The Car Connection Cadillac XT5 Overview
The Cadillac XT5 is a mid-size luxury crossover that replaced the SRX. It became a bestselling crossover SUV for the automaker and features some of the automaker's newest features.
Cadillac says the name stands for "Crossover Touring 5." For 2020, the trims get streamlined and come with more standard safety features, and there are two engine options. The five-seat mid-size crossover comes with a new 9-speed transmission and a choice between front- and all-wheel drive.
For 2021, Cadillac updated the infotainment system to include wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, plus Amazon Alexa compatibility and a number of hardware changes for better screens, cameras, and USB-C charging. Night vision is a new option.
With the XT5, Cadillac has a rival for vehicles such as the Jaguar F-Pace, Mercedes-Benz GLE, Lexus RX, and Audi Q5.
MORE: Read our 2021 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 was a 3.6-liter V-6 also used throughout Cadillac's sedan lineup.
For 2020, GM offered the 237-hp 2.0-liter turbo-4 as the base engine. Output for the V-6 was rated around 310 horsepower and 270 pound-feet of torque, about equal with the outgoing SRX, but fuel economy improved thanks to standard cylinder cut-off and stop/start. for 2020, both engines came with a 9-speed automatic transmission instead of the outgoing 8-speed, and front-wheel drive was standard on the base Luxury trim.
Cadillac downgraded the Platinum trim down to a package in 2020, leaving Luxury, Premium Luxury, and the new Sport trim as the three levels for the XT5. Sport comes standard with the V-6 in all-wheel drive, and also uses active damping and a quicker steering ratio for a marginal bump in performance.
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. Standard safety features in 2020 and include automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, active lane control, and automatic high beams. Blind-spot monitors with rear cross-traffic alerts, adaptive cruise control, and other safety systems are optional.
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.
GM builds the XT5 at its Spring Hill, Tennessee, assembly plant, which was once home to its Saturn division.