The Cadillac name used to be synonymous with luxury but in recent years that relationship has become strained The model line diminished and even rappers have abandoned the Escalade for Bentleys and Navigators.
Now the company is ready to retake its crown the only way it can, by coming out with new, fresher cars.
In fact, its entire lineup is being rebuilt and renamed.
I'm driving a new breed of SUV from Cadillac.
This one's called the XT5 Now that name may not roll of the tongue.
It stands for cross over touring five.
It also sort of hints that this car's gonna go up against the BMW X5.
In fact, the shifter on the console here looks a lot like it came from a BMW.
If you want to be cynical, you could say that XT5 is just a new SRA.
It certainly occupies the same place in Cadillac's lineup as that previous model.
But the XT5 is built on a new, lighter chassis.
It's got the same exterior dimensions as the SRX but there's more interior room.
Like the SRX it's still a five passenger SUV with no option for a third row.
Now in keeping with modern Cadillac stylings the exterior is all about softened edges.
To be honest I expected the ST5 to drive like a dressed up Chevy SUV, but this is really a lot better.
There's a real solid feel, a really well engineered feel to the driving character.
Under the hood I've got a 3.6 liter direct injection v6.
Not a bad engine.
271 pound feet of torque.
Not super powerful but it's enough to get the job done and it's competitive with the BMW X5.
ST5 doesn't have an air suspension like some of it's luxury SUV competitors.
What it has is adaptive dampers, and that leads to more sporty handling.
It's also got torque vectoring on it's all-wheel drive system, which is also good for handling.
Now, if I put it in sport mode, it'll make those dampers a little more rigid and keep the car a little more level in the corner.
But it defaults to touring mode and what that does is it disconnects the rear wheels.
Whereas a front wheel drive vehicle gets you better fuel economy.
Also, it'll deactivate two cylinders on the engine when you're just on the highway cruising.
And that'll get you better fuel economy as well.
And one of the coolest things here, is this is the first use I've seen of Cadillac's new Smart Mirror technology So for the rear view mirror they have a video display showing the imagery from a rear view camera.
There's two good things about that.
One, the imagery is very clear.
So a lot clearer than it would looks in a regular mirror.
Also, if I put cargo back there, people back there, I don't get my rear view obstructed.
I can see right through them, sort of.
A couple of problems, though, I noticed, is when I glance up at it, my eyes have to adjust.
There's a little bit of cognitive dissonance between the view out the front and my eyes adjusting to that video display.
So that's a little weird, I hope they can solve that.
Also, if I want to check my hair, if I look up here, well, I can't see myself in the mirror.
And in the dashboard here, I've got a touchscreen and that shows me the catalog user experience, which is their name for their [UNKNOWN] system, navigation, digital audio, phone hook up.
Lot of useful stuff there.
It's actually a re-skinned version of Chevy's [UNKNOWN] And that's not a bad thing because it works really well.
Now I've been using the Apple CarPlay a lot on here.
I've got my iPhone hooked up to the system.
So that gives me all the apps from my iPhone up on the screen.
That works really well too.
Accept I'm not crazy about Apple Maps for navigation.
The estimated time of arrival has been really good.
But I just don't like to look at the system as much.
And Cadillac being a GM brand, I've got OnStar built into this car and that comes with a 4G wireless hotspot so you can hook your phone or tablets up to that.
The base price of XT5 is under $40,000, that's jaw droppingly low but this platinum addition I've been driving, with navigation and all wheel drive goes for over $60,000.
2017 Cadillac XT5 may not have the soft ride quality of the Lexus RX or Mercedes Benz GLE.
It really leans towards the sporty driving character of a BMW X5.
But what it really does is brings back that luxury character that Cadillac needs.
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