Cadillac is a late arrival to the compact crossover party, especially for a luxury marque. It hopes that the 2019 Cadillac XT4 will have been worth the wait. Initial signs are good – the XT4 gets a solid powertrain, spacious seating, aggressive styling, and a relatively low starting price. It remains to be seen whether the dynamics and practicality will come together, but we’re looking forward to the XT4’s arrival this fall.

Best Value

The XT4 offers an unusual approach to trims, with two equally-priced upper trims offering either upgraded features or a sportier aesthetic. But both add a hefty premium, so for value we’d stick to the base trim. It still gets LED headlights and taillights, parking assist, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and an eight-inch infotainment touchscreen.

Front-wheel drive is standard, and unless you need all-weather capability, FWD keeps the XT4’s mileage high. We do like the Cold Weather package, which heats up both rows of seats and the steering wheel. Even so equipped, our Cadillac XT4 slides in at just over $37,000 – thousands less than even the most basic BMW X3, Audi Q5, or Mercedes-Benz GLC.

  • Model: 2019 Cadillac XT4 Luxury
  • Engine: 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder
  • Output: 237 hp / 258 lb-ft
  • Transmission: Nine-speed automatic
  • Drivetrain: All-wheel drive
  • MPG: 25 City / 30 Hwy
  • Options: All-wheel drive ($2,500), Metallic Paint ($625), Cold Weather Package ($850, heated front seats, heated outboard rear seats, automatic heated steering wheel)
  • Base Price: $35,790 (including a $995 destination fee)
  • Best Value Price: $39,765

Performance

The XT4 puts up respectable numbers with a sensible powertrain. The turbocharged engine is down on power compared to German rivals, but not by much – performance should be comparable. Fuel economy is also strong; stop/start and cylinder deactivation help the XT4 achieve a Cadillac-estimated 27 miles per gallon combined. We don’t yet know how the XT4 will handle, but Cadillac’s recent sedans have excelled in that department, so we’re hopeful.

With just the one engine, the XT4 does offer less choice than many rivals. We’re not yet sure how elements like the nine-speed transmission will work with the powertrain.

Style

Cadillac’s sharp and aggressive lines lend themselves well to the XT4’s compact but high-riding package. Angular split headlights surround a chunky grille, while sharp hood creases match the character lines running down the XT4’s flanks. Cadillac prides itself on the young team it assembled to design the car, and it shows, in a good way. The feature set looks solid, with a few nice touches like near-field Bluetooth pairing and a new rotary controller for Cadillac’s CUE system. Another highlight is the rear leg room, which is a class-leading 39.5 inches.

Sadly, that rear leg room comes at the cost of cargo space. The XT4 has only 22.5 cubic feet behind the rear seats, and 48.9 with the second row folded. That may be enough for many, but it’s significantly less than rivals. Rotary controller or no, the CUE system still isn’t our favorite. And many safety features (like automatic emergency braking and adaptive cruise control) are only available on the upper trims and require a significant investment.

The Best and Worst Things

A luxury compact crossover seems like a steal at this price, especially if Cadillac keeps it fun to drive. The biggest downside is the cargo space, which may cut into practicality.

Right For? Wrong For?

Like most crossovers, the XT4 could wear a variety of hats. We anticipate it working well for buyers who want a blend of luxury and utility for around-town versatility. It doesn’t hurt that the XT4 offers flashier styling than the Teutonic competition, with a distinctively American twist.

Buyers who need their crossover to play SUV duty may be disappointed – the XT4 has the space in the seats, but not in the trunk. Those who want a safe bet already have plenty of options, and as a newer entrant, the XT4 will have to prove itself against the polished and dominant competition.

The Bottom Line

It’s about time that Cadillac joined the crossover fray, and the XT4 could be the car they need. Although we wish safety tech were more widely available and the cargo space is disappointing, the 2019 Cadillac XT4 has the ingredients to be a winner: competitive features, an enticing price point, and its own brash personality. If Cadillac has sorted out the dynamics, the XT4 should be a real contender.