The midsized, five-passenger premium-priced SUV market demands excellence. With Tesla dominating the EV options and new entrants like the Lyriq coming onto the market, though in limited volumes, the green vehicle side of the coin is well established. If you are looking for a conventionally-powered five-passenger premium-priced SUV, Cadillac’s XT5 is a great place to start.
Inside, the XT5 feels roomy and substantial. There is ample driver knee room, something you won’t find in most compact 5-passenger SUVs. What makes it special in its price segment is that the XT5 is well-appointed in a way that no Tesla automobile is. The interior metals and woods are outstanding, and the semi-aniline leather seating surfaces are a cut above. (look up what analine means someday. It might surprise you). Microfiber suede covers everything that makes sense. Like the A-pillars, for example, but Cadillac didn’t put it where it does not work well, like on a steering wheel. Overall, the XT5 is splendid inside. The infotainment system was one of the best we have ever experienced.
The XT5 Sport AWD has the 3.6-liter V6 engine mated to a geared transmission. It has the power you need in Touring mode, and it wakes up nicely in Sport Mode. There are also AWD and Off-Road modes. Opt for AWD, and it stays in that mode if you turn it off and restart it. Cadillac does a lot of sensible little things that make you like the vehicle. All of the controls make sense and are very easy to learn.
On the road, we loved the comfort and visibility the XT5 offered. With two-wheel drive Touring mode offering ample power and grip, we tested the Sport mode, but felt that in our typical driving, we would not need it often. AWD is great for any wet or snowy days or the rare dirt road. Being able to turn off AWD to save a bit of fuel is a sensible design feature.
The Sport we tested had all of the things we like to see in any new SUV. A spare tire. Under the cargo floor storage. A head-up display. Android Auto and Apple Car Play that does not require a cord. All the boxes are checked. This leads us to our title.
Optional in this luxury SUV are things like adaptive cruise control and active safety systems. Why would Cadillac ever build any XT5 without these when Chevy has the low end of the market covered? In total, the $70,140 price of our tester included $11,650 in options and packages that we think anyone buying a $40K Mazda five-passenger SUV would find in their vehicle. Why make these things optional? The automatic parking brake is optional? For $70K? We loved the XT5 we tested, but we felt is worth noting that you need to budget for the luxury basics.
We found the Cadillac XT5 to be a solid option for those with $70K to spend on a five-passenger premium SUV. Our only advice is to be sure you check off all the boxes when you sit down with your local dealer to place your order.
Image of 2023 XT5 SUV courtesy of Cadillac.
John Goreham is a long-time New England Motor Press Association member and recovering engineer. John's interest in EVs goes back to 1990 when he designed the thermal control system for an EV battery as part of an academic team. After earning his mechanical engineering degree, John completed a marketing program at Northeastern University and worked with automotive component manufacturers, in the semiconductor industry, and in biotech. In addition to Torque News, John's work has appeared in print in dozens of American news outlets and he provides reviews to many vehicle shopping sites. You can follow John on TikTok @ToknCars, on Twitter, and view his credentials at Linkedin
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