While the Cadillac XT5 is the brand’s best selling model globally, it has struggled a bit to find its place in the overall midsize luxury crossover segment. To help the XT5 gain more traction in the segment, Cadillac has given the XT5 a substantial refresh for the 2020 model year, both inside and out.
For 2020, the XT5 receives new bumpers, new wheels, and an updated grille design outside, which brings it more in line with the corporate styling found on the XT4 and XT6. The XT5 Sport model now sits at the top of the lineup, replacing the old Platinum trim level. The Platinum name sticks around, though, by way of a $3,650 option package, which gives the XT5 Sport unique interior appointments and some technology enhancements. LED headlights with IntelliBeam are standard across the XT5 lineup. Sport models now have black exterior trim on the front grille, fascias, and side windows surrounds and 20-inch wheels standard. Sport models are equipped with a more aggressive suspension package and quicker steering to provide a more engaging driving experience.
The most significant changes to the 2020 XT5 occur on the inside. The center console has been completely redesigned and includes a new rotary control knob for the new infotainment system. Interior materials are updated to provide a more premium and tailored feel throughout the cabin. The gauge cluster has gone digital with a crisp high-definition screen. The technology stack is updated to include one-touch phone pairing with NFC and 15-watt wireless charging in the console. Both USB-A and USB-C fast charge ports are available throughout the XT5. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard. 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot capabilities and a Bose Performance Series audio system are optional features.
Safety features have been updated with higher-resolution rear and surround camera views. Automatic parking assist is enhanced, and there is a new rear pedestrian alert feature. Night vision is an available option.
The 2020 Cadillac XT5 Sport has a standard direct-injection 3.5-liter V6 engine, which produces 310-horsepower and 271 lb-ft. of torque. The V6 sends power through a 9-speed automatic transmission to all four wheels with the XT5’s standard all-wheel drive. The V6 feels good under typical driving situations around town and is relatively isolated from the cabin in both sound and vibration. The engine becomes more pronounced with a bit of harsh NVH under more aggressive driving situations, which is not something that should exist in a premium SUV/crossover.
Steering is effortless at low-speed maneuvering but provides just the right weighted feeling when pushing the XT5 Sport through corners at higher speeds. Don’t expect a lot of steering feedback like you would find in more enthusiast-oriented vehicles like the Audi SQ5 or Porsche Macan. The updated suspension provides good body control and gives the XT5 a firmly planted feeling when pushed while still being extremely comfortable on longer trips. Imperfect city roads did feel more pronounced than in some of the XT5 Sport’s competition, though.
The EPA rates the XT5 at 20mpg combined, 18 mpg in the city and 25 on the highway. These numbers are more in line with the base XT5’s 2.0-liter turbo engine and not the 3.5-liter V6 found in the Sport. The real-world, observed numbers over 270 miles of mixed driving the XT5 Sport barely broke 17.3mpg. That’s an unimpressive number given the strides other manufacturers have made with their high-performance V6 engines found in competing SUV/crossovers.
Cadillac has done an excellent job updating the dashboard and console materials in the 2020 XT5 and provides an upscale feel to the cabin. The switchgear feels a bit cheap, though, and looks like the same trim pieces found in the more affordable Chevrolet lineup. Cadillac needs to find a way to make the entire interior feel premium to differentiate themselves from the non-premium brands.
The updated digital gauge cluster, heads-up display, and 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system are easy to read and relatively intuitive. The new infotainment system is full of the latest technology and provides its own Cadillac Connected app ecosystem for those that are inclined to try it. While the new rotary knob is nice for controlling the infotainment system, I’d have liked to see more hard buttons for quick access to radio and HVAC operations.
The standard heated front seats feel supportive and comfortable at all times, and ergonomics from the driver seat are excellent.
The XT5 features 30.2 cubic feet of cargo space with the rear seats up, and 64 cubic feet when folded down. The included cargo management system is a nice touch and an extra charge on many of the XT5’s competitors. A power rear hatch is standard on the XT5.
Cadillac has made some impressive upgrades to the XT5 lineup for 2020, including the addition of the Sport model we tested. The styling updates inside and out go a long way in keeping the XT5 relevant in shopping conversations but the harshness at times of the powertrain and an interior that both dresses up and down at the same time are going to leave buyers confused as to what the XT5 Sport is trying to be. In trying to appeal to enthusiasts and luxury buyers alike, the XT5 falls short of other vehicles in the segment by not becoming a master of either.
There are areas where the 2020 XT5 Sport shines, though, with fantastic seats, cargo capacity, and updated looks that stand out from the others in the oft-bland premium midsize SUV/crossover segment. With an as-tested price of $59,340, will those winning qualities and nice updates of the 2020 XT5 be enough to lure buyers into the Cadillac showroom and close the sale? Cadillac sure hopes so, and I can see the updated XT5 being a hit overseas in markets like Asia. In the domestic market, though, I’m not so sure it will.
2020 Cadillac XT5 Sport AWD
Base Price – $55095 + $995 dest. charge.
Price as-Tested – $59,340 (incl. $995 dest. charge)
Warranty – 4 Year/50,000 Miles Bumper-To-Bumper with roadside assistance, complimentary first maintenance.
EPA Fuel Economy Rating: 18 city/25 highway/20 combined
Observed Fuel Economy over 270 miles mixed driving – 17.3
Vehicle provided to Speed:Sport:Life with a full tank of gas by Cadillac for review
Some Photos courtesy Cadillac