The 2017 Cadillac XT5 is an evolutionary improvement over the SRX in most ways, but it’s part of a larger leap for Cadillac.
The 2017 Cadillac XT5 is the successor to the GM luxury brand's smallest SUV, the SRX. New this model year, it's a design that lays some heavy bets on lighter-weight construction, a library-themed interior, and other upscale cues that Cadillac hopes will lure away buyers from the likes of the Audi Q5 and Benz GLC.
We give the XT5 an overall rating of 7.3, an above-average score in a very competitive class. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
Styling, comfort, and utility
The softer, more organic exterior is only an evolutionary move from the SRX; but inside, the XT5 is a finely detailed, meticulously crafted winner. We're not convinced at all that the XT5 represents a major leap away from the SRX, at least in its stamped metal skin. The cabin is another story: its appointments are impressive in every way, with cut-and-sewn leather trim contrasting with three different woods, aluminum, or carbon fiber. There's also a Platinum edition with its own trim choices, like those on the big Escalade Platinum.
The XT5 is far more sophisticated inside, but it doesn’t make huge gains in passenger accommodations. The XT5 is built on a 112.5-inch wheelbase and checks in at 189.5 inches long. Compared to the outgoing SRX, it’s essentially the same length, width, and height; but its wheelbase is about two inches longer and its track an inch wider. That pushes the wheels out to the corners and, in theory, gives this vehicle a more grounded stance.
Cadillac boasts about that stretch, but the XT5 still is remarkably tight on head room, in a class of vehicle where owners—realtors, salespeople, empty-nesters—likely use the back seat for adults a little more often. The back seat slides to flex space given to passengers and cargo, but it's not wide enough to seat three adults across.
The standard powertrain for the 2017 model year is a 3.6-liter V-6, making 310 horsepower and 270 pound-feet of torque. It’s actually not the one that’s used throughout Cadillac’s sedan lineup, but a new V-6, paired with an 8-speed Aisin automatic that’s responsive, but nicely damped in its shifts. As such, the XT5 is quick and responsive, but doesn’t feel like a performance model in any way.
The same holds true for ride and handling. It's confident, but no cornering king. The XT5 has a strut front suspension with a five-link independent rear end, and the rack-mounted electric power steering delivers surprisingly precise, nicely weighted feel. Eighteen-inch wheels are standard, while 20-inch wheels are an option; the 20s come packages with a set of continuously adaptive shocks, while a new Platinum model gets more compliant bushings for an even better, quieter ride.
Front-wheel drive is the default setup for the XT5, but all-wheel drive is be available. It's a new system that uses twin clutches to deliver up to 100 percent of available torque to either the front or rear wheels. It’s designed more for slippery weather conditions, rather than performance driving, and the driver can go front-wheel-drive only with a Touring mode, for better efficiency.
XT5 safety and features
No safety data is available yet, but the XT5 sports a new rearview camera system shared with the CT6 sedan. It uses the traditional rearview mirror to display output from a rear-mounted camera, which Cadillac says improves vision of that field of view by up to 300 percent by zooming and formatting the resulting image, and displaying it in high resolution. We’re not yet convinced about this feature, but we do love the color head-up display and surround-view cameras.
Other safety features and options include forward-collision warnings with automatic braking; blind-spot monitors with cross-traffic alerts; adaptive cruise control; lane-departure warning and lane-keeping assist; and automatic parking assistance.
Along with the usual standard power features, the XT5 offers the CUE interface, with the system here upgraded with a faster processor. Wireless phone charging, 4G LTE hotspot compatibility, and standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto round out the connectivity package. LED headlights and a gesture-controlled power tailgate will be offered.
The top Platinum model comes with a hands-free liftgate, a head-up display, a surround-view camera, ambient LED lighting, special leather dash and door trim, micro suede for the headliner and other trim, a unique exhaust outlet, and a more brightly chromed grille—plus standard 20-inch wheels.