2018 Cadillac XT5

2018 Cadillac XT5 Review

Confident and reassuring, whether it's pointed straight ahead or turning quickly.
7.6 / 10
Edmunds overall rating
author
by Dan Frio
Edmunds Editor

Edmunds expert review

With a smooth driving character and poise to match its chiseled looks, the 2018 Cadillac XT5 builds on the success of the brand's previous small crossover SUV, the SRX. The XT5, now in its second year of production, is an all-new, ground-up overhaul.

The XT5 is longer than its predecessor and yields more rear-seat legroom, but it's also lighter and more fuel-efficient. On the road, the XT5 feels confident and reassuring whether pointed straight ahead over long highway miles or turning quickly on winding roads. All-wheel drive is optional, but it's meant more for inclement-weather driving than any kind of off-road adventuring. An available towing package enables the XT5 to pull up to 3,500 pounds behind it.

Although the XT5 cuts a handsome figure, we've found in our testing that it doesn't excel in any particular area. The V6 engine, which is the only engine Cadillac offers, won't wow you with its performance or fuel economy, while some interior design choices impede ease of use and visibility.

The XT5 is in the mix with other crossovers you might consider. It offers more cargo space and a more attractive price than the Lexus RX 350, but less passenger and cargo room than the Lincoln MKX. The Audi Q5, BMW X3 and Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class are all a bit smaller but typically offer better fuel economy and a broader range of engines. Still, with its distinctive styling, spacious interior and a pleasant ride and drive, the Cadillac XT5 merits a close look.



What's new for 2018

The Cadillac XT5 carries into 2018 with only minor changes.

We recommend

The XT5 base model comes with a nice complement of essential features and luxuries, but we say spend the extra money for the Luxury trim. It comes with heated seats, leather, a sunroof, basic driver aids, and several options you might like but can't get on the base trim. The Premium Luxury trim costs a lot more, but it's not a substantial upgrade. The adaptive suspension and additional driver assistance features are nice, but the 20-inch wheels, nice as they look, contribute to a rougher ride than the Luxury trim's smaller wheels.




Trim levels & features

The 2018 Cadillac XT5 is a five-passenger SUV available in four trim levels: XT5 (base), Luxury, Premium Luxury and Platinum.

A 3.6-liter V6 engine (310 horsepower, 271 pound-feet of torque), an eight-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive are standard across the lineup. All-wheel drive is optional on all but the base XT5 trim and comes standard on the top Platinum trim.

Highlights of the XT5 base model's standard features include 18-inch wheels, LED daytime running lights, rear parking sensors, simulated leather upholstery, power-adjustable front passenger seats, a power liftgate with height memory, a 40/20/20-split folding rear seat (with sliding and reclining functionality), keyless ignition and entry, and remote engine start. All-wheel-drive models have heated front seats.

Tech features for the base XT5 include an 8-inch touchscreen, voice controls, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration, OnStar services (includes a 4G LTE data connection and Wi-Fi hotspot), four USB ports, wireless device charging, and an eight-speaker Bose sound system with satellite radio.

Luxury trim upgrades include leather upholstery, heated front seats, a heated steering wheel, driver-seat memory settings, a panoramic sunroof, front parking sensors, rear cross-traffic alert and blind-spot monitoring. Available options are ventilated front seats, heated rear seats and a navigation system bundled with an upgraded, 14-speaker Bose surround-sound system. Opting for the navigation and Bose bundle also allows you to replace the standard halogen headlights with LED lamps.

An optional Driver Awareness package for Luxury trims adds automatic high beams, lane departure warning and lane keeping assist, pedestrian detection, forward collision alert and automatic emergency braking. The Advanced Security package includes an alarm that senses vehicle movement inside and out, a locking steering column, door lock and latch shields, and locking wheel lugs.

The Premium Luxury trim adds 20-inch wheels, an adaptive suspension that constantly adjusts to road conditions, ventilated front seats, interior accent lighting, a navigation system, the upgraded Bose sound system, and the features of the Driver Awareness package. Options are three-zone automatic climate control and the Driver Assist package, which bundles adaptive cruise control, an enhanced collision mitigation system and an automatic parking system.

Finally, the Platinum includes most of the previously mentioned standard and optional features, but adds all-wheel drive, unique 20-inch wheels, upgraded leather upholstery, a hands-free power liftgate, a rear camera mirror (projects a real-time image from a liftgate-mounted camera), a top-view camera system and a head-up display. While the Advanced Security package is standard, the Driver Assist package remains optional.



Trim tested

Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions that are fundamentally similar. The ratings in this review are based on our full test of the 2017 Cadillac XT5 Premium Luxury (3.6L V6 | 8-speed automatic | AWD).

Edmunds Scorecard

Overall7.6 / 10

Driving

7.5 / 10

Acceleration7.0 / 10
Braking8.5 / 10
Steering7.5 / 10
Handling8.5 / 10
Drivability7.0 / 10

Comfort

7.0 / 10

Seat comfort8.0 / 10
Ride comfort7.5 / 10
Noise & vibration6.5 / 10
Climate control7.0 / 10

Interior

7.0 / 10

Ease of use6.5 / 10
Getting in/getting out8.5 / 10
Driving position7.0 / 10
Roominess7.0 / 10
Visibility6.0 / 10
Quality8.0 / 10

Utility

7.5 / 10

Small-item storage7.0 / 10
Cargo space8.5 / 10

Technology

8.0 / 10

Audio & navigation8.0 / 10
Smartphone integration8.5 / 10
Voice control7.0 / 10

Driving7.5

The XT5 delivers a confident and reassuring driving experience when it comes to the way it steers, grips the road and brakes to a stop. It's not terribly quick, but the engine and transmission deliver enough sauce to get the job done. But those with a heavy right foot may disagree.

