Competes with: Acura RDX, Audi Q5, BMW X3, Lexus RX, Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class, Volvo XC60; the sportier performance variants of the Audi, BMW and Mercedes models
Looks like: The 2019 model with the new Cadillac-family grille and new bumpers; mechanical and tech changes are more substantial
Drivetrains: A 310-horsepower, 3.6-liter V-6 or new 237-hp, turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder; both paired with new nine-speed automatic transmission, along with front-wheel drive or one of two all-wheel-drive systems
On sale: Late summer
Cadillac brought its refreshed 2020 XT5 compact SUV along to an event to show off its new XT6 three-row SUV. While we didn’t get to drive the XT5, we did get the lowdown on the 2020 version — including details on the mid-cycle changes, which are light on styling tweaks but include a new base engine, new transmission, more standard safety tech and a new, sportier trim level.
Related: 2019 Cadillac XT4 Review: A Tidy Newbie With Teething Pains
The XT5 is a key model for Cadillac. It’s one of the brand’s global best-sellers and carries the Cadillac crest in the crowded and hot-selling market for luxury compact SUVs. It’s been bearing a lot of the load for the brand as GM’s luxury brand fell behind other luxe marques in rolling out SUVs to meet the shift in buyer tastes. It was alone as Cadillac’s car-based-SUV offering along with the big track-based Escalade. Now it’s the middle child, slotting between the new and smaller 2019 XT4 and new three-row 2020 XT6.
To better fit in that slot, the 2020 XT5 gets more standard equipment, revised trim-level packaging and a higher price. Pricing was not disclosed, but brand officials said the base price would increase by “about $1,200,” quickly pointing to more standard equipment, though the SUV also will have a less powerful standard engine. Beyond the base model, now called Luxury, the trim levels diverge (Cadillac calls it a “Y” strategy that will extend to other models) into a Premium Luxury track and a Sport line with a darker look and some performance chassis bits, as well as standard V-6 power. Either of those variants can be spruced up more with a Platinum package with nicer interior and additional luxuries. Among the changes:
CUE Under Control
The biggest tech change inside is a new knob and button controller on the center console for Cadillac’s CUE multimedia system to supplement the 8-inch touchscreen. A real volume knob also functions as a toggle for audio track changes, and the large knob controller also functions as a “joystick” that lets you jog it to swipe on the screen. It’s the control system included with the new XT6 and reflects the new system in the 2019 XT4, though without the additional row of physical buttons. In the XT4, Cadillac ditched the touch-sensitive panels that bedeviled earlier generations of CUE with their slow and imprecise response, including the maddening touch-sensitive volume bar. Connectivity includes USB and the newer USB-C ports.
More Safety Tech Standard
Now standard on the XT5 are several safety and driver assistance features, including a front collision system with low-speed automatic braking and pedestrian detection, lane departure warning and lane keep assist, cornering lights, teen driver control and a rear-seat reminder. Blind spot warning and rear cross-traffic alert remain optional and are not available on the base model.
Optional tech, depending on trim level, includes a 360-degree camera system, a head-up display, an automatic parking system and a night vision system that displays on the dashboard and will alert to potential hazards. The standard backup camera has higher definition and there is a new rear pedestrian alert.
You’ll Have to Pay More for the V-6
The new base engine for the Luxury and Premium Luxury trim levels is a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder. The new four-cylinder made its debut on the XT4 and puts out 237 horsepower and 258 pounds-feet of torque. GM’s ubiquitous 3.6-liter V-6, formerly the only XT5 powerplant, also shows up, putting out 310 hp and 271 pounds-feet of torque. The V-6 remains standard for the Sport and is an extra-cost option for the Premium Luxury; it’s not available in the base Luxury trim level. Either engine is paired with a new nine-speed automatic, replacing the eight-speed. And the start-stop system now includes an off switch. The four-cylinder includes an electronic brake assist, which also made its debut on the XT4. We weren’t fans of its pedal feel in the XT4, so we’ll be eager to see if the XT5 brings improvement.
Front- or all-wheel drive is offered for the Luxury and Premium Luxury trims. AWD is standard for the Sport and is a more sophisticated system with a twin-clutch electronic rear differential that can shift torque side-to-side to improve cornering and cut understeer. The Sport also gets an adaptive suspension and sportier transmission and steering tuning, plus standard 20-inch wheels.
Exterior Tweaks and New Sporty Look
The 2020 styling changes are light. A new patterned grille insert is in the same style as other new Cadillacs, including the latest models — namely the XT4, XT6 and new CT5 sedan. The Premium Luxury versions get a satin “Galvano” finish on the bright trim; the grille insert, window trim and lower body trim are black for the Sport. Front and rear bumpers have been mildly revised, and there are new wheel choices. LED headlights, daytime running lights and cornering lights now are standard.
More From Cars.com:
- 2019 Cadillac XT4: 8 Things We Like and 5 We Don’t
- 2019 Cadillac XT4 SUV Promises More Tech in Smaller Package
- Don’t Let the Base Price Fool Ya: Cadillac XT4 Gets High in a Hurry
- 2020 Cadillac XT6: 3-Row Caddy Crossover De-Escalates From Escalade
- 2020 Cadillac CT5: If Anyone Still Wants a Sports Sedan, Enjoy
Interior Trim Upgrades
The interior design remains familiar with some new trim choices and a wrap and stitching on the roomier center console bin. Models with Bose audio upgrade get good-looking perforated stainless-steel speaker grilles. New near-field communications technology enables automatic pairing of compatible devices. A new premium interior choice brings upgraded leather on the seats, door trim and armrests with a black and Kona Brown color scheme. We got to check out one at the reveal, and it looks and feels competitively luxurious.
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