What is it?
Will a Smaller Engine Help the 2020 Cadillac XT5?
The Best-Selling Cadillac Gets Refreshed for 2020
The Cadillac XT5 is a midsize two-row luxury SUV and is Cadillac's best-selling vehicle, so the automaker has a deep interest in keeping it up to date. For 2020, the XT5 is being refreshed with updated infotainment, new technology features, a new optional engine, and a new trim structure, along with a few aesthetic changes.
Cadillac has been rolling out a new approach to trims, with the "base" trim now showing up as a Luxury trim with a few more features. From there, buyers can pick either the Premium Luxury or Sport trim, which look different and have a few tweaks to help distinguish them. This differentiation might grow in future iterations of the vehicle, but for right now it's primarily expressed through exterior styling cues and tweaks to vehicle dynamics, such as a slightly quicker steering ratio.
Unlike the new XT6, all AWD variants of the XT5 use a twin-clutch all-wheel-drive system, so they share the same handling advantages.
On the inside, new colorways are available for the cabin, but the big change is the infotainment system, which is now Cadillac's latest. The touchscreen interface is still on the small side for the luxury class, but it features crisp graphics and a simple interface. Unlike some of the XT5's closest competitors, Cadillac's system has a very friendly learning curve.
Under the hood, there's a new optional 237-horsepower 2.0-liter turbocharged engine. It's down on power compared to the standard 310-hp V6, but it makes similar torque (258 lb-ft vs. 271 lb-ft). We've seen this engine in the XT4, so we know that peak torque comes on much sooner than with the V6. It should feel strong in everyday driving and provide a bit of a fuel-efficiency advantage.
Notable safety and convenience add-ons such as front parking sensors and LED headlights are now standard. There are some all-new optional features such as a night-vision system that's capable of highlighting pedestrians and large animals at night.
Why does it matter?
While these updates aren't going to make a huge difference to the XT5's place in the segment, it remains Cadillac's top-selling vehicle, so keeping it fresh is important for the company. Switching up the XT5's trim structure also means that buyers will have a consistent experience no matter what Cadillac they're shopping for.
With the compact XT4 and three-row XT6 in place, Cadillac has a natural walk through its lineup. Customers can pick a vehicle the right size and capability for them and get largely the same features no matter which they choose.
What does it compete with?
Shoppers considering the Cadillac XT5 often also look at the Lexus RX and Acura RDX. The Lexus, like the Caddy, is a relatively sizable two-row SUV, while the RDX is a compact two-row. All three tend toward the entry-level market, and all three are front-wheel-drive platforms. The RX just went through its own refresh, receiving updated infotainment along with visual tweaks and upgrades to its road manners. While it now has Android Auto and Apple CarPlay on a wide touchscreen that looks quite nice, the Lexus' tech interface is overall more frustrating to interact with than Cadillac's system.
Cross-shoppers also often consider the Cadillac XT4, the XT5's smaller — and less expensive — sibling. While you get less room and less power, many of the same technology and comfort upgrades are available on the smaller Caddy. The XT4 also had a slight fuel economy advantage over the Cadillac XT5, but the addition of the optional four-cylinder for 2020 should put the two cars about on par.
The updates to the 2020 Cadillac XT5 aren't earth-shaking, but they help the XT5 slot in between its newer siblings, the XT4 and the XT6.