By Peter Perrotta
In Quentin Tarantino’s Oscar winning Once Upon A Time in Hollywood flick, Leonardo DiCaprio’s character – washed up actor Rick Dalton – is chauffeured around by his stunt man, played by Brad Pitt, in a bright yellow 1966 Cadillac Coupe de Ville.
The “Caddy” , like a number of other famous sets of wheels starring in Hollywood movies, plays a prominent and distinct role in this current box office smash hit.
As an 11 year-old kid growing up in the Bronx in 1966, Cadillac’s also played a prominent role in my life. While we didn’t have much money, my father always managed to score a pretty spiffy looking preowned Cadillac to drive our loud, noisy and big family around in.
Fast forward to 2020.
Cadillac is still producing an impressive lineup of cars. But, the SUV – nonexistent in 1966 – is now king of the road.
Enter the 2020 Cadillac XT5 Premium Luxury AWD five seat, compact SUV – the brand’s best selling model globally. I road tested this popular vehicle for one week recently and came away thinking that while a lot has changed at Cadillac over the years some things remain consistent: A Cadillac has a certain genetic feel and makeup to it that distinguishes it from any other vehicle on the road.
What I mean by that is, there is a certain feel a driver gets when he or she gets behind the wheel of a Caddy that makes it feel like a Cadillac. Like those big finned Cadillacs of the 60’s, today’s Cadillac’s feel big, roomy, exude American luxury and ride like…well, Cadillacs – very comfortable, soft and cushy with smooth steering.
While the folks at Car and Driver magazine were less than complimentary in their review of the 2020 XT5, I must wholeheartedly disagree.
The Car and Driver review states: “While the XT5 is the company’s most popular model, it can’t match the driving engagement and luxury experience of similar compact crossovers…even the sportiest XT5 misses the driving verve of alternatives such as the Porsche Macan and Alfa Romeo Stelvio.”
To me, that is a ridiculous comparison. It’s sort of like trying to compare an apple to an orange.
The XT5 is not a European-styled, pedal to the medal, feel the road under your feet SUV. It’s not supposed to be. There are distinct differences in how cars drive based on where they are made – Japan, Germany, Italy or the United States.
While I am not trying to sound the patriotic trumpets here in favor of the good ole’ USA, it’s worth noting that someone who is considering leasing or purchasing a Cadillac isn’t going to expect it to drive like a Porsche or Alfa Romeo.
I would even venture to say that someone who is considering the XT5 doesn’t even have the Macan or Stelvio on their short list of other vehicles to drive and consider.
The XT5 Premium Luxury AWD I tested for one week, has a base price of $50,795. However, it was maxed out loaded with $16,325 worth of options. When you added in the $995 charge for delivery and destination, the grand total MSRP sticker price of this ride clocked in at $68,115.
The list of option packages, included: $4,850 for the Platinum Package; $2,275 for the visibility and technology package; $2,000 for night vision; $1,700 for 20 -inch wheels; $1,300 for the driver assist package; $1,200 for comfort and air quality package; $1,025 for the navigation and a Bose sound system; $1,000 for the 3.6 liter V6 engine; $625 for the Manhattan Noir Metallic paint and $350 for the compact spare tire.
The Platinum package includes upgraded leather; suede headliners; suspension upgrades and illuminated door sills.
New for this year’s XT5 is that the four cylinder, 237 horsepower turbocharged engine is standard and the V6, 310 horsepower power plant is an option. Both are married with a fairly smooth shifting 9-speed automatic transmission.
Personally, I found that the V6 provided ample power to motor this XT5 in and out of trouble in city driving as well as on the highways. There are four select driving modes: 2wd; sport; off road; and AWD comfort.
While some critics have said they felt this V6 was a bit underpowered, I felt that if you put the XT5 in the sport mode there was more than enough power and growl to entertain the aggressive drivers in the crowd.
As far as the EPA fuel ratings go, this XT5 gets 20 miles per gallon overall – 25 mpg’s on the highway and 18 in city driving.
The EPA test estimate that the average annual fuel costs for this vehicle comes in at about $2,000 – about $2,500 more over five years compared to the average new vehicle. It uses about 5 gallons of gas per ever 100 miles.
As of this writing, this vehicle had not been tested for the government’s 5-star safety rating crash test.
New for this year, besides the turbo charged engine, is a newer bolder grille design. The lower front and rear fascia have also been updated.
New technology updates include: a next generation rotary controller; one touch phone pairing; 15 watt wireless charger; enhanced automatic parking assist; new rear pedestrian alert and night vision.
Overall, I found the ride on the XT5 to be impressive. The newer look exterior upgrades are appealing. However, in my opinion, I found the interior accoutrements to be satisfactory, but not overly impressive.
I think Cadillac can offer a more impressive interior design or feel to this model, maybe by adding some fine wood trim and some better ergonomics when it comes to knobs and switches.
On the whole, though, this XT5 offers a quite impressive total package, well worth heavy consideration for anyone considering an SUV in this segment.
Peter Perrotta’s On The Road column appears weekly. Comments and questions are welcomed. To contact him email firstname.lastname@example.org.