We take a close look at the 2019 Cadillac XT5 Platinum and learn, yet again, that Cadillac is as aggressive as always, without losing sight of their luxury-heritage. Who is Ted?
A while ago, Cadillac might have been considered a car for an older well-to-do person. Actually, now that I’m thinking about it, this might have been a long time ago… And that “older” person might not have been so old after all, or is it just I that have gotten older, skewing my perspective? Whatever, let’s not delve on that too much. I am not old (nor am I well-to-do), however I do like driving around Los Angeles in a Cadillac. Like, I really, thoroughly, enjoy it.
First thing I notice approaching the 2o19 Cadillac XT5 is its looks. This car, as all Cadillacs do, screams “Cadillac”. In my humble opinion, this is a good thing. Cadillac stands for luxury, and judging by the exterior, also for sportiness and boldness. All these characteristics are ones that I can get behind, I like luxury, I like it when a car handles a little “tougher” or sportier. I’m not really a bold person, but I’ve had time to adjust to the bold exterior of the Cadillacs, starting with the huge lights, both front and back, on the Cadillac Escalade. At first, I thought they were a little provocative, but given some time I have learned to accept them, even like them. That design is also apparent on the XT5, albeit in a little bit more humble manner, and again I seem to have fallen for the look.
Interior-wise I feel at home in a Cadillac. I immediately recognize the infotainment system, as well as all the knobs and dials throughout the car. Simple, yet elegant. The boldness carries over from the exterior, with relatively aggressive-looking seats, where the design of the leather tips closer toward bold/sporty than to luxury. The one beef I have with the interior is the plastic-feeling cover that seems to sit on top of the buttons in the mid console. The actual buttons, the ones that move with your finger, are somehow (why?) hidden by a cover. That cover might have some very cool thing going for it, but I just don’t see what? If anything it reminds me of the generation that covered their couches in plastic to save them from wear and tear…
The front seats give just the right amount of sporty stability to make you feel confident, without losing any of the comfort. No problem spending the day in this car, either on a long road trip or just running errands around “town” (are we allowed to call Los Angeles a town?). My butt was a happy camper. On that note (no, not my butt… the seats), one of the safety features of the Cadillac XT5 Platinum, made itself known moments after turning the ignition. The seatbelts. I know, the three-point seatbelt, as we know it, is an age-old invention from Volvo when it was still a car manufacturer headquartered in a cold country straddling the arctic circle, and should be nothing new for an auto-journalist who grew up in that same country. It isn’t. But, the seatbelt is still being modified, re-invented, and continues to evolve to make our drives even safer. As is the case with the seatbelts in the XT5. When the ignition is turned on, a part of the start-up checklist of the vehicle is to tighten all the seatbelts that are buckled. I know, this isn’t the first car to do this, but since it isn’t standard it still surprises the occupants. If you are leaning forward you will be pulled back and suddenly sitting with a posture almost as good as the one you had on your first day of school. Safety-wise this is awesome since many of the mishaps with seatbelts are a result of the occupant leaving too much slack. And once you get used to it, and know it’s coming, you stop getting caught in weird struggles with the belt. Not sure what Ted thought about the seatbelt, but he didn’t say anything.
Oh yeah, Ted. Or, as he prefers to be introduced: Ted Edward Bear. I think that’s too long, so for me, he’s “Ted E. Bear”.. My kids took it one step further and just call him Ted E., or “Teddy”.
The back-story: Just a couple of days into my week-long test of the Cadillac XT5 I made a Costco-run. Mind you, I currently travel between Los Angeles and Sweden, with my kids attending preschool in Sweden. The kids did not join me for this week-long trip. Anyway, back to Costco: I had seen Ted at Costco many times, always wanting to bring him home. My kids had also seen him at Costco, always agreeing with me in that we should definitely invite him home. My wife might not have been so sure… Did I mention that my wife was not with me this trip either?
Ted spent the greater part of the week in the backseat of the Cadillac XT5. I’m 6 feet tall, and Ted is both taller and (a lot) chubbier than I. He fits nicely in the back seat. His legs are disproportionate for a human (but then again Ted is not human) so I’m not sure how a person of his size with the correct proportions would do back there. I’m assuming, though, that if your head covers half my rearview mirror, you might be more comfortable in the front seat.
Oh yeah, the rearview mirror. Interesting thing. If you thought that a rearview mirror will forever and always be what it has always been, you were wrong. Like the seatbelts, here too, Cadillac has a feature that will take some getting used to, but once you have adjusted you won’t want to go back to that old, plain, boring mirror. Especially with Ted’s head covering your view. With the push of a button, the rearview mirror (yeah, two functions, so you can go back to the old version if you so desire) transforms into a screen which projects a live stream of what is going on behind you. This means that I can pack the car to the brim, something that I never do otherwise because I want to be able to see what’s going on behind the car.
Since this is a screen, and you are watching a wide-angle view you can see so much more in that little “mirror”, but it does take some time to get used to. Mainly my eyes had to train on quickly adjusting from looking far forward to focusing on a screen (not far at all) and then back to far again when I look forward. Given a longer drive or so, and you should be good to go.
Other neat things in the XT5 Platinum include the heads-up display which is another one of those things that people wonder why they need until they drive a car with one and wonder how they will ever drive one without. The hands-free liftgate (do the hokey-pokey with your foot under a sensor to open your liftgate) is another option that once you have it, you’ll never look back. We’ve talked about these tech-options in other reviews, as well as “Surround Vision” (a top-down perspective on your car when parking or manoeuvring in tight spaces – also worth it!) and safety-tech such as adaptive cruise control and automatic braking features. Naturally, they are all available on the XT5, some as options and some standard depending on what trim you choose. The all-wheel drive makes it a smooth ride on all surfaces, but will probably come in most handy if you spend time driving in the snow. Throw the car into “Sport Mode” and you’ll feel a difference in when the transmission shifts, but also how tight the car handles in corners. Sport Mode, coupled with the four-wheel drive, makes it possible to take curves and corners at speeds way beyond what my comfort level allows when driving around town. The V6, with 310 horses ready to go, also adds to the thrill. It will definitely get you going.
All in all, the Cadillac XT5 Platinum AWD delivers as expected of a premium SUV. It surprises in some aspects – high-speed cornering, agility in tight spaces, some safety features – and never disappoints (OK, maybe a little with that plastic cover on the buttons, but I’ll give Cadillac the benefit of the doubt and assume that if we asked the engineers they would have a great answer as to why that is there).
For more information on the Cadillac XT5, and to read about all the features, go to: www.cadillac.com