By completing their lineup of crossover offerings, Cadillac hopes to capture the latest generation of buyers. Cadillac has deployed a “Y” trim strategy when offering the XT4. This means they start with the basic Luxury trim which branches off into two similarly priced top trims; “Premium Luxury” and “Sport” models. Each trim receives specific styling cues to appeal to different customer preferences diversifying its reach. This is the 2020 Cadillac XT4 Sport AWD, the perfect sample to gauge how successful Cadillac will be in attracting the younger audience they hope to acquire.
Cadillac instilled the design responsibilities to a group of young designers, to ensure the product will speak to the hearts of their target market. They hit the XT4’s design out of the park, as it’s sculpted and bold. The large grill with angular and tall LED design completes an aggressive front fascia. The short overhangs give the XT4 a sportier stature. The longitudinal taillights and large rectangular tailpipes finish off the rear with an athletic presence. Our Sport model features a gloss black grille and window moldings, paired with midnight metallic finished 20-inch split spoke wheels as finishing touches that emphasize the sleek and confident design.
The interior has been equally well executed. The dashboard is simple with swooping lines and no awkward angles, creating a wide and spacious feeling. The materials used are excellent with plush leather everywhere. The use of a thick three-spoke leather wrapped steering wheel enhances the sporty feel, and ambient lighting helps set the mood at night. The interior colours contrast nicely to accentuate the airy cabin. The front seats are comfortable but could use slightly larger thigh bolsters for more support, but Cadillac is one of the first to offer massaging front seats in this segment (after the Lincoln Corsair). The rear cabin is spacious with class leading leg room of 1,004mm. Cargo volume is also very usable at 648 liters.
Cadillac has implemented their most advanced infotainment interface to date. It’s excellent with intuitive with smartphone-like inputs and great response. The XT4 includes features such as 4G LTE connection, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto all enhancing the experience. The use of a rotary control with shortcut buttons makes navigating the system very easy. The eight-Inch touch creen, NFC pairing, wireless charging and high definition surround view camera all come together to make the XT4 feel state of the art. Cadillac has really thrown the kitchen sink at this model to make sure younger buyers feel at home.
The XT4 is powered by a potent 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine producing 237 horsepower at 5,500RPM and 258 lb-ft. of torque from 1,500 to 4,000RPM. Cadillac has done an excellent job in tuning the engine to ensure maximum torque is available down low in the rev range, giving the the XT4 pick up and go in all situations. The engine is mated to a nine-speed automatic to help keep the engine running in the optimal power range. Despite Cadillac’s best efforts, the engine still exhibits a bit of turbo lag most noticeable during heavy traffic when sudden acceleration is needed. Low speed modulation is sometimes tricky leading to jerky take offs from low speeds. Overall, the engine is quite refined at highway speeds, with good noise insulation and power immediately on tap.
The engine operates under a tri-power system designed to optimize engine efficiency and performance. The motor operates in three modes including high valve life, low valve lift and active fuel management with cylinder deactivation. This results in impressive fuel efficiency ratings of 10.9L/100km city and 8.2L/100km highway ,for a combined rating of 9.7L/100km. During our week of driving we averaged an impressive 10.5L/100km in mostly city driving. It is evident that the technology is working. For a vehicle loaded with luxury amenities to achieve great fuel real world fuel efficiency is not an easy feat.
Cadillac did a great job tuning the suspension, too. The XT4 is an excellent cruiser which can handle all kinds of road situations, feeling like you are gliding on smooth pavement all the time. The soft suspension does not sacrifice agility. Around town and twisty roads, it still feels nimble leaving the driver feeling inspired and in control at all times. Available is an optional Active Sport Suspension which is not equipped here. The system uses continuous dampening control that monitors road conditions and makes adjustments every two milliseconds. The only shortfall found with the fixed dampers was over large undulations at highway speeds, the XT4 feels too floaty.
Cadillac has chosen to use a twin-clutch all-wheel-drive system that distributes torque to the wheels that need it. In standard driving conditions the XT4 defaults to front-drive mode which only drives the front wheels, with 4WD selectable when necessary. This is a flexible system that gives the driver control to balance efficiency with road holding abilities. The XT4 comes with a healthy suite of safety features as well, such as lane change and blind zone alerts, cross traffic alerts, front pedestrian braking and automatic emergency braking.
The XT4 is a very enticing package with a starting price of $35,398, especially when compared with other subcompact offerings such as the BMW X1 (reviewed here) which starts at $42,100 and Volvo XC40 at $39,750. Our tester is the Sport trim at a price of $43,298 with an additional $15,020 of options. The Midnight Sport Package at $4,305 can probably be skipped, if style isn’t a huge priority. The Bose system is also pricey at $3,195, but may be worth it to the audiophile. The options add up quickly for an as tested price of $58,418. Of the three options in this price range, I find the XT4 to be the most comfortable and spacious.
The 2020 Cadillac XT4 Sport AWD is one of the most comfortable and luxurious options in its segment. The vehicle feels purposefully engineered with minimal compromises, unlike some other offerings that feel built exclusively to a price point. The XT4 is a stylish and dynamic option that should be seriously considered, and Cadillac has done well to bring their standard of luxury to a younger audience.