The 2024 Cadillac XT4 Looks Good But Lacks Substance

By automotive-mag.com 7 Min Read

When I took delivery of the Cadillac XT4, there were two things I noticed in rapid succession. First off, it looked too nice for my humble alleyway parking spot. The 2024 model looks genuinely classy. My second realization was when I entered the cabin.

Oh my God, that is a very, very big screen.

I planned a trip from my home in Seattle down to Portland, Oregon, some 300-odd miles round trip, to spur some further revelations. Unfortunately, I’d already seen most of what the XT4 had to offer before I left my parking spot.

Quick Specs 2024 Cadillac XT4 Sport
Engine Turbocharged 2.0-Liter Four-Cylinder
Output 235 Horsepower / 258 Pound-Feet
Efficiency 22 City / 28 Highway / 25 Combined
Base Price $43,190
As-Tested Price $55,890
On-Sale Date Now

The XT4 is essentially unchanged mechanically since its 2018 debut—the same turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder resides under the hood, and power is delivered via the same nine-speed automatic. But it’s freshly restyled for 2024, and better for it. The front LED character lights are drawn crisper, the grille feels more aggressive without losing class, and the rear is less cluttered. Despite the fact the XT4 is Cadillac’s cheapest and smallest SUV, it doesn’t look cheap, especially compared to more generically luxe-lite competitors like the BMW X1.

The interior is also dramatically revised. Gone is the traditional gauge pod supplemented by a center touchscreen, and in its place is a 33.0-inch-wide behemoth of a screen that spans two-thirds the width of the dashboard. It’s striking, it plays a slick splash screen on startup, and it’s fairly easy to navigate, thanks to always-on buttons for commonly-used features. Even better, it doesn’t serve as a replacement for every physical button in the cabin; there’s still a row of handsome aluminum switches for climate controls, and the center console still hosts a volume knob. Every trim level has the centerpiece screen as standard equipment, which will impress a lot of lower-trim buyers at the XT4’s near-$40,000 base price point.

My XT4 wasn’t a bargain, however. It was a top-trim Sport with virtually every option possible, including the newly refreshed driver-assistance Active Safety Package. My XT4’s out-the-door price was $55,890, on the high side for the class. Still, the seats were comfortable, the cabin didn’t feel cut-rate thanks to that thoughtfully integrated screen, and the interior fit and finish were excellent, so I had no complaints.

2024 Cadillac XT4 350T AWD, Argent Silver Metallic

Pros: Sharp Styling, Roomy, Excellent Cabin Layout

As I loaded my car for the journey to Portland, I found myself pleasantly surprised at the XT4’s roominess, as well. The cargo hold is on the large side for the class, at 22.5 cubic feet, and it felt quite usable for a couple of suitcases and a hat box. When I carried passengers through the week, they found the second row—with almost 40 inches of leg space—plenty roomy. Up front, despite the massive two-row-spanning moonroof on this Sport model, I had more than enough headroom. The XT4 might be compact, but it’s never cramped.

Unfortunately, in motion, notions of luxury start to fade. The 235-horsepower engine is quick enough for the 3,600-pound SUV, but it’s noisy. With the drivetrain in front-wheel-drive mode, the XT4 has dangerous amounts of torque steer under hard acceleration. In all-wheel-drive mode, any pep the turbo plant had is sapped by powering the extra pair of wheels, but the torque steer (mostly) goes away.

2024 Cadillac XT4 350T AWD, Argent Silver Metallic
2024 Cadillac XT4 350T AWD, Argent Silver Metallic

The brake-by-wire system is incredibly unsure of itself. It’s not the physical brakes themselves that are weak; they’re excellent under emergency levels of force. But until I applied emergency pressure, the pedal was inconsistent, mushy, soft, and nonlinear—until suddenly it wasn’t. It made smooth braking at highway speeds virtually impossible.

Even the optional adaptive cruise seemed to have the same problem modulating the brakes as I did. When cars would cut into my lane, the XT4 would gently apply the brakes, and then seemingly stab at them. This gave me the impression cruise control was always running on a half-second delay, permanently caught off guard. It made what should have been a relaxing cruise down 5 to Portland into a tiring drive.

2024 Cadillac XT4 350T AWD, Argent Silver Metallic

Cons: Unrefined Engine, Mushy Brake Feel, “Sport” Isn’t Sporty

The rest of the XT4 is unremarkable. It rides on the stiffer and louder side like it has sporty aspirations to match its edgy looks, but there is no athleticism to be found in its steering. Ergonomically, this makes sense. The driving position is upright and its wheel is far forward, which makes aggressive driving feel out of place. Its nonchalant demeanor makes me wonder why Cadillac didn’t spring for softer shocks, and lean into turning the XT4 into a relaxed mile-eater.

Unfortunately, little attention was paid to details like these. The optional 13-speaker AKG-branded sound system was mediocre for an upsell stereo. I would sometimes suffer from strange touchscreen blinks and flashes when connecting my phone via (standard) wireless Apple CarPlay. The optional seat massagers were useless, inflating lumbar support bladders that offered no relaxation or additional comfort.

2024 Cadillac XT4 350T AWD, Argent Silver Metallic

The automatic emergency braking felt overzealous, and stopped me when parallel-parking without warning despite a foot of space left to maneuver in. “Sport” mode on the “Sport” trim felt like an afterthought, thanks to lackadaisical paddle shifters and numb steering.

None of these quibbles would be a deal-breaker alone; most cars have a few little annoyances. The XT4’s true weakness is that it has few joys to offset them. The 2024 model is practical, well-equipped on paper for its base price, and stunning to behold. It just lacks the substance it needs to back up its looks.

2024 Cadillac XT4 350T AWD (with author)

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