2017 Cadillac XT5 first drive: New name, new face, same unshakable formula
The XT5 is the third generation of the Cadillac SRX crossover in spirit, if not in name, and it arrives on the heels of the CT6 sedan. The midsize crossover is all new inside and out, but it is staying true to the established dimensions, aiming to take on the likes of the Audi Q5 and the Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class.
It still wears a familiar face, however, as the XT5 continues on with the Art and Science design language. The crossover has adopted vertical lights integrated into the edges of the front fascia -- something the automaker wants to be a signature design element for the brand -- but overall, Cadillac has not altered the overall look or the elements of the exterior greatly; like the CT6 sedan, the XT5 crossover's design is an evolutionary rather than revolutionary step.
If something has been lost, it is a little bit of weight: Cadillac shaved off 278 pounds from the outgoing model through a liberal use of high-strength steel and laser welding throughout the structure, with greater stiffness being a nice side benefit of the diet.
In an age when one expects a wide array of engines for a given model, the XT5 is almost a throwback to a simpler age of beefy one-size-fits-all powerplants. There is only one engine and one transmission on the menu, with the 3.6-liter V6 sending power to the front or all four wheels via an eight-speed automatic transmission. This redesigned powerplant churns out 310 hp and 271 lb-ft of torque and features cylinder deactivation that allows it to switch down to four cylinders when the XT5 decides it doesn't need the other two, typically during interstate cruising.
Cadillac has redesigned the interior with similar restraint, opting for a muted, conservative feel instead of bold design statements that the brand pushed a generation ago, when its rebirth began. The Cadillac of today can now relax, something evident in the quietly luxurious design of the interior -- one that does not try to impress by overwhelming. The automaker focused on material quality in retrimming the cabin, offering real wood and aluminum trim elements throughout and focusing on driver and passenger comfort.