• 2017,Cadillac,XT5,AWD,SUV
  • 2017 Cadillac,XT5 AWD,SUV,crossover
  • 2017, Cadillac XT5,AWD,SUV,crossover

First Drive: 2017 Cadillac XT5 AWD

Cadillac’s All-new Luxury Crossover

2017,Cadillac,XT5,crossover,midsize SUV

Cadillac takes on the world

The all-new 2017 Cadillac XT5 replaces the successful SRX with what Cadillac’s President Johan de Nysschen says will be “pivotal to our ongoing global growth plan.” That growth plan includes a goal of making China Cadillac’s second largest market. To make the XT5 a true world car Cadillac obviously has a lot riding on this new design and has adopted a slogan of Dare Greatly to hopefully get them there.

Driving Experience: On the Road

The 2017 Cadillac XT5 comes standard with front-wheel drive (FWD), but the model Smarticd drove was configured in all-wheel drive (AWD). Powered by a 3.6-liter V6 with variable valve timing and direct injection, our XT5 had an eight-speed automatic with an EPA rating of 18 City/26 Highway/21 Combined. The FWD version gets one mile per gallon more all the way around.

Smarticd had the opportunity to spend a day with the 2017 XT5 at the Cadillac World Drive-a press event in Southern California that launched the vehicle. Our time behind the wheel was spent driving from sea level in Dana Point to the mountain town of Julian, outside of San Diego, with an elevation of 4,226 feet. The route was chosen to showcase the XT5’s everyday capabilities of negotiating streets, highway and mountain twisties – and it did so with ease, confidence and comfort. Running on regular unleaded, the 3.6L is rated at 310 hp and 271 lb-ft of torque. The eight-speed automatic transmission has ECO, Normal and Sport settings that truly did change the driving attributes of the car. The engine ran smooth at all speeds, and the XT5 felt nimble and agile, in big part due to the lightweighting Cadillac engineers accomplished. For comparison, the XT5 tips the scales 292 lbs. less than the outgoing Cadillac SRX (a whopping 650 lbs. less than the Mercedes-Benz GLE 350).

Cornering was flat and planted with no noticeable drifting of the car through tight or high speed turns. Smarticd drove the XT5 with the standard 18-inch aluminum wheels and

2017, Cadillac XT5,midsize SUV,styling,design

Leaving the dinosaurs of past Cadillac SUVs behind

P234/65R18 all-season tires. If we were in the Premium model, we would have experienced even better handling with the 20-inch aluminum wheels and P235/55R20 all-season, or even better, summer tires. To sharpen the handling, even in dry conditions like we experienced, the dual-clutch AWD system is capable of transferring 100-percent of the torque to either the front or rear axle – and, if so desired, the electronically-controlled rear differential can be set to have 100-percent of the torque sent to either wheel. To top it all off, the AWD transmission has a non-mechanical linkage and shifts through drive-by-wire technology. All-in-all, it’s a very smooth, modern and efficient system that had power ready to any or all wheels seamlessly.

Braking is through four-wheel vented discs with ceramic linings and electronic stability control, anti-lock brakes and traction control.

Driving Experience: Exterior

The exterior design of the 2017 Cadillac XT5 places it competitively in the midsize luxury crossover class in what Cadillac says “perfectly reflects Cadillac’s positioning in the luxury automotive marketplace.” The lines are crisp with an upswept, high-sculpted line that runs from mid-driver’s door to the taillights with the wheels having been pushed even further to the corners than on the departing SRX. The rear liftgate (with an available hands-free operation feature) has an integrated spoiler that neatly hides the window wiper. A tasteful chrome eyebrow strip runs the near full width of the hatch.

Driving Experience: Interior

2017, Cadillac XT5,luxury SUV,crossover

A stitch of luxury

Cadillac says the XT5’s interior “brings a new level of sophistication to showcase their evolving design language” that “will focus on simplicity that reduces visual noise and clutter.” To take the luxury to the highest level, the XT5 comes in five interior colors that they term “a variety of authentic materials and palette of colors” where “a feeling of space is the ultimate luxury.” The XT5 also comes in a Platinum trim level, not available on the outgoing SRX. In other words, Cadillac has upped their luxury quotient on the XT5.

The long list of standard and optional equipment on the 2017 XT5 is what is to be expected on a car of this quality and price. Our XT5 had the standard power, heated and ventilated driver and passenger seats. With power tilt and telescopic steering wheel adjustments, it made finding a comfortable seating position quite easy. The driver’s seat has a surprise for you if you have not been forewarned: it vibrates as part of the lane departure warning system. If you did not use the turn signal when crossing into an adjoining lane on the highway, the driver’s seat will vibrate to let you know about your lane drift. I found myself changing lanes sans blinker on purpose just for the momentary rush, but after a while it became mildly annoying, but effective, reminding me to stay in my lane. The true safety impact of this feature is, if the driver is dozing off, the vibration, small as it may be, would wake the driver and hopefully prevent an accident.

