The 2020 Cadillac XT4 is a handsome little crossover distinctively sized between two segments. This allows it to boast backseat space on par with larger SUVs like the Audi Q5, while being a bit more park-able and fuel efficient like the BMW X1. There should definitely be a Goldilocks "just right" thing going on for many shoppers. Cadillac's baby SUV also impresses on the technology front, boasting loads of standard, advanced features along with a user-friendly touchscreen interface that shouldn't be too hard to figure out.
There are dynamic missteps, though. The steering, throttle and brake pedals lack the driver-oriented response and feedback we've come to expect from Cadillac's sharply tuned sport sedans, while also not exactly possessing the nice-and-easy isolation of Caddy's past. In either scenario, we're not sure it "drives like a Cadillac" despite some otherwise impressive engineering going on underneath that handsome skin. The XT4 is also pretty expensive given its features, size and interior quality. Competitors both larger (Acura RDX) and smaller (Volvo XC40) provide better value.
Still, as we noted in our XT4 first drive, there's enough novel tech to provide bragging rights, it's obviously a Cadillac in design (and definitely not just a rebadged Chevrolet in execution), and it's a pleasing enough place to sit while scooting around in traffic. It has competence and curb appeal, which count for a lot.
What's new for 2020?
After being an all-new model last year, the XT4 heads into 2020 with some noteworthy features updates: Forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking are now standard, while the Premium Luxury trim level gets the hands-free power liftgate as standard equipment.
What's the XT4's interior and in-car technology like?
The XT4's interior design isn't as memorable as that of its exterior, nor its stylish Volvo XC40 and Lincoln Corsair competitors. It's a bit generic, which just doesn't seem right for a Cadillac. Materials quality is acceptable when closer to its base price, but begins feeling less so as options are added and the price tag rises. We've also driven multiple XT4's with an annoying rattle in the B pillar.
Standard infotainment technology is abundant. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are included with the standard 8-inch touchscreen and benefit from a pair of USB ports: one standard USB-A and the other a newer USB-C. Satellite radio and 4G LTE in-car WiFi are also included, while wireless charging is available as a standalone option. We like that the charging pad is thoughtfully integrated on an angle under the lip of the under-armrest bin. It helps keep your phone out of the way, but also quickly at hand.
Cadillac's touchscreen is also easy to use, which certainly couldn't be said in past model years. It may not be as flashy as some rival systems, but the learning curve isn't as steep. There's also a redundant control knob on the center console, which is handy when scrolling through radio stations, playlists or phone contacts. You don't use it that much, though, meaning the volume knob's placement nearby doesn't make as much sense as it does in a Mazda CX-30, for instance.
How big is the XT4?
The XT4 is an in-betweener kind of vehicle. It's about 6 inches longer and a few hundred pounds heavier than the smallest luxury crossovers, which include the Volvo XC40 and BMW X1. But it's a bit smaller than "compact" SUVs like the Audi Q5, Mercedes GLC and Acura RDX. The Lexus NX is probably the XT4's closest rival in terms of the exterior dimensions.
The interior is a different story, though, as the XT4's lengthy wheelbase helps grant it rear legroom that actually exceeds many of those SUVs that are larger on the outside. Now, differences in the way interior measurements are done by manufacturers can make such claims tenuous – the XT4 is no limo – but rear occupants should have more space than you'd expect. Unfortunately, the rear seatback is awfully upright and doesn't recline, so overall comfort could still be better.
Despite passenger space being indicative of the segment above, the XT4's cargo capacity is closer to the segment below. That's still OK, as its 22.5 cubic feet of space allowed us to stuff five suitcases into the cargo area as the below video shows. Its maximum cargo capacity of 48.9 cubic feet is very underwhelming, but is likely the result of a rather low roof and not having much "air space" in the cargo area above the back seat line. It's therefore not a great choice for carrying bulky items.
What's the XT4's performance and fuel economy?
Every 2020 XT4 comes with a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four that produces 237 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. Published 0-60-mph times have been in the low 7-second range, whereas competitors both larger and smaller tend to be in the 6's.
