Today, Cadillac is the uppercrust of the American automotive brands. They have produced many successes, like the suave CTS sedan and obviously-conspicuous Escalade SUV. Even the SRX crossover has seen fair sales worldwide, even though it has been subject to great metamorphosis over the years. In its latest incarnation, it has been proposed as the all-new XT5 and we had the chance to get up close and personal with the top-spec Platinum variant. Relax, grab a cup of coffee and read our thoughts on the voguish new crossover!
DESIGN & AESTHETICS
Rebranding has worked wonders for some companies and models. The same goes for the SRX, which started off as an athletic MPV-looking 7-seater and has become a mid-size 5-seater crossover SUV, which now even gets a new nameplate too to revitalize its image. If history is any proof, this too will do well. That being said, they haven’t really worked on their marketing. Nobody really knows what the XT5 is!
The genesis of the wedge profile began with the Evoq concept in 1999 and Cadillac has been following this angular theme since. This next-generation 5-seater mid-size crossover takes all that pizazz and adds some cleaner styling cues to it. The result is not a face and body that will launch a thousand ships or sighs in this case, but a classy, modern and appreciably understated vehicle that is perfect for the fast-paced city life.
Waterfall vertical LED lights flank the hood add more identity to the already unique origami-styled front end. But we think, without it, the future-appropriate sleek and powerful LED headlamps could draw more deserved attention. Also, characteristic of its face are powerful creases that converge to the broad multi-slat grille with satin-finish metallic trims that add a dash of “premium”.
The new vehicle’s wheelbase is 5 cm longer and its track is 2.54 cm wider. However, the XT5’s overall length, width and height are marginally smaller than the SRX. Not only does it appear more dynamic, but it is also 126 kg lighter.
The handsome rear-end, isn’t much of a departure from the SRX. There are only two major changes, the rear lamps now have both vertical…and horizontal elements that reach into the wide haunches; and the bumper-infused trapezoidal exhausts, as opposed to the older car’s traditional exhaust pipes.
The XT5 is looks effortlessly elegant on the inside too! They have raised the bar of luxury with this cabin, one that is filled with multi-textures and visual layers. On the dashboard, is a stretch of leather and alcantara – cut-and-sewn wrapped panels, rather than molded surfaces that dominate mainstream vehicles. These layers sit on another layer of word grain or aluminum – which looks so deliciously real – and a black plastic bottom that gives this cabin a two tone cabin, effect. There is plenty of satin trim metallic trims to give it some shimmer too.
The centre-console has a horizontal orientation thanks to the new architecture and the infotainment screen has been neatly embedded in the dashboard. This time it gets a tactile response for climate controls, but the virtual volume slider remains…we can live with that!
The Cadillac emblem is repeated throughout the cabin, especially on the seat embroidery and even on the dashboard. Everywhere! And that design of the steering wheel is SICK’ as somebody young put it. While companies are giving their models a race-derived 3-spoke design Cadillac has chosen a conventional 4-spoke variety, but a beautiful one!
The “Electronic Precision Shift” – the first electronically controlled transmission shifter for a Cadillac – replaces the hydraulic shifter. Its toggle switch operation – one that lets it rock forward and back – does make it look stylish and compact, but it can be finicky at sometimes, especially because the reverse gear, has not been aligned with the rest in the PRND sequence!
Space isn’t a thought for concern upfront, thanks to multi-power adjustable seats and a steering column that will bow and reach out for you, almost like a royal assistant. In the rear, there is a fair bit of freedom too, and the slide and recline function is big help. Infact, the rear-seat legroom has been increased 8.1 cm. The ultra-view sunroof is also one large expanse of glass giving you a glimpse of the summer skies without picking up heat from it.
POWERTRAIN & PERFORMANCE
Cadillac offers the 2017 XT5 with only one motor but it’s a tried-and-tested formula. All variants come powered by the redesigned direct-injection 3.6-litre V6 engine mated to a new 8-speed automatic transmission.
