At first glance the XT5 looks very similar to the Chev Equinox or GMC Terrain with the broad sides, sweeping styling and clean lines. Lights and trim set the fore and aft design apart, making it definitely a Cadillac from either vantage.
It’s a Cadillac and I really wanted to like it, but when all of the positives and negatives were added up it just didn’t live up to my expectations of a true Cadillac, King of American Luxury.
The XT5 is a 2 row crossover powered by a single engine selection of 3.6 liters making a decent 310 horsepower. Coupled to an 8 speed transmission in all trim levels it does a respectable job of getting down the highway. Fuel economy at 22 mpg overall for the front wheel drive and 21 for the all wheel drive makes it reasonably economical, if that can be said of a car at this price point.
Our fully loaded test car was the Platinum Edition AWD and carried a sticker price of $67,165 including the 1270 dollars for a cargo management system and trailer package. It’s a Cadillac; it’s supposed to be expensive, but Cadillac loyalists expect more for their money and the XT5 just doesn’t quite make the grade in my opinion.
Performance on the road is acceptable, but not exceptional. Acceleration is good enough to keep up with traffic but lacks any zoom factor. The same engine in the new Buick GS does a lot better with the same horsepower rating but coupled to the 9 speed transmission. Control feels very positive, especially with the Intelligent All Wheel Drive system. There is little concern of losing grip on wet pavement, but there is noticeable body roll that does little to inspire an urge for twisty roads.
Braking is excellent with smooth progressive application. With both stability control and anti-lock braking the XT5 comes to a perfectly straight stop from high speed even on wet pavement without a lot of nose dip.
The seating on the XT5 Platinum edition is good, if once again, not exceptional. The semi-Aniline leather used in the top of the line model is considerably better than what the lower trims offer. Front seats are both cooled and heated, while the rear outer seats offer only heat. One quirk of the system was the driver’s seat cooling coming on with each car start, regardless of the setting when the car was last shut off. Someplace in the climate control is the ability to change that, but even after a week of poking around I was unable to locate it.
The easy exit feature for the driver is bewildering. The seat leans back without sliding back. This gives a bit more room but takes away any shoulder support as you turn to ease out of the car and does nothing to improve leg room for getting out. Equally mystifying is the seat belt tensioner that pulls the belt tight across your shoulder at about 15 miles per hour, then releases the tension after snugging you in.
The climate control works well, cooling down the hot cabin then keeping it comfortable on hot and humid days. One of the few manual controls left on the dash works the climate control temperature and fan speed settings. These are handy to have if you don’t want to wander about the infotainment system trying to find the right page. There are voice controls for this and many other features, but they work about as reliably as any of these we have seen, hit and miss.
The infotainment uses an inductive touch screen for almost every function. The display is crisp with minimum glare and key functions do
have short cut icons to help ease the way. Unfortunately directly below the screen is another touch control for mute, volume and home. This control is very sensitive and the slightest touch while trying to work the main screen will have unintended consequences. I found that I wanted to rest the palm of my hand there to steady it while working on the main screen, especially while underway. This quickly became frustrating and I had to adapt to a new way of doing things.
The cabin is quiet except for a bit if wind noise coming from the right side that may have been limited to just our test car. At any speed and on all the surfaces we drove the car felt smooth, stable and quiet with the Bose entertainment system easily overcoming any unwanted intrusions.
Storage space is good in the rear and I was able to carry the wife’s wheel chair with no problem. The second row of seats folds to extend the space. The cargo management system is complex with a bar, 2 nets and a retractable cover. Most of it is mounted and a moveable track system to allow custom adjustments. Overall it looks nifty, but is much more complicated than necessary.
The 2019 Cadillac XT5 is basically a nice little CUV with a lot of useful features acceptable performance and better than average comfort; it is just not what I expect from a Cadillac at this price point.
For more information on the XT5 and the full Cadillac lineup go here.
Listen to the on air review by John below