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2019 Cadillac XT4 AWD Sport Review by John Heilig - It's E15 Approved

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By John Heilig
Senior Editor and Bureau Chief
Mid-Atlantic Bureau
The Auto Channel

REVIEWED MODEL: 2019 Cadillac XT4 AWD Sport
ENGINE: 2.0-liter turbocharged 4
TRANSMISSION: 9-speed automatic
HORSEPOWER/TORQUE: 237 hp @ 5,000 rpm/258 lb.-ft. @ 1,500-4,000 rpm
WHEELBASE: 109.4 in.
LENGTH X WIDTH X HEIGHT: 181.1 x 83.5 x 64.1 in.
TIRES: P245/45R20
CARGO CAPACITY: 22.5/48.9 cu. ft. (rear seats up/down)
ECONOMY: 22 mpg city/29 mpg highway/19.1 mpg test
FUEL TANK: 16.3 gal.
CURB WEIGHT: 3,896 lbs.
COMPETITIVE CLASS: Acura MDX, Jaguar F-Pace, Lincoln MKC
STICKER: $52,265 (includes $995 delivery, $9,475 options)
BOTTOM LINE: The Cadillac XT4 has a lot going for it, but the assets are unfortunately dampened by a noisy engine.

Stylistically, the new Cadillac XT4 is definitely a Caddy, with vertical taillights that sort of resemble fins and vertical daytime running lights in the front. It also retains Cadillac luxury inside with copious amounts of leather and an overall nice feel.

Unfortunately, the XT4 is hampered by a noisy engine. While I applaud Cadillac engineers for attempting economy with a turbocharged 2.0-liter inline four, that praise id reduced considerably by the noise. First, the economy figures aren’t that great anyway, with EPA estimates of 22 mpg city and 29 mpg highway and our test economy of 19.1 mpg. In fairness, my 2001 Buick’s 3.6-liter V6 gets better numbers than that.

The worst part of the engines its noise. While it’s okay on the highway, it is simply too noisy on acceleration. You can hear every shift as you gain speed. You can’t feel it, which is a tribute to the transmission designers, but you certainly can hear it. For a Cadillac of any size, you expect quiet, or relatively quiet, performance.

Managing the transmission is what I have come to call a BMW shifter, where you pull it to get in to drive and push it forward for reverse. While the slightly different shift pattern takes some getting used to, I like it for its simplicity.

The dash is nicely designed overall, but I found the analog speedometer hard to read. First, it goes from 0-160 mph and the zero is down at the bottom. Normal speeds are still at around 7:00-8:00 on the dial. Fortunately, there’s a digital speedometer in the information display plus a heads up display, so you almost never have to look at the analog speedometer.

The information panel between the tachometer and speedometer is very comprehensive with a full array of options and information if you can figure it out. Oh well, another trip to the owner’s manual.

We enjoyed the sound system. There’s a central controller on the center console that helps tune, and a smaller knob just ahead of that for volume control. In addition, the heater worked in some very cold weather. That, plus the heated seats, kept us comfortable. If we had driven the XT4 in the summer, we would have enjoyed the ventilation in the seats.

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Front seats are comfortable with multiple adjustments. Our tester had “light wheat” (cream) seat inserts in jet black seats that contrasted well with the black interior.

Rear seat legroom is tight, as would be expected from a small SUV. The outside rear seats are heated, but since there is a tall center hump that would make sitting there uncomfortable anyway, there’s no need for heat in the middle. Rear seatbacks lower easily to create a larger cargo capacity, growing from 22.5 to 48.9 cubic feet. The power lift gate also is easy to operate, and there is some storage capacity around the compact spare.

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The center console has a tray on top with a Qi charger if your phone is so equipped. In front of the shifter at the base of the center stack is a nice cubby with USB, USB2 and 12-volt outlets.

As with most GM vehicles, the XT4 is equipped with a 4G LTE WiFi hot spot with “bars” on the infotainment screen to let you know how much power is available.

Visually, the Cadillac XT4 is most certainly a small Cadillac SUV, and that’s a good point. Sadly tough, the XT4 is burdened by a noisy engine that is very un-Cadillac. Let’s hope the next iteration of the XT4 either adds better sound deadening, or improves the engine.

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