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Behind The Wheel – 2017 Cadillac XT5 Luxury Crossover

Published: 15/06/2017 - Filed under: Home » News »

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In the crowded world of luxury crossover SUVs, Cadillac's XT5 delivers a fun driving experience, a luxurious interior and solid build quality

For me, when it comes to luxury vehicles, that first impression goes a long way. As soon as I slid my butt into the driver's seat of the 2017 Cadillac XT5, I knew that I was in for a treat.

Hand-sewn leather seats and an overall attention to detail make the interior a lovely place to be

Hand-sewn leather seats and an overall attention to detail make the interior a lovely place to be, (Photo courtesy of Cadillac)

My test vehicle, the top-of-the-line Platinum AWD model, came with a luscious Dark Adriatic Blue exterior and a creamy smooth Maple Sugar leather interior. That tawny leather is complimented by jet black accents and it all looks really cool. From the hand-stitched leather on the seats to the solid "thunk" the door makes when closed, it certainly competes with similar offerings from Audi, Lexus, Infiniti and Mercedes-Benz.

I'm not normally an SUV kind of guy. I don't have kids, a bunch of dogs or the kind of outdoor hobbies that make a SUV necessary or even practical. But I spent a week with the XT5, which included a move from L.A. to Palm Springs and it exceeded my expectations every time. It was a fun car to take out for the evening or for errands but a seriously functional moving van with all its seats down and its SUV interior space.

The interior is spacious, both for passengers and / or cargo

The interior is spacious, both for passengers and / or cargo. (Photo courtesy of Cadillac)

On the freeway even touching triple digits (on deserted stretches of the 10 in the desert) it was rock solid and just comfortable to cruise along in.

Design

In my humble, yet expert opinion, the exterior shape and design was the XT5's weakest point, and has become one of its strongest. Smooth lines and gentle curves have won out over the angular edges and corners of previous generations and it just looks great. On the XT5 I drove, the deep blue exterior looked great with that light leather interior, and also worked well with the fully-polished, 12-spoke 20-inch rims. A particularly convenient interior feature, there's a large opening in the center tunnel perfect for a purse.

The 2017 XT5 finally hits a nice styling note with a more gentle shape than past year models

The 2017 XT5 finally hits a nice styling note with a more gentle shape than past year models (Photo by Freddy Sherman)

Luxury

The XT5 delivers a vehicle that instantly feels solid and luxurious. The build quality is quickly evident, from the “solid-ness” of the doors to the feels and smells of the leather and wood interior. The seats, fully semi-aniline leather. When it comes to cars, luxury means delivering a vehicle that excites all your senees.

For my road test, I took the XT5 on a weekend getaway from L.A. to Palm Springs

Technology

As with other models, the XT5 uses Cadillac's CUE (Cadillac User Experience) system. The system uses an 8-inch color display and is quite intuitive.The XT5 can be outfitted with a cocoon of safety features like Surround Vision, Side Blind Zone Alert, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Lane Keep Assist, etc. You also get great traction and safe driving in all road conditions with Cadillac's twin-clutch, all-wheel-drive system.I also really liked the sound from the 14-speaker Bose surround sound system. As with other Cadillac models, the car is a 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot.

Power

As expected, power is one of the XT5's strong points, coming with 310 horsepower generated by a 3.6L V6. With the car in Sport mode, you get quick shift points, high revs and a fun driving experience. With careful driving on the freeway, I was able to see 30 MPG. Interestingly, while the XT5 has its final assembly at GM's Spring Hill, Tennessee manufacturing plant and the engine is also made in the USA, the 8-speed automatic transmission is made in Japan. The transmission comes from Aisin, a Toyota subsidiary that supplies transmissions to every major car manufacturer including Porsche. I would love to see a V-Series example of the XT5 maybe adding another 100 HP with some tuning or turbos.

Handling

You get car-like handling and a nice low ride height and center of gravity, but are reminded it's an SUV during hard cornering. Again, this is an area where a V-Series version of the XT5 with a beefed up sports suspension would be a cool. The ride, controllable using the Driver Select modes, can be wonderfully smooth and luxurious in the Touring setting.

Verdict

With a base price under $40K, the 2017 Cadillac XT5 delivers a great, luxury crossover SUV. Now, yes, to get a proper, total luxury experience, you have to shell out another $20K (the loaded version I tested priced out at $62,850), but even for $63K you still get a well-built, luxurious vehicle that's fun to drive. At or around that $60K price point, I think it delivers a more luxurious, more powerful vehicle than what you get from Lexus or Infiniti and a lot more than what you get from Audi or Mercedes-Benz.

The top-of-the-line Platinum AWD model

The top-of-the-line Platinum AWD model (Photo by Freddy Sherman)

By Freddy Sherman

Freddy is a regular contributor to Business Traveler across all print, digital, web and social channels.  To follow Freddy directly, you can find more of his content at luxuryfred.com and here:

     YouTube - Freddy Sherman channel
     Twitter - @luxuryfred
     Instagram - @luxuryfred
     Facebook - Luxury Fred

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