The 2019 XT4 is Cadillac’s all-new entry-level luxury SUV. It scores well in CR’s track tests, but its lack of standard advanced safety equipment and Cadillac's recent below-average reliability track record drag down its Overall Score in a big way.
This small SUV uses a new 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine paired to a nine-speed automatic transmission. They combine to smoothly and promptly deliver strong power, and the XT4 doesn't suffer from the initial hesitation that plagues some of its competitors. Unfortunately, that engine has a raspy, tinny sound that isn’t appropriate for a luxury vehicle. We got 23 mpg overall on premium fuel in our tests.
We found the ride to be stiff, even on the standard 18-inch wheels and tires. The XT4’s suspension struggles to absorb sharp bumps or manholes, which result in pronounced jolts that are transmitted to the cabin.
On the other hand, the XT4 is nimble and engaging when going around corners. It has limited body lean through turns and a poise that gives drivers confidence. Plus, its compact dimensions make it easy to maneuver at parking-lot speeds.
The Cadillac’s interior is on par with most of its competitors in terms of space and amenities. It’s an intimate—but not overly confining—space. The interior feels well-constructed, with luxurious, high-quality materials such as leather, chrome, and plenty of soft-touch surfaces. We also like the firm, comfortable, and supportive front seats, which have four-way lumbar support and power-adjustable side bolsters that hug the occupant’s back. The optional bottom cushion extension adds thigh support, which, along with the massage feature, makes the XT4 perfect for long trips.
There is decent room for two adults in the rear. But as in the XT4’s competitors, those passengers will be happier on short trips than for the long haul. The cargo area is nicely finished.
It doesn’t take long to master the climate and infotainment controls, which are an improvement over past Cadillac systems. There is a central knob between the front seats that drivers can use to perform a number of acts, such as tuning the radio. The biggest headaches are the location of some controls and the electronic gear selector.
We’re not happy that the only way to get advanced safety features is to pay for an options package. Both forward collision warning (FCW) and automatic emergency braking (AEB) are optional on the higher Premium Luxury and Sport trims. These important safety features aren’t even available on the base trim.
Even though Cadillac is arriving late to this segment, the XT4 is a competitive offering. However, it’s too bad GM has skimped on wider availability of advanced safety features.