A nine-speed automatic and front-wheel drive are standard, but all-wheel drive is an option on each trim level. Unusually, the driver must choose to manually turn on the all-wheel-drive system in order for it to be active. Once it is engaged, however, it not only shunts power front and back, but side to side at the rear for improved handling and poor-weather traction.
EPA fuel economy estimates for 2020 stand at 24 mpg city, 30 mpg highway and 26 mpg combined with front-wheel drive. They dive to 22/29/24 with AWD. These figures are comparable to smaller SUVs like the BMW X1 and Volvo XC40, and slightly better than larger choices like the Audi Q5 and Acura RDX.
- Image Credit: Cadillac
What's the XT4 like to drive?
The XT4's turbo four-cylinder is perhaps a bit buzzy at start-up, but once underway impresses with its refinement and low-end torque. This is a high-tech engine, as we documented in our XT4 first drive, capable of achieving strong fuel economy and highway passing power. Acceleration should be more than sufficient for most, but know that rival SUVs are a bit quicker.
The throttle pedal that controls the engine could be better, however. It's too mushy and numb in the Tour drive mode, and then just a bit too caffeinated in Sport without an increase in pedal feel. This contrasts with the brake pedal, which has an ultra-firm initial bite that makes it hard to modulate. The steering is another misstep. Effort is inconsistent and unnatural in Tour mode, while Sport increases effort but remains numb. Neither offers anything akin to Cadillac's sharp-steering rear-wheel-drive sedans. At the same time, it doesn't provide a linear, nice-and-easy experience of old-time Cadillacs, either.
The ride, however, is a perfect compromise. Continuously-variable damping is available on Sport models, and we found that it capably sops up nasty bumps. Happily, the standard conventional dampers are well calibrated as well. Both suspensions result in a ride that's comfortable while still maintaining body control and not negating what is otherwise sound handling. Really, the XT4 could be excellent to drive, but it's betrayed by its various control inputs.
What more can I read about the Cadillac XT4?
Our editors take turns in the XT4 Sport. As is usual for Cadillac, opinions were mixed.
Our first drive of the XT4, including in-depth information about its engineering and design.
We compare the dimensions, engine specs and photos of the Cadillac XT4 with its fellow American small SUV: the new Lincoln Corsair.
What features are available and what's the XT4's price?
The 2020 Cadillac XT4 is available in Luxury, Premium Luxury and Sport trim levels, all of which can be had with standard front-wheel drive or the $2,500 all-wheel-drive option.
Pricing starts at $36,695 for the Luxury, including $995 for destination. It comes standard with 18-inch wheels, rear parking sensors, automatic LED headlights, acoustic front glass and active noise cancellation, remote ignition, proximity entry and push-button start, dual-zone automatic climate control, power front seats (eight-way driver, six-way passenger, two-way lumbar for each), a 60/40-split folding back seat, simulated leather upholstery, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, four USB ports, an 8-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, satellite radio and a seven-speaker sound system. The infotainment system can be upgraded with integrated navigation on every trim level.
The Premium Luxury and Sport trim levels actually have the same price of $40,790. They have virtually the same standard equipment upgrades, but differ in terms of their styling. Notably, only the Sport can be equipped with the adaptive suspension dampers.
What are XT4's safety equipment and crash ratings?
For 2020, every XT4 comes standard with forward collision warning and an automatic emergency braking system that functions at lower city speeds. The enhanced, high-speed system along with reverse automatic braking and adaptive cruise control are still included in the Driver Assist package available on the Premium Luxury and Sport. Those trims can also be equipped with the Driver Awareness package, which includes lane-departure warning, lane-keeping assist, and automatic high beams. A rear pedestrian warning and upgraded parking cameras are included in the Enhanced Visibility package.
The XT4 received five out of five stars from the government for its overall crash protection. It got four stars for its front protection, and five for side. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave it the best possible rating of "Good" in all crash categories. Its standard forward collision warning system got a second-best rating of "Advanced," while its optional higher speed system got the best-possible Superior rating. It missed out on Top Safety Pick awards due to "Poor" and "Mediocre" headlight ratings.