From £76,2404
Big US XT5 SUV is coming to Europe but not the UK, which is a relief on this evidence

Our Verdict

Cadillac CTS-V

Hot Cadillac CTS gets Corvette Z06's 640bhp supercharged 6.2-litre V8; is it a recipe for success or disaster?

What is it?

Cadillac is the latest manufacturer to have clocked the fact that the world (and not just the US) loves SUVs. So it’s going to start making lots of new ones – four of them, to be precise – all sitting below the ‘iconic’ Escalade in its range.

The first new Cadillac SUV is the XT5. It sits between a BMW X3 and a BMW X5, although it is closer to the latter in size. For those of you who know your North American SUVs, the XT5 replaces the quirky-looking SRX in Cadillac’s range. Google it.

It’s the first model to be based on Cadillac’s new architecture for SUVs: a flexible structure that will go on to underpin the other three promised models. One will be bigger than the XT5 (yet not as big as the Escalade) and the other two smaller.

The word ‘new’ is mentioned a lot in the blurb on the XT5, and is used to describe the engine and interior among other things. But if looking at the pictures and reading this light overview of the XT5’s vitals has you rushing towards the phone wishing to order one immediately, you can’t, dear UK resident.

Brexit or no Brexit, Cadillac is offering the XT5 only in mainland Europe. Now, why could that be?

What's it like?

Ah. That’s why. It’s, erm, not very good. It has plainly been set-up exclusively for wallowing around on US highways (and there’s nothing wrong with that per se, for that’s what 99% of the XT5s sold will likely do), but the fact is Cadillac offers it for European buyers on European roads leaves it open to criticism.

The whole thing lacks sophistication. This is quite worrying when this is the first SUV off a new architecture with the world ‘global’ in it, which could in time produce smaller, more Euro-friendly models that could make it to the UK if Cadillac follows up its interest in making models with right-hand drive, and diesel and plug-in hybrid drivetrains.

It doesn’t ride very well at all. Bumps at low speeds are felt too readily in the cabin, and any kind of undulation or dip in the road at higher speeds sends the body wobbling. The body control feels close to non-existent; any passenger suffering from car sickness should take the train instead. When the body moves, you sway around with it.

It doesn’t ride well and it doesn’t handle well either. The steering feels springy around the centre and is devoid of any feel. When you corner, you feel like you’re in the sidecar of a racing bike, helping the thing balance itself round corners.

The XT5’s all-new engine also underwhelms. There are normally aspirated engines to be celebrated and preserved, but this all-new Cadillac engine isn’t one of them. It feels gutless and doesn’t sound great either. It’s smooth enough, and the eight-speed transmission is fairly slick-shifting once you’re on the move, but it never feels as brisk as those power and torque figures make out. What it does feel is anaemic.

Redeeming features? It’s spacious, and offers plenty of room for all passengers and their luggage. The driving position is nice and visibility is good. There’s also a shed-load of equipment included as standard, including loads of active safety stuff, an infotainment system with a full suite of connectivity functions such as Apple CarPlay, a 34-speaker Bose sound system and everything else is electrically-powered and adjustable. Indeed, the only option is colour.

Not that the cabin is particularly great. The perceived quality is a level below the likes of Audi and BMW, and some of the switchgear on the steering column and steering wheel looks straight from the bargain end of the GM parts bin.

Should I buy one?

Even if you wanted to buy an XT5 officially in the UK – and you really shouldn’t – there is no official channel in which to do so. Phew.

All of Cadillac’s models fall short against European rivals overall, but at least they’ve all got a bit about them: the CTS-V has explosive performance, the CT6 has a distinct character and smooth ride and the Escalade has a real presence.

But the XT5 has no such raison d’être on European shores. It’s blooming expensive, and just not suited to our roads. It’s a somewhat pointless exercise for Cadillac to offer it this side of the Atlantic in the first place. Move on, nothing to see here.

Cadillac XT5 Platinum

Location Berlin, Germany; On sale na; Price €66,800 (in Germany); Engine V6, 3649cc, petrol; Power 310bhp at 6700rpm; Torque 271lb ft at 5000rpm; Gearbox 8-spd automatic; Kerb weight 1931kg; 0-62mph 7.5sec; Top speed 130mph; Economy 28.2mpg (combined); CO2 rating/BIK tax band 229g/km, na

 

Join the debate

Comments
4

16 July 2016
Autocar quote "Brexit or no Brexit, Cadillac is offering the XT5 only in mainland Europe. Now, why could that be?" unquote. SIMPLE - because Cadillac is like Europe, out of touch over priced, and falling apart

what's life without imagination

16 July 2016
So what if the Cadillac doesn't stand up to German standards? It presents an interesting and good looking alternative to the bland offerings from Europe. Plenty of people buy cars that don't match the German standards, but they're all boring too - offerings from Korea, for example, or the so-called "good value" Dacia toss aimed directly at people who can't stand the thought of not buying something brand new even though they could get a much better car by buying used. Why the UK motoring press is so dead-set against the American brands when they offer the some of the only cars in the world that still have charisma, I really don't know. Even the American versions of European cars are nicer to me - take Buick for example - mostly rebadged Vauxhalls, yet they have more plush interiors and a more luxurious image. If I was in the market for a vehicle in the XT5's segment, and it was available in right-hand-drive in the UK, I'd take it in a heartbeat over the soulless Germans, however materially perfect they may be. God bless America(n cars)!

16 July 2016
So what if the Cadillac doesn't stand up to German standards? It presents an interesting and good looking alternative to the bland offerings from Europe. Plenty of people buy cars that don't match the German standards, but they're all boring too - offerings from Korea, for example, or the so-called "good value" Dacia toss aimed directly at people who can't stand the thought of not buying something brand new even though they could get a much better car by buying used. Why the UK motoring press is so dead-set against the American brands when they offer the some of the only cars in the world that still have charisma, I really don't know. Even the American versions of European cars are nicer to me - take Buick for example - mostly rebadged Vauxhalls, yet they have more plush interiors and a more luxurious image. If I was in the market for a vehicle in the XT5's segment, and it was available in right-hand-drive in the UK, I'd take it in a heartbeat over the soulless Germans, however materially perfect they may be. God bless America(n cars)!

18 July 2016
That's not bad for a truly awful car with a huge v6 engine, brick like aerodynamics and weighing as much as a Porsche Panamera. Emmm love to see a proper 2 day test results.

 

Hydrogen cars just went POP

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Lexus LC500
    Car review
    20 October 2017
    Futuristic Lexus LC coupé mixes the latest technology with an old-school atmospheric V8
  • Maserati Levante S GranSport
    First Drive
    20 October 2017
    Get ready to trade in your diesels: Maserati’s luxury SUV finally gets the engine it’s always needed
  • Jaguar XF Sportbrake TDV6
    First Drive
    19 October 2017
    The handsome Jaguar XF Sportbrake exhibits all the hallmarks that makes the saloon great, and with the silky smooth diesel V6 makes it a compelling choice
  • Volkswagen T-Roc TDI
    First Drive
    19 October 2017
    Volkswagen's new compact crossover has the looks, the engineering and the build quality to be a resounding success, but not with this diesel engine
  • BMW M550i
    First Drive
    19 October 2017
    The all-paw M550i is a fast, effortless mile-muncher, but there's a reason why it won't be sold in the UK