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2021 Cadillac XT5 is strong domestic option for luxury SUV buyers Featured

Posted On Wednesday, 05 May 2021 18:57 Written by
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The 2021 Cadillac XT5 is a formidable domestic SUV offering in the luxury realm The 2021 Cadillac XT5 is a formidable domestic SUV offering in the luxury realm Photo courtesy of Cadillac

As SUVs have exploded in popularity over the past decade, there are many desirable vehicles available to consumers, especially in the luxury segment, and competitors from around the world are vying for those luxury consumers.

On the domestic front in the U.S., the name that tends to come to our minds first when we think of luxury is Cadillac, a brand with a long history of excellence. Their lineup of SUVs (XT4, XT5 and XT6) are battling with the best of Europe and Asia, and must come strong to compete.

I recently spent some time in a 2021 Cadillac XT5 Sport, and I’m back with a full report on the experience.


While market share isn’t what it used to be for Cadillac in the luxury realm, there is no doubt that they still know how to design a sharp-looking vehicle.

A two-row midsize SUV, the 2021 Cadillac XT5 provides a modern, high-end luxury look and feel, with sharp Cadillac design in and out. It’s classy, but maybe a slight bit behind some luxury rivals in terms of overall presentation.

The vehicle seats five comfortably, and the rear seats can fold down. This is helpful as it opens up cargo storage options. For example, I had large packages that I was not sure would fit in the XT5, but the space inside is actually bigger than you would think from viewing the exterior.

The vehicle is roomy for all passengers, and offers plenty of leg and head room. My only cargo complaint is there are limited small storage spaces for whatever might be in your pockets.

Amenities inside include heated front seats, leather seating, LED lights, passive entry and keyless start. A retractable rear cargo shade is also included. An optional comfort and air quality package adds: Tri-zone climate control, ventilated front seats, heated rear outboard seats, and an air ionizer.

The 20-inch, 12-spoke wheels on my XT5 Sport test vehicle were also quite sharp.


A couple different power plants are offered with the XT5. 

Standard on the Sport model I tested is the better option — a 3.6-liter V6 featuring 310 hp and 271 lb.-ft.

On the Luxury and Premium Luxury trim levels, a 237-hp turbo four-cylinder is standard, with an option to upgrade to the better engine on the Premium Luxury level. I highly recommend the V6 over the base power plant. All versions work with a nine-speed automatic transmission.

While not the top overall driving experience in the luxury SUV class (it’s not a Porsche or Audi level experience), there is no doubt that the XT5 is very fun to drive, especially on more curvy roads. In Sport mode especially, it handles extremely well. The 0-60 times are flirting with sub-6 second runs, and when you want more tranquility the vehicle provides a very smooth ride for everyone in the vehicle that is responsive to driver input.

Front-wheel drive is standard on lower trim levels, and AWD standard on the Sport model. A Sport Suspension improves the performance, and the engine is not overly noisy.

While hardcore driving enthusiasts may want something more than what the XT5 has to offer, most people will be plenty satisfied with the experience, especially if you choose the V6.


For starters, the XT5 has top-notch, almost perfect government safety ratings. (5 stars overall and in most individual categories; with just one 4-star rating for rollover). So you know Cadillac has you and your family covered in this area.

Moving on to the tech features, the XT5 features the Cadillac User Experience infotainment system, also known as CUE. While the latest CUE setup is better than past versions of this system, and it works especially well by voice commands, I found that the touch controls could still use a little improvement in terms of user-friendliness vs. the competition.

On the plus side, a connection to your smartphone wirelessly through Android Auto or Apple CarPlay is very simple and effective. The system features a bright and clear 8-inch diagonal color information display, which is a decent size.

OnStar connectivity services are offered, as well as the availability of WiFi in the vehicle, SiriusXM satellite radio, and a wireless phone charger. A total of four USB ports are in the cabin.

Among the top safety features included or available on the XT5 are:
— Automated emergency braking 
— Available adaptive cruise control 
— Available lane-keeping assist 
— Forward collision alert
— Front pedestrian braking
— Front and rear park assist
— HD rear vision camera
— Lane change alert with side blind zone alert
— Lane keep assist with lane departure warning
— Rear cross traffic alert

There’s even a Night Vision option, which detects pedestrians or large animals in the roadway no matter how dark it may be, via an infrared sensor. And little touches like automatic seat belt tightening can be helpful if there is an accident.

My test vehicle also had an impressive Bose 14-speaker audio system (which offered very loud, powerful bass), and the Navigation system worked very well.

Official fuel mileage numbers on the XT5 with the V6 engine are listed at 18 city/26 highway/21 combined. I averaged 17.3 mpg during my time in the vehicle. These are decent numbers for the segment, but are beaten by some competitors.

XT5 models with the base engine offer 21/28/26 mpg. Adding AWD will lower the numbers slightly.

The 2021 Cadillac XT5 Sport model that I tested was just under $69,000; the XT5’s base price starts about $44K. When compared to rivals such as the Audi Q5, Volvo XC60 and BMW X3, the price is on par with what the competition offers. Whichever you choose, you’re gonna have to spend some dough to get into a luxury SUV.

The XT5 comes in three trim levels: Luxury, Premium Luxury and Sport. Luxury trim lacks some of the tech features of the two higher trims, so an upgrade to at least Premium Luxury is ideal.

Standard warranty coverages are decent, including a limited warranty covering 4 years or 50,000 miles; and a powertrain warranty covers 6 years or 70,000 miles. Complimentary scheduled maintenance is only covered for the first visit

Amid a sea of strong offerings from around the world for luxury SUV buyers, the 2021 Cadillac XT5 presents a tempting offer — an attractive and tech-savvy domestic alternative to the traditional European and Asian offerings in the segment.

=== can be found on Twitter @AutoTechReview, or stay updated at the AutoTechReviews Facebook page

Matt Myftiu can be found on Twitter @MattMyftiu

Additional Info

  • Vehicle: 2021 Cadillac XT5
  • Price as tested: $68,765 (starts at $44K)  
  • Best feature: Strong tech and safety features, attractive and luxurious design  
  • Rating: 4 out of five stars   
  • Who will want this vehicle?: Luxury buyers seeking a sleek, roomy and high-tech domestic SUV  
Matt M. Myftiu

Matt Myftiu has been a journalist for two decades with a focus on technology, NASCAR and autos.

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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