The exterior of the 2019 Cadillac XT4 is trendy and “confident,” a nice departure from the generic designs seen lately in this market.

2019 Cadillac XT4 enters a competitive market

The XT4 is Cadillac’s first compact crossover SUV and although it took until 2019 to debut, it is worth the wait

Cadillac is embarking on an important mission to deliver the newest, most advanced SUVs in all segments ranging from compact to full size. Witness the introduction of the full-sized XT6, mid-sized XT5, and the compact XT4 – the focus of this review. The XT4 is Cadillac’s first compact crossover SUV and although it took until 2019 to debut, it is worth the wait. A solid powertrain, high-quality luxury materials, good fuel economy and technological tidbits make the XT4 a competitive vehicle. The only challenge is that it is aimed at a saturated market filled with world-class cars like the BMW X1, Acura RDX, and Audi Q3.

Design

The exterior of the 2019 Cadillac XT4 is trendy and “confident,” a nice departure from the generic designs seen lately in this market. A large front grille is flanked by unique sloped LED headlights, and a long wheelbase gives a powerful and stable appearance. There are over 40 different exterior style options available to customize the XT4.

Cadillac managed to create a vehicle with roomy interior while maintaining subcompact status. There is ample space, even down to the legroom for rear-seat passengers. The cargo volume available is 1,385 L and offers more than other vehicles in the same class.

Front bucket seats are comfortable and feature 8-way seat adjustment as well as 2-way lumbar support. The high seating arrangement as well as large windshield offers excellent visibility. The steering wheel is automatically heated according to the level required by the vehicle’s interior temperature setting. Active noise cancelling technology within the cabin blocks and absorbs sound. Overall, the cabin is very comfortable and sleek.

Included in the 2019 XT4 is Cadillac’s CUE interface is an 8-inch screen. Cadillac has opted to revert back to mechanical buttons for many features in lieu of all-touchscreen capabilities. Personalized profiles are available for each driver with voice recognition technology. A “Teen Driver” setting is available to allow parents to limit stereo volume, monitor driving habits and prevent disabling safety features. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capabilities are standard as well as Bluetooth. A seven-speaker audio system is standard, with an optional 13-speaker Bose audio system upgrade. If you would prefer a heads-up display and wireless smartphone-charging pad, you will need to cough up $1,595 for the Technology package.

While many safety features are available, some are not standard and must be added. Included as standard are front parking sensors, blind spot warning and rear cross-traffic alert.

Overall, the “edgy” design of the XT4 should garner attention in the ever competitive market, though buyers who are used to buying Audi’s and BMW’s still may not be convinced that American offering is as good. This is partly due to the fact that the interior – which feature many advanced features – do look busy and not as organic as the European counterparts.

Performance

The XT4 comes standard with a turbo-charged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 237 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. The nine-speed automatic transmission feels a bit sluggish and the brake pedal feels stiff. As well, the steering and handling isn’t quite world-class yet at least in this iteration. The XT4 is smooth and runs well but it is definitely not a “sporty” crossover, but more of a luxury crossover.

However, thanks to an automatic cylinder-deactivation feature, the average performance of the car is slightly redeemed with the excellent fuel economy: 10.9 L/100km for the city, 8.2 L/100km for the highway and a combined 8.9 L/100km.

The trim levels for the Cadillac XT4 are Luxury, Premium Luxury, or Sport. The Luxury trim comes fairly well-equipped for a base level trim. The Luxury base model starts from $37,795, and the Premium Luxury and Sport trims start from the same price: $42,795 MSRP. As the Sport level trim is the same price as the Premium Luxury, the Sport trim may be a better choice due to better styling options inside and out.

One point worth mentioning is Cadillac’s excellent warranty for the XT4. Coverage for the powertrain is for six years or 70,000 miles including at least one free maintenance visit.

In comparison to other cars, the XT4 offers good value and amazing technology but not the best performance overall. The Acura RDX offers perhaps the best balance of performance, luxury, technology and refinement – the benchmark in this category. The BMW X1 is a smaller car but offers amazing handling and performance. The Audi Q3 is all new and so will also be a difficult car to beat. The XT4 is more refined than the Jaguar E-Pace and more fun to drive than the Lexus NX, however.

Summary

It’s worth noting that adding on many options will increase the price of the XT4 significantly, so watch for the pricing.

With a distinctively unique design, practical features, excellent fuel economy and luxury stylings, the 2019 Cadillac XT4 is a strategic step in the right direction for the iconic luxury carmaker. Now let’s see how the market respond to this vehicle in the field filled with so many great cars.

– written by David Chao

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