2017 Cadillac XT5 Arrives, Bids Adieu to SRX

Cadillac introduces its new Luxury Crossover: the XT5. Premiering in Dubai and LA, this is the first of Cadillac’s portfolio to bear the XT prefix–not to be confused with the XTS–designating it as a Crossover Touring vehicle and continuing the new, alphanumeric, global nomenclature.

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This supplants the Theta-Epsilon-based second-gen SRX and manages to be both lighter and larger than it. This is great news for Cadillac and potential buyers, as the outgoing SRX was not known to be a performer and was widely perceived as too compact to be a luxury crossover SUV. In such a crowded market segment, this marketing mix was terminal.

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The XT5 will showcase such niceties as Apple Carplay and android auto compatibility as well as a new CUE system and an admittedly more-interesting-than-it-sounds feature: Rear Camera Mirror system. [Imagine seeing through your rear seat occupants and D-pillars.] Also included are Driver Awareness and Driver Assist packages, which are essentially a full suite of smart cruise, accident avoidance, and park assist functionality. Though, conspicuously, there has been no mention of Cadillac’s “Super Cruise”.

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These tech touches are highly important for today’s buyers–particular in luxury and near-luxury segments. Some above-and-beyond items include: an optional, reconfigurable, color HUD, 4G connectivity with wifi hotspot, a Surround Vision [bird’s eye view] external camera system, and optional full-LED headlamps.

Interior

Cadillac’s marketing materials emphasize ‘space, modernity, elegance, and craftmanship’, and while marketing fluff is usually just that, I’m lending a little credence to it here. Overall, there is a sense of airiness to the cabin, a high-quality appearance to the surfaces, and a material selection that will suit a variety of upscale tastes. Pictured here, the colors and materials strike this viewer as highly appropriate.

2017-Cadillac-XT5-motocrit-010When the XT5 hits showrooms, it will be available with five interior color choices and at least six trim material choices including carbon fiber, aluminum, and real wood. The modernity of the cabin’s design strikes this viewer in the controlled layering of the surfaces of the dash and center stack. Fully-leather-wrapped paneling is a time-tested luxury appointment, and it looks excellent in the newest crop of Cadillac vehicles. Clearly the IP and center display were understood as being digital from inception, but there are still the physical buttons current drivers expect and appreciate.

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While the switchgear might appear to have been lifted directly from a previous-generation Mercedes or BMW, the steering wheel exudes a certain independent attitude. The unlikely placement of wood is a point in Caddy’s favor, and while it looks appropriately comfortable and luxurious, the lines don’t appear to 100-percent jibe with the rest of the interior language. There are also a LOT of buttons on that wheel. Perhaps too many, and the placement is broad, so this could be a UI speedbump. Still, these could work in practice–only a hands-on would really tell.

Exterior

With a solid stance and more appealing proportions than its predecessor, the XT5 certainly represents Cadillac’s current aesthetic well. Cadillac’s new design language is being solidified as various similarities with the CT6, CTS, and ATS are visible with forms constructed of interlaced volumes creating crisply delineated compound surfacing. One might say the forms are taut, strong, and clean.

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Not unadorned, but with thoughtful, deliberate details that seem to focus on punctuating the body panels rather than simply decorating them. Quite nicely done. The front fascia shows a lot of restraint in controlling the complexity of the surfacing as it shows more of a bas relief approach than full-on sculpture. Looking forward to a closer look at the lamps and grill… as well as those those exterior door pulls… light-pipe-illuminated? Another nice touch.

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This will likely be  a hit with its target market [presumably: well-to-do soccer moms] but what will the new Escalade look like–and what badge will that wear?

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