By Paul Strauss
The Cadillac XT5 first arrived on the scene for the 2017 model year, and at the time, it breathed new life into the brand with a replacement for the then-dated SRX crossover. Now it’s five years later, and the XT5 is starting to get long in the tooth as well. In 2020, the crossover received some modest updates, and a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine was added as a fuel-sipping option for those who didn’t need the power of the V6. But otherwise, the XT5 hasn’t changed much since its debut. In a market with such strong competitive pressure from both the luxury and premium markets, can the current XT5 keep up as-is?
The exterior design of the XT5 is distinctively Cadillac, with strong, angular lines when viewed from the front, back, or side. This particular XT5 came outfitted in the Premium Luxury trim with all-wheel drive. The Stellar Black Metallic paint has an upscale look befitting a limousine, and the optional 20″ polished split-spoke wheels are classy and substantial. The overall look is distinctive and stands out from the crowd of curvier crossovers, though it’s a bit stodgy for my taste.
The XT5 I tested came equipped with the 3.6-liter V6 engine, which is the most satisfying thing about this Caddy. It’s more powerful than the engines in many mid-sized crossovers, with 310 horsepower and 271 lb-ft of torque underfoot. It’s a punchy engine that offers satisfying acceleration and a sportier feel than the other GM vehicles I’ve driven that share the C1XX platform. The 9-speed automatic transmission shifts smoothly and is most satisfying in Sport mode. Ride quality is good, though I couldn’t notice much impact from the adaptive damping system when switching between drive modes. It’s pretty subtle.
Inside, the XT5 hasn’t changed noticeably over the years either. The angled design of the dashboard is typical in Cadillacs released in the mid-2010s, something I’ve never been a huge fan of. This design leads your eyes to the storage bin in the center console instead of towards the instrument panel or across the horizon like more linear dashboards. An 8″ touchscreen offers access to the Cadillac User Experience system, which is just a fancy name for contacts, media, and navigation. The system is responsive and intuitive and now features wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, two of the more recent additions to the XT5.
I did enjoy using the added visibility from the digital rearview mirror, which provides a wider field of view than a regular mirror. On the other hand, I found the optional $2000 infrared Night Vision safety system to be more of a gimmick, mainly because it’s buried in a menu, and its images only appear on the small screen in the center of the instrument cluster. If Cadillac could figure out a way to project Night Vision onto a head-up display, that would make it far more useful.
The materials and build quality of XT5 Premium Luxury trim are high quality, with genuine leather and metal trim elements, as well as a tactile sueded headliner. The pricey $4850 Platinum package brings semi-aniline leather to the seats, leather on the dashboard and doors, and the aforementioned adaptive damping among other things. Perforated metal grilles bring an upscale look to the 14-speaker Bose audio system, which pipes crisp and punchy audio throughout the cabin.
One place where the XT5 shines is passenger comfort. Both front seats are well padded and supportive and offer heat and ventilation. The seat cooling was exceptionally pleasant to use when driving around on 100-degree-plus days here in the Great Plains. The dual-zone climate control system works well, with separate air vents for rear seat passengers. The back seat has exceptional legroom and headroom, seating three adults comfortably, and the outboard seats are heated.
Cargo space is above average. With the back row in use, you get 30 cubic feet; with the second row folded, that climbs to an impressive 63 cubic feet of space. Thanks to the gently-sloped roofline, you can carry taller items more readily than with some other crossovers. The cargo compartment also has a sliding rail system and an adjustable metal bar, which you can use to divide cargo and keep it from sliding around. That bar can be removed when it’s not in use.
Overall, the 2023 Cadillac XT5 is a perfectly pleasant and upscale crossover. But with a base price of $51,995 for the Premium Luxury AWD model, $14,950 in options, plus a $1395 destination fee, the XT5 shown here had a final sticker price of $68,340. That’s a lot of money to pay for a vehicle that feels a little behind the times. Competitors like the Genesis GV70, Acura RDX, and Lincoln Corsair all offer a more modern and fresh-faced experience for less money. I’ve heard rumors that a redesign is expected for the 2024 model year, so I’m hopeful that Cadillac will use that opportunity to leapfrog its competitors and get the XT5 back in the game.
Source:: 95 Octane