Words: Stephen Spyropoulos
Photography: Stephen Spyropoulos
Published: March 7, 2017
As the saying goes, “effort equals results.” But that does not always hold true in the car industry. Case in point: Cadillac. Even though they have dumped a large amount of money (read: billions) into the ATS and CTS platforms, customers just can’t face away from the temptations from other German and Japanese showrooms. It takes years to build brand cache, but Cadillac is slowly making its way to the top. Its first point of entry: the SRX replacement.
Yes, that old dinosaur that wasn’t my favourite SUV – it probably ranked near the bottom of the list – but it happened to be Cadillac’s top seller for many years. Proving Cadillac has joined the 21st century, the replacement, the XT5, maintains the SRX’s exterior dimensions while shedding 136 kg. According to Cadillac, there is more interior space as well.
Whereas the brand’s new passenger cars use rear-drive underpinnings developed specifically for Cadillac, the XT5 rolls on General Motors’ new C1XX architecture, the somewhat more pedestrian front-drive platform that is shared with the recently unveiled GMC Acadia. Food for thought: to avoid sibling rivalry, Cadillac used the 50 mm gain in wheelbase to stretch rear-seat legroom an extra few centimeters, while the GMC Acadia on the other hand took that extra length and wedged in a third row of seats instead.
Saving weight is standard operating procedure these days but Cadillac’s twist is doing so without resorting to using expensive metals. The XT5’s unibody is made of from graded steel, each carefully selected and configured to provide the desired stiffness and collision strength. Joints fortified with adhesives help make this a smart structure without so much as an aluminum hood to shave weight. The front cradle and the rear cross-member are both rubber isolated to keep NVH at bay.
The powertrain engineers at Cadillac have contributed once more by adding the similarly sized GM 3.6-liter V-6, but this new DOHC 24-valve direct-injected design is smoother, slightly more potent with 310 horsepower, and more efficient due in large part to its variable valve timing, cylinder deactivation, and auto stop-start technology. Combined fuel-economy ratings top the outgoing SRX’s by more than 15%.
An eight-speed automatic is standard in both front- and all-wheel drive models. The AWD system has a clutch in the transaxle to disconnect the driveshaft when maximum traction is not needed. Two more clutches in the rear axle route the torque to each rear wheel. A control computer engages the rear clutches in response to heavy doses of throttle or when it detects front slippage. The goal of course, is to have sure-footedness on all road surfaces, in contrast to the tail-sliding antics built into the Ford Focus RS, which uses a similar AWD system.
Cadillac’s designers gave the XT5 broad-shouldered proportions, a prominent grille that mimics Caddy’s new shield logo, and artistic creases in the hood and side surfaces. The LED front lighting array and the tail lamps are vertically oriented to beam Cadillac-ness a block away. A nod to the past is the hint of a fin sculpted into the rear lamps. Narrow roof pillars, mirrors attached to the doors, and quarter windows near the base of the windshield all aid outward visibility. An optional HD rear view video feed triples the view out of the back by pairing it with the conventional rear view mirror.
The XT5’s interior is one lush swath of stitched leather cladding the dash, console, door panels, and seats. Surfaces that look like leather, suede, wood, aluminum, or carbon fiber are actually made of those materials. The same can be said of hard-plastic panels, which thankfully are few and in between, and located below knee level.
The move to an electronic shifter that resembles BMW’s DCT shifter has opened up space in the console for a purse or tablet. In addition to the usual power and USB plugs, an inductive phone charger is standard. The CUE infotainment array has a faster processor and offers both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity.
Cadillac’s best work is the XT5’s versatile back seat. This chair-high perch splits in 40/20/40 sections and folds nearly flat for cargo hauling. The bottom cushion slides fore-and-aft, and the backrest tilts 12 degrees in five steps to provide near-limo comfort for two. Long back doors and a hatch you can open by swinging a foot under the rear bumper provide easy access. The center console is carved out at the bottom to provide ample foot clearance while sliding across the back seat.
While Cadillac won’t admit they are hunting the Porsche Macan, it’s clear that able minds tuned the XT5’s chassis. The electrically assisted steering is keen to respond and commendably high in effort. The ZF Sachs continuous damping control shocks combined with stout anti-roll bars all but eliminate cornering lean without imposing ride harshness.
Lugging almost 2000 kg of XT5 plus occupants, the 310-horsepower V6 has its work cut out for it. Running through eight gears to and beyond cruising speed is no issue, but when you nudge the throttle to pass, the initial impression is that nobody’s home under the hood. The combination of the transmission’s 0.67:1 top gear and a 5000-rpm torque peak means you must drop a few gear ratios to trigger the expected surge.
The XT5 has two well-hidden shift paddles behind the 3 and 9 o’clock spokes, but to enable them it’s first necessary to engage the manual shift mode by pulling the console lever back one additional notch.
XT5 prices start at $52,000 and creep their way up to just under $70,000 for the Platinum trim. The Platinum, which I tested, has the optional Driver Assist package, with adaptive cruise control, automatic braking, and park assist. The value is debatable as it sits right smack dab in Porsche Macan, BMW X4, Jaguar F-Pace, and Audi Q5 territory. Nevertheless, it’s a good start for Cadillac, and a giant leap for pushing its brand forward.
型号 Model: 2017 Cadillac XT5 Platinum
顏色 Paint Type: Crystal White Tricoat ($825)
廠方建議售價 Base Price: $52,000
試車售價 Price as Tested: $69,520
軸距 Wheelbase(mm): 2,857
長闊 Length/Width/Height (mm): 4,815 / 1,903 / 1,675
車重 Curb weight (kg): 1,931 (AWD)
引擎 Engine: 3.6-litre V6
最大馬力 Horsepower: 310 hp @ 6,700 rpm
最高扭力 Torque: 271 lb-ft @ 5,000 rpm
波箱 Transmission: 8-speed automatic
擺佈 Engine & Drive Configuration: Front engine, AWD
前懸 Suspension-Front: Independent MacPherson strut
後懸 Suspension-Rear: Independent five-link
油耗 Fuel Consumption ( City / Highway / Combined ) L/100km: 12.9 / 8.9 / 11.1 (AWD)