Len Ingrassia: Cadillac XT5 adds sporty styling

The 2020 Cadillac XT5 gets a mini makeover with restyled bumpers, wheel designs and front grille. Photo by Len Ingrassia

The 2020 Cadillac XT5 has some new twists adding to its popularity as one of the brand’s bestsellers. The midsize crossover has a storied past carrying the load as consumers switched gears away from cars and toward SUVs.

Today, the five-seater takes center stage between the new and smaller XT4 and three-row XT6 as Cadillac continues its numeric badging following in the German tradition. It has come through a morphing phase in hopes of regaining its luxury status and has taken steps to increase its popularity.

To that end, the auto manufacturer has added sportier touches to front and rear bumpers, front grille and wheel choices, more upscale interior enhancements, and a new base four-cylinder engine that joins the traditional V6. Both engines are mated with a new nine-speed automatic transmission.

Our tester for the week, a midrange Premium Luxury trim, was equipped with the smaller engine that produces 237 horsepower with 258 pound-feet torque, just shy of the V6 output of 271 pound-feet with 310 horsepower.

Our independent testing of the XT5 recorded a consistent 7.8 seconds from a dead stop to 60 mph, shy of the V6 results at 6.6 seconds. Under hard acceleration, we noticed the front-wheel-drive Caddy loses some traction.

The XT5 is available in base Luxury ($45,090); Premium Luxury ($49,790) and Sport ($56,090).

For the money, we favor the Premium Luxury with an optional V6 engine for $1,000.

It carries a plethora of standard equipment comparable to rivals and includes leather surfaces, wireless charging, a technology suite with automatic braking, pedestrian detection, lane departure and lane-keeping assist.

Other tech gear including adaptive cruise, rear cross-traffic alert, blind-spot warning and all-wheel drive are available options as is a 360-degree camera system, automatic parking, heads-up display and night vision. Our tester stickered at $63,715.

Inside, the cabin takes on a new look with a rotary dial on the center console, similar to BMW’s i-Drive setup making adjustments to the multimedia system much easier than before. A volume knob also functions as a sort of joystick for screen work.

Caddy added connectivity for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a welcome change. For audiophiles, there is an optional Bose sound system to optimize the high notes and bass through 14 speakers.

Thankfully, a row of tiny buttons present in the XT4 is absent on the XT5 and XT6. The former buttons were easily mistaken for one another and hard to see.

On the road, the XT5 delivers a compliant ride with little body roll. Drive modes can be toggled between Tour, Sport and Snow/Ice with corresponding gear shifts.

Cabin noise is kept to a minimum with acoustic front and windshield glass. Beware though: If you stomp on the gas, the four-cylinder engine is heard throughout the cabin.

The XT5 is a big player in the global market and finds itself competing head to head with a stable of fine cars including the Audi Q5, Lexus RX 350, Mercedes-Benz GLC, Acura RDX, Volvo XC 60 and new Lincoln Nautilus.

Len Ingrassia is an independent automotive columnist. Contact him at lenscarcorner@comcast.net.

What was reviewed

2020 Cadillac XT5 FWD

Engine: 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbocharged.

EPA mileage: 21 city, 28 highway, 24 combined.

Assembled: The XT5 is assembled in Spring Hill, Tenn.

Crash test ratings: The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration awarded the XT5 its highest five-star rating overall with five stars in side impact, combined side barrier and pole ratings and four stars in rollover protection. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety ranked the XT5 "Good," its highest rating in small and moderate overlap frontal and side impact, roof strength and head restraints, second from bottom “Marginal” for headlight illumination, “Advanced” in standard crash avoidance and “Superior” for optional system.

Warranty: four-year/50,000-mile bumper to bumper; six-year/70,000-mile powertrain; first maintenance visit.

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