Emma Jayne Williams

Cadillac’s new XT4 small crossover has turbo engine, lots of technology

Cadillac has a new compact crossover utility vehicle for 2019 -- the XT4, the brand’s smallest yet -- with an exciting new engine; agile, sporty ride; and athletic performance to appeal to the next generation of luxury customers.

The XT4 was designed by the youngest team ever at Cadillac and is built on an exclusive compact SUV architecture with energetic design, confident performance, spacious interior, and new technologies.

XT4 is available in Luxury ($34,795), Premium Luxury($37,790), and Sport ($41,795) trims, all with a turbocharged four-cylinder engine and nine-speed automatic transmission.

Front-wheel drive is standard, with all-wheel drive available for $2,500. AWD replaces Snow/Ice drive mode with Off-Road and AWD modes, along with Tour and Sport modes, and directs power to the wheels where it is needed.

The base model is well equipped, with desirable features such as Adaptive Remote Start, smartphone integration/Bluetooth, four USB ports, built-in Wi-Fi hot spot, power lift gate, Teen Driver (set speed and audio limits, safety features, and more for secondary drivers), and leatherette upholstery.

Premium Luxury and Sport models add leather seats, the safety alert driver’s seat, and extra safety and driver-assistance features.

Adaptive Remote Start uses the key fob to start the vehicle from as far away as 330 feet, and also turns on the automatic climate control and heated seats (if equipped), depending on the temperature inside and out.

Luxury and Premium Luxury models have grilles with bright metallic accents, and satin-aluminum window trim and door handle accents.

Sport is distinguished by a gloss-black mesh grille, window trim, roof rails, spoiler trim and lower front and rear fascia trim, and specific Sport wheel choices. It also has a sport steering wheel, sporty design upgrades, and the option of a sport suspension ($1,200).

For this review, I drove an eye-catching Autumn Metallic ($625) XT4 Sport, wearing 20-inch diamond cut five-spoke wheels with titan-satin finished pockets (the shape reminded me of a 1970s daisy, $1,100).

The all-new 2.0-liter turbo engine with Active Fuel Management (cylinder deactivation) produces 237 horsepower and 259 foot-pounds of torque.

The nine-speed automatic transmission has next-generation Electronic Precision Shift for efficiency and intelligent power delivery. XT4 also has the first Cadillac application of electro-hydraulic braking assist, which is reliant on vacuum from the engine, and is thus more efficient and takes up less space under the hood.

My AWD XT4 was rated for 22 mpg city/29 highway/24combined – a typical luxury subcompact SUV rating. I achieved 23.4 mpg driving around the neighborhood and on four-lane highways.

Advanced LED lighting is standard on all models, with distinct Cadillac light signatures front and rear. The light blade LED daytime running lights form an upside-down L, with the angle pinched and pulled back toward the top of the fender – very dramatic. Stacked square LED reflectors form the impressive taillights on the rear side pillars.

The bold, spacious cabin echoes the exterior design themes, with a balance of style and comfort. The sweep of the dash encompassing the infotainment screen and system controls and the center of the steering wheel reflected the recognizable shape of the Cadillac grille and grille badge. Front seatbacks had a slim silver logo-shaped emblem.

Sport-inspired seating with pronounced seat-bottom and seatback bolsters was comfortable and supportive for a variety of body types. The rear seat has two sets of LATCH car-seat connections, with a tether anchor in the middle position. Rear passengers had adjustable air vents, heated seats (option), and two types of charging USB port.

With seating for five, the rear has lots of space to stretch out including segment-leading rear leg room and knee clearance. Middle seat legroom was compromised by the floor tunnel.

The front floor console had more than six storage areas – under the center stack (covered bin with USBs, SD card reader and a12-volt outlet), under the armrest (deep bin with an angled ledge for a phone, a removable shelf, and a 12-volt outlet), and long pockets along the sides.

A special cubby in each front door pocket can hold a small umbrella. Cargo space behind the rear seat is one of the largest in the class at 22.5 cubic feet. With the 60/40 split rear seatbacks folded flat,cargo space is typical at 48.9 cubic feet.

Our jet-black interior had cinnamon accent stitching, leather seating ($2,450, Comfort and Convenience package) with mini-perforated inserts, and carbon-fiber trim on the doors and dash.

The package upgraded the passenger seat to eight-way power adjustment, added four-way power front seat lumbar adjustment, and brought ventilated front seats with massage, and a hands-free liftgate.

The height-programmable liftgate opened with the sweep of a foot across a projection of the Cadillac logo under the rear bumper. A Cold Weather package ($850) added heat for the steering wheel, front seats, and rear outboard seats.

Cadillac’s latest infotainment system features intuitive, smartphone-like operation with a cloud-based platform to adjust personalization, navigation, and other features to meet the needs of the operator.

The system utilizes a crisp, responsive touch screen and a collection of knobs and buttons (silver piano-key style for climate, easy to use while in motion). An all-new rotary controller is handy for quick adjustments.

My XT4 had an upgraded User Experience with Embedded Navigation ($1,500), including an eight-inch multi-touch color screen (gloss-black surround), Natural Voice Recognition technology, SD card reader, one type A and one type C full-function USB port, and personalized settings for each driver.

Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability were included, along with the Cadillac-first integration of Near Field Communication (enhances the pairing of a compatible phone), Real-Time Traffic (traffic conditions, faster alternate routes, re-routing en route), Bose Centerpoint Surround Sound 13-speaker audio, and Connected Apps (downloadable from Cadillac Collection).

A Driver Awareness package ($770) included low-speed forward automatic braking, front pedestrian braking, following-distance indicator, forward collision alert, lane-keep assist with lane-departure warning, and IntelliBeam automatic headlight control.

Standard safety features include knee and seat-mounted side-impact air bags for the front; head-curtain air bags for all outboard seats, with rollover protection; front passenger sensing system for the outboard air bag; HD rear-vision camera, rear cross-traffic alert (great for backing out of driveways or parking spots in crowded lots), safety alert seat (sends a discrete pulse to the relevant side to indicate the direction of potential danger – less startling than some audio warnings), and Rear Seat Reminder (subtle dinging and message in the driver-information center, less subtle dinging if the driver steps out and shuts the door). OnStar capability is standard.

XT4 Sport’s powertrain is relatively smooth and peppy, with the turbocharger adding an extra boost and a little engine noise on rapid acceleration. There are distinct gear changes – it is a “Sport” vehicle.

Options totaling $7,295 and destination charges of $995 brought the delivered price of my engaging XT4 Sport to $50,085.

The automotive columns of Emma Jayne Williams have appeared regularly in the Star-Telegram since 2007. Contact her at emmajayne1948@gmail.com.

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