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Cadillac XT5 keeps on keeping on, as brand looks to the future

Steady luxury that can be so much more

It’s taken me two model years to adjust to Cadillac’s new naming convention. But let’s not have that diminish my impression of the 2018 Cadillac XT5. This SUV, once known as the SRX, is a tried and true luxury midsize SUV. It doesn’t get much fanfare and kind of goes unheralded in Cadillac’s product line. But its success is important to the GM luxury brand’s success. Midsize SUVs are near the top of priority when it comes to sales numbers.

With all of that being said, the XT5 is good, but could be so much better. While nothing is really new or updated for the 2018 model year, the XT5 still maintains a fresh appearance. The XT5’s grille is toned down and has a more generic appeal. Gone is that cutting-edge, aggressive Cadillac styling from the early part of this decade. The XT5 is now luxuriously ordinary.

That sounds like a backhanded compliment and in a way it is, but it also has more going for it than other luxury offerings in this segment. In fact, most vehicles in this segment have fallen into a ho-hum trap of styling. I expect Cadillac to bust out of the doldrums in its next generation.

As such, the XT5 checks off all the boxes. It has a wonderful interior and a better-than-adequate powertrain. Its looks are handsome with just enough distinction.

The best way to summarize the powertrain and performance of the XT5 is with the phrase “just right.” It’s neither exhilarating nor boring. The 3.6-liter V6 engine does its job. With 310 horsepower it has just enough power to be quick off the line and never feel pokey.

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The eight-speed automatic transmission does an outstanding job. The midsize SUV segment is chock full of turbocharged, more fuel-efficient 4-cylinder engines, so it would be neat to see the XT5 get a turbo 4, too. But, as such, this SUV is refined with just a pinch of excitement. With all-wheel drive standard on the Platinum trim, the XT5 handles itself well on the road and is ready for any and all weather conditions.

Perhaps the interior is the best part of the XT5. While no new touches have been added this model year, it still feels modern. It’s well designed, comfortable and quiet. The back seat has a slide-and-recline feature for added comfort and added legroom.

The five-passenger XT5 feels cavernous inside while not skimping on the touchpoints. Considering it’s at the low end of pricing for a luxury SUV, the XT5 feels like a bargain when it comes to the interior.

The CUE infotainment system is not without flaws, but is also one of the most enjoyable systems on the market. It has plenty of features and once you learn all its nuances, it becomes one of the most intuitive infotainment systems around. There’s smart phone compatibility with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. There are four USB ports for connectivity, and the Bose sound system really adds to the enjoyment.

The base trim has an attractive price point with an MSRP of $40,595. This is where the XT5 really excels. Despite all the niceties it offers, the affordability is good, even with my tester, the top-of-the-line Platinum trim. My tester had an MSRP of $63,395, which is a huge leap up from the base trim price.

As mentioned, the XT5 Platinum comes standard with AWD, while all other trims have an optional, and less expensive, front-wheel drive option. The Platinum trim also has a surround-vision parking camera, an ultra-cool head-up display (which some find distracting, but I found nice) and a hands-free liftgate. Those aren’t that many “extras” for the top trim to take such a leap forward in pricing, so be sure to price the XT5 to meet your needs and bank account.

Fuel economy is average for the XT5. The AWD version has an EPA rating 18 mpg/city and 25 mpg/highway. In a week’s worth of driving, I averaged nearly 22 mpg. That’s adequate, but not spectacular. The FWD version gains slightly in fuel economy.

The Cadillac brand continues to work at defining itself as a stand-alone luxury brand of General Motors. Their product line is solid and consistent, but like the brand itself, the XT5 has a way to go to make itself a standout.

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