SUV Review: Cadillac XT4 Sport 2021

Entry-level Cadillac crossover brings comfort to the road

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The XT4 is Cadillac’s entry-level product – a small, premium crossover aimed at a shopper after key luxury crossover attributes are served in a package with a small and nimble physical footprint.

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My tester had a 2-liter turbo four, good for 237 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. This is accompanied by a 9-speed automatic transmission with four-wheel drive, which supports the driver with pleasant power and traction in all weather conditions.

On the outside, signature Cadillac styling cues set against the XT4’s relatively small body, and my tester looked handsome as it rolled down the road — especially in the dark, when the LED lighting design gives it a strong presence in the street. dark gives.

On board, the XT4’s interior is clean, tidy and calm at a glance, although certain elements such as the center console-mounted control panel, instrument panel and steering wheel-mounted control interfaces are starting to look a bit dated. Drivers get an elevated (but not sky-high) driving position, flexible cargo hold with power tailgate, and enough ground clearance to handle moderate snow and off-road conditions when needed.

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Recently I have tested, filmed and filmed 1,200 kilometers for various assignments for TV and web. My highway-intensive test drive took me from central to Northern Ontario and back, and also included a lot of riding on trails and dirt roads.

Below? I will share my findings from 3 specific test areas of interest to northern drivers like me.

Driving the highway

Regular and often extended periods of highway driving are the norm for drivers in my country, completing every test drive I write includes no less than 8 hours completely spent in that setting. Shoppers considering the XT4 for extended highway use have plenty to look forward to.

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The ride is soft and forgiving; the XT4 feels heavier and more substantial in motion than its size shows, and steering is heavy enough to lock the machine in place in its lane, while not being so heavy that drivers will find it labor intensive. Small steering inputs are sufficient for lane and exit changes, reducing the driver’s workload and adding a feeling of responsiveness to steering and handling.

Furthermore, the noise levels are kept neatly under control – even with a good clip. You don’t need to raise your voice to have a conversation with a nearby passenger or to make a Bluetooth phone call. On that note, the Android Auto system worked flawlessly on my watch – just connect once and your handset’s key functions are scaled up to the main screen and voice control systems. This makes it easy to stay connected, stay on track and entertain on the go.

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On the mostly smooth highways connecting central Ontario to areas further north, I appreciated the XT4’s ability to give me a comfortable and relaxed atmosphere that makes it easy to relax, connect and chat along the way.

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The Backroads Ride

The shorter wheelbases of smaller crossovers can inherently make for a rougher ride on dirt roads, meaning expert suspension tuning is vital for a small crossover to ride comfortably in this environment.

In my 16 years of testing Northern Ontario cars, I’ve come to particularly appreciate those models that provide a comfortable ride on the highway while working effectively to maintain that comfort on more difficult surfaces. It’s relatively easy to get a small crossover to ride nicely on the highway, but getting it to ride nicely on very rough surfaces can be trickier – and not all machines strike that balance.

The XT4 can handle most back roads well. Noise levels were the first to grab my attention, as the suspension stays nicely dampened under fire. Even when the crumbling pavement and potholes below are attacked, the suspension noise and feedback sent back to the driver are well managed. The XT4s rigid body structure also helps resist bending on rough surfaces, allowing for a firmer and denser (and less flimsy) feel on steep back roads. Less bend also means less air is pumped through the cab over bumpy surfaces, contributing to the relatively low noise levels.

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Cadillac XT4 2021
Cadillac XT4 2021 Photo by Elliot Alder

The XT4’s steering system is also nicely isolated in this environment, with minimal harshness and road vibrations sent back to the driver’s fingertips. This makes it easier and more comfortable to drive the XT4 smoothly and adds to the premium feel that luxury shoppers expect.

Sure – the odd hit or slam escapes the suspension on certain bumps and craters. But for the most part, I think XT4 owners can expect a pleasantly comfortable ride on the highway that holds up nicely when the going gets tough.

Keep in mind that ride quality may vary depending on the gear that comes with the particular XT4 you’re considering. Your results may vary, and customers taking a test drive should always confirm that they have adequate driving comfort by visiting a rough road surface during their test drive.

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Trust in the dark

After driving 4 hours at night on two road trips in the XT4, I appreciated the strong performance of the LED lighting system the most. Modern automotive lighting has improved a lot in recent years and the XT4’s strong performance in the dark is not surprising, although it is worth noting.

In my part of Canada, motorists drive a lot on two-lane highways that are often remote and unlit and usually flanked by forests and rock faces that hide curious wildlife.

From the driver’s seat of the XT4, the LED dipped beams bathe the foreground with bright white light that is thick and evenly saturated from side to side. Additional light may leak into the berm – illuminating nearby rock walls and forest edges. This feature of the lighting system is vital for early warning of roadside hazards and has saved me from multiple collisions over the years.

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Cadillac XT4 2021
Cadillac XT4 2021 Photo by Elliot Alder

In addition, the quality of the lighting system’s output in terms of color and dispersion helps make it easier for your eyeballs to see in the dark, reducing eye strain on longer journeys.

The high beams do their most impressive job when it comes to reflective signage and distance markings, even when cornering on the highway. Using these markers as a remote landmark can help reduce driver stress and workload by providing a remote preview of upcoming turns. The strong light color also ensures a strong reflection of those distant markings. This makes it clearer from further away if a creature is walking by.

In a nutshell? Drivers can expect confidence from the XT4’s lighting system.

If you’re considering the Cadillac XT4, I hope these insights help confirm or question your purchase decision, especially if you’ll be using yours primarily in an environment like mine.

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