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2017 Cadillac XT5 Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2017 Cadillac XT5 was new.


Performance: 7.4

The 2017 Cadillac XT5 features a V6 engine that's perfectly competent during daily driving, but you'll likely wish it had better acceleration. It does get above-average fuel economy for the class though. The XT5's ride is comfortable, and it handles curvy roads with confidence. Reviewer opinions are split over whether or not the XT5 is enjoyable to drive. Some critics think it can't match the agile handling provided by some class rivals.

  • "The latest entry with a one-size-fits-all engine hits the mark with surefooted handling, a comfortable interior and excellent road manners. It's far from exciting. but that's not its job; there are other cars in Cadillac's lineup that'll gladly do that while the XT5 shuttles your parents around." -- Autoweek
  • "The XT5 isn't a sports car, but you can certainly have fun in it." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "For as much as we came to like about the styling of the XT5, there is a bit of a sore spot: driving it." -- Autoblog

Acceleration and Power

The brand new XT5 is powered by a 3.6-liter V6 that produces 310 horsepower. It delivers plenty of power for city and highway driving, but it doesn't really have the verve offered by competing engines. When you hit the gas pedal, you'll likely be unimpressed with the acceleration whether you're at a stoplight or trying to pass someone on the highway. Cadillac does sell the XT5 with a turbocharged four-cylinder engine overseas, and some test drivers are hoping that it eventually makes its way to the U.S. models.

With the V6, the XT5 gets an EPA-estimated 19 mpg in the city and 27 on the highway. Those ratings are better than you'll get from class rivals like the Mercedes-Benz GLE. The XT5 comes standard with engine start/stop technology, helping you save fuel by shutting the engine down while the vehicle is stopped. There's also Active Fuel Management cylinder deactivation, which lets the engine automatically switch to a four-cylinder mode in order to save fuel when the V6’s maximum power isn’t necessary.

An eight-speed automatic transmission is mated to the V6 engine. The transmission is perfectly capable, but sometimes feels like it’s holding the car back, especially when it's reluctant to downshift in order to deliver stronger acceleration.

  • "The 3.6-liter V6 hums along nicely, never really breaking a sweat in city or highway driving. … This new engine is a natural choice for a crossover of this size, but it's not a particularly exciting unit, unlike two other recent additions to the lineup: namely, the 2.0-liter four-cylinder and the 3.0 twin-turbo V6 that found their way into the CT6 sedan. The 3.6-liter here, on the other hand, does its job best when propelling the XT5 in a straight line." -- Autoweek
  • "Lugging 4000 to 4300 pounds of XT5 plus occupants, the 310-hp V-6 has its work cut out. Running through eight gears to and beyond cruising speed is no issue, but when you nudge the throttle to pass, the initial impression is that nobody's home under the hood." -- Car and Driver
  • "This lighter, tauter SUV is powered by a new 3.6-liter, 310-horsepower V6, the same engine as in the ATS and CTS, with an 8-speed automatic transmission. Even though this is a more powerful engine than the one that was in the SRX, the new 3.6-liter felt as if it were being held back by a good transmission programmed calibrated for fuel economy. It took hard throttle-mashing to get the transmission to downshift. The XT5 is by no means slow, and it certainly has ample power, but its off-the-line acceleration isn't quick." -- Kelley Blue Book

Handling and Braking

A comfortable ride is expected from any luxury SUV, and the XT5 delivers one. It doesn't focus solely on comfort though. The XT5 comes standard with front-wheel drive. It's perfectly capable on winding roads, but it doesn't match the athleticism of some rear-wheel drive rivals like the Infiniti QX70 and BMW X5. That isn't to say that the XT5 is boring to drive, but opinions are split on the matter. Some test drivers think that the steering is vague and the XT5 is somewhat dull, but others do find it engaging to drive.

All-wheel drive is optional on the XT5, and the AWD system is available with twin-clutch technology, allowing up to 100 percent of the available torque to be transferred to either the front or rear axle. There's also an available adjustable suspension that allows you to select from different driving modes (Touring, Snow/Ice, or Sport) designed to fit your preferred driving style or the current road conditions.

  • "The XT5's ride is comfortable, yet this Cadillac feels confident and well-planted when driving semi-rationally in twists and turns. The rack-mounted electric power steering is more communicative than expected, and provides decent feedback." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "There exists a pretty clear split among luxury SUVs of driving dynamics versus comfort. SUVs from Mercedes-Benz and Lexus tend toward a soft ride while those from Audi and BMW feel like sports cars in the turns. Add the 2017 Cadillac XT5 to the latter column, as Cadillac's latest SUV seeks a younger demographic favoring handling performance." -- CNET
  • "Further dulling the driving experience in the XT5 is lifeless steering with artificially light feel, leaving the driver to operate the vehicle, not engage with the road. The brakes are spongy, and there's a significant amount of body roll when tossing the XT5 around corners. ‘Sport’ and selectable all-wheel-drive modes add some excitement to the drive, mostly in the form of reprogrammed shift calibration, but there is a noticeable delay from the time we selected a mode to when the XT5 actually entered it." -- Autoblog

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