Skip to main content

Alphanumeric names have been popular in the luxury car world for some time now. Except for the full-size Escalade and the electric Lyriq, all Cadillac SUVs have “XT” in their names. The “XT” vocabulary in the Cadillac brand is still relatively new, dating back to just the 2017 model year. However, its roots are a bit older than that. Here’s a look at the history of Cadillac XT branding and what the letters actually stand for!

What does ‘XT’ stand for?

In Cadillac parlance, “XT” stands for “Crossover Touring.” Yes, we know the word “Crossover” actually starts with the letter “C.” The current XT lineup consists of the compact XT4, the midsize, two-row XT5, and the midsize, three-row XT6.

Unless you count the ESV (Escalade Stretch Vehicle) and EXT (Escalade Crossover Truck) variants of the Escalade, the first Cadillac SUV with an alphanumeric model name was the Cadillac SRX. It came out for the 2004 model year as a midsize alternative to the mighty Escalade. However, it took some time for Cadillac to figure out its own alphabet soup naming scheme, as the name “SRX” was a little messy.

The “S” in “SRX” represents the vehicle series. It was mechanically similar to the STS sedan, whose name stood for “Seville Touring Sedan.” The SRX and STS even had the same wheelbase. So, you could say that the “S” in “SRX” actually stands for “Seville,” even though the Cadillac Seville was never an SUV.

The “R” stands for “Reconfigurable.” The reconfigurability of the SRX came from its optional third row of seats (with a power-folding feature), split-folding second row of seats, and large under-floor compartments in the two-row models.

Finally, the “X” stands for “Crossover.” This isn’t the first time the letter “X” has been used to name an SUV. A famous example predating the SRX is the BMW X5, which would set a precedent for “X” names for BMW SUVs. The popular Lexus RX stands for “Radiant Crossover,” another example of the letter “X” standing for “Crossover.”

How did the Cadillac ‘XT’ naming convention start?

The first XT model was the Cadillac XT5 that came out for the 2017 model year, according to Gear Patrol. It followed in the footsteps of the CT6 sedan, which began a similar naming convention for Cadillac sedans. Under the leadership of Johan de Nysschen, sedans started with “CT,” crossovers started with “XT,” and a number would denote the size of the vehicle.

The XT5 was the replacement for the second-generation SRX. It’s a midsize, two-row crossover positioned to compete with the Lexus RX, and it’s Cadillac’s best-selling model. The XT4 compact SUV and the XT6 midsize three-row SUV followed the XT5. One could say the XT6 is the spiritual successor of the original, three-row Cadillac SRX.

What about EVs?

It’s unclear whether the Cadillac XT line will ever be electrified. Cadillac’s current electric SUV doesn’t have an “XT” name; it’s called the Lyriq. The upcoming electric Escalade will be called the Escalade IQ. Since Cadillac has announced plans to be all-electric by 2030, which makes the future uncertain for the XT line. Cadillac seems to like the letter “Q” for EVs (Lyriq, Celestiq, Escalade IQ), so could an XTQ be in the works?

As soon as we get used to a new Cadillac naming convention, it’s sure to change up again. All we can predict is that we’ll see more of the letter “Q” soon.

Related What’s the Difference Between a 2023 Cadillac XT5 and XT6?

What’s the Difference Between a 2023 Cadillac XT5 and XT6?