Wards 10 Best UX Judges’ Log for Sept. 6: Cadillac XT4, Mercedes A220, Subaru Outback

Editors find the voice controls in the Cadillac XT4 wanting while praising the crisp displays in the Mercedes A220 and are impressed with the low-price tag of the Subaru Outback.

Amy Alexander, Data Analyst

September 6, 2019

3 Min Read
Cadillac XT4 steering-wheel (003)
Cadillac XT4 steering wheel materials fail to impress one judge.

As part of the 2019 10 Best UX awards, WardsAuto editors are sharing their impressions of vehicles we’re testing. In this installment, we cover highlights of the Cadillac XT4, Mercedes A220 and Subaru Outback.

Previous installments focused on the Ford Explorer Platinum 4WD, Lexus ES350 Ultra Lux, Mazda3 Sedan, GMC Sierra Denali, Honda Insight, Lexus UX 200 F SportChevy Blazer, Nissan Altima, Toyota RAV4BMW 330i, Nissan Kicks, Volkswagen ArteonFord Explorer, Lexus ES350, Mazda3, Lincoln Nautilus, Kia Telluride and Audi A8.

For the UX competition, we evaluate the user experience behind the wheel and test all-new vehicles. We assess a vehicle’s connectivity, design, controls, displays, navigation and maps, ADAS functionality, infotainment, overall value and elements that surprise and delight, and we give high marks for features that are easy to use and for intuitively integrated technology.

We’re wrapping up testing for 10 Best UX and will reveal the winners Sept. 10, with trophies presented Oct. 1 at the WardsAuto User Experience Conference at the Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi, MI.


Cadillac XT4


Jim Irwin: Voice controls often needed repeating to get the navigation and audio to work. Selector on steering wheel didn’t lead to a lot of vehicle information. Good turn-by-turn maps.

Christie Schweinsberg: Adaptive cruise control worked pretty well. It brought me to some gentle stops. Slow to accelerate when someone pulls out of view, so I intervened a few times. Natural braking when trailing people.

Dave Zoia: The gauges are yesterday. Screen decent size and clean graphically. Mix of pretty good materials with some that seem cheap. Steering wheel comes to mind as example of latter.


Mercedes A220


James Amend: Knock-your-socks-off clarity. None of the gauge colors ever bleed together. Superb. Best car on the market right now, in my opinion. At $51,000 it is an absolute (gulp!) steal.

Bob Gritzinger: Great mapping and easy voice programming. Extra points for automatic intersection camera view in center screen to aid in “seeing” around obstacles like larger vehicles in adjacent lanes.

Drew Winter: Am I the only one astounded by the augmented reality navigation? I was driving down a dark street to my house and addresses appeared in front of each house like road signs. I’ve NEVER seen that before. 

Schweinsberg: For everything you’re getting it is a pretty good deal. ADAS and infotainment could use some tweaking, as could materials, but you’re getting a lot of advanced tech here plus some razzle-dazzle for the price of a Honda Pilot or Chevy Blazer.

Zoia: Not a big fan of the touchpad. Could argue it looks cleaner, but as a person who struggles with that on a laptop, I would prefer a wheel. Steering wheel controls are tiny, and the little touchpads there take some concentration. Crisp HUD and great screens.

MercedesBenz A220 - resized.JPG

MercedesBenz A220 - resized_0




Subaru Outback


Tom Murphy: Surprised and delighted to see heated AND COOLED seats, I believe, for the first time on a Subaru. When Ascent launched a year ago, I distinctly remember asking if cooled seats were available yet and they said no, not on any Subarus. Well-equipped for $40,705, it’s easy to see why Subaru is one of America’s fastest-growing vehicle brands.

Amend: Not the best maps we’ve seen but more than serviceable. Impressive suite of ADAS and fitting with Subaru’s brand. Forward camera great for off-road. Lots to offer at $40K including AWD. It’ll hit the sweet spot for a lot of folks.

Amy Alexander: I was not crazy about the infotainment system, but the car did not lack connectivity. I don’t think $40k is a bad price.

Subaru Outback large new display screen - resized.JPG

Subaru Outback large new display screen - resized_0



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