Small platform, big style. With the 2020 Cadillac XT4, the automaker finally has a compact crossover capable of competing with the big dogs. This small-people hauler that was introduced last year may have one of the lowest prices in its class, but it also boasts most of the key tech features buyers need and plenty of pop from its standard engine. But it’s far from perfection with a glaring hole in safety tech that may push some buyers away.

Great styling, but color matters. The Cadillac XT4 rolls in rocking an incredible new styling direction for the brand with some classic touches. Like its big brother, the Cadillac Escalade, the XT4’s standard LED headlights dive deep into the fenders, creating a striking and familiar lighting signature, but they also shoot downward into the bumper, creating Cadillac’s classic vertical LED strip.

Rounding out the XT4’s stunning good looks is an angular grille with the bold Cadillac badge and striking body lines that are sure to attract a stare or two. While this outward styling is sharp, it looks best in warm tones, like orange or red. Unfortunately, most dealers stock it in various shades of black and gray, which makes it tough to find a color that maximizes all Cadillac’s hard work in the design room.

Short of the sharp Audi Q3, there isn’t much that can compete with the outward good looks of the XT4.

Inside, the XT4 is stylish with its lighter tones. Like any true luxury model, even the base model looks and feels great with its convincing leatherette upholstery, power seats, and more.

Tech-heads will also be happy to find a standard 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system with standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which is more than we can say for the BMW X1 and its standard 6.5-inch screen infotainment with $80-per-year Apple CarPlay.

While its fun technology bits are included, advanced safety technology is costly. Unlike virtually every other crossover in its class, the XT4 wants you to pay top dollar for advanced safety equipment like automatic emergency braking, automatic high beams, and more.

Not only do you have to move into the Premium Luxury trim to gain access to the advanced safety features, you then have to pay $1,100 for the Driver Assist Package to get adaptive cruise and automatic emergency braking.

2020 Cadillac XT4

Potent powertrain with a funky all-wheel-drive system. The Cadillac XT4’s 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine may seem familiar, but it's actually new for this model and performs well.

It delivers 237 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque and zips off the line with limited turbo lag. The standard nine-speed automatic transmission pops off shifts with confidence and always seems to find the right gear for the situation.

Front-wheel drive is standard, but buyers can opt for all-wheel drive. The downside to this system is it's a part-time setup that switches to front-wheel drive to save fuel and requires the driver to put it back into all-weather mode. This is easy to forget about when driving – until you hit that snowy hill and start slipping.

For buyers who must have more power, the Acura RDX’s Civic Type R-scavenged 2.0-liter four-cylinder produces 272 horsepower. For those seeking a more advanced all-wheel-drive system, you can’t go wrong with the Audi Q3 and its quattro system.

A chassis for every driver. The Cadillac XT4 comes in a trio of trim levels: Luxury, Premium Luxury, and Sport. The Sport trim is more than just a name. While its pricing is the same as the Premium Luxury model, Cadillac gives it a sportier look and adds available active dampers. Without the adaptive dampers, the chassis still does a great job absorbing bumps in the road, though you lose some stability in the corners and at higher speeds.

Cadillac got a little too cute in the brake department. To limit strain on the engine and enhance fuel economy, they installed an electronic braking system. While this is innovative and certainly boosts thriftiness, its unnatural brake feel can lead to some harshness in stop-and-go traffic.

Final thoughts. The 2020 Cadillac XT4 is among the smallest and cheapest crossovers in its class, but it doesn’t feel like it with its array of standard features, sharp looks, and a potent four-cylinder engine.

It's also family-friendly with over 39 inches of rear leg room, but it comes up short in cargo room with just 22.5 cubic feet behind the rear seats upright. As long as you’re not big on cargo hauling, this Caddy is a great option. If cargo hauling is a must, the Acura RDX crushes the XT4 with 29.5 cubic feet with the seats up and 58.9 cubes with the rear seats lowered.

Don’t want to pay extra for advanced safety gear? Virtually any other luxury showroom has a compact crossover with at least some of these features standard.

Check prices for the 2020 Cadillac XT4 »