Mid-size luxury SUVs were once among the most popular types of SUVs that you could buy. Since their booming popularity in the early 2000’s, compact luxury SUVs have taken a big chunk of their market. But that doesn’t mean that there isn’t a place for mid-size SUVs which is why Cadillac launched the XT5 a couple years ago to take on the BMW X5, Mercedes-Benz GLE, and Lincoln Nautilus just to name a few.
Engine – The Cadillac XT5 comes standard with a 2.0L turbocharged 4-cylinder engine that produces 237 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. However, this Sport trim XT5 comes equipped with a 3.6L naturally aspirated V6 engine that produces 310 hp and 271 lb-ft of torque. You can call this engine “old fashioned” as more and more auto manufacturers turn to smaller displacement & turbocharged engines. But there’s something refreshing about a dependable V6 engine as it never skips a beat. Put your foot down and the engine responds immediately. Sure, it doesn’t have the same low-end torque of a turbocharged engine but it picks up once the rpms climb past 3,000. It also makes some good V6 noises at those rpms.
Like many V6 and V8 engines in GM’s lineup, this V6 is equipped with Active Fuel Management which can shut down 2 cylinders in certain situations to save on fuel. As a result, the XT5 can achieve up to 9.4 L/100km (25 mpg) on a highway which is not too bad. City fuel economy is quite a bit higher at 13.4 L/100km (17.6 mpg) but it doesn’t require premium gasoline like the 2.0L turbocharged engine does.
Transmission – Both engines come equipped with a 9-speed automatic transmission with power going to all wheels in this Cadillac XT5 Sport demo vehicle. Whichever GM engineer tuned this transmission, they should get a raise because the shifts are almost unperceivable. Apart from actually looking at the tachometer needle move, it’s hard to tell that the transmission is shifting gears under normal driving conditions. It is that smooth. Put the XT5 in Sport mode and the shifts are more noticeable while the rpms are held for a longer time to keep the engine in its sweet spot.
Braking – From looking at the wheels, you’d think that the brakes of the Cadillac XT5 are a bit undersized. But while they may look small in comparison to the size of the SUV, they provide enough stopping force to confidently bring the nearly 2 tonne car to a stop. The brake pedal has quite a bit of travel which makes it easy to modulate and provide a smooth stop for all of the passengers. Automatic emergency braking is standard across all trims.
Handling – Being based on the Chevrolet Blazer, you’d expect the Cadillac XT5 to be a more sporty mid-size SUV. But while it does accelerate at a good pace, it doesn’t really encourage you to go quick on a twisty road. The suspension is tuned to provide a comfortable ride – which it does – rather than tackling a twisty mountain road. It feels solid and planted when taking a turn but there’s little enjoyment to be had.
Ride Comfort – Despite the Sport name in the trim, the Cadillac XT5 is actually a very comfortable luxury SUV. The suspension is soft but without being overly “floaty” when driving over big potholes. Further adding to the comfort are the seats. They have an ample amount of adjustments for both taller and shorter drivers but only 2-way adjustable lumbar support.
Interior Space – This being a mid-size SUV, there is quite a generous amount of interior space for both front and rear occupants. As always, front passengers can adjust the seats forward or backward for the best position for themselves but even behind my 6’4” driving position, my knees don’t touch the rear of the seat and there is just enough headroom as well. The rear seats can also slide and recline for more space & comfort. The trunk can accommodate 850 L (30 cu-ft) of cargo with the rear seats up and 1,784 L (63 cu-ft) with the rear seats folded flat. There is also a clever storage system with rails that allow you to separate the cargo area without the need of cumbersome nets.
Noise, Vibration, & Harshness – This being a luxury SUV, the XT5 is fairly quiet in day-to-day use. Some may notice the a bit more engine noise than in other similar SUVs but the V6 noises in this XT5 are not overly intrusive into the cabin. Plus the engine sounds pretty good at higher rpms. Also, General Motors have done an excellent job of making the engine auto start/stop system one of the smoothest of all other similar systems. Whether it’s in a Chevrolet or this Cadillac, the start/stop engine system doesn’t shake the whole car and is very well integrated to not be overly intrusive in everyday driving situations.
Odds and Ends
Gadgets – As one would expect, the 2020 Cadillac XT5 is packed with a lot of convenience and safety features that are available on most other luxury SUVs. I’m not going to go through all of them as they’re pretty standard luxury features such as a heads-up display, surround view camera, and so on. However, the XT5 can be equipped with a few unique features such as a night vision camera and a rear camera mirror which gives the driver an unobstructed view of the road behind.
There are though a couple of luxury features that are missing from the options list. Massaging seats and Cadillac’s SuperCruise system are not available on the XT5. A bit of a disappointment, especially the SuperCruise system, but this SUV has been around since 2017 so maybe we might see them added during a mid-cycle update.
Interior Design – The interior fit and finish of the XT5 is pretty good. Leather and soft touch materials cover the areas where occupants are most likely to touch and see. There are a few hard plastics though but they’re mainly relegated to the lower half of the cabin.
The rest of the cabin looks as a luxury SUV should look. The center console is not cluttered with buttons, although one could argue that the steering wheel is, and there is a small cubby to store small items just below the climate controls. Most of the vehicle’s functions are controlled through the touchscreen but if you prefer a more physical touch, there is a rotary knob on the center console that can control the infotainment system.
Exterior Design – Although the Cadillac XT5 doesn’t quite have the same design language of the newer Cadillac XT6 or upcoming 2021 Escalade, it is still a looker. The Sport trim adds 20” wheels, which honestly look a bit small with the thick side walls of the tires, as well as black roof rails, black window surrounds, and a unique mesh grille. One thing that stands out to me is the amount of details in the headlights and taillights. You could spend hours just gazing at them… don’t look at the headlights directly but you know what I mean.
The 2020 Cadillac XT5 starts at $44,098 CAD ($45,090 USD) with the 2.0L engine and FWD. Move up to the top spec Sport trim with the V6 engine and AWD and you’ll be spending $56,098 CAD ($56,090 USD) before adding in any options and packages. Those prices are broadly similar to the Cadillac’s competitors such as the Acura RDX or Lincoln Nautilus. Although when compared to the European counterparts, the Cadillac is less expensive but the European’s punch a bit above the Cadillac’s luxury features. At the end of the day the 2020 Cadillac XT5 is worth a test drive for your consideration if you’re in the market for an upscale midsize SUV that doesn’t break the budget.
Thank you to Cadillac Canada for providing the vehicle. www.CadillacCanada.com