2019 Cadillac XT4 Sport AWD Review: Is It a New Standard in Compact Luxury Crossovers?

It's a fine crossover, but there are some down sides

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OVERVIEW

Cadillac dates back 116 years and for many years, it was the “go to” marque for some who wanted luxury and premium status. If you owned a Cadillac, you were notably a success. The company capitalized on its popularity, and claimed the title “The Standard of the World”.

Cadillacs were large, often humongous, emblazoned with heaping amounts of chrome. Times change, though, and with time, needs and trends change as well. Large SUVs came into play followed by the need for smaller, more economical vehicles. Up until now, Cadillac’s Crossover and SUV stable consisted of the very large full-size Escalade and the mid-size XT5 crossover. Enter the brand new for 2019 Cadillac XT4 crossover – a compact vehicle that appears as part of the company’s second phase of a 10-year plan, which began in 2015.

“Y’ MODEL STRATEGY

Gen-Xers are likely not familiar or impressed with Cadillac’s former glory or Standard of the World status. To that end, the focus of the 10-year plan includes investing in new products and enhancing its dealership network. Cadillac plans to launch a new vehicle every six months through 2020 beginning with the 2019 Cadillac XT4. The company calls this plan for growth the “Y” model strategy. It consists of premium luxury vehicles at one end, and sport models – including the V-Series, at the other.

The XT4 pioneers an all-new engine architecture, incorporating sophisticated technologies aimed at balancing two of the most critical consumer powertrain demands: power and efficiency.

ESCALADE INSPIRED?

In terms of the XT4’s design, the lead exterior design chief confessed that the challenging approach taken was “What if the Escalade never grew up?” The overall form more closely resembles the XT5 cossover than the Escalade. The XT4’s grille is more subdued than that of the XT5. The XT4 sits lower, hugging the wheels and tires. The front fascia and character lines are bolder and the iconic sharp angles are unmistakably Cadillac.

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COMFORT AND CONVENIENCE

Entering the cabin, first class accommodations are in evidence throughout and the elevated design quality may be personally made to meet interior décor choices – available materials offered are metalized aluminum, diamond cut aluminum, carbon-fiber or wood. The 60/40 spit second row folds flat adding flexibility and functionality. A rotary control allows for intuitive adjustments along with the dedicated dash panel controls and switchgear. Connectivity includes phone integration with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

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Trim levels offered are Luxury, Premium Luxury and Sport. Interestingly, those seem to be in reverse order, with the Luxury model as the base at $34,795. The Premium Luxury mid-range model begins at $39,295. Then there’s the range-topping Sport, which also kicks off at $39,295.

My test 2019 Cadillac XT4 was in Sport trim and in an AWD configuration and fully loaded. The as-tested price came out to $56,835. That price includes several packages like the Comfort and Convenience Package and driver assist features. This Sport model also has adaptive suspension, a power sunroof and 20-inch alloy wheels.

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The 2019 Cadillac XT4 houses a 2.0-liter turbocharged engine. [Photo: Arv Voss]

PERFORMANCE

Serving as propulsion for the XT4 is a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline four-cylinder engine  with an Auto Stop/Start function. The engine produces 237 horsepower along with 258 lb-ft of torque. The transversely-mounted unit gears its motive force to a Twin-Clutch AWD system through an electronically-controlled Hydramatic 9-speed automatic transmission.

Suspension consists of MacPherson struts up front and a fully-isolated 5-link independent setup in the rear. Active Sport Suspension with Continuous Damping Control is available on Sport models.

Cadillac designed the XT4’s Twin-Clutch AWD system produce torque vectoring, with a front disconnect utilized to improve fuel economy when the Tour (FWD only) mode is selected. Sport mode, on the other hand, changes transmission shift mapping as well as the steering and suspension firmness.

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TFLCAR’S TAKE

The 2019 Cadillac XT4 Sport AWD comes off as a desirable crossover that’s worthy of the Cadillac nameplate, but is that enough? There’s a lot of serious competition in its segment – and in many cases, for less money.

Does it handle well? Absolutely. Is it comfortable? Definitely yes. Is it quick? Not necessarily. Is it fuel efficient? That’s acceptable. Is it affordable? This depends on the model chosen. The base Luxury is certainly affordable, but is lacking a lot of feature content. The fully loaded Sport model with AWD might prove to be a financial stretch for some. What’s more, Cadillac’s semi-autonomous Super Cruise feature is not yet available for the XT4.

SPECIFICATIONS: 2019 Cadillac XT4 Sport AWD

On Sale: Now
Base MSRP: $39,295
Price as Tested:
$56,835
Engine: 2.0-liter turbocharged I-4 with Auto Stop/Start
Drivetrain (Layout): Transversely mounted front engine, all-wheel drive
Horsepower: 237 hp @ 5,000 rpm
Torque: 258 lb-ft @ 1,500-4,000 rpm
Transmission: 9-speed automatic w/ paddle shifters
Suspension: Active Sport Suspension with Continuous Damping Control

Front: MacPherson strut

Rear: Fully isolated, 5-link independent

Tires: Continental ProContact 245/45 R20 M&S
Fuel capacity: 16.3 gallons
Fuel economy (EPA): 22 City / 29 Highway / 24 Combined mpg

Dimensions:

Wheelbase: 109.4 inches
Length: 181.1 inches
Width: 74.1 inches
Height: 64.1 inches
Turning Circle: 38.0 feet
Curb Weight: 3,660 lbs.

 

Arv Voss
Arv Voss is a Northern California based freelance motoring journalist and member and past officer of several noted automotive journalist organizations who contributes regularly to a number of national and international media outlets. He reviews not only cars, trucks and SUVs, but motorcycles as well.