Can it follow the Crossover Pack?
The Cadillac XT5 first hit the scene for the 2017 model year, and at the time it breathed new life into the brand by replacing the then-dated SRX crossover. Five years later, the XT5 is also starting to get long in the tooth. In 2020, the crossover received some modest updates and a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine was added as a fuel-saving option for those who didn’t need V6 power. But otherwise, the XT5 hasn’t changed much since its debut. In a market where competitive pressure is so strong from the luxury and high-end markets, can the current XT5 stay as it is?
The exterior design of the XT5 is quintessentially Cadillac, with strong angular lines when viewed from the front, rear or side. This particular XT5 was equipped with the Premium Luxury version with all-wheel drive. Stellar Black Metallic paint has a premium, limo-worthy look, and the optional polished 20-inch split-spoke wheels are sleek and substantial. The overall look is distinctive and stands out from the crowd of more curvaceous crossovers, if a bit heavy for my taste.
The XT5 I tested had the 3.6-liter V6 engine, which is the most satisfying thing about this Caddy. It’s more powerful than the engines of many midsize 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 other GM vehicles I’ve driven that share the C1XX platform. The 9-speed automatic transmission shifts smoothly and is more satisfying in Sport mode. Ride quality is good, although I didn’t notice much impact from the adaptive damping system when switching between drive modes. It’s quite subtle.
Inside, the XT5 hasn’t changed noticeably over the years either. The slanted dash design is typical of Cadillacs released in the mid-2010s, which I’ve never been a big fan of. This design directs your eyes to the storage bin in the center console rather than to the dash or across the horizon like more linear dashboards. An 8-inch 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 includes wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, two of the most recent additions to the XT5.
I liked using the added visibility of the digital rearview mirror, which provides a wider field of vision than a regular rearview mirror. On the other hand, I found the optional $2000 Night Vision infrared security system to be more of a gimmick, mostly because it’s buried in a menu and its images only show up on the small screen. in the center of the instrument cluster. If Cadillac could find a way to project Night Vision onto a heads-up display, that would make it much more useful.
The materials and build quality of the XT5 Premium Luxury trim are high quality, with genuine leather and metal trim elements, as well as a tactile suede headliner. The pricey $4,850 Platinum package brings semi-aniline leather to the seats, leather to the dash and doors, and the aforementioned adaptive damping, among other things. Perforated metal grilles lend a premium look to the 14-speaker Bose audio system, which delivers crisp, punchy sound throughout the cabin.
One place where the XT5 shines is passenger comfort. Both front seats are well padded and supportive and provide warmth and ventilation. The seat cooling was exceptionally nice to use when riding on 100+ degree days here on the Great Plains. The dual-zone climate control system works well, with separate air vents for rear passengers. The rear seat offers exceptional headroom and legroom, comfortably seating three adults, and the outboard seats are heated.
Cargo space is above average. With the back row used, you get 30 cubic feet; with the second row folded, that jumps to an impressive 63 cubic feet of space. Thanks to the slightly sloping roofline, you can carry taller items more easily 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 the cargo and prevent it from sliding around. This bar can be removed when not in use.
Overall, the 2023 Cadillac XT5 is a perfectly nice, premium crossover. But with a base price of $51,995 for the Premium Luxury AWD model, $14,950 in options, plus a destination charge of $1,395, the XT5 shown here had a final price of $68,340. That’s a lot of money to pay for a vehicle that feels a little behind. Competitors like the Genesis GV70, Acura RDX and Lincoln Corsair all offer a fresher, more modern experience for less money. I’ve heard rumors that a redesign is planned for the 2024 model year, so hopefully Cadillac uses this opportunity to leapfrog its competitors and get the XT5 back in the game.