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2017 Cadillac XT5: Cadillac kicks off its next-gen crossovers

2017 Cadillac XT5 (Sinclair Broadcast Group / Jill Ciminillo)

Within 5 minutes of getting behind the wheel, I felt like the 2017 Cadillac XT5 and I had become close and personal friends. I mean, the vehicle hugged me even before I pulled out of my parking space.

As soon as you put the crossover into drive, the seatbelt tightens, pulling you snuggly into the cushy seatback. It made me squeak every time because it perpetually surprised me. I suppose I’d get used to it after a while; I didn’t in a week.

The XT5 is also packed with haptic feedback, and if it detects a vehicle in your blind spot or thinks you’re getting too close to an obstacle, the seat vibrates.

Overall, I liked the XT5 and it’s touchy-feely feedback.

Design

The XT5 replaces the outgoing SRX. And, frankly, I don’t think the styling is that different. Yes, the lines get cleaned up and modernized. And, yes, the grille looks more elegant, and the finishing touches are more upscale. But the overall shape is remarkably the same.


I like the edgy exterior lines, but at the end of the day the XT5 looks more like a station wagon than a crossover.

The interior is where the XT5 really shines. Gone are most of the glossy, fingerprint-laden surfaces, and in their place is a more elegant and thoughtful interface. I liked the mini map option that shows up in the behind-the-wheel gauges, and the suede dash accents on the Platinum-trimmed test vehicle were downright sumptuous.

Ride & Handling

The test vehicle was equipped with the 3.6-liter V-6 engine, which delivers 310 horsepower and 271 pound-feet of torque. This is a really nice engine with smooth acceleration and plenty of oomph to pass on the highway.

Ride and handling is smooth and quiet, exactly what you’d expect in a luxury vehicle. Bumps and grooves in the road surface are muted, and very little ambient noise seeps into the cabin.

The test vehicle had the new intelligent all-wheel-drive system, and what I really like about it is it’s driver controlled. Need the extra traction for snow and rain? Turn it on. Looking for more fuel efficiency for a long drive? Turn it off. With the system disengaged, this all-wheel-drive Cadillac turns into a front-wheel-drive vehicle.


My one complaint: the auto stop/start engine. It causes the engine to shut off when the vehicle comes to a complete stop, and it’s not subtle. I understand that this is done for fuel savings, but the constant stutter and wheeze of the engine is not elegant, and it makes the XT5 something less than desirable.

Fuel economy

With the AWD model, EPA estimates that you should get 18 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the highway. The front-wheel-drive model is estimated to get 19 and 27 mpg, respectively.

I actually find this a tad disappointing considering the enforced stop/start engine and the cylinder deactivation that switches on when the vehicle is traveling under low or moderate loads.

My as-tested fuel economy was a sub-par 17.5 mpg.

Tech & gadgets

One of the things I really liked about the XT5 is the technology. Not all of it is standard, but there are a lot of options for those who want the latest and greatest. In addition to the aforementioned haptic feedback, the XT5 offers a 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot, a Bose surround-sound premium audio system, a hands-free gesture-activated liftgate, wireless phone charging and an around-view camera.


The coolest bit of tech on the XT5, however, is something we’ve seen previously on the all-new Chevrolet Bolt EV, and that’s the rear camera mirror – which is standard at the Platinum trim. This allows the rear-view mirror to double as a camera display. So, if you have passengers or cargo that block your view out the back window, flip it to camera mode and all the visual clutter disappears creating a clean view out the rear of the vehicle.

The XT5 is available with Cadillac’s next-gen CUE infotainment system – and that includes the addition of standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. I liked CUE more than I liked the CarPlay integration, but I suppose that’s what you get when you have free versus not free.

Another tech favorite: The XT5 has a total of 4 USB ports for charging mobile devices. There are two up front and two in the rear.