The XT5 incorporates a wide and modern dash design that has a sleek look and feel, with everything nicely laid-out and within easy reach. The high level of luxury includes cut-and-sewn fine leather seemingly everywhere and decorative trim pieces available in carbon fiber, aluminum and genuine wood. The infotainment system on the XT5 starts with the CUE System that Cadillac says “seamlessly connects you to a world of content.” The eight-inch high-definition color display includes FM/HD AM radio with Bose Premium Audio and either eight or 12 speakers, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, SiriusXM (three-month complimentary service), Bluetooth hands-free phone and audio with four USB ports and two auxiliary power outlets.

The 2017 Cadillac  XT5 is well-equipped with true convenience features including remote keyless entry with remote start, heated steering wheel with radio and telephone controls, power door

2017, Cadillac XT5,AWD SUV,crossover

Hauling luxury

locks, cruise control, tri-zone climate control, heated outboard rear seats, wireless charging, 4G LTE Wi-Fi Hotspot with a three-month trial subscription, tire pressure monitoring system, rain-sensing windshield wipers, optional heads-up display, keyless push-button start/stop and OnStar. A unique safety feature is the Rear Camera Mirror system that enhances the rear vision by 300-percent using a video display applied over the inside rearview mirror image.

A note regarding OnStar: a simple push of a button connects you with a friendly GM representative to handle emergencies, directions and general assistance to make your driving experience safer and more enjoyable. This is one area where GM is the industry leader, and after the one-year service plan expires, it is well worth renewing.

Safety and Convenience

The 2017 Cadillac XT5 has seven airbags and a choice of Cadillac’s Driver Awareness and Driver Assist packages that include automatic collision braking for low-speed conditions, lane keeping assist, rear cross traffic alert, blind spot alert, front pedestrian detection, following distance indicator, full-range adaptive cruise control and automatic parking assist. The XT5 has a very smooth automatic stop/start where the engine shuts off when coming to a stop, and, on releasing the brake, the engine starts again.

Pricing and Warranties

The 2017 XT5 comes in four trim levels and two drive configurations, FWD and AWD. MSRP for these models without destination and handling fees or optional equipment are:

XT5 FWD                                  $38,995

2017 Cadillac,XT5 AWD,crossover

Cadillac ups its game

XT5 FWD Luxury                       $44,895

XT5 FWD Premium Luxury        $51,895

XT5 AWD Luxury                      $47,390

XT5 AWD Premium Luxury        $54,390

XT5 AWD Platinum                    $62,500

Observations: 2017 Cadillac XT5 AWD

2017, Cadillac XT5,crossover,design, mpg,technology

Cadillac fields a challenger

Auto manufacturers will tell you that the luxury vehicle segment is far more difficult to compete in than the general automotive marketplace, which is true. The marketing rule that the more expensive an item, the more difficult it is to reach the person who can buy that item. As well, the more expensive the item, the fewer potential buyers there will be for that item. Since the most competitive segment of the luxury auto market is SUVs and Crossovers, with the 2017 XT5 Cadillac has placed itself right in the middle of stiff competition who have no plans on selling fewer cars.

The winner in all this is the consumer, who will benefit from these manufacturers never standing pat on design, technology, comfort and performance. Of course, the only one you really have to please is yourself, so when visiting dealers make sure to add the 2017 Cadillac XT5 to your consideration list as Cadillac has a very serious player in the midsize luxury crossover class.

Whatever you buy, Happy Driving!

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Smarticd is loaned free test vehicles from automakers to evaluate, typically for a week at a time. Our road tests are based on this one-week drive of a new vehicle, which does not address issues such as long-term reliability or total cost of ownership. In addition we are often invited to manufacturer events highlighting new vehicles or technology, during which we may be offered free transportation, lodging or meals. We do our best to present our unvarnished evaluations of vehicles and news irrespective of these inducements. Our focus is on vehicles that offer the best fuel economy in their class or are among the top mpg vehicles on the market. In addition, we aim to offer reviews and news on advanced technology and the alternative fuel vehicle market. We welcome any feedback from vehicle owners and are dedicated to providing a forum for alternative viewpoints. Please let us know your views at [email protected].

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About Author:

John Faulkner is an automotive marketing professional with more than 30 years experience branding, launching and marketing automobiles. He has worked with General Motors (all Divisions), Chrysler (Dodge, Jeep, Eagle), Ford and Lincoln-Mercury, Honda, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan and Toyota on consumer events and sales training programs. His interest in automobiles is broad and deep, beginning as a child riding in the back seat of his parent's 1950 Studebaker. He has a keen appreciation of Art Deco design, no bias for domestic versus foreign makes and loves competition - whether that be F1, IndyCar, Sports Cars, NASCAR or participating in Track Days at places such as Laguna Seca, Thunderhill or Willow Springs. John lives in Dana Point, CA, and enjoys a top-down drive on PCH on an early Sunday morning.

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