As buyers continue to abandon sedans in favor of luxury compact SUVs, Cadillac is bolstering its SUV offerings.

The XT4 slots below the XT5 and will try to compete with the likes of the BMW X1 and Lexus NX. It’s smaller than the XT5 SUV, and—just like its competitors—it’s aimed at young, upwardly mobile buyers.

Although it was teased in TV commercials during the 2018 Academy Awards, we finally got to see what the XT4 looks like at Cadillac’s New York showroom at an event ahead of the 2018 New York Auto Show

2019 Cadillac XT4

What it competes with: Audi Q3, BMW X1, Lexus NX

What it looks like: Another luxury compact SUV—but this one has Cadillac’s sharp, aggressive lines

Powertrain: 2.0-liter, 237-hp, turbocharged four-cylinder engine with a standard nine-speed automatic transmission and optional all-wheel drive

Expected price: $35,790

On-sale date: Pre-orders start end of March 2018, on sale fall 2018

2019 Cadillac XT4 SUV.

Outside

It’s not as tall as most of its competitors, but it’s about the same length as the GMC Terrain. Clearly takes some design cues from other Cadillacs. Narrow LED headlights that form the meeting point for the fender and hood, for example, are similar to those found on the CT6 sedan.

The design is more muted when viewed from the side, although a Cadillac badge just ahead of the front pillar makes it clear that this isn’t a Chevrolet. A thick rear pillar may cause a blind spot, which we’ll be sure to look out for in our tests.

In addition to the base Luxury trim, the XT4 offers two similarly equipped upgraded trims: Premium Luxury has a more traditional style, and Sport adds dark exterior trim and a mesh black grille. 

2019 Cadillac XT4 interior

Inside

According to the automaker, the XT4 is “simpler and bolder” than other Cadillacs. Interestingly, its user interface brings back physical buttons and knobs to control important tasks. They replace touch-sensitive controls that our testers said were “confusing” and “frustrating.”

The new vehicle has an 8-inch touch screen, plus a physical volume control, shortcut buttons for frequently used features, and a rotary controller that should make it easier to scroll through options without looking away from the road.

Cadillac says the XT4’s thick steering wheel and heavily bolstered front seats are similar to those a driver would find in a sport sedan. There’s also an optional massage function.

The automaker is also touting the XT4’s rear passenger space, and its 39.5 inches of rear legroom is more than its import rivals offer. With those rear seats folded, there’s 48.9 cubic feet of room for cargo—more than the Lexus NX but less than the X3 and Acura RDX. 

What Drives It

There’s only one powertrain: a 237-hp, 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine with cylinder deactivation. It’s mated to a nine-speed automatic transmission, and good for an estimated 30 mpg highway. Both front- and all-wheel-drive versions will be available. Active suspension is optional. 

Safety & Driver-Assist Systems

Adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist, blind-spot warning, and automatic emergency braking are all available. A Cadillac spokesman told us that neither automatic emergency braking nor forward-collision warning come standard, which is disappointing.

CR’s Take

We’re looking forward to putting the XT4 through its paces on our test track. It might already have one thing going for it: a more straightforward infotainment setup than the similarly priced Lexus NX.  

2019 Cadillac XT4 rear

Check out CR's complete coverage of the 2018 New York Auto Show.