Cadillac has had a very love-hate relationship with entry-level models. There have been some absolute bangers as the kids say (the Series 62 and the ATS in V trim), and there have been some absolute bangers in the way the British would use the word (Cimmaron, Catera). The XT4 is Cadillac’s entry-level crossover. The caveat means there’s a sedan below in the lineup (in stature, if not price). Sedans are the only vehicles likely to be in dealer stock by 2022 — that is, no one wants them. I say it makes this little crossover a big deal, and it’s in an incredibly competitive segment.
This is the fourth year for Cadillac’s compact crossover. Normally we would expect a facelift around this point and a bit of a refresh on the inside. Instead, Cadillac has added a few new colors to the palette. Our tester, of course, wore neither. Instead, appear in basic black. What boring.
Cadillac also dropped Near-Field Communication phone link for 2022. This feature allows you to pair your phone very quickly, something you might do once every few years. Great for someone like me who sits in a different vehicle every week (you should see my Bluetooth list), but it won’t be missed by owners.
We’ll get one more thing out of the way. This $60,000 luxury SUV didn’t have heated or ventilated seats, even though it had the buttons. To make sure the vehicle offerings at dealerships didn’t get worse than it already is, GM made this (and many other models) without those features when the chip supply ran out.
The good news is that there is a credit on the window sticker and GM will install them for free as soon as possible. For XT4, that affected vehicles built from approximately mid-November to May 1. GM says they’ve gotten enough chips since then, so XT4s built after May 1 will have the features back. We will not hold our cold soil against the company for this. Still, you should check your window decal when shopping.
Okay, back to the car.
Cadillac splits its models into two different trim levels, which sets its vehicles apart from most other luxury car manufacturers. There are luxury cars, which usually means shiny chrome, and there are sports versions, which means darkened trim. This is a Sports.
Whichever way you go, the XT4 gets a 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo. 235 hp and 258 lb-ft (if using premium gas) and a nine-speed automatic. AWD is optional, but Cadillac will gladly give you a front driver if you’d like.
It’s a good little engine with plenty of torque throughout the rev range. If you’re planning a drag race, it won’t feel as fast, but if you hit the pedal to make this Caddy zigzag on a highway ramp or to overtake a slower car on a two-lane track, it feels fast enough. Thank the fast-acting car for helping with that. It will hold the gears for a few moments after that barnstorming run, in case you need to pass another slow mover.
It is also a noisy engine. Especially at cold idle speed, the noise coming from under the hood is not exactly Standard of the World. It’s even worse when you’re outside, as the active noise cancellation pretty much muffles the noise in the cabin. Once you’re in motion, it’s less noticeable, but that’s largely due to the noise of the 20-inch tires buzzing underneath. We’d stick with the standard 18-inch set rather than that expensive option.
Looking good is important in this luxury entry-level segment, and it’s hard to find a more beautiful competitor than this one. Cadillac’s large LED accent lighting and sharp creases on the hood, as well as those extra-tall taillights, make it look stunning. That goes double when you choose from the vast array of paint colors, although Stellar Black over black wheels is a bit, well, boring.
Choose Wave of Rosewood and stand out in that sad corporate parking lot filled with silver German SUVs. Or, since everyone is still at home, the neighbors wonder what other secretly interesting habits and hobbies you might have.
Inside, this is any other Cadillac. Sure, you can joke that every Audi looked the same on the outside for years, but Cadillac does 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 real luxury content.
The XT4 offers a range of leather and leatherette interiors. This one has what Cadillac calls Sedona and we call peanut butter. It’s a look worth paying extra for – and it will be necessary, as it comes in some option packs.
The 8.0-inch screen looks a bit small in the wide bezel, as if Cadillac intended to offer a larger screen but 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 calls 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 controls and natural speech recognition, making the Cadillac User Experience painless. The volume control is on the center console rather than the dash, but at least there’s a button.
A hands-free hatch opens into a cargo area typical of this segment. That’s our way of saying small, with a high loading floor. It’s easy to throw in a suitcase — we’re sure Cadillac can tell you exactly how many golf clubs to four decimal places — and groceries, but it won’t work for hauling bulky items. But again, that’s part of the course in this fashionable segment. Style doesn’t work with luggage space, as the minivan continually proves.
In the passenger compartment, however, it’s a different story. Like everything from GM, there’s plenty of headroom up front. The rear seats are good too, at least for the class. There are plenty of storage areas, including pockets along the center console, and I’m a big fan of Cadillac’s hidden hole for your phone (complete with wireless charging) just in front of the armrest.
I didn’t say much about the ride, but that’s because there’s little to say. It’s right in the middle of this class that can give you some very sharp rides and some that need more time in the development cycle. Goldilocks would love it. Comfortable and luxurious, but I wish the sidewall of 18-inch wheels instead of 20-inch wheels.
Cadillac lets you dive deep into the options on XT4. Make that almost require you to dig deep and check boxes. For example, take a look at the standard driver assistance suite. Automatic emergency braking, forward collision warning, rear parking assist and front pedestrian brakes are standard, which is a good amount of stuff.
But you won’t get a luxury crossover without surround cameras and adaptive cruise. The cruise control is in one expensive bundle, the cameras in another. Automatic high beam and lane warnings are in a third, and the head-up display a fourth. Of course, this is all very similar to BMW, Audi and Mercedes, so maybe it’s a sign that 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? You don’t get a comparably equipped competitor from the Germans with it, while the competition from Japan has the same price and is finished much more tightly. So tick off, the Cadillac XT4 represents a strong bargain. As long as you get those heated and ventilated seats on the road.
2022 Cadillac XT4 Sport
BODY STYLE: premium compact five-door crossover
DRIVE: Front engine, four-wheel drive
ENGINE: 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbocharged (235 hp at 5,000 rpm, 258 lb-ft at 1,500-4,000 rpm on premium fuel)
FUEL ECONOMY: (Premium recommended) 10.9 / 8.2 / 9.7 L / 100 km city / highway / combined. 9.1 Observed
LOAD VOLUME: 637L rear second row, 1,384L with rear seats folded
PRICE: $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 Matte, $260 Monochromatic Badges. Includes $25 credit for not equipped with heated steering wheel, $50 not equipped with heated or ventilated driver and passenger seats, $50 not equipped with front and rear parking assist or automatic reverse brakes.