By “can’t,” we mean “keep the division afloat.” The luxury brand’s sedan sales just aren’t cutting it anymore, forcing Cadillac to play a game of crossover catch-up with other players in the premium field. While the full-size Escalade and midsize XT5 remain strong (and consistent) sales performers, many of Cadillac’s rivals offer more utility vehicle choice. Lexus has four, and might not consider that enough. Even Lincoln has three.
The first of several answers to this problem is the XT4, a compact crossover positioned just below the XT5. Debuting in the middle of next year as a 2019 model, the new crossover recently made an appearance outside General Motors’ Milford proving grounds. Luckily, a cameraman was there.
A trio of camouflaged XT4s, along with some segment rivals (BMW X3, Mercedes-Benz GLC) brought along for comparison, couldn’t stay within the track’s confines forever. Because of this, we can see that the XT4 doesn’t diverge much, at least in profile, from something that already works — the XT5.
Riding atop a version of the modular C1XX platform used by the XT5, the XT4 appears shorter in length. Gone is the small window just aft of the XT5’s C-pillar. Aside from some brightwork along the lower bumper, as well as the roof racks, there’s not much glitz to be seen in these photos. While the XT’s grille utilizes numerous horizontal chrome slats, the XT4’s front aperture (which is probably a stand-in) has a mouthful of black mesh. This is a lower-cost vehicle, but it’s still a Cadillac. Expect some shiny bits when the production version arrives.
As for power, expect to find a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder under the hood, matched to an eight-speed automatic transmission. Depending on application, that engine makes anywhere from 250 to 272 horsepower in GM vehicles. The four-cylinder offering would help contrast the XT4 from its larger sibling, which carries a 3.6-liter V6 as standard equipment.
In the future, Cadillac will offer a crossover undercutting the XT4 in size and price. That model should arrive in 2020. Also in the cards, and due out in 2019, is a larger, three-row crossover to split the difference between the XT5 and top-flight Navigator.
Cadillac sales in the U.S. sank just over 5 percent over the first 11 months of 2017, mainly the result of a continued decline in popularity of the ATS and CTS sedans. To put the issue in perspective, Cadillac sold 58,774 CTS sedans in 2008. With one month left to go in 2017, this year’s tally is just 9,539.
[Images: Spiedbilde/The Truth About Cars]
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