2019 Cadillac XT4 Attacks Lux-CUV Market

Cadillac’s sedan-heavy showroom gets a shot in the arm in the form of the new-from-the-ground-up XT4 small luxury CUV. The XT4 features an all-new 2.0L turbo 4-cyl. and the latest UX technology.

Bob Gritzinger, Editor-in-Chief

September 24, 2018

5 Min Read
2019 Cadillac XT4
Cadillac XT4 takes aim at small luxury CUV market.

SEATTLE, WA – Efficiency and drivability are up in General Motors’ all-new 2.0L turbocharged 4-cyl. introduced in the ’19 Cadillac XT4.

The XT4 gives GM a key entry in the hot Small Luxury CUV segment, competing against the likes of the Audi Q3, BMW X1 and Mercedes-Benz GLA. The WardsAuto Small Luxury CUV segment posted a 49.6% increase in 2017 to 112,964 sales and added another 83,724 units through August.

The XT4 was developed from the ground up, only sharing some suspension and user interface parts with other GM vehicles.

The XT4’s sole engine offering features GM’s tripower valvetrain, using a unique sliding camshaft system that provides high intake-valve lift in high-load high-power driving, and low lift under light load, with a third option dubbed Active Fuel Management that shuts down the center two cylinders when not needed. The engine will be offered on the Cadillac CT6 sedan within weeks.

In addition, the new 2.0L (codename LSY) is packed with extras designed to improve efficiency and performance: a twin-scroll turbo with an electrically actuated wastegate providing the ability to manage boost pressure across engine speeds; select fit main bearings marrying one of three bearing thicknesses to each block depending on tolerances measured during assembly; and a continuously variable oil pump and oil cooler.

Active thermal management via an electric water pump and control valve is capable of directing coolant to block, heads or both, depending on demand, as well as warming engine oil, transmission fluid and the cabin as needed. Overall, the engine is 15 lbs. (6.8 kg) lighter than its predecessor.

The engine produces 237 hp and 258 lb.-ft. (350 Nm) of torque, down from the 252 hp and 260- lb.-ft. (352-Nm) turbo 4-cyl. (codename LTG) in vehicles such as the Chevrolet Equinox and GMC Terrain. Versions of the older engine producing as much as 275 hp and 295 lb.-ft. (400 Nm) are offered in Cadillac’s ATS and CTS sedans and the Chevrolet Camaro coupe.

While output is lower, Kris Keary, assistant chief engineer-2.0L turbo, points out the new engine and its turbo are designed to produce full torque from just 1,500 rpm, 1,000 rpm lower than the older engine, and carrying through to 4,000 rpm. Redline is 6,200 rpm.

Power is routed via a smooth-shifting 9-speed automatic transmission to either front wheels or the disconnecting, torque-vectoring twin-clutch AWD system. The AWD is fully disconnected at the front differential when the XT4 is driven in Touring mode. Other modes are fulltime AWD and Sport AWD.

In our test drive here in the Pacific Northwest, the quick response gives the XT4 excellent punch at launch combined with good acceleration at higher speeds as well. This isn’t an engine that tosses you back in your seat, but rather one that excels at providing ample, refined power without drama or high-strung engine or exhaust noise.


All-new 2.0L turbo 4-cyl. debuts in XT4.

The engine’s stop/start and cylinder-deactivation operate nearly unnoticed, with the latter bumping fuel efficiency 15% compared with the prior 4-cyl. turbo, Keary says.

EPA estimates fuel economy for the AWD XT4 at 22/29 mpg (10.7-8.1 L/100 km) city/highway, up from 21/26 mpg (11.2-9.0 L/100 km) city/highway for the prior engine in the ’19 Terrain. We noted on-board fuel-economy readings of 24-27 mpg (9.8-8.7 L/100 km) in our often-spirited driving mostly on winding and hilly two-lane country roads.

The XT4’s stiff chassis features front MacPherson struts and a five-link rear suspension, backed by optional continuously damping control available on Sport models. Electric-hydraulic brakes handle the stopping while eliminating the need for vacuum boost assistance from the engine. The electrically assisted power steering provides ample heft and on-center feel at highway speeds but otherwise feels overly boosted in the pre-production models we drive, requiring what seems like extra turn-in to carve corners.

The XT4’s interiors feature understated combinations of stitched leather along with trim-level-specific wood, carbon fiber or metallic finishes. The cabin is quiet, thanks in part to active noise cancellation that eliminates any low-frequency booming noise at low rpm or when the engine tips into two-cylinder mode.

The cabin’s crown jewel, however, is the next-generation Cadillac user experience interface, featuring an 8.0-in. (20.3-cm) high-definition infotainment screen – the same crisp, 768p-resolution touchscreen that wowed our judges and earned the ’19 Chevrolet Equinox a 2018 Wards 10 Best UX award.

The screen also is offered in the all-new Chevrolet Silverado/GMC Sierra pickups, while the super-responsive system powering the interface first appeared in the Cadillac CTS and then migrated into the ’18 GMC Terrain and Buick Regal Tour X, says Jason Parks, manager-Global Infotainment Product.

In the XT4, the brightly illuminated touchscreen manages myriad onboard functions, either by touch, steering-wheel buttons or a multi-function rotary controller on the center console. Voice controls, tap-to-pair wireless Bluetooth connectivity (Android Auto only, for now), wireless phone charging and 4G LTE Wi-Fi for up to seven devices add to the UX package.

The vehicle’s driver-assistance package includes lane-keeping and adaptive cruise control, managed via steering-wheel controls with functions and operation indicated via the instrument cluster. While neither system rivals the capability of the brand’s flagship Super Cruise in the CT6, the ACC does a great job of managing speed and following distance as well as stop-and-go driving. Although the lane keeping tends to bounce from line to line, we note the system does handle steering for as much as 45 seconds without driver intervention.

The XT4 kicks off an aggressive product blitz during which Cadillac plans to roll out a new vehicle every six months for the next two years, five in all, including replacements for its sedans and the brand’s first Cadillac-specific SUV.

The luxury compact CUV also introduces the brand’s new model strategy featuring luxury and sport models, along with high-end Platinum and performance V-Series models depending on the segment. The XT4 is limited to three models, Luxury starting at $35,790, and Premium Luxury or Sport, both listing for $40,290 to start (prices include $995 destination charge).

The XT4 is built at GM’s Fairfax Assembly Plant in Kansas City, KS, while the engine is assembled at the company’s Spring Hill, TN, plant.

[email protected] @bobgritzinger


About the Author(s)

Bob Gritzinger

Editor-in-Chief, WardsAuto

Bob Gritzinger is Editor-in-Chief of WardsAuto and also covers Advanced Propulsion & Technology for Wards Intelligence.

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