Review: the Cadillac XT5, Caddy's Q5 and Macan rival

Review the Cadillac XT5, Caddy's Q5 and Macan rival

Review: the Cadillac XT5, Caddy's Q5 and Macan rival

What is this?

This is the all-new XT5, Cadillac’s replacement for the unassuming but steady selling SRX crossover. It’s the first of a new wave of crossovers from the company, and it costs from $39,990.

All of those upcoming crossovers will be based off the same modular ‘C1XX’ architecture which can be shrunk, stretched, widened and propped up and propelled by numerous different suspensions and engines. It’s so multi-purpose, it will also be used to underpin similar crossovers from GM sister brands Buick, GMC and Chevy.

Better be good then. Is it?

On first impressions, yes it is. In much the same way that the new Camaro riding on its latest platform has discovered a new-found composure and ability, the XT5 rides and handles altogether better than the SRX. Part of the reason for this is that it weighs 300lb (or 136kg) less than the outgoing car, plus it has a two-inch longer wheelbase.

Can’t be just those two things…

It’s not. There’s been plenty of other work done, too. There’s a continuously variable damping system, electric power steering, four driving modes and strut/multilink suspension that, together with the other new bits, make the XT5 feel far more light and wieldy than the SRX, which it so closely resembles.

What engines does it come with?

Just the one in the US, a reworked, slightly detuned 310bhp version of the 3.6-litre V6 which debuted in the ATS last year. It comes with active fuel management, which includes things like stop/start and is mated to an eight-speed automatic gearbox. China gets a four-cylinder turbo engine.

How is it inside?

Major improvements have been made here. Right from the off, the cabin feels a world more classy than the SRX. All the materials – the leather, suede, wood – are real, not fake. The CUE system has been upgraded along with a short array of actual buttons, a 4G hot spot and CarPlay, so that it is now up to industry par. That’s a big leap forward.

What about the back seat and load area?

The rear seat moves backwards and forwards and the rear backrest reclines, so you can get to near-limo comfort in seconds. And the rear load area is easy to get to – you can use your hand, foot or keyfob to open the rear hatch – and sensibly sized for the type of use this size and brand of crossover gets.

What’s it like to drive?

Almost subliminally easy and unobtrusive. With a head-up display, clear all-round vision, active cruise control, parking assistance and a near silent engine, transmission and chassis, very little effort is required to get wherever you’re going.

You wouldn’t drive it just for fun, but you would have very little reason to complain. Which is as backhanded a compliment as you can give to a crossover. It’s right up there with the Audi Q5s and BMW X4s, but still a couple of rungs below the Macan.

A V series – or V Sport – version would spice things up a bit. But don’t hold your breath for that. Cadillac has 11 other new models in the works right now, so it could take a while.

So should I buy one?

It’s a similar refrain to the rest of the new Cadillac range: all of the brand’s cars are now very much up to and often beyond the luxury car par in the US. So you owe it to yourself to at least have a go in one before you make your next buy/lease decision. And if you love your SRX, you will never want to part with an XT5.

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