Cadillac has had a very love-hate relationship with entry-level models. There have been some absolute bangers the way the kids say (the Series 62 and the ATS in V trim), and there have been some absolute bangers in the way the Brits would use the word (Cimmaron, Catera). The XT4 is Cadillac's entry-level crossover. The caveat means there is a sedan sitting beneath it in the lineup (in stature, if not price). Sedans are the only vehicles that are likely to be in stock at a dealer in 2022 - which is to say nobody wants them. I'm saying it makes this little crossover a big deal, and it sits in an incredibly competitive segment.
This is the fourth year for the compact Cadillac crossover. Normally around this point we would expect a facelift and a bit of a refresh on the inside. Instead, Cadillac has added a pair of new colours to the palette. Our tester, of course, wore neither. Instead showing up in basic black. How boring.
Cadillac also dropped Near-Field Communication phone pairing for 2022. This feature let you pair your phone very quickly, something you might do once every couple of years. Great for someone like me who is in a different vehicle every week (you should see my Bluetooth list), but it won't be missed by owners.
We'll get one other thing out of the way off the bat. This $60,000 luxury SUV didn't have heated or ventilated seats, even though it had the buttons. To help ensure the supply of vehicles at dealers didn't get worse than it already has, GM made this (and many other models) without those features when chip supply ran out.
The good news is that there is a credit on the window sticker and that GM will retrofit them for free as soon as possible. For XT4, that affected vehicles built from about mid-November until May 1. GM says they've since gotten enough chips, so XT4s built after May 1 have the features back. We won't hold our cold bottoms against the company for this. Still, you should check your window sticker when shopping.
Ok, back to the car.
Cadillac splits its models into two diverging trim grades, setting its vehicles apart from most other luxury automakers. There are luxury-trim cars, which usually means shiny chrome, and there are Sport trims, which means blacked-out trim. This is a Sport.
Whichever way you go, XT4 gets a 2.0-litre turbo-four. 235 hp and 258 lb-ft (if you run premium gas) and a nine-speed automatic. AWD is optional, but Cadillac is perfectly happy to let you have a front-driver if that's what you'd like.
It's a good little engine with plenty of torque through the entire rev range. If you're planning a drag race it doesn't feel that quick, but if you're mashing the pedal to make this Caddy zig on a highway ramp or to pass a slower car on a two-lane, it feels plenty quick. Thank the fast-acting auto for helping out with that. It will hold gears for a few moments after that barnstorming run, in case you have another slow mover to pass.
It's also a noisy engine. Especially at a cold idle, the sound coming from under the hood is not exactly Standard of the World. It's worse if you're outside since the active noise cancellation does a decent job of putting a damper on the sound in the cabin. Once you're moving, it's less noticeable, but much of that is because of the sound of the 20-inch tires humming underneath. We'd stick with the standard set of 18-inch instead of that pricy option.
Looking good is important in this entry-luxury segment, and it's hard to find a better-looking entrant than this one. Cadillac's big LED accent lights and sharp creases on the hood, as well as those extra-tall taillights, help make it look stunning. That goes double if you pick from the extensive array of paint shades on offer, though Stellar Black over black wheels is a bit, well, dull.
Pick Wave or Rosewood and stand out in that sad corporate parking lot filled with silver German SUVs. Or since everyone's still at home, make the neighbours wonder what other secretly interesting habits and hobbies you might have.
Inside, this is every other Cadillac. Sure, you could make the joke that for years each Audi has looked the same on the outside, but Cadillac is doing it on the inside. Frankly, that's a better decision. It’s the same look as the XT5 and XT6, except scaled down. It helps this cabin look impressively premium in a segment where many rely on brand reputation over any actual luxury content.
The XT4 offers a range of interiors with leather and faux leather. This one has what Cadillac calls Sedona and we call peanut butter. It's a look that's worth paying extra for - and you'll need to since it's locked into some option packs.
The 8.0-inch screen looks a touch small in the wide bezel, as though Cadillac had planned on offering a larger one then didn't. You can add navigation if you want, but all trims have wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, and those maps are probably better anyway.
The CUE, as Cadillac labels the system is very responsive. Fast processing power, or at least making excellent use of it, the software runs smoothly, quickly, and seamlessly. There are hard buttons for most of the controls as well as natural speech voice recognition, making the Cadillac User Experience a pain-free one. The volume control is on the centre console rather than the dash, but at least there's a knob.
A hands-free hatch opens up into a cargo space that's typical of the segment. That's our way of saying small, with a high load floor. It's easy to toss in a suitcase - we're sure Cadillac can tell you exactly how many golf clubs to four decimal places - and groceries, but it's not going to work for hauling big items. Again, though, that's par for the course in this fashion-forward segment Style does not work with cargo room as the minivan constantly proves.
In the passenger compartment, though, it's a different story. Like everything from GM, there is loads of front-seat headroom. The back seat is good as well, at least for the class. There are plenty of storage spaces including pockets along the centre console, and I'm a huge fan of Cadillac's hidey-hole for your phone (complete with wireless charging) just in front of the armrest.
I haven't said much about the ride, but that's because there's little to say. It's right in the middle of this class which can give you some very sharp handling rides and some that need more time in the development cycle. Goldilocks would love it. Comfortable and plush, but leaving me wishing for the sidewall of 18-inchess instead of 20- inch wheels.
Cadillac lets you go hard into the options on XT4. Make that almost demands that you dig deep and check boxes. Take a look at the standard driver assistance suite, for example. Automatic emergency braking, forward collision alert, rear park assist, and front pedestrian braking are standard, which is a good amount of stuff.
But you're not going to get a luxury crossover without surround-view cameras and adaptive cruise. That cruise control is in one pricey bundle, the cameras in another. Automatic high beams and lane keep warnings are in a third, and the head-up display a fourth. Of course, this is all very much like BMW, Audi, and Mercedes, so maybe it's a sign the XT4 is seriously big leagues?
It's easy to end up with a $57k sticker price like our tester. What else can that get you? It won't get you a similarly equipped competitor from the Germans, while the competition from Japan is the same price and far more austerely finished. So, tick away, the Cadillac XT4 represents a strong bargain. As long as you get those heated and ventilated seats fitted down the road.
2022 Cadillac XT4 Sport
premium compact five-door crossover
2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder (235 hp @ 5,000 r.p.m., 258 lb-ft @ 1,500-4,000 r.p.m. on premium fuel)
(Premium Recommended) 10.9 / 8.2 / 9.7 L / 100 km city / highway / combined. 9.1 Observed
637L behind second row, 1,384L with rear seat folded
$43,298 (base XT4 Sport). $57,208 As Tested (plus destination and taxes). Includes $3,510 gloss black wheels, $230 Safety Alert package, $1,785 Sunroof, $1,595 Technology Package, $900 Stellar Black Metallic, $545 Driver Awareness Package, $1,795 Enhanced Visibility Package, $3,055 Premium Comfort and Convenience Package, $195 Engine Block Heater, $255 all-weather floor mat, $260 Monochromatic badges. Also includes $25 credit for not equipped with heated steering wheel, $50 not equipped with heated or ventilated driver and front passenger seats, $50 not equipped with front and rear park assist or reverse automatic braking.