2019 Cadillac XT4 Sport Review: A Good Crossover, But It's No Cadillac
Cadillac's effort to bring in young blood betrays the brand's rich heritage.
The 2019 Cadillac XT4 Sport, By the Numbers
- Base Price (as Tested): $40,290 ($50,685)
- Powertrain: 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbo engine | 237 horsepower, 258 pound-feet of torque | nine-speed automatic transmission | all-wheel-drive
- EPA Fuel Economy: 22 mpg city | 29 mpg highway | 24 mpg combined
- Seating Capacity: 5
- Cargo Space: 22.5 cubic feet | 48.9 cubic feet with rear seats folded
- Quick Take: On the surface, the XT4 checks all the boxes for a modern-day luxury crossover. But dig deeper and you realize this bland meal is more like a warmed-over Chevy with a Cadillac crest.
The 2019 Cadillac XT4 Sport: The Pros
- The exterior design is youthful, even attractive to a certain extent. That's fair if you're on the fence about that last bit, but one thing is for sure: The XT4 looks like little else on the road, and that's a plus in our book. The signature Cadillac headlights are elegant with their sleek design that flows down over the hood, and they look even better at night with their LED accents on full glow. The satin-finish 20-inch wheels boast a simple, flower-like design that the busy front and rear ends and provides for a handsome profile shot.
- There are several aspects that make the XT4 a solid all-rounder; unsurprisingly, Cadillac knows how to wow with a comfortable and spacious cabin. From the cushy leather seats (with best-in-class rear legroom) to the chunky steering wheel, the XT4 feels just right. One thing I appreciated: The adaptive remote start not only warms up the engine, but also activates the heated steering wheel and front and back seat warmers, making early morning school runs more tolerable than they have any right to be. And when the kiddos have to finish their homework on their way to school, the built-in 4G-LTE hot spot comes in handy. They'd never do that, of course.
- The XT4 is up to date on modern tech. From a heads-up display to Apple Carplay/Android Auto and wireless charging for cell phones, my tester had all of the right features that one would expect from a $50,000-plus vehicle. The $770 Driver Awareness Package included a neat following distance indicator that let you know when you're following too closely, auto high beams, forward collision alert, lane-keeping assist with lane departure warning, and low-speed automatic braking with pedestrian detection. Blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, and a trick rearview camera system are included standard.
The 2019 Cadillac XT4 Sport: The Cons
- While the inside as a whole is a pleasant place to be in terms of ergonomics and comfort, it's quite the opposite when it comes to fit and finish. Dark plastics abound, cheap to the touch and a huge turn off in what's supposed to be the cabin of a luxury vehicle with a hefty price tag. Furthermore, there's nothing in terms of features or design that makes the driver feel like they're in a cutting-edge Caddie. Sure, there are some carbon fiber bits adorning various panels. But I'm convinced that if you were to slap a cover on the steering wheel's Cadillac crest and have people guess the brand a la those awful "Real People" Chevrolet commercials, they'd correctly guess the plasticky, uninspiring space belongs in a Chevy. Where's the panache?
- The 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine is surprisingly quick on the highway, but it's quite peaky, verging on jerky around town. The nine-speed transmission doesn't do it any favors either, offering rather abrupt acceleration from a standstill or while cruising at low speeds. All of this adds up to a very un-Cadillac experience—and carsick children.
- One-size-only cupholders. Most cars nowadays feature a large cup holder with spring-loaded prongs or "claws" that allow containers—from skinny water bottles to enormous fountain drinks—to be held securely. Not this one. Cadillac skipped the spring-loaded prongs, which means the solid plastic (shocker) cup holder can only hold a single size cup, and it's only secure if it happens to be the exact same size as the opening.
The 2019 Cadillac XT4 Sport, Value
Value is most definitely not the XT4 Sport's forte. The non-Sport XT4, a bare-bones Luxury trim starts at $35,790, but the Sport trim starts at $40,290. Even with an extra $10,395 in options, my tester failed to make a strong case for choosing it over one of its General Motors siblings. For example, a GMC Terrain in Denali trim with the same engine and nearly identical equipment comes in at $41,330—that's nearly a $10,000 discount. If the crest means that much to you, it doesn't really matter. But if you're searching for value, look elsewhere.
The 2019 Cadillac XT4 Sport, The Bottom Line
After roughly 300 miles and seven days of driving the XT4 Sport in mixed weather conditions (thanks, Midwest spring), I walked away with equally mixed feelings. It would be easy to make excuses for several of its demerits, but the truth is that in doing so I would be doing a disservice to the brand. When buyers young and old think of Cadillac, they expect a certain experience, a certain level of refinement. The XT4 may very well fulfill its mission of attracting young buyers to the brand, put a bit more black in Cadillac's balance sheets, and maybe even justify killing its sedans. But it's also doing something else: diluting the brand. If the XT4 were one of its lesser GM siblings, it would be a pretty good ride. But a Cadillac it isn't.