Road Test: 2021 Cadillac XT5 Sport AWD

Cadillac boasts that the XT5 is its best-selling vehicle and after a week with the 2021 version of the compact luxury SUV, it was pretty easy to see why it is liked by so many.

It has a stylish exterior and offers a solid driving performance, with the only major drawback to me being what seemed like a little bit of an outdated design around the central infotainment screen.

2021 Cadillac XT5

The XT5 is available in three trims: Luxury, Premium Luxury and the top-of-the-line Sport AWD model, which was what we tested. It rings in at $59,298. A Luxury FWD model starts under $50,000.

Our tester featured a host of changes that arrived for the 2021 model year, including 20-inch wheels exclusive to the Sport trim, as well as a new Wilder Metallic paint job, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as the built-in Alexa functionality.

2021 Cadillac XT5

Powertrain: There are two engines available on the XT5, starting with a turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine. The Sport trim comes only with the larger 3.6L V6 under the hood, which delivers 310 horsepower and 271 pound-feet of torque in a smooth and almost effortless manner.

Either engine is paired with a nine-speed automatic transmission that is activated through an electronic shift lever and operates quite smoothly.

In terms of fuel efficiency, the V6 is rated at a combined average of 11.2 litres per 100 kilometres and I was moderately surprised to return an average of 11.7 L/100 km.

2021 Cadillac XT5

Exterior: In terms of styling, the XT5 presents a solid design that, while not the flashiest out there, is still quite attractive. But clearly it hits the right notes with its intended audience given the aforementioned popularity for the brand.

The only extra for our tester was a $900 charge for the Wilder Metallic exterior paint, one of the new colours available for the XT5 in 2021. Paired with the 20-inch 12-spoke wheels with a pearl nickel finish, it’s a good look overall.

The Sport trim also features some other exterior modifications, including a unique grill treatment, as well as clear tail lamp lenses and gloss black accents.

2021 Cadillac XT5

Interior: When you slip inside the five-seat XT5 for a drive, you are immediately struck by how quiet the cabin is when you are out on the road. Even when pressing the engine hard, I didn’t find the noise overwhelming.

And other than the small gripe about the infotainment design, the XT5’s interior is luxurious and spacious, with generous amounts of leg room for rear passengers. The wide cabin, which can seat five, also means you never feel cramped.

Materials and build quality are also excellent, and there’s a clean design and layout for all the controls in the centre stack and console.

Infotainment: Regardless of how it’s housed in the dash, the infotainment system itself is not bad at all.

2021 Cadillac XT5

The screen is only 8 inches, so on the small side compared to some other models out there, but it delivers a good user experience overall. In the Sport model, it comes with a navigation system and a nice Bose Centrepoint Surround Sound 14-speaker system with amplifier.

It also offers a 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot and the previously mentioned wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Controlling the system can be done through touchscreen functionality or the rotary controller in the centre console. Either option worked well once you get used to the interface

Drive: The XT5 is a smooth operator on the road, with a good amount of power from the engine, which can be modulated using the drive mode selector to flip between touring, sport, off-road or all-wheel drive modes.

Cadillac says the Sport model is designed for a more performance-oriented experience, including enhanced steering response and body control. Some tight turns and fast corners definitely showed that the work on the XT5 Sport paid off.

Conclusion: The XT5 is a very solid package from Cadillac, especially in the Sport trim. It delivers a little more driving dynamism, as well we good looks and an overall enjoyable experience for occupants. The whisper-quiet and luxurious cabin is a another selling point for the XT5, while also offering a decent cargo area behind the back seats.

It is up against some stiff competition, especially the German automakers, but the Cadillac name still has a certain cachet in the market that will garner the XT5 the attention it deserves.

2021 Cadillac XT5 Sport AWD
Price as tested: $59,298.00
Freight: $2,100.00
Configuration: Front engine/All-wheel drive
Engine/transmission: 3.6-litre V6/ 9-speed automatic
Power/torque: 310 horsepower/ 271 lb-ft of torque
Fuel (capacity): Regular (83.2 L)
Combined fuel economy ratings (L/100 km): 11.2 L/100 km
Observed fuel economy (L/100 km): 11.8 L/100 km
Warranties: 4-years/80,000 km (basic)
Competitors: Audi Q5, BMW X3, Lexus RX, Mercedes GLC Class, Volvo XC60

Link: Cadillac Canada

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