Cadillac has a ten-year plan in place and a new product launch scheduled every six months through 2020. The first vehicle to make the march is the Cadillac XT4. For Cadillac to achieve the plan, they are going to need to appeal to the younger group.
Robin Krieg Lead exterior designer, XT4 talked about what luxury means to a younger customer, “it’s not the same thing to each young person. It can be understated, and sometimes you can dress it up or dress it down.” That’s how Cadillac came to the dual persona trim level strategy, where you have the luxury persona and a sports persona.
On the luxury persona, Krieg says, you focus more on the details of the car, while the sports persona focuses more on the proportions and athleticism of the vehicle.
Krieg realizes that Cadillac’s aren’t known for being small, that the Escalade is the flagship of the brand, but how do you transfer that down.?
The great question Krieg asked himself was, “What if the Escalade never grew up? What if the great Dane always stayed a puppy?” The reason I like that question so much is that everyone loves puppies, and most of the time they grow into the relationship with their great Dane, always remembering that puppy smell. Could Krieg capture the puppiness of the Escalade?
If you think about the puppy, the first thing people remark on is how cute the puppy is, and then they notice the big feet for such a small little animal. The XT4 has the same oversized tires and prominent front grille.
The luxury grille uses a metallization process that allows the grille to have floating elements that Krieg says was a modern interpretation of an older Cadillac grille. Your eyes follow the grille down to the silver satin lower trim. You have to get up close to the vertical lights to see that they are not cut into steel. The light design is unique to Cadillac just as the lights on the Volvo are so unique.
The side of the car shows the proportions of the vehicle, the athleticism that Krieg was talking about; the big feet on the puppy. There is a nod to the CTS wagon in the back of the SUV with the angled backlight creating a tornado pillar that is reminiscent of the CTS wagon.
Krieg defines the sport vehicle as more purposeful with most of the trim in black. The backlights are the defining difference between the sport and a luxury model. The back windows are the defining difference between the XT4 and XT5; the XT5 has an extra porthole window giving the bigger car that extra airiness in the back.
The 2019 Cadillac XT4 is the key entry in the hot Small Luxury CUV segment that allows General Motors to compete against the Audi Q3, BMW X1, and Mercedes-Benz GLA.
The Cadillac Lux-UX (user experience) infotainment is the best yet.
The next generation Cadillac User Experience (known as UX in the business) has changed in multiple ways. 2017 Cadillac CTS was the first time the new IP and center stack were shown in a Cadillac. The new UX doesn’t is more than just an upgrade.
Pairing your phone to the Cadillac XT4 has gotten so much easier through the multifunction controller that is new for the XT4 in both hardware and software. Cadillac is interested in building a platform that is upgradeable by software.
Android is the only smartphone that uses Tap to pair for Bluetooth in the XT4 for Android for NFC – near field communication. Apple uses its own NFC protocols and isn’t supported yet. I can only imagine that will change quickly as Apple realizes how functional and profitable this technology.
UX connect – The monitor itself is brighter, and easier to read because the high definition is increased from 480 pixels to 768 pixels. What you will notice is that it is clear, there seems to be less glare, and it is easier on the eyes. Youtube runs at 720pixel or 1080 pixels, which begs the question of when the next iteration of hardware will be 1080. Since the HD upgrade includes hardware and software, the older versions could not be upgraded easily, just as the new 768 will not be upgradable to 1080 pixel.
The radio system can be configured in multiple ways; on the top, you can list your favorite channels without regard to the content; AM, FM, Sirius, Washington Post, Spotify.
The left-hand side of the screen is the three favorite groups you use, and all you have to do is click on MORE, and all the apps and media come up. If you touch the Spotify app, the choices for Spotify show up on the bottom of the screen.
All of this technology is connected through the Onstar 4GLTE that you can get for $20 a month of unlimited use. The wireless can be connected to seven different devices. If you click on the 4GLTE icon and go One level down, you will see the name of your wifi and the password associated with that car. Since you can access your device within fifty feet of the car and it is unlimited, I asked if I could park my car next to my house that had a television hooked up to Roku and use the 4GLTE to watch The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel on Apple Prime. I was told the car battery would probably go dead. Foiled again!
The most used functions such as a heated seating still have a separate button, instead of having to go three deep into the digital commands. The little green lightning bolt in the monitor is new for the Cadillac XT4 and shows the ability to wireless charge your smartphone whether it is an Apple or Android with what I am calling theater seating, depending on how much of your phone you want to see.
The response time to change a favorite music station is noticeable by its quickness, like one second. You push a little harder on the button, and the station is added to your favorites almost instantaneous.
