First Drive: 2017 Cadillac XT5

– Tilting, Newfoundland

Catching three flights, a bus, and a ferry to a remote island at the eastern edge of North America isn’t exactly standard procedure for evaluating a midsize crossover – let alone the XT5, the latest example from Cadillac. Nevertheless, Cadillac descended upon Fogo Island (population: just about 3,000), which lies about 1,500 miles northeast of the company’s newly minted headquarters in New York City, to introduce its middleweight CUV.

It’s downright rare to see a Cadillac in the fishing communities of remote Fogo Island, yet the proprietor of the island’s only cafe, Flat Earth Coffee, hardly noticed the XT5. She did, however, immediately identify us as visitors. “You’re the only strangers here,” she said, handing over a cheesy pastry, fresh from the oven.

2017 Cadillac XT5


The XT5 evolves the SRX with more than a hint of CT6 in its details.

All of the inhabitants of the island might well know each other, but they seemed excited to meet the cadre of XT5 crossovers that arrived there en masse. First things first: In so many ways, the XT5 is antithetical to the Escalade, the model that has come to symbolize what Cadillac knows how to do well with an SUV. It was easy for enthusiasts to become disenchanted with the second-generation SRX, which ditched the first-gen’s V8 and rear-wheel-drive chassis. Despite the change in personality, sales figures crept ever higher as the SRX, Cadillac’s oldest model, skewed carlike, to become the marque’s bestseller.

The XT5 continues ...