The car you see above is Cadillac's best-selling vehicle. That's right. A mid-size crossover SUV is the current king of the hill for Cadillac. It's a sign of how things have changed---not only for the automaker that was regarded as the "Standard of the World" in the 20th century---but for the way we use cars.
For all its pursuit of European-style performance the past 20 years, what the XT5 says is that, ultimately, Americans with the means to consider Cadillac want room to carry people and things, and to do so in quiet and comfort.
The XT5 I've been driving the past six days is the 2020 Cadillac XT5 Sport. Sport is a new trim level for 2020 and focuses on a more aggressive look. It also has different chassis tuning from the other XT5 models, with quicker steering and better body control without sacrificing ride isolation---in other words, smoothness and quiet.
I had the opportunity to drive the 2020 Cadillac XT5 Sport AWD to Mountain View and back this week for the annual "Silicon Valley Re-Invents the Wheel" conference, and found that the XT5 is a terrific freeway cruiser. 290 miles roundtrip in Northern California traffic is a good test for the drivability and livability of any vehicle, and the XT5 Sport AWD was comfortable, composed and confident.
The base price of the 2020 Cadillac XT5 Sport AWD is $55,095, and that brings a long list of standard equipment:
- 3.6-liter, 310-horsepower V6 engine.
- Nine-speed automatic transmission.
- Twin-clutch sport control all-wheel drive with driver mode select.
- 20-inch, 12-spoke wheels with pearl nickel paint.
- Performance suspension with mode select.
- Automatic emergency braking.
- Forward collision alert.
- Following distance indicator.
- Front pedestrian braking.
- Lane change alert with side blind zone alert.
- Rear cross-traffic alert.
- Safety alert seat.
- Front and rear park assist.
- HD rear vision camera.
- Theft-deterrent alarm system.
- Vehicle inclination sensor.
- Interior movement sensor.
- Cadillac User Experience 8-inch color information display.
- Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
- 4G LTE wi-fi hotspot.
- Adaptive remote start.
- Eight-speaker Bose premium audio system.
- Dual-zone automatic climate control.
- Driver memory package.
- Heated front seats.
- Auto-dimming inside rearview mirror.
- Intellibeam headlamps.
- LED headlamps and taillamps.
- Front cornering lamps.
- LED daytime running lamps.
- Leather seating surfaces.
- Power-folding heated exterior mirrors (driver's side auto-dimming) with embedded turn signals.
- Passive entry and keyless start.
- Eight-way power driver's seat.
- Six-way power front passenger's seat.
- Two-way power lumbar adjustment for front seats.
- Retractable rear cargo shade.
- Rear seat reminder.
- Heated steering wheel.
- Ultraview sunroof with power sunshade.
- Rain-sensing windshield wipers.
- Wireless charging.
The one I drove also had some extra-cost option packages:
- Platinum Package (semi-aniline leather seating in all rows, leather-wrapped instrument panel, console and door trim, microfiber sueded headliner, premium carpeted floor mats front and rear, front illuminated door sill plates): $3,650.
- Enhanced Visibility and Technology Package (HD surround vision, rear pedestrian alert, rear camera mirror with washer, eight-inch color gauge cluster with driver personalization, color head-up display, automatic parking assist with braking): $2,275.
- Red Horizon Tintcoat paint: $1,225.
- Comfort and Air Quality Package (tri-zone climate control, ventilated front seats, heated rear outboard seats, air ionizer): $1,200.
- Upgraded Cadillac User Experience system with embedded navigation and 14-speaker Bose Performance Series audio: $1,025.
- Compact spare tire: $350.
With $995 destination charge, the bottom line on the window sticker read $65,815.
My only misgiving is the value equation. Even at that price, adaptive cruise control---what I've come to regard as an essential safety feature, and one that's standard equipment on a lot of $30,000 vehicles---wasn't on this car. To get it would have required adding the Driver Assist Package and another $1,595 to the tab. No, Cadillac isn't alone in charging extra for features others make standard, or for bundling them in pricey packages. But there's a lot of competition out there, and it's very good competition in this segment. In my view, simplifying the menu and making safety features standard would be a solid way for Cadillac to position itself and the XT5.
(EPA fuel economy estimate: 18 miles per gallon city/25 miles per gallon highway)