The all-new XT5 is the first of several new Cadillac vehicles for 2017. Replacing the best-selling SRX, the XT5 is a smooth, streamlined mid-size SUV that is focused on competing with Lincoln, Lexus, Mercedes and Audi.
Because of its lower stance, the new XT5 features a sportier profile than the SRX. Look for a longer wheelbase than that of the departing SRX, but a slightly more compact and narrower XT5. The exterior is a nod to the entire mid-size SUV class, with the most distinct design cues embedded in the bold front grille. Standard 18-inch rims are nice, but the 20-inch alloy rims on my tester (XT5 Premium Luxury AWD) enhanced the athletic attitude and added an elegant touch to the overall profile.
There are three trims — base, Luxury, Premium Luxury — and two additional levels that add all-wheel drive (AWD), starting at $44,895. Base models are offered only in front-wheel drive (FWD) configuration.
Cadillac says the Premium Luxury model with AWD is expected to be the top-selling trim level. Coming in at a respectable $55,735, my tester included blind-spot and cross-traffic alerts, lane-departure alert and assist, Bose audio navigation, voice recognition, touch screen, forward collision alert, front pedestrian detection, low-speed automatic front braking, leather upholstery, sapele wood trim, heated and ventilated front seats, memory for driver settings and large power sunroof.
Under the hood, the 3.6-liter V-6, offering 310 horsepower and 265 pound-feet of torque, is an all-new power plant. Paired with a smooth-shifting, eight-speed automatic transmission, the XT5 is a gem that delivers on-demand acceleration and crisp, responsive shifts. The engine offers a fuel-sipping idle-stop and cylinder-deactivation feature that aids in limiting trips to the gas station. The AWD XT5 driver can select front-drive only for fuel efficiency. The XT5 AWD rated 18 mpg in the city, 26 highway and 21 combined driving in EPA tests.
The optional all-wheel-drive system directs up to 100 percent of the engine’s torque to either axle, or to one of the rear wheels. The system senses wheel spin and directs power for the best traction.
The XT5’s roomy interior is quiet and accommodating. Front-row seating is ample, and rear-seat room is easily capable of handling two adults or three children. Look for soft, stitched leather canvassing most surfaces. Fit and finish are excellent and impressive with touches of gorgeous sapele wood trim.
Seating is plentiful for front-row occupants (who get multiple power adjustments), while rear-seat passengers enjoy generous head and leg room. Cadillac pampers everyone in the cabin, and the XT5 does not disappoint. Combining the expected high-end materials with signature tech treatments, the XT5 makes any road trip a pleasure.
The XT5 comes with an updated version of Cadillac’s CUE control system. The voice recognition is intuitive and responsive. I really appreciated the simple dials and toggles for climate control. The audio system delivers outstanding quality sound with satellite radio.
The XT5’s handling is more sedan-like than SUV, delivering precise, spirited maneuvers. It’s all wrapped in a great-looking exterior shell that’s refined and athletic. Once you get a handle on using the CUE system, the XT5 will become an extension of your personality — and then it will be time to enjoy.