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The 2024 XT4: A Small Cadillac SUV That’s No Baby Escalade

by | May 10, 2024

The 2024 Cadillac XT4 gets a fresh front fascia this year.

2024 Cadillac XT4 is a competent luxury SUV but falls short of being a great Cadillac in crowded luxury CUV segment

It’s no mystery as to why the Cadillac Escalade was the brand’s most popular vehicle in 2023. It’s bold, brash, powerful, sizeable and makes an undeniable statement as a luxury SUV, one that upholds the values that have long been associated with the brand and delivers them.

This is in contrast to the car side of the lineup, which finds GM still trying to deliver Cadillac CT4 and CT5s that ignore their heritage as it looks to Germany for inspiration. They might be great cars, but they’re far from great Cadillacs. On the SUV side, it’s a mixed bag, although none deliver the promise of being a baby Escalade.

Now, GM has always tarted up other GM products and called them Cadillacs when it came to the compact end of the lineup, and to some extent, the 2024 Cadillac XT4 is no different.

Isn’t it a tarted-up Buick?

The 2024 Buick Envision uses the same platform and powertrain as the Cadillac XT4.

The Cadillac XT4 and the $3,190 less expensive Buick Envision use the same corporate E2 chassis and mechanical components. They are identical in that they have a 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbocharged engine, a nine-speed automatic transmission, and front-or all-wheel drive. But at 235 horsepower, the XT4 has seven more horses than the Envision. The XT4 is EPA-rated at 25 mpg in combined city/highway driving with all-wheel drive, 26 mpg with front-wheel drive. Certainly, fuel economy is important, as the engine requires 91 octane fuel.

The chassis employs a MacPherson strut front suspension and a five-link independent rear suspension. Sport trims can be fitted with an Active Sport Suspension and Continuous Damping Control. It’s shod with standard 18-inch wheels; 20s can be specified as an option.

They accentuate the 2024 model’s revised front end, with updated styling that recalls the all-electric Cadillac Lyriq. The XT4’s backside also receives a touch-up, along with revised lighting all around. It’s all fitted to a design that’s over six years old, but it still looks fresh and modern. Yet a bigger change awaits once you open the door.

Erratic technology

The 2024 Cadillac XT4’s new 33-inch9K display comes courtesy of the Cadillac Lyriq..

Making the most of the Cadillac Lyriq’s components, the 2024 Cadillac XT4 inherits its incredible 33-inch, 9K-resolution LED screen. This display houses the instrument cluster as well as the infotainment touchscreen controls. It’s visually impressive.

The XT4’s screen is run using Google’s Android Automotive software. It has a 5G Wi-Fi hotspot and can be fitted with an impressive AKG 13-speaker audio system. Nevertheless, the system didn’t run as reliably as past GM systems have. It didn’t automatically recognize my iPhone, meaning I had to go into the screen and connect it manually each time the car started. Once connected, it never activated Apple CarPlay, even though it was equipped with it. This may not seem like a big deal, but this is a Cadillac XT4, not a Chevrolet Trax.

And it got worse once I decided to use the embedded navigation system, which I found to be riddled with errors sure to make you late. It told me I was in one town, when in fact, I was in another. It directed me to get off at an exit that didn’t exist. And, heading to an after-hours event at a museum, it kept reminding me the museum was closed with each direction. It was maddening and frustrating, making the system difficult to trust.

The inside story

The 2024 Cadillac XT4’s overall look remains fresh despite being six years old.

The cabin’s interior is loaded with soft-touch, cushioned surfaces and has an intuitive, practical design. Better than others in this class, the chairs turn out to be supportive and pleasant. This also applies to the superb automated temperature control and the wipers on the windshield. Perhaps it is a minor detail, but they were noiseless, streak-free, and performed admirably.

Nevertheless, the design and all-black hue dull whatever flair it may have. It feels more like an upmarket Chevrolet than a true Cadillac, lacking the magic ambiance true luxury vehicles possess – like the Escalade. True, it has a lower price point, but some Mazdas feel more lavish, as does the recently redesigned BMW X1, a direct competitor.

Part of the problem is the dull all-black interior, which is a money-saving design that does little to add any panache. And there’s just too much hard plastic for the vehicle’s $39,090 starting price.

Decent to drive

That said, it possesses decent driving characteristics. The engine offers strong acceleration and rater adept handling. Body lean is held in check when cornering and braking performance is very impressive. However, the XT4 always switches to front-wheel drive upon start-up, thus the driver must activate all-wheel drive.

The 2024 Cadillac XT4’s 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine is fairly unrefined for a luxury SUV.

As you might expect of modern Cadillacs, the XT4 rides very firmly, with large bumps pounding through. And the engine needs a lot more refinement until it’s good enough for a Cadillac. Buzzy when started and vocal when pushed, its raw, unrefined nature feel positively downmarket, reminding you that this is the entry-level Cadillac, and you should’ve paid more. There’s also excess road noise at highway speeds, necessitating you to turn up the volume on any music. That said, even though the XT4 is not as fast as some rivals, it has a lot less turbo lag, which is always welcome.

So, while it’s an adept handler, and fairly sprightly, it just doesn’t come together with an aura that makes it feel special and indulgent– the prime characteristic of a great luxury ride. The opulence and attitude of the Escalade seemed to be lacking, and we yearned just a little bit more of it. Rather than a Cadillac, it had the feel of being passionless GM corporate merchandise.

It was good, but not good enough to be a Cadillac.


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