New Car Previews

2020 Cadillac XT5 Preview

For the 2020 model year, it’s time for Cadillac’s popular XT5 – the brand’s best-selling model in Canada so far this year – to make the jump into the Cadillac’s “Y” strategy, where the model branches off from base into two distinct veins: Sport and Premium Luxury. We first saw the new nomenclature on the 2019 XT4 compact CUV.

“(The Y Strategy) makes the walk between the XT4, the XT5, and (new for 2020) XT6 very manageable for the customers and for the dealers that help us get those vehicle out on the road,” said Jason Sledziewski, director of product marketing at Cadillac. “Also from a pricing perspective, it helps to make sure that they’re properly positioned in each of their segments.” That all sounds great – unfortunately, we’ll have to wait a little while longer to find out what the pricing of the 2020 XT5 will be as Cadillac has not yet released those figures.

New 2.0L Turbo

The biggest addition for 2020 is a 2.0L turbo four-cylinder motor, good for 237 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. The 3.6L V6 remains available and makes 310 hp and 271 lb-ft, same as the 2019 model. Indeed, when you think about it, a zippy little two-litre is perfect for the XT5 – and so much of its competition already has such an engine – so this was a bit of a natural progression. Not to mention that it’s worked rather well in the applications we’ve seen it previously, such as the XT5’s ATS sedan and coupe siblings. You don’t want to discount the V6, though; in addition to more power, it also gets cylinder-deactivation tech and would likely be the engine to go with if you plan on taking longer trips.

It’s curious, then, that the Sport model comes only with the 3.6L V6 and AWD; it can’t be had with the 2.0L, which points to that engine being pegged as the “base” motor, although you can have either the 2.0 or the 3.6L on the Premium Luxury trim. The Sport model also provides a dual-clutch nine-speed transmission and AWD as your only choice, while Luxury models get a conventional nine-speed and FWD at base. Premium Luxury models also get the nine-speed, though AWD is standard at that level.

The dual-clutch system means faster shift times for the Sport, and it also works in concert with the AWD system to provide active yaw control, automatically transferring torque to the wheels that most need it. Also standard on the Sport is a continuous damper control system that changes depending on driver input and what’s going on beneath the car; this can also be added to the Premium Luxury as part of the Platinum package.

Refreshed Exterior, Upgraded Tech

Outside, you have to look pretty closely to see that the grille on non-Sport models is changed slightly from last year, while LED headlamps are now standard. The rear fascia used to have two different styles, but now has only one across the board that helps provide a lower, wider stance to the XT5. New 18-inch wheels are standard and can be upgraded to 20-inch items, while the Sport gets 20s as standard. A blacked-out grille and window surrounds are the main differentiators – along with those wheels – of the Sport model. If we’re honest, however, even after seeing it in person, you really have to squint to see the stylistic differences as this is a refresh as opposed to an all-new model.

Inside, Cadillac has introduced a host of new colour options (our favourite: “Maple Sugar” brown) as well as the latest Cadillac User Experience that provides a redesigned scroll wheel with “jogging” (a notched wheel action) functionality for those who prefer a more traditional interface to an all-touch affair, though this particular touchscreen is a responsive one that’s intuitively laid out. It’s also your gateway to Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as an available Bose 14-speaker premium audio system, complete with handsome speakers finished in real aluminum.

On the safety front, forward collision warning with pedestrian detection is now standard (and there’s rear pedestrian alert now, too), while a night-vision system can now be had; it displays the view ahead between the gauges – on either a 4-inch or 8-inch display – and draws a yellow box around animals and pedestrians at night. The parking assist system now handles braking duties, so all you have to do when it comes to parallel or perpendicular parking is change from drive to reverse. If you prefer to do the parking yourself, however, a higher-resolution camera with around-view capabilities will make the process that much easier.

Look for pricing announcements closer to the 2020 XT5’s on-sale date this fall.