By Allyson Harwood
2017 marks the first year of the XT5, a 2-row luxury crossover SUV that replaces the Cadillac SRX. While its styling is reminiscent of the previous model, this all-new vehicle is on a new platform, allowing Cadillac to start with a clean sheet of paper compared to the long-in-the-tooth SRX. The XT5 is more powerful -- thanks to a new engine and the SUV's weight loss -- and the cabin is notably more posh, quieter and roomier, with new high-tech and luxe features. The XT5 doesn't feel quick, as its transmission seems to be biased toward fuel efficiency, but that pays off in greatly improved fuel economy (which it needed). The XT5 is prepared to compete with the Lexus RX, Audi Q5 and BMW X3.
The XT5 is a standout in the compact-luxury crossover SUV segment, with crisp, angular styling and a suite of features not offered on other SUVs in its class. It also offers a spacious cabin, with more rear-seat legroom than the benchmark Lexus RX.
Cadillac's new crossover SUV doesn’t offer 3-row seating. For that, consider the Audi Q7, Acura MDX or Cadillac Escalade. Also, there are no optional engines -- meaning no high-performance variants, hybrids or diesels. The Mercedes-Benz GLC, Audi Q5, BMW X3 and Porsche Macan are tempting alternatives.
From the platform up, the Cadillac XT5 is all-new for 2017. New engine and transmission, new interior and exterior design, new features inside and a roomier, quieter cabin distinguish the XT5 from its SRX predecessor.
Our time behind the wheel of the XT5 was split among jaunts on long, gently curving roads, time in city traffic and some stretches through twisty canyons. The combination of...
... weight loss and increased rigidity made the XT5 more fun to drive, feeling confident and well-planted in twists and turns. The auto stop/start feature isn’t bad, but it would be nice to have the option to shut it off. The XT5's electric power steering provides decent feedback. The XT5 isn't a sports car, but you can certainly have fun in it. It's powered by a new 3.6-liter, 310-horsepower V6 with a very good 8-speed automatic transmission that felt as if it were programmed for fuel economy, not performance. It took hard throttle-mashing to get the transmission to downshift. The XT5 is by no means slow, and it certainly has ample power, but its off-the-line acceleration isn't quick.
REAR CAMERA MIRROR
With the push of a button, the entire frame of the rearview mirror is filled with what's essentially a live broadcast of what is going on behind the XT5. This gives you a constant, high-resolution view of traffic without headrests or the roofline getting in the way.
For a combo that'll let you make the absolute most of your time driving a twisty road, put the XT5 in Sport mode. This delays transmission shifts, changes the steering effort, biases torque to the rear (in all-wheel-drive models) and modifies the suspension calibration.
The cabin of Cadillac's XT5 is noticeably quieter and more elegant than that of the SRX it replaces. The quality of the materials -- including carbon fiber, aluminum and real open-pore wood -- and the fit and finish are excellent. That, plus the roomy, sliding second row and tasteful color schemes ensure the interior holds its own against the competition. It's also wonderfully quiet inside. Setting it apart are the availability of Apple CarPlay, an improved version of Cue, a color head-up display and the terrific gotta-try-it-to-appreciate-it Rear Camera Mirror.
The XT5 reflects the ongoing evolution of Cadillac's Art and Science design philosophy. Despite a strong family resemblance to the SRX, the XT5 weighs nearly 300 pounds less, is on a new platform and is tighter, tauter and stronger. That tautness was a theme in the XT5's exterior design, where body lines are crisper and the nose uses a new jeweled headlight design. The XT5 has a 2-inch-longer wheelbase with short front and rear overhangs, giving it sportier proportions. The trim level that's visually set apart from the rest is the new top-of-the-line Platinum, with its unique exhaust, 20-inch wheels and grille.
All XT5s come with cruise control, electric parking brake, power front seats, remote-controlled power express up/down windows, 18-inch wheels and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. Internet connectivity, 4G LTE with a built-in Wi-Fi hotspot, comes with the XT5, as do CUE connectivity, Apple CarPlay, 8-speaker Bose audio and a wireless smartphone charging pad. Also standard are a rear-view camera and dual front, front and rear head-curtain and driver’s-knee airbags. While a navigation system isn’t standard, one year of OnStar is, which can provide turn-by-turn directions. Also not standard: a limited-use spare tire.
In addition to the base XT5, trim levels for Cadillac's compact-luxury midsize crossover SUV include Luxury, Premium Luxury and Platinum. Driver-assist options include adaptive cruise control, automatic park assist, automatic front braking, forward-collision warning, lane-departure warning, lane-keep assist and a safety seat that lets the driver know when there is a potentially dangerous situation. Tri-zone climate control is available, as are an UltraView sunroof, ventilated seats, head-up display, hands-free power liftgate and DVD rear-seat entertainment.
Available in either front-wheel or all-wheel drive (FWD, AWD), Cadillac’s new XT5 boasts a 3.6-liter V6 like the SRX, but this engine is all-new, with features such as variable valve timing, Active Fuel Management cylinder deactivation, direct injection and auto stop/start technology. This V6 uses a new 8-speed electronically controlled automatic transmission. The XT5's new twin-clutch AWD system is optional.
310 horsepower @ 6,700 rpm
271 lb-ft of torque @ 5,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 19/27 mpg (FWD), 18/26 mpg (AWD)
The Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) for the 2017 Cadillac XT5 starts at $39,990 with front drive. The top-line Platinum starts at about $63,000, and with a few option packages, climbs to above $70,000. That pricing falls in line with that of its competitors, but keep in mind that in many cases, those top-line models are diesels or hybrids, such as the Lexus RX 450h, options that aren't offered in the XT5. To get your best deal on a new XT5, take a look at KBB.com's Fair Purchase Price to find out what others in your area are paying for theirs.