2019 Cadillac XT4

In a sense, we came here to see Cadillac’s future. From now through 2020, the luxury brand says it will introduce a new model every six months. First up was the 2019 Cadillac XT4 crossover which goes on sale this fall.

Caddy has spent years introducing top flight luxury sedans, burnishing its tarnished luxury badge image, improving its quality and sharpening its styling.

The effort has made it the second most improved brand on the market. The only problem is that as Cadillac has improved so has its competitors, namely the German luxury brands. That’s why as we were told the XT4 is extraordinarily important.

In a phrase, they started with a clean sheet of paper – almost. This luxury crossover carries the design language of Cadillac with a couple of subtle twists. One designer said when they first envisioned the XT4 a baby Escalade came to mind. But I’m not so sure that they want the public to think of their newest crossover as a shrunk down version of their flagship Escalade.

Still, it has the sharp edged look of a Cadillac without the sharp edges. The grille was a little smaller but you’d need a micrometer to tell by how much. The edges weren’t so edgy and that gave the XT4 a more rounded refined look. It had a sophisticated swag that they hope will attract a younger yet affluent buyer.

The XT4 still had Cadillacs LED light blades in the front which serve as daytime running lights. But they didn’t extend down through the fascia and there was a light brow over the LED headlamps which all XT4s have no matter the trim line. The rear sported the LED light blades as well but there was also a brow that extended inward to form an inverted L.

The XT4 comes with 18-inch standard wheels but it can be equipped with 20-inch wheels. There was a power bulge in the hood but it wasn’t distracting from the overall look and you really didn’t have to look over it to see the road.

And under that hood was a new 2.0 liter twin scroll turbocharged four-cylinder engine that made almost 240 horsepower, or 237 to be exact. It also made a hefty 258 pound-feet of torque between 1,500 and 4,000 rpm. What’s more, it was mated to a nine-speed automatic transmission.

Translated that torque range meant the 2019 Cadillac XT4 accelerated with authority from just about any speed. And the twin scroll turbocharger meant there was virtually no lag between pedal depression and engine reaction and a nine-speed close ratio automatic transmission meant fuel consumption was pretty good.

Oh, and lest I forget, this four-cylinder engine had cylinder deactivation; it could and did run on two cylinders when driving conditions were appropriate. But we never felt it switch.

The EPA rating was 24 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway for the front-wheel-drive model. Mileage was 22 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway for the all-wheel-drive model. The XT4’s chief engineer who was riding with us said the AWD version can get the magical 30 mpg most of the time. But because it was not all of the time, implicit in the 29 mpg rating was that they decided not to incur the wrath of the EPA.