Between you and I – and everyone else who’s reading this including the people who lent me the car you see here – SUVs/CUVs are all broadly the same, and they’re all bit dull and that’s why we don’t really like them. They’re predictable, safe, solid, reliable, jack-of-all-trades vehicles with many merits and no significant highlights. With exceptions.
You can either buy a reasonably-priced one, which is almost always boring, or you can buy an expensive one, which is probably going to be frustrating because the powerful engine will usually write checks that the chassis and the rest of the car can’t cash. Well, I’m happy to inform you that the Cadillac XT4 falls right between these two categories, because it’s got its own personality, which most SUVs certainly don’t have, and even though it bears the ‘Cadillac’ name, it is a lot cheaper than any Mercedes, BMW or Audi alternative. And I’d rather have this. Because it’s a Cadillac.
Cadillac is one of (many) wondrous things from America that we never really got the chance to experience in Europe but the XT4 was indeed designed with the Old Continent in mine because it is way too small for America and the right size (4.59 x 1.88 x 1.69 mt) for people like us, who live in thousand-year-old hamlets that gradually evolved to become town with streets the size of watermelon seeds. I should know because I was born and raised in Italy, where anything bigger than a 50 cc scooter is a parking ticket waiting to happen.
I know it’s a bit tasteless but I wanna start by talking about money. The XT4 I drove is equipped with a 2.0-litre petrol engine with no electric aid, capable of delivering 230 PS (226 hp) and 258 lb-ft of torque via a 9-speed automatic transmission, and yet it’s still economical to run because the engine is clever, and because it tips the scales at just over 1,700 kg. I know it sounds a lot but it isn’t, there are supercars that weigh more than that (I’m looking at you, Aston). And this is a 4-wheel-drive, remember, which is another thing that makes cars heavier. It actually has two clutches, each distributing power and torque to each wheel upon request.
The car you see here is priced at €51,640 as standard but mine was fitted with a sunroof (€1,230), 20-inch wheels (€1,230) and the expensive Infrared Tintcoat red paint option (€1,900) plus a bunch of other optional packages and extras, including the rear camera mirror.
The bad news is it costs €57,320 as shown, the good news is it’s got absolutely everything you can possibly imagine and it’s still a lot less than an equivalent German rival. For the sake of clarity, the 2021 Luxury is the ‘cheapest model’ you can buy, starting at €37,710.
One of the things I didn’t like about this car is the sat-nav, which is a bit dim-witted at times but that’s a flaw that the Cadillac shares with many other cars and I think that’s just because our phones are becoming too good. I didn’t particularly like the auto climate control either, mainly because it goes from ‘scorching heat’ to ‘polar cold’ with apparently nothing in between. On the plus side, the infotainment system is easy to use and the (much needed) parking sensors and cameras work a treat.
Most car enthusiasts, petrolheads, gearheads, car nuts, however we want call ourselves, dislike SUVs. Partly, I think that’s just because we’ve sort of been fuelling this hatred just for kicks, but it is true that some of our objections – doubts about these vehicles’ actual off-roading capabilities and efficiency – are valid. However, with the XT4, I just don’t care because I like it. And I like it because of the emblem that it bears. I’m aware, it is a statistical certainty, that consumers are becoming increasingly brand agnostic, well, I’m not. I still care about the badge. And this one’s a Cadillac.
This post was previously written and published for my tribe Game Changers on Drivetribe