On the move, there is plenty of poke from the V6 and its smooth and refined nature lets you rev it out to redline with fuss or vibration, helping it push out all 310 horsepower and 366Nm of torque. With the use of twin clutch design, the AWD system is capable of transferring up to 100 percent of torque to either the front or rear axle and the electronically controlled rear differential can direct up to 100 percent of that available torque to either rear wheel. What this means for us simple folk is that it has confident, grippy and reassuring handling….as it proved itself around curves several times!
The engine features ‘Active Fuel Management’, which allows seamless transition from V6 to a fuel- saving V4 mode, indicated in real time by the digital read outs. This together with the flexibility of 8-speeds and the stop/start function allows it to be more economical than the SRX. Also, aiding the objective is the ability to switch off all-wheel drive, which just lets the front wheels do the driving.
So it has power on demand and is fuel efficient catering to both the inherent power-hungry and miserly-requirements of the affluent. But the true measure of luxury is cabin comfort, and it starts with space which as we have seen the XT5 qualifies for, followed by ride quality. The XT5 brings good news for those looking for a high-riding vehicle that smoothly wafts bumps and tarmac irregularities with poise. A big shoutout to the Continuous Damping Control system! It is also quiet on the inside even at highway speeds velocities… so conversations are exchange of ideas and not people screaming at each other.
They haven’t forgotten the brakes either. It comes with 4-wheel discs! Safety or rather peace of mind is comfort too!
FEATURES & FUNCTIONALITY
The tailgate can be opened by the kick-to-open gesture control underneath the rear bumper which is a little temperamental. But inside is a ton of space, larger than some rivals. You also have hidden storage space under and a useful cargo management system that slides back and forth. Do note that it has a noticeably tall loading height.
The XT5 is prepped with all driver assists one can imagine, including automatic front and rear braking for low-speed conditions, Lane Keeping Assist, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Side Blind Zone Alert, full-speed range Adaptive Cruise Control and Automatic Parking Assist. And the vibration effect in the seats mated to most these features makes Cadillac places itself a cut above the rest! Also, available is the newly patented Rear Camera Mirror system which enhances driver’s rear vision by 300 percent, on the rear view mirror by just a flick of a button…and the fantastic Surround Vision feature enables a “bird’s eye” view of the car.
Cadillac’s edgy, but infamous CUE infotainment gets a revamp as well. It comes to life activated by proximity sensors and it feels when you hand is close and pulses to let you know it is responding to your command. It’s a big improvement overall, but the navigation graphics could be better.
To be honest besides Toyotas and Nissan, the rest aren’t ready to bear the summer heat. Even though this air conditioning unit worked perfectly well during our drive, we think, you’re better off having it parked in the shade or the basement.
The reboot of the Cadillac brand is coming in waves and the first one, the 2017 XT5 has proved itself a strong contender for the mid-size luxury segment, providing oodles of style that is recognizable at any distance, night or day, an interior that is both spacious and sophisticated, and a powertrain that is equally purposed for chore churning and fuel-burning performance. With the Premium Care Program which includes 4 years of free service and warranty, this does look like a great deal that surprisingly, only few people know about…up until now!
The first-ever XT5 premiered at the Dubai Design District.
Body type: 5-seater; 5-door premium mid-size crossover SUV
Engine: Front-engine; 3.6-litre V6; rear-wheel drive
Transmission: 8-speed automatic
Peak output: 310bhp@6,600rpm; 366Nm@5,000rpm
0 to 100km/h: sub-7.0 seconds (claimed)
Top speed: 230-plus km/h (drag limited; estimated)
Price: Starting at Dh167,090
Pros: Distinctive, angular looks; interior design and materials; ride comfort; purposeful power
Cons: Questionable resale value; no choices of powertrain; not an off-roader
Author’s rating: 8/10
2017 Cadillac XT5 Review