2019 Cadillac XT4 first drive review: Fashionably late, but a crossover to consider

September 17, 2018

Cadillac can’t turn back time to capitalize on shoppers who’ve left sedans for tall-riding crossover SUVs.

It can’t take back the bad bet on a diesel powertrain in lieu of hybrid batteries.

Perhaps it’ll rethink its plan to keep from the XT4 its SuperCruise driver-assist system, which it glaringly lacks now, but that’s easy.

DON'T MISS: Read our 2019 Cadillac XT4 full review

Cadillac’s first compact crossover SUV lags by generations some competitors, but at least it’s dressed well for the party.

The 2019 Cadillac XT4 may be relatively late—but we’ll call it fashionably late.

We give the 2019 Cadillac XT4 a 6.2 on The Car Connection’s overall scale, which it earned the hard way. It’s less efficient than some hybrid-powered competitors, and the XT4 lacks some safety hardware that others have made standard. Yet, Cadillac’s first foray into compact crossovers is a good one and here’s why.

2019 Cadillac XT4

2019 Cadillac XT4

2019 Cadillac XT4

2019 Cadillac XT4

2019 Cadillac XT4

2019 Cadillac XT4

Superficial superiority

On looks alone, the 2019 Cadillac XT4 cuts a sharper profile than others.

The XT4 looks similar to the larger XT5, but wraps the attractive shapes around a smaller shape. The XT4 is about nine inches smaller than the XT5 from bumper to bumper, an inch narrower, and two inches shorter measured from the ground up. The XT4 offers a dramatic headlights that cuts a striking profile at night; they cut and thrust from the ground up, around the fenders and back to the grille like Zorro was on the design team.

Vertical taillights are meant to recall the Escalade’s tall tail and Cadillac’s prominent fins from yesteryear equally. Both are fine, but coming to the partly late has its disadvantages: other automakers have already done them. On the XT4, it’s no less brilliant—if not also borrowed.

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Inside, the XT4 is equally fashionable with a stitched dash and smart shapes. It’s better dressed in light colors.

Under the hood, a new and equally remarkable 2.0-liter turbo-4 makes 237 horsepower and is paired to a 9-speed automatic transmission. The XT4 is down on power compared to some competitors’ turbo-4 versions, but light-weighting and competent gearing helps it keep pace with the pack.

An optional all-wheel-drive system gives the crossover confident all-weather traction, but it’s a part-time system. Engaging the system requires a button double-tap.

We miss the days when the computers used to think for us.


The XT4 is nominally compared with other automakers’ smallest offerings, but in reality its bigger (and costlier) than those.

Unlike the BMW X1 or Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class, the XT4 can comfortably accommodate 6-footers sitting behind other 6-footers—just. Its 22.5 cubic feet of cargo capacity is down on other larger makes from BMW and Benz, and a higher load floor keeps it from being as useful as the next-bigger X3 or GLC-Class too.

At seven inches longer than the Volvo XC40, but just a couple inches shy of an XC60, the XT4 is a tweener among crossovers and proof that compact SUVs defy to be classified.

The XT4 is offered in base Luxury, Premium Luxury, and Sport trims and starts around $35,000. Every XT4 gets an 8.0-inch touchscreen, 18-inch wheels, synthetic leather upholstery, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, front-wheel drive, and a creamy ride.

2019 Cadillac XT4

2019 Cadillac XT4

Opting for Premium Luxury or Sport bumps the price past $40,000 and can easily go further. Around Seattle, we drove Premium Luxury and Sport models around $55,000 and couldn’t argue with the prices—both felt luxurious and calm.

Frustratingly, GM asks for nearly $2,000 extra for active safety features that some luxury automakers such as Lexus are equipping on their crossovers as standard.

The best XT4s are also the priciest, but no amount of money will buy better performance or hybrid batteries—for now.

We’ll see how the Cadillac stands up to competitors such as Mercedes-Benz and BMW later. For now, Cadillac’s crossover is here and it didn’t waste time catching up with the rest.

Cadillac provided travel and lodging to Internet Brands Automotive to bring you this firsthand report.

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