Small luxury crossover SUVs are a hot segment. And Cadillac, home of the Escalade, would love to spread some of that magic to the baby XT4 and its larger siblings, the XT5 and the XT6. The XT6, all-new last year, hits the mark. The XT5 and XT4 have a hill to climb.
On paper, the XT4 looks like a miracle---a Cadillac crossover with a base price of $35,695. But to make it feel like a Cadillac takes trim level and extra-cost option choices and the miracle proves to be a mirage.
No matter which trim level you choose, you get one engine---a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder. 237 horsepower, 258 pounds per foot of torque, mated to a nine-speed automatic transmission. Zero to 60 takes about 7.3 seconds and the EPA fuel economy estimate is 22 city/29 highway.
Our tester was the top-of-the-line 2021 Cadillac XT4 Sport AWD. Base price is $42,495. The window sticker is at the end of this review so you can see for yourself, but among the standard equipment highlight at that price are 18-inch alloy wheels, an eight-inch color touchscreen with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability and rain-sensing wipers.
Our tester also had $9,795 in extra-cost options. I'll let you refer to the window sticker below for details, but leather heated and ventilated seats, navigation, automatic high beams and adaptive cruise control all had to be added on. Minus a $500 "Comfort and Technology Preferred Discount" and with $995 destination charge, the as-tested price of the 2021 Cadillac XT4 AWD Sport is $52,785.
That feels a lot better than the 2019 model we tested on the old TireKicker site, which had $14,345 worth of options and an as-tested price of $57,135. But that meant the '21 came without a sunroof, active sport suspension, an upgrade to 20-inch wheels and trailering equipment. I could pass on the last two, but I'm not sure buyers shelling out $52K for a small luxury crossover with "Sport" in its name expect to pay extra for a sunroof and for the suspension that would actually differentiate the "Sport" model from the rest of the lineup.
In its fourth model year, the XT4 is already feeling left behind. That's only going to be more glaring as the 2021 Buick Envision comes to market (we'll have a full review next week). Cadillac needs to find a way to bundle the features luxury sport crossover buyers expect into a standard equipment package. Yes, the base price will be higher, but the sticker shock for the XT4 comes in the approach to options.