ride and handling characteristics.

Safety:

Cadillac will require XT4 buyers to upgrade to Premium Luxury or Sport trim in order to get the SUV’s full suite of safety-related technologies. Both of these versions include a blind spot warning system with rear cross-traffic alert and lane-change alert. And both of these versions are available with optional Driver Awareness and Driver Assist option packages.

Unfortunately, Cadillac did not define the contents of these packages while introducing the XT4 to the media at the 2018 New York International Auto Show. The company did, however, clarify that the XT4 would include standard Teen Driver technology, and would be available with both surround vision and next-generation rear camera mirror systems. Betcha those are included in the Visibility Package.

Technology:

The XT4’s new infotainment system is a big improvement over previous versions of Cadillac’s CUE. It is designed to operate more like a smartphone now, with high-resolution screen graphics, faster response to inputs, improved voice recognition technology, and near-field communications device pairing. An embedded 4G LTE modem facilitates over-the-air software updates, too. And these upgrades are in addition to the new climate and center console controls mentioned previously.

A navigation system is an option, and comes with an SD card reader. Cadillac will also offer a Bose premium sound system as an upgrade, and given the target buyer it had better sound good. All XT4 models will supply four USB ports to keep everyone charged up and socially connected.
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