2020 Cadillac XT4

By May 1, 2020

The compact 2020 Cadillac XT4 is the smallest crossover SUV in the company’s luxury lineup – and also the least expensive. Introduced last year, the XT4 is powered by a new General Motors four-cylinder engine. The Chevrolet Equinox and GMC Terrain are less luxurious relatives.

For the 2020 model year, every XT4 now comes with automatic emergency braking and forward-collision warnings, and front pedestrian detection. The two highest trims get a hands-free liftgate and rear pedestrian detection.

In each XT4, a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine develops 237 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque, teamed with a 9-speed automatic transmission. Front-wheel drive is standard, while all-wheel drive commands an additional $2,500. The XT4 is EPA-rated at 24 mpg city, 30 highway, and 26 combined with FWD, or 22/29/24 mpg with AWD.

For the most part, Cadillac’s XT4 exceeds luxury-car expectations. Standard features includes an 8-inch touchscreen, LED headlights and taillights, power front seats, dual-zone climate control, push-button start, and keyless entry.

The only place it falls short is when it comes to available safety features. The majority of active safety technologies are only available through extra-cost packages, but these aren’t even available on the base model. This makes features like adaptive cruise control and lane keeping assist harder to access. Most new cars, including XT4 rivals, make at least some of this equipment standard.

Crash testing of the XT4 by the NHTSA resulted in a five-star overall safety rating, but the IIHS hasn’t completed their evaluation.

Outward vision is about average, if a bit quirky toward the rear. Windows lines are relatively tall, and rear pillars are thick.

Model Lineup

The Cadillac XT4 is available in three trims: Luxury, Premium Luxury, and Sport.

The Luxury costs $36,690 including destination to start. It comes with synthetic leather seat upholstery, power-adjustable front seats, LED headlights and taillights, dual-zone automatic climate control, keyless entry, push-button start, the 8-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, four USB ports, a seven-speaker Bose audio system, and 18-inch alloy wheels.

The $40,790 Premium Luxury adds blind-spot monitors, rear cross-traffic alert, front parking sensors, leather seating, ambient interior lighting, rain-sensing wipers, roof rails, and a hands-free power liftgate. Styling is enhanced with active aero shutters and metallic body side molding.

The Sport costs the same as the Premium Luxury at $40,790. It tries to up the sporty factor, as its name suggests, while the Premium Luxury promotes opulence. The Sport comes with active dampers, a unique grille, black window surround moldings, a lower fascia accent, a sport steering wheel, and alloy pedals.

Exterior

Clean lines and standard LED headlights help the 2020 Cadillac XT4 cut a dashing profile, displaying the company’s finest contemporary design cues. Some details are shrunk down from the massive Cadillac Escalade, for duty in the compact crossover category.

Jutting upward from the bumper, the headlights sweep rearward into the fenders, leading toward tall taillights that recall Cadillac models of yesteryear. The large grille wears Cadillac’s traditional crest-and-wreath badge below a hood that’s defiantly angular. Short rear overhangs reinforce the XT4’s comparatively petite dimensions.

Viewed from the side, the XT4 appears unexceptional, but shuns the plunging rooflines that have become common. Orange or red body color looks better than the usual black or bland gray.

Interior

The XT4’s cabin looks more ordinary than its body, but it’s classy and comfortable. Good materials and high-quality assembly make for a well-appointed interior – on par with comparably-priced German and Japanese competitors.

An XT4 might be trimmed with wood or faux carbon fiber. Leather upholstery is optional, but the standard synthetic leather looks durable and sufficiently convincing.

Leather-upholstered seats, in particular, offer long-trek comfort. Standard power front seats can be upgraded with additional lumbar adjustment, as well as heating and cooling.

Rear seats suffice for two adults, but three might feel squeezed. With a generous 39.5 inches of rear leg room, it’s big enough for a 6-foot rider to sit behind another 6-foot rider.

In the infotainment system, a large 8.0-inch touchscreen responds rapidly, producing a bright and crisp display. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility is standard. Integral software is intuitive, with navigation optional.

Cargo room falls short of spacious: only 22.5 cubic feet with rear seatbacks upright. Folding the back seat expands volume to 48.9 cubic feet.

Driving Impressions

Benefiting from its strong, gutsy turbo-4 engine, the Cadillac XT4 accelerates well from a standstill, following just a touch of turbo lag. Cadillac’s 9-speed automatic transmission shifts rapidly and confidently, making effective use of all of its gear ratios.

All XT4 crossovers deliver a satisfying ride, while giving the driver quick, precise steering. Standard shock absorbers in Luxury and Premium Luxury trim levels yield a soft, controlled ride. Adaptive dampers, standard in the Sport model, effectively subdue reactions on bumpy terrain. Sport mode transfers more power to the rear wheels, helping the XT4 Sport behave more like a rear-wheel-drive crossover than a front-wheel-drive model.

Getting used to the XT4’s frustrating – if not annoying – electronic braking system could take a while. Designed to reduce stress on the engine, it’s short on pedal feel. As a result, around-town maneuvers tend to be jerky.

All-wheel drive performs its rough-weather tasks well enough, but fails to impress. An XT4 isn’t ready to undertake serious off-road duties. The part-time system can be left in fuel-saving front-wheel-drive mode. Two taps on the selector are needed to switch to all-weather mode.

Final Word

Facing plenty of competition in its compact crossover category, the 2020 Cadillac XT4 manages to stand out. Comfortable seats and upscale furnishings set a luxury tone. Unfortunately, some of the most desirable features come at a hefty add-on price. The best choice might be Premium Luxury trim, with a few enticing options thrown in, such as the active safety systems.

—by James M. Flammang, with driving impressions from The Car Connection

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