2023 Cadillac XT4 Review: Little SUV, big price


The default “Cadillac SUV” in your mind’s eye is almost certainly the Escalade. In prestige and luxurious appointment, that full-size truck lives up to the mile-long, over-the-top essence of yesteryear’s Cadillac. Smaller, unibody SUVs are the nevertheless the volume-sellers in the brand’s modern lineup, as they are for most automakers. Since the introduction of the subcompact XT4 in 2018, Cadillac offers three crossovers beneath the body-on-frame Escalade: The mid-size, three-row XT6 the compact, Equinox-based XT5; and this teensy XT4.

What is it?

The smallest of Cadillac’s crossovers seats five and comes in either front- or all-wheel drive. (The latter costs extra.) Though the base prices range between $37K and $42K, but options add up quick. As our test car’s window sticker proves, $50,000 can arrive quickly. This Cadillac, which does not offer a hybrid variant, is exclusively powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four, which makes 235 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque on premium gas. It is mated to an automatic transmission with nine speeds.

We tested an all-wheel-drive version in Premium Luxury spec (the middle of the three trims, between Luxury and Sport) that rang the register at $56,385 thanks to a boatload of add-ons. The highlights: a dealer-installed Onyx Package ($2785), comprised of a black grille surround and 20-inch wheels finished in gloss black; a sunroof ($1550), on-board navigation paired with a 13-speaker stereo ($1500); and extra cameras plus rear pedestrian alert ($1500).

2023 Cadillac XT4 Sport interior

What’s new?

For the XT4’s fifth year on sale, Cadillac made only minor changes. Two new paint colors, bright red ($1225) and a light silver (no cost) join the exterior palette, and the base trim level (Luxury) now alerts you of un-signaled lane-changes, cars in your blind spot, and rear cross-traffic.

Specs: 2023 Cadillac XT4 AWD Premium Luxury

Price: $56,385

Engine: 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four

Transmission: 9-speed automatic

Output: 235 hp @ 5000 rpm; 258 lb-ft @ 1500–4000 rpm

Weight: 3660 (FWD, Luxury)

Seats: five

MPG: 22 city / 29 hwy

Rivals: BMW X1/X2, Volvo XC40, Audi Q3, Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class

2023 Cadillac XT4 Sport interior

What it does well:

Though it fails to wow in any category, the XT4 is a perfectly adequate daily driver. It can easily handle 2-3 people and their stuff for a weekend road trip. The back seat accommodates two adults in reasonable comfort, but it starts to feel cramped on longer, multi-hour journeys. If you’re used to a continuously variable transmission (common among the non-luxury offerings in this segment), the shifts of the XT4’s conventional nine-speed auto may seem strangely conspicuous. Those who prefer a transmission that actually swaps cogs will likely appreciate it, however. Acceleration is acceptable for highway on ramps and passing—hair is in no danger of catching fire. Exterior styling is handsome, especially compared to that of Mercedes and BMW rivals. The heft and action of the interior’s buttons and switches communicates substance and quality.

Changes we’d make:

Fresh as the exterior seems, looks every bit of five years old. We don’t mind that most surfaces are wrapped in real leather, and the buttons feel like real metal, but other areas don’t scream “aspirational luxury.” Notice that Chevrolet now offers a fully digital instrument cluster on the Trax, its cheapest SUV—at half the price of this Cadillac—and the ordinary analog gauges come across as a bit phoned in. Said Chevy even offers a bigger central touchscreen than the XT4’s 8-incher. If you want simplicity, or have no need for the ever-increasing pixels in modern cars, the XT4 will do the job; but if you want up-to-date posh, this particular Cadillac is not the standard of the world. Either way, we’d suggest avoiding the 20-inch wheels, which add an unwelcome harshness to the XT4’s ride. Unfortunately, there’s no escaping the wheezy sound of that four-cylinder engine, whose tone seeps into the cabin far more than we’d like.

2023 Cadillac XT4

Who’s it for?

The XT4’s primary appeal for some is that it’s basically the sole American-branded SUV among its subcompact luxury crossover cadre. If that’s not a point of contention for you, and the luxury experience need rest more heavily on slick digital displays and a cushy ride, we suggest looking elsewhere: Lexus’ NX rides like a dream, offers a hybrid powertrain, and, for 2022, boasts a giant touchscreen with excellent resolution—all for less money. Volvo’s XC40 packs cute factor and a chic, minimalist interior, while the Acura RDX excels in material quality and packaging. Cadillac’s Escalade makes a certain status statement, and the brand’s sedans offer excellent driving dynamics, but it’s hard to pick out anything special about the XT4.

2023 Cadillac XT4 Sport
Click below for more about
Read next Up next: How to tune the 2024 Mustang? With great difficulty, Ford says


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *