• Car Review

Driven: 2019 Cadillac XT4

By David Undercoffler | May 15, 2019

Autolist rating: 2/5
But would we buy it? Probably not
Price range: $35,790 - $40,790, including destination but before options

Key takeaways

  • All-new compact crossover that Cadillac introduced for 2019.
  • A powerful turbocharged four-cylinder engine is its biggest asset.
  • Lacks proper standard safety features.
  • Interior uses too many cheap plastics for a luxury crossover.
  • Gets way too expensive when loaded with options that should be standard anyway.

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What is it?

The XT4 is an all-new crossover that Cadillac introduced for the 2019 model year (Cadillac is the luxury division of General Motors, which also builds Chevrolet, GMC and Buick). It’s the luxury brand’s cheapest, entry-level crossover, slotting at the bottom of a growing family of crossovers and SUVs that includes the XT5, the also-new XT6 and the Escalade.

The XT4 competes in one of the hottest segments in the luxury industry and counts as rivals the Lexus NX, Acura RDX, BMW X1, Audi Q3, Mercedes GLA, Volvo XC40, Land Rover Discovery Sport and Evoque, Jaguar E-Pace and Lincoln MKC and Corsair.

The XT4 comes with a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine with 237 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. It’s paired with a nine-speed automatic transmission and standard front-wheel-drive.

The XT4 starts at $35,790 for the FWD base model, which Cadillac calls the Luxury trim.

Buyers can also choose two optional trim levels: the Premium Luxury or the Sport, both of which start at the same price point ($42,790).

All-wheel-drive is a $2,500 option on all trim levels.


What’s good

TLDR: Sized right, plenty of oomph, great infotainment.

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Infotainment system. Numerous new General Motors’ vehicles are now rolling out with excellent touchscreen infotainment and navigation systems and this includes the XT4. The screen is bright, the menus are intuitive and the systems are quick.

Power! Like nearly all of its competitors, the XT4 comes with a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine. But unlike some of its peers, this engine never feels underpowered or like it’s working too hard to move the car. Plus the engine plays nice with the standard nine-speed automatic transmission for a reliably smooth and refined experience.

Nice size. The XT4 is a great size -- big enough to carry four adults in comfort with room for their luggage yet small enough to park easily and maneuever into and out of tight spots.

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What’s bad

TLDR: Not enough vehicle for the money.

Lack of safety features. Adaptive cruise control? Pre-collision alerts or braking? Blind spot monitoring? All missing from the base XT4. Not optional, mind you, but missing entirely from the options sheet. You can’t add them if you want to. That’s a crucial oversight when nearly all of the XT’s competitors at least offer these features and many of its rivals make said features standard.

Expensive. Our loaded test models had window stickers of around $56,000. Not only is that a lot of money in the first place, but those many dollars didn’t add anything special that made the price tag seem remotely reasonable. Moonroof, power liftgate, active safety features -- even heated seats are all optional on the XT4 and standard on many of its peers.

Cheap interior bits. Despite competing in the luxury space, the XT4 relies too heavily on cheap plastic panels in parts of the interior. In addition, some of the vehicle’s switchgear also uses plastic that feels subpar, especially when compared to what brands like BMW, Audi and even Acura are doing with their interiors.


5 stars of execution

Safety Features? NO

  • The XT4 has an impressive five-star safety rating from the NHTSA; the independent IIHS hasn’t crash-tested this crossover yet.
  • But active safety features -- things like adaptive cruise control, pre-collision alert and braking and blind spot monitoring are optional on the higher XT4 trims and not even offered on the base model. This is a key oversight, as many of its competitors offer these features as standard on all trims.

Value? NO

  • While the starting price of the XT4 is in line with many of its peers, reasonable options that should be standard end up adding way too much to the XT4’s sticker price.
  • Things like a sunroof, active safety features, a navigation system, power liftgate and heated front seats can push the XT4’s price to the mid $50,000 range, which is far too high for a vehicle of this caliber.
  • Making matters worse is the materials (hard plastics) that Cadillac uses inside the XT4 are subpar for a luxury vehicle.

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Efficiency? YES

  • The XT4 doesn’t break the mold when it comes to fuel efficiency but it is competitive with its rivals.
  • The AWD model we tested is rated by the EPA at 22/29/24 city/highway/combined, on par with the average efficiency for the segment.

Driving experience? YES

  • The powertrain was our favorite part of the XT4.
  • While it uses a turbocharged four-cylinder like many of its peers, it feels conspicuously stronger and more powerful than rivals, with no noticeable turbo lag.
  • The engine and transmission also work seamlessly together.

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Execution? NO

  • The XT4 certainly has its strengths, notably its powertrain and a nice dash of interior styling and a fast-acting and intuitive infotainment system.
  • But cheap plastics inside, a lack of standard features (safety and otherwise) and an inflated price tag make this a hard sell.
  • The XT4 plays in one of the most competitive luxury segments and it’s clearly outgunned here by most of its peers.

Total Rating: 2 stars


What’s it gonna cost me?

The XT4 starts at $35,790 for the base Luxury trim. That gets you the turbocharged, four-cylinder engine paired with the nine-speed automatic transmission, front-wheel-drive, faux leather seats, eight-inch touchscreen infotainment system (without nav but with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and Bluetooth connectivity), a seven-speaker audio system, power front seats, multiple driving modes, 18-inch alloy wheels, rear parking sensors and LED headlamps and taillamps.

The Premium Luxury and Sport trims each start at $40,290 for the front-wheel-drive trim.

All-wheel-drive is a $2,500 option on all trims.

The Premium Luxury model adds leather seats, front parking sensors, lane-change alert with blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, a power liftgate and the availability of options that aren’t offered on the base Luxury trim.

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The Sport model includes mostly cosmetic changes to the Premium Luxury trim including unique 18-inch alloy wheels, body-color and gloss black exterior trim, a unique grille, carbon fiber or wood interior trim and a sport steering wheel.


Also consider

As we mentioned, the XT4 is in one of the most competitive segments in the luxury space: compact crossovers. Thus, there are a ton of excellent options, most of which we’d recommend over this Cadillac.

Key models to consider include the BMW X1, Acura RDX, Lexus NX and Volvo XC40.

We’d skip the Mercedes GLA, Infiniti QX30 and Range Rover Discovery Sport.

We have yet to test the new Audi Q3, Range Rover Evoque, Jaguar E-Pace and Lincoln Corsair (replacement for the MKC).