The Car Connection Cadillac XT5 Overview
The Cadillac XT5 is the crest-and-wreath brand's entry-level luxury crossover. In 2017, it replaced the long-running SRX nameplate.
Cadillac says the name stands for "Crossover Touring 5." It carries over essentially unchanged into 2018. The new utility vehicle comes with a single powertrain, and a choice between front- and all-wheel drive.
Rivals for the XT5 include the Lexus RX, Jaguar F-Pace, Mercedes-Benz GLE, and Audi Q5.
The XT5 may be the first of a slew of Cadillac crossovers coming in the next few years. The automaker announced it would offer an XT4 in 2018, and a reported XT7 isn't far off either.
MORE: Read our 2018 Cadillac XT5 review
The XT5 takes on a considerably more daring look than its predecessor. It's meant to break with the recent past, where the SRX showed its relationship to the Chevrolet Equinox a little too closely. The XT5's outline is edgier and pronounced at the fenders, with the distinctive Le Mans-style headlights that work so well on the CTS sedan. Inside, Cadillac delivered a more sophisticated cabin that's related to the one in the upcoming CT6 sedan. Aligned on a broad horizontal theme, the dash is highlighted by a central touchscreen that displays everything from camera displays to infotainment functions through the CUE interface.
Buyers have a choice of five different cockpit trim colors and trims, from wood to aluminum to carbon fiber, and dash panels will be wrapped in cut-and-sewn trim. A new Platinum model delivers trim and materials along the lines of those offered in the gargantuan Escalade Platinum.
The XT5 offers different levels of performance for big Cadillac markets around the world. In China, the crossover SUV will be offered with a version of GM's latest turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine. For American buyers, the standard powertrain for the 2017 model year is a 3.6-liter V-6 also used throughout Cadillac's sedan lineup. Output is rated around 310 horsepower and 270 pound-feet of torque, about equal with the outgoing SRX, but fuel economy improves thanks to standard cylinder cut-off and stop/start. The V-6 is mated to an 8-speed automatic with electronically controlled shift actuation.
Front-wheel drive is the default setup for the XT5, but all-wheel drive is available. Cadillac says it's a new system that uses twin clutches to deliver up to 100 percent of available torque to either the front or rear wheels. It can also split torque between the rear wheels for superior traction and a measure of torque-vectoring control. The rear drive axle can also be disconnected from the drivetrain to improve efficiency when traction is available.
The XT5 offers stronger performance than the SRX, above and beyond its powertrain. Cadillac says the new suspension on the XT5 has been designed for better agility and balance. It incorporates a strut front setup with a five-link independent rear end. Eighteen-inch wheels are standard, while 20-inch wheels are an option; the 20s come packages with a set of adaptive shocks, while a new Platinum model gets more compliant bushings for a better rear-seat ride.
Some of the most important work done on the XT5, in terms of performance and space, comes in the design of its body shell. Cadillac says by using high-strength steel and other materials, it's shaved 278 pounds from the curb weight of the old SRX, while increasing length and interior space. By the numbers, the XT5 is 189.5 inches long, with a 112.5-inch wheelbase, with a net 3.2-inch gain in rear-seat leg room over the SRX. Cadillac noted that the rear seat also slides and reclines. Curb weight is estimated at about 4,000 pounds in base trim, and nearly 4,300 pounds for all-wheel-drive models.
The IIHS called the XT5 a Top Safety Pick in 2017 and federal testers gave the all-wheel-drive version a five-star overall rating. The XT5 sports a new rearview camera system shared with the CT6 sedan. It uses the traditional rearview mirror to display output from a rear-mounted camera, which Cadillac says improves vision of that field of view by up to 300 percent by zooming and formatting the resulting image, and displaying it in high resolution. A color head-up display is an option, as is a surround-view camera system. Other safety features and options include forward-collision warnings with automatic emergency braking; blind-spot monitors with rear cross-traffic alerts; adaptive cruise control; active lane control; and automatic parking assistance.
Along with the usual standard power features, the XT5 also has the CUE interface, with performance enhancements, as well as wireless phone charging, 4G LTE connectivity, and standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. LED headlights and a gesture-controlled power tailgate are available.
The XT5 is built at the GM factory in Spring Hill, Tennessee, once home to the Saturn division, as well as a factory in China for that market.