The 2019 Cadillac XT4 compact crossover is good looking, fuel efficient, filled with safety and comfort features, and fun to drive.
And it’s all wrapped up in a package starting at $35,790, which makes it affordable for the young families and active singles, especially women, Cadillac has designed it for.
ecoXplorer Evelyn Kanter test drove the 2019 Cadillac XT4 recently, with Mara Kipness, head of the interior design team for the all-new model, who has a passion for color and texture.
“There’s so much black,” both in vehicle interiors and exteriors, as well as in fashion, she says, that it’s especially important to offer fresh new choices, including carbon fiber and satin finishes on interior metal.
She and her team have added a creamy beige called Wheat and a light grey called Platinum to the interior palette, calling them “youthful”, which just happens to be the demographic Cadillac hopes will buy the XT4.
9-speed transmission and more features
With a starting price of $35,790 (add $2,500 for AWD), it’s an appealing, good looking choice for young families, especially since such features as a 9-speed automatic transmission and a suite of safety systems including GM’s legendary OnStar are included as standard equipment.
Over lunch during a test drive around Seattle, Kipness and I agree we both love the new Autumn exterior color, a warm rust shade, like an autumn-tinged leaf.
She likes it paired with the Wheat interior; the model I drove featured a black interior with Autumn contrast stitching on the seats.
All XT4 models have leather seats.
I also loved the large navigation screen, with a necklace-like string of buttons beneath it for the most frequently used controls, such as cabin temperature and audio volume. In the auto business, that’s called “jewelry”.
She told me women are especially successful in GM’s interior design departments because “we are more familiar with the details of accessorizing,” whether it’s clothing or a navi screen.
There’s also a dial on the console between the front seats, which seems to be a must-include in all luxury vehicles these days, to operate scroll menus and apps displayed on the screen.
My recommendation is to forget the dial, which I found cumbersome because it takes too much hand-eye coordination time away from eyes on the road, and just use the touchscreen.
The 2019 Cadillac XT4 is built on an all-new platform with a brand new 2.0-Liter turbo-charged engine that’s both powerful and fuel efficient.
Powerful at 237HP, fuel efficient at the 27.9 MPG I got in the morning, driving 120 miles in the base-level Luxury model, and 29.4 MPG in the afternoon, driving 80 miles in the Sport model, most of the time in Sport mode, which kicked in the AWD.
The engine is built in Cadillac’s Spring Hill, Tennessee plant.
There’s also something Cadillac is calling AFM, for Active Fuel Management, which shuts off two of the four cylinders at low speeds, such as local errands, further boosting fuel economy.
Touring mode is for normal driving, including highway speeds. Yes, there’s a noticeable tightening of steering and suspension in Sport mode.
I loved the large, easy to read odometer and speedometer, and efficient design of the controls on the steering wheel, for less eye-time away from the road.
While I love the choice of driving modes, I don’t like that they are all tucked inside a single button on the console, and you have to scroll through the prompts that pop up on the odometer-speedometer screen to click the one you want. Another example of too much hand-eye coordination time away from eyes on the road.
I also loved the new is elctro-magnetic braking system, which is both smoother and more fuel efficient than traditional hydraulic brakes. The brakes literally glide you to a stop. So smooth. Love them.
Yet another new feature is the rearview mirror, which isn’t a mirror at all, but the display from the rear view camera, with a wider angle view.
It takes a bit of getting used to, but when you do, you’ll never want to go back to the “regular” kind.
Cadillac wants its mojo back
Cadillac brand president Steve Carlisle admits “we lost our mojo” as an innovator of such things as OnStar, Night Vision, and as far back as 1912, the introduction of electric lamps, that made Cadillac the number one luxury brand in the world for a century.
His mission is to “get back into the luxury conversation with an arsenal of outstanding products for the global marketplace.”
That includes the XT4, and his plan to introduce a new model every six months through 2020.