Acceleration7.0

In routine traffic, the 3.6-liter V6 feels strong enough to accomplish its mission and never comes across as lacking. But it's not a powerhouse like some rivals with turbocharged or supercharged V6s can be. At our test track, the dash to 60 mph took us 6.8 seconds.

Braking8.5

There's a reassuring steadiness and firmness to the pedal, and brake response is immediate without being jumpy or hard to regulate. At the track, our simulated panic-stop test from 60 mph required 116 feet, which is better than average.

Steering7.5

It has good straight-ahead stability when cruising the open road. Turn-in response is crisp and immediate, yet the transition from straight ahead is smooth, not darty. But it generally lacks feel and doesn't communicate much to the driver, especially at lower speeds.

Handling8.5

It feels coordinated and somewhat light on its feet. There isn't much body roll, and it tracks cleanly around corners. It's not the sort of SUV that encourages you to seek out winding roads, but doesn't discourage it either.

Drivability7.0

Eight-speed transmission shifts smoothly. On the highway, it doesn't hesitate to deliver a downshift when you need to accelerate, but more aggressive drivers might think it lags behind. For them there's a Sport mode. Auto stop-start system has no defeat switch.

Comfort7.0

The XT5 is suitably comfortable. Seat comfort is a high point, and the ride is smooth, well-mannered and never feels bouncy. But it isn't as quiet as it ought to be, particularly at low speeds around town where engine accessory drive noises are evident.

Seat comfort8.0

The handsome seats have bolstering in all the right places and allow plenty of adjustments. The padding isn't skimpy, but it's not what we'd call plush.

Ride comfort7.5

The ride is nicely controlled and exhibits little float or bounce that would make a vehicle feel less planted on the road. The suspension absorbs most bumps cleanly, but there's only so much a low-profile 20-inch tire can do when it meets an abrupt edge.

Noise & vibration6.5

Not your grandpa's hushed Cadillac. Wind and road noise is present in moderate amounts, though it's more dispersed than acute. There's a bit of vibration at idle, and at city speeds we noticed more mechanical sounds than expected.

Climate control7.0

Climate control isn't as responsive as we'd like, and we found ourselves constantly adjusting the temperature settings and vents. The available heated and ventilated seats can be set to turn on automatically.

Interior7.0

It looks nice and modern at first glance, but the styling priorities reduce control simplicity and compromise outward visibility. And while the XT5 offers generous head- and legroom up front, it does not feel all that spacious across the width of the cabin, particularly at the elbows.

Ease of use6.5

The gauge numerals are tiny, and the amount of tick marks dense. The center touchscreen and shiny black panel beneath collect fingerprints, and the airflow mode switch is accessible only through the touchscreen. We're not fans of the knobless design approach.

Getting in/getting out8.5

The easily accessible seat height, narrow sills, wide-opening doors and squarish door openings make the front and rear seats equally easy to enter and exit.

Driving position7.0

The driving position is generally accommodating, but the high center console creates a high resting area for elbows. Some taller drivers might wish for a more telescopic steering-column extension and a driver's left footrest that isn't so close.

Roominess7.0

The front seats offer good head- and legroom, but the cabin feels confined at the elbows due to the high center armrest. There's a good amount of rear leg space, but headroom is tight for 6-footers in the XT5 equipped with the panoramic sunroof.

Visibility6.0

The cowl is somewhat high, but the view forward and directly to the sides is reasonable. A rising window beltline, thick rear pillar and narrow rear window all add up to a significant rear three-quarter blind spot. All mirrors could also stand to be bigger.

Quality8.0

The paint looks attractive, and the panel gaps are small. The interior materials are a cut above the old SRX's, with attractive perforated leather and metal accents that have a matte silver finish. The piano black touch points unfortunately show fingerprints and smears.

Utility7.5

We found the XT5's main cargo hold to be well-shaped and accommodating, though we can't say the same about small-item storage in the front of the cabin. The high point is a hidden purse cubby, but the center console is not nearly as big inside as it appears outside.

Small-item storage7.0

For all the interior space the center console consumes, you'd think that its storage bin inside would be bigger. The door pockets are kind of small, too. The glovebox is a decent size, and there's a handy purse shelf hidden below the shifter. Two front cupholders, two rear.

Cargo space8.5

The cargo floor is flat, but the liftover height is higher than that of some competitors. The rear seatbacks fold completely flat via remote levers just inside the hatch, expanding the standard 30 cubic feet of cargo space to 63 cubic feet. The hatch opening height is programmable.

Child safety seat accommodation7.5

Two pairs of LATCH anchors are hidden in the crack of the seats, a tight fit with no relief to prevent the hooks from scratching the leather. Three top tether anchors are readily accessible. Accommodates two seats in the outboard position or one in the middle.

Towing7.5

The optional tow package supports 3,500 pounds of towing capacity, which is competitive for crossover SUVs of this size and weight.

Technology8.0

The touchscreen audio and navigation system seems more responsive than previous iterations, and the addition of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto is transformative. The standard voice controls aren't very compelling, but the system defers to Apple and Android commands if properly synced.

Audio & navigation8.0

The infotainment system response time is better than before, which makes the logical touchscreen menus flow smoother. But the screen seems small because of all the virtual buttons in the margins. The touch-sensitive volume slider seems like a styling gimmick.

Smartphone integration8.5

Bluetooth phone pairing is fairly straightforward. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are supported and standard. There are two USB jacks and an auxiliary jack inside the center console with two more power-only USB jacks for rear-seat passengers.

Voice control7.0

The voice controls are pretty clunky and can't recognize all commands. It's a lot easier if you plug in your smartphone, at which point the same button summons Siri or Google Voice, both of which are much more powerful voice recognition systems.

Edmunds expert review process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.