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SUVs

Cadillac launches new line of SUVs, starting with the XT5

At the Los Angeles auto show, Cadillac heralded its next big model line change-up with the XT5 medium-sized SUV, replacing the SRX and the first of four new SUV models.

LOS ANGELES -- In the slowest model-line revamp in history, Cadillac unveiled the CTS in 2002, followed up by the ATS in 2012 and the CT6 shown off earlier this year. In Los Angeles, Cadillac took on its SUV lineup with the XT5, a new model taking up where the SRX left off. To be fair, both the CTS and ATS will receive future updates putting them in line with the CT6 in name and technologies.

The 2017 XT5, a name that stands for "Crossover Touring 5", is a medium-size SUV based on a fully independent suspension. In exterior dimensions, it comes in at the same size as the SRX yet sheds weight and increases cabin space.

2017 Cadillac XT5

Cadillac's softened styling is apparent in the XT5's grille and headlight casings.

Wayne Cunningham/CNET

Cadillac's latest design language, with softened lines compared to its earlier sharp-edged styling, appears throughout the XT5. The grille in particular shows rounded edges comparable to those on the ATS. LED light pipes run down from headlight casings to lower intakes, making up a signature daytime running light. A narrow A pillar allows good forward visibility, and contrasts with a wide D pillar. Translucent black trim pieces on the D pillars give the rear glass a wrap-around look.

The XT5 gets Cadillac's CUE infotainment system, which will support Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. A color head-up display will be available, and Cadillac makes the XT5 one of the first models, along with the CT6, to get its Rear Camera Mirror system, integrating a camera and display system in place of the standard rear view mirror. Driver-assist features include automated parking and adaptive cruise control, able to bring the car to a full stop, but Cadillac's new Super Cruise technology, which provides near-autonomous driving, will not be available.

Instead of choosing individual settings for the adaptive cruise control, throttle response and steering response, the XT5 will let drivers select from a variety of different modes, including Touring and Sport, affecting all subsystems.

Under the hood, the XT5 gets a new generation of GM's 3.6-liter direct injected V-6, making 310 horsepower in this application. That engine comes mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission and includes idle-stop and cylinder deactivation to maximize fuel economy. However, EPA figures for the XT5 are not available yet.

An available new all-wheel-drive system runs 100 percent of torque between front and rear axles, depending on traction and drive setting, and includes torque vectoring, actively over-driving the outside rear wheel in a turn to improve handling. In Touring mode, the XTS completely disconnects the rear wheels from the drivetrain, eliminating drag and improving fuel economy.

An adaptive suspension adjusts pressure in the dampers based on sensor input, with the intention of giving passengers a comfortable ride, minimizing bumps and jolts from rough pavement.

The 2017 Cadillac XT5 is set for availability in the spring of 2016. Pricing has not yet been announced.

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