Cadillac has been particularly slow to respond to the global clamour for crossover SUVs. While every other manufacturer including its non-premium cousins from the GM family were scrambling to fill every possible niche with a CUV, Cadillac was happy milking the good old SRX dry. It was the brand’s bestseller worldwide for years until it was finally replaced by the more modern and decidedly more upmarket XT5. Now the smaller XT4 joins the lineup as Cadillac’s first compact crossover, giving the brand a much needed weapon to stave off the onslaught from established competition.

The XT4’s exterior styling manages to be sporty and sophisticated at the same time.  While looking a bit stubby relative to the XT5, the overall design seems to have taken cues from the larger SUV. And unlike the XT5, which has a rather underwhelming rear, the XT4’s rear matches the striking sleekness of the front fascia. Given its compact size, it’s clearly not aimed at large families, and Cadillac has made it abundantly clear while launching it in the region that the XT4 is aimed at the Middle East’s millennial consumers. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t usable for families. In fact, the premium, impeccably appointed cabin is roomy and comfortable enough for a family of four, with ample luggage space too.

 

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Photos: Stefan Lindeque

Under the bonnet is a new 2.0-litre turbocharged engine, good for 237bhp and 350Nm of torque mated to a nine-speed automatic transmission. Quiet, refined and smooth, the powertrain has more than enough juice for a vehicle of this size and heft, and the nine-speed auto has a wide ratio spread that enables acceptably quick shifts. However, despite the millennial-oriented market positioning, the steering leaves much to be desired in terms of involvement and feel. While smooth and lightweight, it is also somewhat disconnected leaving you feeling isolated from the machine and the road. However, for those who aren’t particular about an immersive driving experience, the XT4 offers a ride quality that is far better than the segment average and great high speed stability. I also like the fact that the haptic feedback touch controls have mostly been replaced by physical buttons which are also well laid out.

The XT4 also comes with the latest in-car technology including wireless smartphone charging and an in-cabin air ionizer among others. Cadillac’s signature vibrating seat alerts are also available in the XT4, which I always think is a better alternative to beeps, especially to get the attention of a tired or fatigued driver.

Cadillac has also managed to price the XT4 right, with the UAE retail prices starting at Dh145,000. If you’re in the market for a luxury compact crossover, the new XT4 warrants serious consideration.