There is a key fob function that I liken to Netflix; my husband signs into Netflix and chooses his account because he watches all Science Fiction. I log into my account because I watch murder mysteries. We don’t have to scroll through each other’s movies to find what we want to watch. The same goes for the user experience. The car knows by the key fob that I want certain music or business channels to show up in the media source, and my heated seat to come on automatically, while my husband wants podcasts about Science Fiction or space and no heated seat.
I love the car for the driving experience. The 2.0-liter turbo engine, known in-house as the LSY, is perfect for this size SUV. The XT4 is the lead SUV for this all-new engine, in another month the 2019 Cadillac CT6 will be the second vehicle to get the 2.0-liter turbo engine. This engine for the XT4 is mated to a 9-speed automatic transmission. The car uses the entire curve from 1,500-6,200 rpm without turbo lag. This engine may take over as my favorite Cadillac engine, previously on the ATS, known as the LTT in-house. The engine is assembled at the company’s Spring Hill, TN.
Cadillac says they benchmarked against the LLT, BMW, and Audi. Audi has a similar cam actuation system as Cadillac, with three modes. Cadillac’s three modes are a 2WD touring, a sport mode that goes into 4WD, or an AWD. You can put the car in sport mode, but the default when you start the car up is touring, unless you have the vehicle in 4WD, then it will stay in 4wd when you restart the car. The decoupling allows for fuel-efficiency when you don’t need the all-wheel drive and maximum safety when you do need the 4WD. So, in Summer if you drove only in touring mode, you would get better miles per gallon than in the Winter when you’re using your AWD to go skiing. This technology is already in larger vehicles such as the GMC Acadia. Expect the XT4 to be more smooth, than sporty.
This type of technology that Cadillac is silently implementing is putting it on the flight path to meet the fuel requirements for 2025. There is talk of electrification of Cadillac. The ELR with the Volt technology was a beautiful car, but the fact that it is a two-door coupe and the price point kept it from being a success. Until then improvements in the internal combustion engine are being made.
Cylinder deactivation occurs in the middle two cylinders, and unless you stepped very very lightly on the pedal, you wouldn’t feel it at all. You can’t feel the pins coming down into a shifting groove. There are four actuators on the intake side and only two actuators on the other side for active fuel management. The low speeds are when cylinder deactivation happens, but going downhill with your foot on the pedal will also engage it.
The Chevy Silverado has had cylinder deactivation for years, and it is coupled with dynamic fuel management. Cadillac doesn’t have DFM yet, but it is theoretically possible. It is just a matter of making a business case for the technology.
Active Thermal management
Usually, there is a belt on the electric water that goes with the engine speed so that you are always pumping with the speed of the engine. The most you can do is turn it on or off with a thermostat. That is a waste of energy if you don’t need to move the coolant around. In this format, you are warming up all of the coolant at the same time you are trying to warm up the engine.
In the 2019 Cadillac XT4, there is an electric pump that can be controlled at all times. This pump is a variable speed pump. When the engine is initially turned on the pump is not spinning to cool it down, it is allowing the engine to warm-up giving the maximum warmth to the oil, becoming more fuel-efficient. The valve can also direct the fuel where it needs to be. The fuel-efficiency gain is a 1-2 percent gain in efficiency.
The XT4 is built at GM’s Fairfax Assembly Plant in Kansas City, KS and is available to purchase now.
2019 Cadillac XT4 models, trim levels, specifications, and pricing:
2019 Cadillac XT4 Luxury SUV
2019 Cadillac XT4 Luxury AWD SUV
2019 Cadillac XT4 Sport SUV
2019 Cadillac XT4 Sport AWD SUV
2019 Cadillac XT4 Premium Luxury SUV
2019 Cadillac XT4 Premium Luxury AWD SUV
destination and handling included
EPA Fuel economy:
FWD 24 city/ 30 highway FWD 15.9 gal.
AWD 23 city/ 28 highway AWD 16.3 gal.
EPA Passenger volume 100.6 cubic feet
Cargo volume 22.5 cubic feet (behind rear seat)
48.9 cubic feet (back seat folded)
3660 lbs. – FWD Luxury
3847 lbs. – AWD Luxury
3691 lbs. – FWD Premium Luxury
3876 lbs. – AWD Premium Luxury
3710 lbs. – FWD Sport
3896lbs. – AWD Sport
Engine – 2.0L Turbocharged I4 DOHC with Active Fuel
Management, direct injection and stop/start
Transmission – Hydra-Matic 9L50 nine-speed automatic
Driveline – FWD or AWD
Horsepower – 237 @ 5000 rpm (SAE certified)
Torque (lb-ft) – 258 @ 1500-4000 rpm (SAE certified)
WHEELBASE 109.4 inches
WIDTH 83.5 inches
FRONT TRACK 63.2 inches
Length 181.1 inches
Height 64.1 inches
Rear track 63.1 inches
Headroom front: 39.4 inches rear: 38.3 inches
Legroom front: 40.4 inches rear: 39.5 inches