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The Cadillac XT4 serves up loads of goodness in a small package.
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The interior design of the Cadillac XT4 is modern, but the all-black look on our tester is visually monotonous.

Whether Cadillac's new XT4 compact crossover is a baby Escalade or a jacked-up Buick wagon is the question on the table today.

After a week in a top-of-the-line XT4 AWD Sport we'll split the difference and say that the XT4 has a personality all its own. Meanwhile, Cadillac store owners will no doubt be happy to finally have a compact crossover in the fleet.

The XT4 will appeal to Chattanooga-area buyers who like the angular design and cache of modern Cadillac SUVs, but want a parkable model that can flit around a mall parking lot. Oh, and with a $35,780 base price for the "Luxury" edition, the XT4 puts a Cadillac within reach of the masses.

The XT4, assembled in Kansas City, Kansas, is offered with a 2.0-liter, turbocharged engine that makes 237-horsepower. Car and Driver clocked the XT4 at 7.8-seconds in the 0-60 mph dash, which is not pokey but also not especially fast. Frankly, it feels quicker than that in everyday driving. My commutes home on Highway 27 were a breeze. (Well, once I cleared downtown's construction carnage.)

FAST FACTS

* Model: Cadillac XT4 Sport AWD

* Exterior color: Autumn Metallic

* Interior color: Jet Black

* Engine: 2.0-liter, four-cylinder, turbocharged

* Horsepower: 237

* Transmission: nine-speed automatic

* Fuel economy: 29 mpg highway, 22 mpg city

* Local Dealer: Integrity Cadillac

* Price (as tested): $50,085

The XT4 is available locally at Integrity Cadillac at 6025 International Drive. The dealership had 43 XT4s in digital inventory late this week.

 

WHAT IS IT?

The XT4 is a premium crossover that shares GM's E2 platform with the excellent Buick TourX wagon. Our tester, provided for a one-week trial by Cadillac, is shown in an Autumn Metallic and bronze color that highlights the distinctive creases of Cadillac's design language. It slots below the larger Tennessee-made XT5 and (new) 2020 XT6.

 

HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?

With modern cars, I almost think this question should be: How much do you want to pay? Cadillac says you can get into a base XT4 for $35,780. Our top-of-the-line Sport trim XT4 with all-wheel-drive, however, rings up at $50,085 before discounts.

 

WHAT WE LIKED

The XT4 is a comfortable, fun-to-drive crossover. We are especially fond of the bronze Autumn Metallic paint ($650), the split-spoke 20-inch wheels (a $1,100 upgrade) and the ventilated front seats. The all-wheel-drive option is a plus, too.

 


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ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT

A six-cylinder engine will reportedly fit in the XT4 and we'd like to see Cadillac drop one in. A few more horses would turn the CT4 into a more interesting machine. Also, the interior materials are not all as plush as you might expect in a Cadillac. Some of the door and dash plastics feel a bit brittle.

 

DRIVING IMPRESSIONS

Let's see, when it comes to handling, the XT4 is confident but not cocky, smooth but not soft. That's really all most luxury SUV buyers want to know.

 

BOTTOM LINE

The XT4 fills an important hole in the Cadillac line-up. With so many compact luxury crossovers on the market now, it's hard to know how successful the XT4 will be. But just as many Boomers and downsizing houses, they are also downsizing their automobiles. In that regard, the XT4 is the right size at the right time.

Online: In the market for a new vehicle? To access hundreds of Mark Kennedy's Chattanooga Test Drive columns visit www.timesfreepress.com/testdrive.

Contact Mark Kennedy at mkennedy@timesfreepress.comor 423-757-6645. Follow him on Twitter @TFPCOLUMNIST. Subscribe to his Facebook updates at www.facebook.com/mkennedycolumnist.

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The crisp design of the Cadillac XT4 is highlighted by Autumn Metallic paint on our tester.
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