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2022 Cadillac XT4: Heaps of Style, Let Down by a Bad Idle

2022 Cadillac XT4(Photo/Evan Williams)
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The 2022 Cadillac XT4 is what happens when Cadillac sticks with what it knows best: style.

Style is the signature of all of the best Cadillacs. Its disappearance plays a major part in how the brand sunk slowly out of the luxury limelight for decades. It took the Escalade, and more than one generation of that icon, to bring it back.

Today, the automaker has injected all of its models with style, including the smallest. But you need more than style to play in the big leagues. Especially in a compact crossover segment that’s one of the most competitive in the industry.

2022 Cadillac XT4 Review

Swagger in the Fanciest Parking Lots

2022 Cadillac XT4
(Photo/Evan Williams)

There’s no denying the 2022 Cadillac XT4 has swagger. From the outside, the sharp lines and bold, brash LED accent lights scream it to all who pass by. It doesn’t have the presence of its larger siblings, but hey, we can’t all be the biggest.

It’s one of those designs that makes you look back when you’re leaving it in a parking lot. Though there are some well-thought-out shapes in this segment, few have the cohesion and detailing the XT4 does. It’s those little details that help make the luxury car; like the small Cadillac crests in the taillights and extensive surfacing on every panel.

Of course, the black grille, wheels, paint, and monochrome badges on this Sport trim model don’t exactly help convey those details. Instead, they make many of them disappear. Pick blue, copper, or the new Rosewood Metallic offered for 2022 to make the details pop.

Warm, Inviting, Soft Cabin

2022 Cadillac XT4
(Photo/Evan Williams)

Inside, the 2022 Cadillac XT4 is something softer. It’s more inviting than its German counterparts and warmer than its competitors from Japan. The brownish Sedona color, which was on our test vehicle, is a highlight of the lineup. It’s a copy of the XT5 and XT6 interiors, and that’s just fine.

Front and center is Cadillac’s 8-inch screen. The screen sits in a much larger bezel with loads of dead space. It was as if we were driving a base model, or that there was an unfulfilled plan to offer a larger screen. It stands out in a rental car way — not a luxury vehicle way.

It’s a fast screen, at least; it’s responsive, has sharp graphics, and is easily customizable (with wireless CarPlay and Android Auto standard). It’s largely the same one GM uses in other brands, but we don’t think most Cadillac buyers will have much experience in those.

If you don’t want a touchscreen, the 2022 Cadillac XT4 has a rotary controller too. We like the choice, especially with this dial that can scroll and jog. It’s one of the few that controls Apple CarPlay and Android Auto with any sense of purpose. The volume dial is tucked down just beside it on the center console.

Wireless charging is available. A hidden compartment holds your phone out of sight near the console lid, keeping it secure (XT4 has a handful of clever cargo cubbies like this).

We just wish it had a reminder on the dash (Audi offers this) to remind you to take your device. Walking back to your ride is annoying, even if it looks this good.

Small Footprint, Roomy Cabin

2022 Cadillac XT4
(Photo/Evan Williams)

Small on the outside, the 2022 Cadillac XT4 offers a surprisingly spacious cabin. Top-of-class headroom and legroom in the front and rear, this is one of few in the segment happy to transport four adults. It’s just missing the reclining rear seat offered in others in the class.

A high load floor and the sharp rear pillars cut into cargo space. But this is a class of small style-forward crossovers, meaning that describes most of them. By that bar, the XT4 is adequate. The high floor makes loading suitcases and gear bags easier. For anything bigger, just get delivery. You’re a Cadillac owner now, after all.

Or use the towing capacity. Fit the towing package, and it can bring 3,500 pounds of trailer along with you — impressive for a compact ute.

Big Wheels Spoil the Ride

2022 Cadillac XT4
(Photo/Evan Williams)

The ride is, well, not a highlight. Thank the 20-inch wheels that are loved by the style (and accessory) departments, but don’t do any favors to your spine. We’ve driven the XT4 with standard 18’s, and it’s more compliant. Neither of the tires makes the XT4 a rock crawler, but the extra sidewall of the 18s is also good on gravel and dirt roads.

There is also an active suspension on the options list that makes XT4 both more capable in corners and more comfortable when cruising.

It’s bumpy, but the ride is quiet. A stiff structure absorbs the worst pavement impacts, stopping them from booming through the cabin.

Rough Engine Feels Out of Place Here

2022 Cadillac XT4
(Photo/Evan Williams)

Now the engine. A 2.0L turbo-four with a nine-speed automatic is the only powertrain offered on the 2022 Cadillac XT4, though you can pick front-drive or all-wheel drive. It makes 235 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque.

Peak torque comes on from 1,500 rpm all the way through 4,000, and that plays a big part in the way this crossover feels. Floor it from a stoplight and it’s adequate. Ask for more power to drive hard out of a turn, get up to speed on the highway, or make a quick two-lane pass? Then you can ride that wave of torque; suddenly the XT4 feels outright quick. A gearbox that stays out of its own way with quick shifts helps.

It sounds great, except that it doesn’t. This four-cylinder is gruff, whereas most others have moved the bar higher on noise, vibration, and harshness. An agricultural idle (it’s worse from the outside) isn’t blocked by the standard active noise cancellation system. The noise-canceling works better on the move, or maybe the engine just quiets down with revs. In any case, you’ll never forget it’s there.

We’d gladly accept that noise if it came with better fuel economy. But it doesn’t, with the 22 mpg city/29 highway (for AWD), right on average for the segment. Cadillac doesn’t offer any form of electrification, a solution that would fix both fuel economy and noise issues.

High-Tech If You Lean Into the Options

2022 Cadillac XT4
(Photo/Evan Williams)

Standard driver assists include automatic emergency braking, rear park assist, front pedestrian braking (with a cool icon to tell you when it detects pedestrians), and GM’s safety seat that vibrates to let you know you’re getting a warning. The seat’s great at warning you, but useless at letting you know what you’re being warned about.

Common for this class, though still disappointing, the good driver assists like blind-spot alert, adaptive cruise, lane keep assist, automatic high beams, surround-view camera, and Cadillac’s slick rear mirror camera are all high-up on the options list. You’ll need to tick a few boxes to get them all, and most aren’t offered on the lower Luxury trim at all.

Cadillac has gone for right in the middle pricing for the XT4. The Acura RDX and Lexus NX are slightly cheaper unless you go for their top trims, or start ticking all of Cadillac’s option boxes. Look toward a BMW X3 or Mercedes-Benz GLC and if you want the good stuff, the XT4 ends up less. As tested the XT4 came in just over $52,000 and included all of the must-have options.

Should You Buy the 2022 Cadillac XT4?

The verdict? The 2022 Cadillac XT4 feels warm and inviting to me. That’s something much of the rest of the segment lacks.

It’s why, despite the noisy motor and harsh ride, I like this Cadillac. In my book, it’s what a luxury vehicle should feel like: a little bit of old-school style in a package that’s thoroughly modern, high-tech, and well-built.

If that has your attention, spec one for yourself on Cadillac’s website.

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