A Different Standard: The 2019 Cadillac XT4 AWD Sport

Front 3/4 view of 2019 Cadillac XT4 Sport
The 2019 Cadillac XT4 AWD Sport.
Those of us of a certain age remember when Cadillac's slogan was "Standard of the World".  It was a time when Cadillacs were what everything else was judged by.  It meant the best.

Like most advertising, it was true sometimes,  not true other times.  Cadillac made some cars that could be considered, with a straight face, to be the best you could buy during that time.  And they made some that weren't.

For the better part of the last 40 years, Cadillac's been trying to regain its prestige. Its current slogan is "Rise Above".  Its one clear winner has been the Escalade.  So now, there's an emphasis on SUVs and crossovers. 

Rear 3/4 view of 2019 Cadillac XT4 Sport
2019 Cadillac XT4 AWD Sport.
A smart move, overall, since smaller luxury crossovers are hot commodities.  Think BMW X1, Audi Q3, Lexus NX, Jaguar E-Pace and Mercedes-Benz GLA

But while showing up is an important first step, it's not enough. 

Our tester was the 2019 Cadillac XT4 AWD Sport---the latest and smallest Cadillac crossover.  $41,795 gets you all-wheel drive, a 2.0-liter turbocharged 237-horsepower four-cylinder engine, a nine-speed automatic transmission (a combination producing an EPA-estimated 22 city/29 highway miles per gallon---our experience was on the low end of that scale), 18-inch ten-spoke alloy wheels, four-wheel independent suspension, selectable driving modes, stability control, traction control, LED headlamps and taillamps, passive entry and keyless start, an eight-way power adjustable driver's seat (six-way for the front passenger), four-way power lumbar support and bolster adjustment for both front seats, driver's memory, adaptive remote start, a 60/40 folding rear seatback, auto-dimming inside rearview mirror, power-folding heated outside mirrors, an eight-inch color touchscreen display, a universal home remote, power liftgate, rain-sensing windshield wipers, lane change alert with side blind zone alert, rear cross traffic alert, a safety alert seat (it vibrates to let you know when you're about to hit something or vice-versa) and an HD rear-vision camera.

Decent value for that level of equipment, right?   Absolutely.  But Cadillac's not aiming for a value proposition---it wants to be considered a prestige vehicle.  It wants to fend off BMW, Audi, Jaguar/Land Rover, Mercedes and the smaller Lincoln crossovers that are coming on the heels of the revelatory new Navigator, which already has Cadillac sweating the details of the next Escalade.

Interior view of 2019 Cadillac XT4 AWD Sport
2019 Cadillac XT4 AWD Sport interior.
It's inside where the Cadillac XT4 begins to lose steam.  Apart from some soft-touch stitched leather in the right places, a bit of carbon fiber and a unique font on the gauges, it all feels very General Motors.  After a couple of evenings out, my wife was stunned to find that she'd been in a Cadillac.  All that registered with her was "small American crossover".

She was even more stunned by the window sticker.  Because our tester didn't stop at standard equipment and $41,795.  There were $14,345 worth of options on this car:

  • Comfort and convenience package (Leather seating surfaces, an upgraded 8-way front passenger power seat adjuster, ventilated front seats with massage control, hands-free liftgate with a projected Cadillac logo to show you where to put your foot at night to activate it): $2,450.
  • Power dual-panel glass sunroof: $1,550.
  • Cadillac User Experience (CUE) with embedded navigation, AM/FM Stereo, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, 13-speaker Bose Centerpoint surround sound system with auxilary amplifier: $1,500.
  • Enhanced Visibility Package (Adds a turn signal and auto-dimming to the outside heated power mirrors, rear camera mirror with washer, automatic parking assist with braking, HD surround vision replacing rear vision camera): $1,500.
  • Technology Package (Wireless charging, air ionizer, power tilt/telescoping steering column, eight-inch color gauge cluster, head-up display): $1,400.
  • Active Sport Suspension: $1,200.
  • 20-inch alloy wheels with diamond-cut titan satin finish: $1,100.
  • Driver Assist Package (Advanced adaptive cruise control, full-speed with stop/go, forward and reverse automatic braking): $1,100.
  • Cold Weather Package (Driver and front passenger heated seats, rear outboard heated seats and heated steering wheel): $850.
  • Driver Awareness Package (Forward collision alert, front pedestrian braking, automatic high-beam control, following distance indicator, lane keep assist with lane departure warning): $770
  • Twilight Blue Metallic paint: $625
  • Trailering Equipment (Heavy duty cooling system, trailer hitch): $300.
Add $995 destination charge and the bottom line is $57,135.

I'll let you catch your breath.

A shade under seven grand less, and you can stay in the same class size, lose two horsepower you won't miss and feel a lot more special in a Lexus NX 300 F Sport.

The 2019 Cadillac XT4 AWD Sport is a fine vehicle---but at this price and in this company, it needs to "Rise Above".