It was with some regret that we absorbed the news last year that Cadillac was getting out of the full-sized luxury sedan business. Legendary luxury land yachts like the Sedan DeVille, Fleetwood and Eldorado — and, more recently, the CT6, XTS and ATS coupe — soon will be history. The midsize CTS will survive, only to be replaced by a new model, the CT5, probably for the 2020 model year.
No, Cadillac’s primary mission today is to build luxury crossovers and SUVs. They range from the compact XT4 crossover, new for 2019; to the big-as-all-outdoors Escalade. The model we tested was the XT4 Sport, competitively base-priced at $41,795. We didn’t get a chance to drive it in typical January weather, but figured its all-wheel-drive system, 20-inch all-season tires, 6.8-inch ground clearance and more than two tons of weight would have served us in good stead in snowy conditions.
On dry pavement, the XT4 handled silkily and accelerated briskly; the ride was Cadillac-smooth and quiet. We drove the car for a couple days before taking note of the fact the turbocharged inline Four is rated at only 237 horsepower, compared with the similarly purposed Jaguar E-Pace’s 296. (We test-drove a 2018 E-Pace in November.)
The XT4 is unexpectedly low-priced, given its Cadillac badging and tradition. The base Luxury model starts at $34,795, while the Premium Luxury and Sport trims start at $39,295. With a long options list, our XT4 Sport had a sticker price of $52,264 — about $2,000 less than the E-Pace R-Dynamic HSE we tested.
The two cars were similarly equipped, with one notable exception: The E-Pace had adaptive cruise control, while the Cadillac had conventional cruise control. Also, many of the Jaguar’s standard features were costly options in the Cadillac. Thus, the XT4’s base “Luxury” trim may land closer to the near-luxury category. Among its missing features – common to true luxury crossovers – were heated front seats, blind-spot warning, power liftgate, autodimming rear-view mirror. Some desirable features, such as adaptive cruise control and blind-spot monitoring, are not even available as options in Luxury trim.
As it is, the XT4 Sport owner has to spend extra for such features as leather upholstery, heated front and outboard rear seats, ventilated front seats, heated steering wheel, hands-free liftgate, power sunroof, power tilt and telescoping steering wheel, and head-up display. The Autumn Metallic paint, a color not loved by most who caught a glimpse of the XT4, added $625 to the sticker price.
Crash-test data are not yet available.
Major competitors include the E-Pace, Mercedes-Benz GLA class, BMW X2, Infiniti QX30, Lexus NX, Volvo XC40, Lincoln MKC, Range Rover Evoque, Porsche Macan and Alfa Romeo Stelvio. Also available are a host of more modestly badged compact crossovers that can be nudged toward the luxury class by adding optional equipment.
2019 Cadillac XT4 AWD
Engine: 2.0-liter turbocharged inline Four, 237 horsepower, 258 lb.-ft. torque
Transmission: 9-speed shiftable automatic
Weight: 3,896 lb.
Suspension: 4-wheel independent
Ground clearance: 6.8 in.
Wheels: 20-in. alloy with diamond cut and titan satin finish
Seating capacity: 5
Luggage capacity: 22.5 cu. ft.
Maximum cargo capacity: 48.9 cu. ft.
Maximum towing capacity: 3,500 lb.
Fuel capacity: 16.3 gal.
Fuel economy: 22 mpg city, 29 mpg highway
Fuel type: premium unleaded gasoline (recommended)
Steven Macoy (email@example.com) is a longtime car enthusiast and full-time editor who lives in Bethel, Conn.