Cadillac has spent several years fleshing out its SUV line-up, a move that reflects the dramatic shift from passenger cars to light trucks. Now, it’s time to update the best-selling model in its line-up, the XT5.
Though officially a mid-cycle update, the 2020 Cadillac XT5 gets more than just the typical modest updates one would expect three years after its original debut. That includes not only some subtle exterior and interior tweaks, but notably more safety and infotainment technology, as well as an all-new turbo engine package to supplement the current V-6.
Caddy has also rethought the pricing strategy for the 2020 XT5, moving to more clearly reposition the updated model within its SUV portfolio as a logical “walk-up” between the base XT4 and the three-row XT6 just getting ready to come to market.
“What Cadillac is doing is making the product more competitive and giving it a more logical position within the expanding Caddy SUV line-up,” said George Peterson, chief analyst for research firm AutoPacific, Inc.
As with the original version of the XT5 launched three years ago, there is the unmistakable influence of Caddy’s Art & Science design language, with the angular edges and vertical head and taillights. But updated features, like the grille and lamps, now fall in line with the more curvaceous XT4 and XT6.
What Cadillac’s product marketing chief Jason Sledziewski refers to as a “Y Strategy” increases the differentiation between base, Premium Luxury and Sport models. In some cases, the distinctions are subtle – the Sport getting gloss black, rather than chrome, roof rails. But the approach gives buyers the option of an XT5 that puts a premium on refined looks and comfort, or something more sporty and aggressive.
For 2020, the XT5 Sport continues to feature the SUV’s original 3.6-liter V-6 which delivers 310 horsepower and 271 pound-feet of torque. But the base and Premium Luxury models now get a new 2.0-liter turbo-four that punches out 237 hp and 258 lb-ft. Both engines are paired with a new nine-speed automatic transmission which promises to be both smoother and more fuel-efficient.
All-wheel-drive is optional, but the Sport model gets an upgraded system featuring a double, rather than since, clutch. This allows for torque vectoring, shifting power to the outside wheels to help steer through a corner.
The Sport model also gets a more aggressive tuning of the XT5’s active suspension, as well as of that nine-speed gearbox.
Whichever model, Cadillac has added an array of new tech features, including an upgrade to the XT5’s infotainment system, with a new, rotary control knob, as well as an assortment of now-standard safety features. That includes new LED headlamps, low-speed front auto-braking, lane departure warning, lane-keeping assist and blind-spot detection. There’s also an array of optional safety gear, as with newer Cadillac models.
Meanwhile Cadillac officials hinted, during a background briefing, that Super Cruise, the semi-autonomous system going into the new XT6, likely will follow on the XT5, as well, before it’s time for a complete makeover of the crossover-utility vehicle in three or four years.
One goal with the XT5 makeover is to better position each of the four Cadillac SUVs in what Sledziewski dubs a “price walk” from the base XT4 at $35,695, to the new XT5 starting at $45,090. The XT6 follows at $52,695, and the Escalade tops the line-up at a base $75,195.
Considering the new content, the 2020 Cadillac XT5 should improve its competitive position against solid import competitors, such as the Acura RDX and Audi Q5, as well as the Lincoln Nautilus.