2021 Cadillac XT5 Sport: Overview
Cadillac is a luxury brand with a rich and deep history. In the 1950s in particular, Cadillacs made a bold statement. For example, who can forget the 1959 coupe De Ville with its incomparably soft and comfortable ride and its huge tailfins? But times have changed and also Cadillac had to adapt to the new automobile landscape. The big move from sedans to SUVs in every class was one aspect of this transformation. Now in Cadillac’s model family, there are three relatively new SUVs; the XT4, XT5 and the XT6 in addition to the big and more traditional Escalade.
We tested the X5, the compact crossover positioned between the subcompact X4 and the bigger, three-row X6. the X5 is a crucially important model for Cadillac comprising about one-third of total Cadillac sales. The luxury, compact crossover (or SUV) segment in Canada is booming and also very competitive. The compact Caddy must compete with models like Mercedes GLC, Audi Q5, BMW X3, Acura RDX, Lexus NX200, Infiniti QX50, and Lincoln Corsair.
2021 Cadillac Xt5 Sport: Engine and Powertrain
The XT5 has a modern, 3.6L, naturally aspirated V6 engine with VVT (variable valve timing) that delivers 310 horsepower and 271lb-ft of torque. It is mated to a 9-speed, torque-converted transmission. Obviously one of the basic requirements of the luxury class is a powerful engine and the compact Cadillac does not disappoint.
2021 Cadillac XT5 Sport: Interior
The cabin is spacious for this class, the doors open wide and getting on and off is easy. The quality of materials inside is first class with a few exceptions as you would expect from a luxury car. I loved the design of the dashboard. the days of the frustrating touchscreen controls are gone. Now you can control the functions with a precise control knob in the centre console. The screen is integrated into the dashboard, instead of a protruding tablet. More on this in the next section.
One shortcoming (maybe subjectively speaking) is the centre armrest with the deep and large storage bin between the front seats is placed a bit behind the driver’s reach. You must lean back a little for the best use of this compartment.
2021 Cadillac XT5 Sport: Driving Impressions
A business trip to Montreal happened to be in the same week we reserved the XT5 for our test drive. This was a good coincidence since I was able to experience Cadillac’s luxury in a compact SUV in a long trip. Cadillac deserves applause for the single reason: General Motors luxury brand successfully transformed Cadillac qualities into a smaller vehicle. It is probably not a coincidence that the XT5 is the best-selling Cadillac. It is more affordable than a big vehicle we used from Cadillac. The XT5 is more practical to drive also in the city, easy to park and burns less fuel too. During the approximately five-hour drive on the highway between Toronto and Montreal, I never felt exhausted. The engine always provided sufficient power to cruise and to pass. The sound isolation was very good and makes you feel like a luxury vehicle. The engine is not turbo-charged. So, the turbo lag (as you may experience in some vehicles) is not an issue. As the Germans say, “Nothing can replace the (engine) displacement.” With the 3.6 litres, the engine is big and powerful for a compact SUV and I loved the linear, effortless and “silent” acceleration also due to very good shift mapping. I did not have much a chance to test the all-wheel drive system.
The infotainment system is more important in a long drive since you have a lot of time to spend inside the car. The wireless and easy connection with Android Auto (also with the Apple CarPlay, although I did not test this feature) was the best part for me. I listened to a number of Youtube videos (without watching of course) I saved earlier and stories from Storytel, an audiobook app. The sweetest part was listening to messages from WhatsApp. During my highway cruise, I received several WhatsApp messages in Turkish. (I use Whatsapp intensively for business and pleasure and connect with friends in Turkey, my home country.) The messages were not only spoken aloud but the translation into Turkish was simply impressive. The infotainment system translates even emojis and this was the funniest part. Also sending text messages (in English9 was easy as the voice-to-text feature worked flawlessly. The phone charging dock, a slot on the front side of the centre console for my phone was also very practical. I use a double-sided, thick protective cover and it is so practical that you can charge with the cover. The volume knob, also in the centre console, is practically under your palm and so easier to operate than the controls on the steering wheel. With this technology at your fingertips, you can stay connected, “audio-read” and spend your time productively while driving.
What surprised me most was the lack of radar of the cruise control. In the luxury class, this feature must be standard. I am sure Cadillac will solve this issue in the next-gen model.
At the end of our test trip most of it on the highway, our average fuel consumption was just shy of 10 litres.
About My Trip to Montreal
I picked up my friends at Montreal PE Trudeau Airport. I was a bit concerned as I saw five large and two small suitcases waiting to be loaded. I was able to fit everything inside by folding flat only the larger part of the second-row seats. In the busy traffic in Montreal, the XT5 was compact enough to dive into smaller side streets utilizing small parking spots. The visibility is good in all directions thanks to thin A, B and C-pillars.
However, in a city with objects (vehicles, pedestrians or a garbage bin) close to any side of the vehicle, proximity sensors activate the vibration of the driver seat and this is an annoying experience. It is surprising that Cadillac while ignoring the much more important radar sensor for cruise control, was almost obsessed with this feature.
Returning from Montreal, I stopped in Prescott, a beautiful town at the Saint Lawrence River about 60 kilometers from Ottawa. Between 1812 and 1960, ferry services connected the town to Ogdensburg, NY until the International Bridge was opened. My next stop was in Gananoque, at the heart of the beautiful Thousand Islands Region. As many times before, having a lunch at the Gananoque Bay Hotel provided a memorable culinary experience.
2021 Cadillac XT5 Sport: Pricing and Equipment
For details on pricing and equipment see the window sticker of our tester below:
2021 Cadillac XT5 Sport: Conclusion
Cadillac is an iconic brand what its rich and deep history. It is a crown jewel of the American automobile industry. In my personal opinion, Cadillac followed a relatively consistent path in the last 20 years or so. I see the stability in two steps first at the beginning of this century Cadillac developed a clear design language that gives a strong character to the brand today. the second dimension of stability is the development of the product portfolio that meets today’s expectations. and Cadillac also has its fair share of the General Motors electrification strategy which is in progress. The XT5 is a viable alternative for shoppers in the luxury compact crossover segment.
For more information, please visit: http://www.cadillaccanada.ca