Ask around the auto industry, and you’ll find the consensus is that Cadillac has a big sales problem. Try as it might, it just can’t draw enough buyers into its showrooms to realistically compete with its German rivals. But you can take that with a grain of salt, because Cadillac still has two unexpected ringers, and their names are Escalade and SRX. Despite revamping its lineup to offer some of the best damn luxury cars in America – we’ve loved ‘em on the road and on the track – they moulder on lots while buyers scoop up so many Escalades that GM’s had to boost production twice this year, and continue to reliably buy the SRX, which isn’t just the brand’s best seller. It’s also so old that when the current generation debuted, it shared its underpinnings with a Saab.
But the SRX’s reign of torpor is over, because Caddy is phasing it out in favor of an all-new model called the XT5. Following the brand’s new nomenclature (X for SUV/C for car, T, number) the XT5 bows alongside the upcoming CT6 to showcase the latest chapter in Cadillac’s painstaking 15 year-plus reinvention. We previewed the XT5 in September, but back then Cadillac was short on details. Now, just in time for its debut at next week’s Los Angeles Auto Show, we have some.
The XT5 will soon be vying for space in the Target parking lot against suburban bastions like the Mercedes GLE-Class, Audi Q5, Lexus RX, BMW X3, and Lincoln MKX, among many, many others – and good luck picking any of them out of a lineup if they’re all painted in varying shades of Satin Cashmere Metallic. So it’ll need to stand out from the pack in order to make a sales splash. For starters, it’s one of the better looking ones in the bunch. But that beauty isn’t just skin deep.
As you’d expect, underneath that crisp new sheet metal, the XT5 is completely different than the outgoing model. Cadillac says it’s 278 pounds lighter than the SRX. It’s also 695 pounds lighter than the Mercedes GLE, and 100 pounds lighter than the Audi Q5, despite being 7 inches longer. While that’s impressive in and of itself, it should help the crossover’s all-new 3.6 liter V6 put its 310 horsepower and 270 pound-feet of torque to good use. That mill is mated to a eight-speed automatic transmission, and there’s also an available all-new “twin clutch” all-wheel drive system that Cadillac says “continuously and automatically delivers excellent traction across a variety of conditions.”
Inside, rear legroom has grown 3.2 inches, while the nicely-appointed wood and leather interior bears a family resemblance to the CT6 sedan. Proving that it really can run with the big guns, Cadillac assures us that its interior leather “… is assembled with cut-and-sewn wrapped panels, rather than molded surfaces typical of mainstream vehicles.” For tech, the XT5 gets Cadillac’s all-new rear camera mirror system, which streams high resolution video to the rear view mirror, improving the driver’s field of vision by a claimed 300%. Paired with the brand’s latest-generation CUE infotainment system, XT5 drivers shouldn’t be left wanting for much in the tech department.
It may not be a CTS-V, but it looks like the XT5 seems to succeed every place the SRX failed. And if that model was the jewel in Cadillac’s sales crown for this long, then the XT5 could be a very, very big deal for the brand. We’ll bring you pricing and trim levels as we get them on the floor of the auto show, but get used to it now, because in about a year’s time, you could be seeing them in nicer suburbs all over America.
Like classics? It’s always Throwback Thursday somewhere.
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