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Valet Presence: 2017 Cadillac XT5 Premium AWD


There is a fine line between premium and luxury. Luxury is all about quality, being special; something that makes you feel like you’re upper crust in a Norwegian Castle and anything less is merely undesirable. Premium is all about ecstatic’s – giving the appearance of a forged lifestyle, like having a black VISA card – it’s just not the real deal.

Cadillac brings back their smallest luxury crossover with a whole new platform, new face, and a whole new name, XT5 – the keyword there is ‘luxury’. On the outside, the XT5 clicks all the right ticks as luxury crossovers go featuring Cadillac’s signature tear drop LED lights, 20-inch sterling silver wheels fitted to our Premium Luxury tester, and glowing LED door handles. At first glance, upon entry it’s all the same story – leather and wood fill the cabin like an 18th Century library and enough technology to make your teenager not be bothered to teach you.

Performance is everything in a luxury crossovers and the 3.6-liter naturally aspirated, direct injected V-6 is fairly adequate for this 4400lb crossover. 310-horsepower delivered through the all-wheel drive system smoothly accelerators to 60 mph in about six and half seconds through a delightful eight-speed automatic. Front-wheel drive is available on all trims but the higher Platinum which comes standard with All-Wheel Drive. However, with 310 ponies, its best to get the all-wheel drive, limits the torque steer and manages the acceleration more accordingly. And as we discovered during our week, it helps through some of the rough stuff when pavement ends.

The XT5 is anything but sporty, despite the sport suspension fitted on this sampler – yet selecting the sport mode through the mode selector increases potential use of the hidden steering wheel mounted paddle shifters – which is likely to be used once and never again thereafter. The 8-speeder here isn’t the smoothest system around but it gets the job down – shifts are a tad jerky at the higher end of the rev counter but manages to slide through a couple gears when needing to downshift. The XT5 rides and drives like a luxury crossover should – it’s provides plenty solidness and gives a presence of road confidence while everything stays as smooth as silk on the inside. There’s no harshness or vibration in the chassis and while the steering is as expected unentertaining, it has a comfortable overall feel and heaviness in its motions.  

In the hindsight of saving fuel, the XT5 uses cylinder cutting technology shutting off two of its six cylinders at cruising speeds and a start/stop feature that shuts the engine off when coming to a complete stop. For those that don’t like the start/stop, you’ll have to get used to it here as it can’t be disabled. We on the other don’t mind it – it’s not very intrusive. And with all this technology, we managed to exceed the EPA rated fuel economy averaging 24 mpg combined for the week.

At first glance everything is at right with world when settling in behind the leather wrapped steering wheel and into our sahara beige leather upholstered seats staring out into the world through the massive panoramic sunroof. The interior is handsomely executed with simplicity – soft touch materials cover the dash and door panels while wood and silver presents an attractive accent. The design is seamless and flowy – Cadillac continues its trend with a button-less scheme but now has a more tactile feel.

However, this ‘luxury’ crossover had a few flaws. Luxury is all about the details and where the details matter most there were hard plastics and cheaper quality materials found in these odd places. The navigation was also stuck in Detroit, Michigan which meant if we got lost, we’d have to ask our teenagers to pull up a map on our phones. And the power steering wheel creaked every time it extruded from the easy exit feature. The XT5 is full of extreme comfort for all passengers, even though head room in the rear was short lived with the panoramic sunroof. Thanks to soundproof materials, the cabin was as isolated as a time capsule even at highway speed exceeding 80 mph.  

There are four levels of XT5’s starting at $39,990 and can go up to $64,000 for the range topping Platinum. Our sampler was just a trim below, Premium Luxury that featured a one stop shop price of $52,890. This means our tester was graciously equipped with the usual premium comfort features like heated and ventilated front seats, heated steering wheel, and a 13-speaker BOSE audio system. It also added advance safety features such as lane departure warning with lane assist, blind spot monitor with rear-cross traffic detection, and forward collision alert with active braking.

We wanted to be dazzled by the XT5’s features; however, In a world surrounded by luxury like the all-new Jaguar F-PACE and Volvo XC90, the XT5 feels like just an ordinary crossover. Still though, it certainly won’t have a problem fitting in at the golf courses and shopping malls valet stand.

Vehicle Specifications:
2017 Cadillac XT5 Premium Luxury AWD Base Price: $54,390
As Tested (including Options & Destination): $56,730
Performance Specs:
3.6-liter V-6 – 310-Horsepower, Eight-Speed Automatic Transmission – 0-60MPH: ±6.5 seconds
EPA MPG: 18/26/21 (city/highway/combined) – SSB Average:  23 MPG’s – Fuel Range: 530 Miles


  1. I must say that for being of smaller dimensions than its Escalade sibling, the XT5 still easily accommodated 3 adults in its rear seat when we took it to Macayo’s on Monday night. Plus – what better way to enjoy that evening’s Super Moon than through the XT’s massive panoramic roof. It was the perfect vehicle for our evening outing.

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