The Cadillac XT4 competes in a tough space: subcompact luxury crossovers. That means it takes on the very good alternatives like the Audi Q3, the Mercedes-Benz GLA, and the Volvo XC40, among others. With that in mind, there's little – possibly outside of looks – that would get us to choose the XT4 over any of those alternatives.
We put nearly 1,000 miles on the Cadillac XT4 and discovered a poorly executed option in a class ripe with much better options. The engine is loud and harsh, the throttle is too jerky, and the relatively stiff suspension and unsupportive seats simply make it uncomfortable over long distances.
save over $3,400 on average off MSRP* on a new Cadillac XT4
Distinctive, Likable Styling
One thing we can say definitively about the Cadillac XT4 is that it looks like nothing else in the class. Cadillac’s aggressive angular styling, found on everything from the CT4 sedan to the Escalade, suits the small crossover exceptionally well. Offset by a trapezoidal grille, waterfall headlights, and vertical taillights, the XT4 is one of the best-looking vehicles in the entire segment.
Our Premium Luxury tester (slotted between the base Luxury and range-topping Sport) gets trim-specific satin chrome finishes around the windows, on the lower fascia, and even dons satin roof rails. This specific XT4 also wears the brand’s stunning Autumn Metallic orange paint, a $625 option that feels worth every penny.
Like most modern Cadillacs, the XT4 is very nice to drive. The small crossover is one of the more dynamic options in the class thanks to its expertly tuned suspension, which affords it a sporty feel. The steering is well-weighted and reactive as well, and in the corners, the body remains relatively flat. Granted, the XT4 is no sports-UV (yet) – it'd probably benefit from the available all-wheel-drive system, too – but Cadillac's consistently well-tuned suspension carry over to this small crossover. There are issues, but the driving experience isn't one of them.
We won't go as far as saying the XT4 is fast, but the turbocharged 2.0-liter engine certainly has some giddy-up. Good for 238 horsepower and 258 pound-feet, the four-cylinder engine makes the XT4 feel peppy around town and gives it enough power to easily overtake other cars on the highway. Especially in Sport mode – which yields a sharper throttle response – the XT4 feels sprightly and eager. It's all paired to a nine-speed automatic that is relatively seamless and shifts quickly.
Harsh Around Town
The Cadillac XT4 has three drive modes: Snow, Normal, and Sport. But when driving around town in Normal mode, the small crossover almost feels like it's in Sport – it's way too harsh. The throttle is extremely twitchy and the engine revs abruptly and loudly. And if you do tick the drive mode selector to Sport, the XT4 is even harsher still. Just the faintest poke at the throttle propels the Caddy with unlikable haste. What's more, the brakes aren't very good, meaning you really have to bury your foot into the brake pedal to bring the XT4 back down to speed.
For the most part, we actually drove the XT4 around at moderate speeds in Snow mode (yes, even in Florida). Snow mode dulls the throttle and engine response to manageable levels. Cadillac should consider retuning all three of these drive modes.
Loud On The Highway
If you thought the XT4 was loud around town, it's even worse at high speeds. Not only is the engine noisy on the highway, there's also an annoying amount of wind buffeting and road noise that enter the cabin. Of the nearly 1,000 miles we put on the XT4, a large chunk of it was highway time and the outside noise that entered the cabin was almost too much to bear by the end of it.
Just Not Comfortable
Part of those 1,000 driven miles included getting acquainted with the seats and suspension – very acquainted. Plainly put, the seats in the XT4 are bad. The Caddy does at least have real leather buckets with heating, ventilation, eight-way power adjustability, and even a massage function as part of the $2,600 Comfort package. But it was impossible to find a truly enjoyable seating position, there was little support, and the leather just felt flimsy and cheap. Combine that with a suspension that rides rough – even small undulations felt like too much for the XT4 – and it made for a pretty harsh ride.
XT4 Competitor Reviews:
Gallery: 2021 Cadillac XT4: Pros And Cons
2021 Cadillac XT4 Premium Luxury