Like most Cadillacs, the XT5 is definitely a looker and will attract attention — with a muscular and attractive exterior design that stands out in the class. Many features both inside and outside the vehicle share the trademark V shape design that Cadillac is known for.
The XT5 features a roomy interior, competing well in class vs. other luxury crossovers. It slots squarely between the tiny XT4 and the just-unveiled extra roomy three-row XT6.
The semi-aniline leather seating is beyond comfy, even on longer trips, and the look and feel of the interior is luxurious and worthy of the Cadillac name. On the ground, my test vehicle, a 2019 XT5 Platinum AWD, featured 20-inch, 12-spoke fully polished wheels.
Heated and ventilated front seats are offered, as are heated rear seats. Rear visibility is one area that the window design limits, but it’s nothing severe and won’t cause any major issues.
HOW’S THE RIDE?
There is only one powerplant offered on the 2019 XT5: A 3.6-liter, V6 engine that pairs with an 8-speed automatic transmission. Numbers are an impressive 310 horsepower and 271 lb.-ft. of torque.
Front-wheel drive is standard, and AWD is an option that I would recommend if you’re in areas with inclement weather. The XT5 did a brilliant job for me during a major storm, clinging to the road despite tough conditions and keeping me headed in the right direction.
This is not a rocket or a racecar, but that’s OK as acceleration is still decent.
Overall the XT5 is a great family vehicle and provides a quiet and smooth ride that is very responsive to all driver inputs, and can turn into a fun ride if you want to push its limits.
The only knock I can find in this department is this lack of diversity and the inability to upgrade to a sportier motor, like you’ll find with most of the XT5’s foreign rivals in the luxury crossover realm.
This is an overall bright area, with one key exception.
On higher trim levels, many safety features are now standard, when they were previously options.
The Platinum XT5 I tested was loaded with safety features, including: Surround Vision, Lane Change Alert with Side Blind Zone Alert, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Forward Collision Alert, Front Pedestrian Braking, Lane Keep Assist with Lane Departure Warning, Following Distance Indicator, Forward and Reverse Automatic Braking, Front and Rear Park Assist and Advanced Adaptive Cruise Control.
There are so many systems in play it’s nearly impossible for something bad to happen unless you do so deliberately.
Government safety ratings on the XT5 were all very high, including a rare 5-star overall rating, and there are airbags in all areas where they are needed.
The XT5 is equipped with an optional 4G LTE WiFi hotspot, and offers the excellent services of OnStar. Head-up display is a helpful feature to keep your eyes on the road.
The weak spot here is the Cadillac’s CUE (Cadillac User Experience) infotainment system. The system features an 8-inch color display, navigation, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, which sounds good on paper. But the overall design and user experience is not satisfying, and it continues to lag behind its luxury competitors in terms of ease of use and responsiveness to driver inputs. Voice controls work better than the physical controls, but the overall system’s shortcomings are still clear.
On the plus side, The XT5 features a helpful wireless charging pad for your devices that offers more juice for quicker charging, and offers an optional 14-speaker Bose surround sound system (an 8-speaker system is standard).
Official fuel mileage numbers for the XT5 are 18 city/25 highway/21 combined. Compared to its many rivals, these numbers a bit lower, but not by much (from one to three mpg below most of the competition). While not ideal, that’s hardly a dealbreaker for most people.
LIke most luxury vehicles, there’s quite a bit of variety in how much you’ll pay for the XT5, depending how many bells and whistles you decide you need.
The base, FWD version of the XT5 starts about $42K. But my decked-out AWD test vehicle with all the trimmings came in at $68,160. That’s over $25K in range, depending on the level of sophistication and upgrades you need.
It’s also made with more than 50 percent North American parts, and final assembly is done in Tennessee, which may matter for buyers who prefer to support domestic brands and vehicles made in the U.S.A.
There are many strong vehicles to like in the luxury crossover realm, and few options that truly disappoint. But even against these formidable opponents, the 2019 Cadillac XT5 is one of the top competitors in this category due to its sharp design, advanced tech and comfortable ride.
A lot of the decisions in this category come down to taste, and of course brand preference plays a part, but those crossover cross-shoppers who give the XT5 a try might just end up deciding to take one home.
Matt Myftiu can be found on Twitter @MattMyftiu.