2017 Cadillac XT5: A Bold Replacement for the SRX
Starting a new chapter for Cadillac crossovers.
We’ve been duly impressed with Cadillac’s latest passenger cars, the ATS and the CTS, particularly in high-performance V form. The CTS has even made our 10Best Cars list. At the other end of Cadillac’s product spectrum, the Escalade has been reliably gushing profits ever since its 2015 redesign. In between is the aging SRX. Being a member of the white-hot crossover segment, it has been doing all right of late—it’s Cadillac’s bestselling model—but it’s also the brand’s least-impressive offering. The new XT5 is poised to address that.
Based on an all-new architecture, the XT5 appears to have taken dieting tips from the ATS and CTS. Cadillac claims the new crossover weighs in at a svelte 3999 pounds in front-drive trim and 4277 pounds with all-wheel drive. This, the company proudly points out, is not only 278 pounds lighter than its predecessor, but 650 pounds lighter than the Mercedes-Benz GLE and 100 pounds lighter than the smaller Audi Q5.
That weight loss is for a total package that is within an inch of the SRX in length, width, and height, but with a two-inch-longer wheelbase (at 112.5 inches) and an inch-wider track. Skillful bending of sheetmetal and attention to detail allows the XT5 to appear longer, lower, and wider than the somewhat ungainly SRX despite its nearly identical proportions.
Under the hood once again is a 3.6-liter V-6, but this is a new engine seen already in the ATS and the CTS. Output climbs only marginally, to 310 horsepower and 270 lb-ft of torque, but with the weight loss as well as the arrival of auto stop-start and a switch from a six-speed to an eight-speed automatic, both acceleration and fuel economy should improve. (In the Chinese market, Cadillac also will offer a 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder but we won’t get that engine.)
Front-wheel drive is standard and all-wheel drive optional. Cadillac describes the all-wheel-drive system as able to send 100 percent of the engine’s torque to either axle; it can further apportion torque across the rear wheels, with 100 percent going to either side. Additionally, the driver is able to effectively lock the system in front-drive mode for greater fuel efficiency. The suspension combines struts up front and a multilink setup at the rear; Cadillac’s adaptive Continuous Damping Control comes standard with the available 20-inch wheels (18s are the base offering).
Most people will be more interested in the in-car tech. The highlight feature is Cadillac’s electronic Rear Camera Mirror, which will debut first in the new range-topping CT6 sedan. It superimposes a camera feed over the mirror glass. The advantage is that it can electronically allow drivers to “see through” the rear pillars and the rear-seat passengers’ heads. Cadillac’s CUE infotainment system is fitted, naturally, but the company claims it’s improved with faster processing. Drivers might not have to deal with it that much, however, as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto also are standard, and there’s wireless charging to keep your phone juiced. There is no mention of the XT5 offering Cadillac’s semiautonomous Super Cruise feature, which will be available in the CT6 sedan. Otherwise, the full array of driver-assistance features are on hand, including blind-spot warning, forward-collision warning with automatic braking, lane-keeping assist, adaptive cruise control, rear cross-traffic alert, and automatic parking assist.
Perhaps most important, the XT5 is one of four new crossover entries coming from Cadillac. Looking at competitors’ lineups, it stands to reason that at least one of those would be above the XT5 in size and price—with three rows of seats and likely sharing much of its underthings with the next-generation Buick Enclave and friends. Another would be below the XT5, to do battle with the likes of the Audi Q3 in the compact arena. The fourth? Well, if we were in Vegas laying bets on future automobiles, we’d lay odds on a crossover “coupe” variant like the BMW X4 or X6. Whatever it is, where the XT5 leads, more Caddys will follow.
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