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First Drive: 2017 Cadillac XT5

Cadillac Redesigns Its Bestseller

Sue Mead
May 19, 2016
Photographers: Courtesy Of Cadillac
You might have noticed that Cadillac lost its way for a while. The good news is that’s changed. A new journey has begun and “Dare Greatly” is this General Motors’ division’s newest tagline. It’s fitting for this luxury brand—the crown jewel in GM’s portfolio—that is now ensconced in its Manhattan center of operations, after taking leave of The General’s Motor City headquarters. Cadillac is taking a novel path forward and developing an updated brand mindset, striking an attitude of courage and determination—or so said Cadillac President Johan de Nysschen when we joined him for the first drive of the all-new ’17 XT5. The brand’s leader said Cadillac has developed a unique approach to launching this midsized crossover that has just gone on sale in America, and it has a goal to excel in meeting the demands of Cadillac customers. The new Crossover Touring 5 (XT5) joins the luxury market’s strongest-selling segment and is intended to become the cornerstone of a new series of four crossovers in Cadillac’s ongoing expansion. The five-door, five-passenger XT5 gets Cadillac’s new alpha-numeric nomenclature. It went on sale in April 2016, replacing the SRX, which had been on the market for seven years and was Cadillac’s top-selling vehicle, representing more than 100,000 sales last year.
Photo 2/27   |   2017 Cadillac XT5 009
The reimagined model resides on a unique chassis and structure and will be offered in four trim levels, with front-drive and all-wheel-drive versions: base (FWD only) begins at $38,995; Luxury at $44,895; Luxury AWD at $47,390; Premium Luxury at $51,895; Premium Luxury AWD at $ 54,390; and range-topping Platinum (AWD only) at $62,500. Optional are packages that bring enhanced navigation, LED lighting, and a variety of additional safety and security upgrades; most of these are standard on up-level trims and all on Platinum.
Designers penned the crossover with a more modern expression of classical luxury, while maintaining Cadillac’s art and science theme. The chiseled exterior was crafted to evoke a “lean, taut, liquid quality to the surfaces with flowing, uninterrupted lines separated by crisp edges and a strong visual presence with proportions that convey the lightweight construction underneath the surface.” The result is an eye-appealing blend of styling cues, attractive lighting, and lux-level trim features. The most distinguishing statement is the crossover’s new vertical headlamps that make gorgeous eye candy on the front face. Platinum gets a unique grille and exhaust, stainless steel skidplate, and 20-inch 12-spoke polished wheels, while base models get 18s.
Photo 3/27   |   2017 Cadillac XT5 013
The XT5’s interior is "based on a philosophy of clean, modern elegance, and craftsmanship," featuring wider and more horizontal surfaces to emphasize the efficient use of space. Assembled with cut-and-sewn wrapped panels, cabin choices are available in five color and trim combinations, with decorative trim options ranging from carbon fiber to two types of aluminum and three types of genuine wood. Compared to the SRX, rear-seat legroom has increased 3.2 inches, and total passenger volume is 104.5 cubic feet. The remote-operated, fold-down rear seat splits 40/20/40, reclines, and slides fore and aft to offer more room for second-row passengers, or up to 30 cu.-ft. of cargo space behind, with a maximum of 63 cubic feet of cargo behind the front seats.
Under its hood is the same 3.6L V-6 engine that is shared with Cadillac’s ATS, CT6, and CTS models that was tapped as one of Ward’s 10 Best Engines for 2016. Producing 310 hp and 271 lb-ft of torque, it has been redesigned and features Active Fuel Management cylinder deactivation technology, allowing it to seamlessly and automatically switch to a fuel-saving four-cylinder mode under low or moderate loads, as well as auto stop-start technology that automatically stops the engine when the vehicle is at rest to save fuel and reduce emissions. Variable valve timing creates strong response and smooth power delivery. It’s rated at 3,500 pounds max towing.
Also debuting is a new eight-speed automatic transmission with Electronic Precision Shift—the first electronically controlled transmission shifter for a Caddy. It promises to reduce noise and vibration and also creates an additional storage space beneath the center console.
Photo 4/27   |   2017 Cadillac XT5 001
The all-new advanced “twin clutch” AWD system continuously and automatically delivers traction for a wide variety of conditions and can even vector all the torque to a single wheel, if necessary. Engineered specifically for performance in wet, snowy or icy conditions, it also provides enhanced stability in dry weather. Fuel economy is rated at 19 mpg city, 27 mpg highway, and 22 miles combined for FWD models. EPA numbers drop by 1 mpg for AWD.
The XT5 features 4G LTE wireless access with a standard integrated Wi-Fi hotspot. Cadillac's CUE touchscreen connectivity system provides a suite of information and entertainment offerings like Pandora Radio, enhanced 3D GPS navigation, and standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto for simpler in-car phone integration. For additional simplicity, a full-color reconfigurable head-up display projects driving and entertainment updates onto the windshield so drivers can stay informed without taking their eyes off the road.
Cadillac’s patented Rear Camera Mirror that debuted on the CT6 sedan is also available on the XT5. The system enhances the driver’s rear vision by 300 percent, using a video display applied over the conventional inside rearview mirror.
In addition, XT5 features Cadillac’s Driver Awareness and Driver Assist packages to aid vision and collision avoidance. These include automatic front and rear braking for low-speed conditions, lane keeping assist, rear cross traffic alert, side blind zone alert, pedestrian collision mitigation, full-speed-range adaptive cruise control, and automatic parking assist.
Photo 5/27   |   2017 Cadillac XT5 017
We drove Platinum, Premium Luxury AWD, and Luxury FWD models over a course of 250 miles. Notable is the quietness of the cabin but so is great on-tap acceleration with crisp shifts. Agile and responsive handing comes thanks to the body’s increased stiffness, the rack mounted, quick-ratio electric power steering, and the new real-time damping system by ZF. Drive characteristics are also enhanced by the McPherson front struts with hydraulic bushings, and the new lightweight five-link rear suspension with cross axis ball joint link pivots, and lightweighting. The XT5 is 278 pounds lighter than the SRX it replaces and 100 pounds lighter than the Audi Q5, although it’s 7 inches longer. It’s more than 650 pounds lighter than the Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class, which has similar exterior dimensions.
We loved the top-flight Platinum, with softer semi-aniline leather, tri-zone climate control, heated rear seats, a larger 8-inch central display on the instrument panel (versus the standard 5.7-inch), 360-degree cameras with a self-washing rear lens, a hands-free liftgate, and anti-theft inclination and interior motion sensors.
2017 Cadillac XT5
Vehicle type: 5-passenger, 2-row, midsize luxury crossover SUV
Base price: $38,995
Price as tested: N/A
Engine: 3.6L V-6
Transmission: 8-speed automatic
Horsepower: 310 @ 6,700 rpm
Torque: 271 lb-ft @ 5,000 rpm
Curb weight: Base (FWD) 3,985 pounds / Luxury (AWD) 4,257 lbs
Towing capacity: 3,500 lbs
EPA mileage rating (city/hwy/comb): FWD 19/27/22 / AWD 18/26/21

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