Trims

The trims start at a base XT5 and level up to the Platinum trim. The base XT5 is only available with FWD, and the top-tier Platinum trim only has AWD. The middle two trim levels give you the option of FWD or AWD.

XT5 ($40,390): This base trim has some really nice standard features such as a rear power liftgate, passive entry, push-button start, rear vision camera, rear park assist, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, dual-zone climate control and an 8-speaker Bose premium audio system.


Luxury ($46,290): This trim adds an UltraView sunroof, leather seats, front heated seats, heated steering wheel, front and rear park assist, blind spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert.

Premium Luxury ($53,290): At this level, you get features such as the Bose 14-speaker surround-sound premium audio system, navigation, the safety alert seat (aka the seat that vibrates), forward collision warning, lane keep assist, lane departure warning, front pedestrian detection, front automatic braking, ventilated front seats, a performance suspension and 20-inch aluminum wheels.

Platinum ($63,890): This top-tier trim adds all the creature comforts, including full leather seats, micro-suede headliner, head-up display, hands-free liftgate, rear camera mirror and heated rear outboard seats.

The test vehicle was a Platinum model and included optional features such as the Driver Assist Package, 20-inch Slurry polished wheels, black roof cross rails, trailering equipment, black ice body side moldings, black ice license plate bar and black molded splash guards for an as-tested price of $69,985.


Safety

Standard safety features include all the air bags and stability control features you’ve come to expect on a vehicle in 2017. Available safety features include the rear camera mirror, lane keep assist, lane departure warning, surround vision, low-speed pedestrian protection, forward collision alert, blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, automatic park assist and automatic collision braking.

The XT5 makes the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s Top Safety Pick list, obtaining good ratings in all crash tests. It also has a superior rating for front crash prevention when equipped with the optional safety features.

The reason it did not make the Top Safety Pick Plus list is the headlights received a marginal rating. I’d look for that to change in the 2018 model year so that it can get IIHS’s top award.

Curiously, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gives the XT5 two different safety ratings depending on whether it’s an AWD or FWD model. AWD gets 5 stars, FWD only gets 4.

Not sure what the safety ratings mean? We break it down for you here (INSERT LINK: /what-do-safety-ratings-really-mean).


New for 2017

The XT5 is all-new for the 2017 model year, replacing the outgoing SRX. The “XT” stands for “Crossover Touring,” and ushers in a new naming convention for Cadillac crossovers. Other key new features include: a new V-6 engine, the inclusion of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a lighter-weight construction and the cool new rear camera mirror.

A few of my favorite things

There are a lot of really nice finishing touches on the XT5. From the Cadillac emblem embedded in the rear taillights to the lighted exterior door handles, the little things add up to an overall sense of cool.


Though I joked around about the XT5 being a bit touchy-feely in my opening paragraphs, I did appreciate the extra feedback that made sure I was paying attention and staying safe.

What I can leave

My primary complaint with the XT5 (and it’s a biggie) is the auto stop/start engine. Anyone who reads my reviews regularly – or follows me on social media – knows that I loathe this feature. It causes the engine to shut off when the vehicle comes to a complete stop – whether you’re at a stop sign, stop light or stuck in stop-and-go traffic. The incessant engine stutter drives me batty, and the delayed re-start is just enough to make things harry if you’re in a hurry.

To make matters worse, General Motors vehicles don’t give you the option to turn this feature off. So, you’re stuck with it. I like pretty much everything else about the XT5, but the enforced auto stop/start is a deal breaker in my book.


The bottom line

The Cadillac XT5 is both handsome and luxurious. I like the attention to detail as well as the smooth and comfortable ride. Loaded with tech and USB ports, the XT5 would make a good family vehicle – especially with the decent cargo area that will fit luggage for a road trip.

The one caveat I issue is that if you’re not familiar with the auto stop/start feature, you’ll want to spend some serious time with this vehicle before you commit $40K. See if you can borrow it for a couple days or find a rental company that has them in stock. This is not a feature you want to gamble with.

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