Expert Reviews

2023 Cadillac XT5 Review

AutoTrader SCORE
This score is awarded by our team of expert reviewers after extensive testing of the car
  • Safety

Positioned between the smaller XT4 and three-row XT6, the 2023 Cadillac XT5 is unchanged this year – its seventh on the market.

It’s available with a choice of two engines and comes in front- or all-wheel drive (AWD) configurations, depending on trim. It starts at the Luxury level at $48,298, including a non-negotiable delivery fee of $2,300. The Premium Luxury is the midrange trim, while I tested the top Sport level, which comes with a V6 and AWD starting at $61,398 before taxes.

Styling: 8/10

The XT5 is handsome if a bit generic-looking. The Sport exclusively rides on 20-inch wheels and lacks some of the chrome of its Luxury-trim siblings. My tester’s monochromatic Cadillac logos were an additional $240. The interior dash design is virtually identical to that of the three-row XT6, and while its chunky styling and small centre screen looks dated compared to some of its peers, most of the controls are simple and easy to use. The front seats come heated in every trim, but ventilated seats are part of a $1,380 package that also heats the rear outboard positions.

Safety: 8.5/10

The 2023 Cadillac XT5 earns the highest five-star crash-test rating from the United States National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). It also gets the highest “Good” crash ratings from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), but its headlight performance rates at “Marginal.” It had not gone through the updated IIHS side crash tests at the time of this writing.

All trims come with seven airbags, emergency front braking with pedestrian detection, following distance indicator, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, lane-keep assist, rear-seat reminder, teen driver controls, and the back-up camera that’s mandatory on all new vehicles sold in Canada. Also standard is a safety alert seat, which vibrates a warning if any of the systems detect an issue.

My tester was further enhanced with a $2,620 Technology package that added a camera washer, self-parking system, rear pedestrian alert, self-parking, 360-degree camera views, and head-up display. The pedestrian detection system also gives a reminder if a pedestrian is alongside the front of the vehicle.

Features: 8/10

All trims include dual-zone automatic climate control, heated front seats and steering wheel, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connections, LED headlights, a power tailgate, and acoustic laminated windshield and front door glass.

The Sport further adds auto-dimming and power-folding mirrors, hands-free opening for the tailgate, rain-sensing wipers, a sunroof, premium audio system, navigation, a power-adjustable steering wheel, and wireless device charging.

User-Friendliness: 8/10

While many premium brands require you to access controls through the centre screen, most of the XT5’s functions are fairly simple, with toggles for the cabin temperature. A nice touch is that the optional head-up display uses a switch on the dash to quickly raise or lower its height, without paging through screen menus to find it.

The eight-inch screen is tiny by modern standards, especially since General Motors (GM) is sticking large curved displays into some of its newer models, but the operating system is intuitive and simple to use. It’s a touchscreen, but for some reason there’s also a redundant controller on the console, along with the volume dial for the stereo.

Practicality: 8/10

The XT5 offers 849 L of cargo space, generous for the segment, and 1,784 L when the rear seat is folded. By comparison, the Audi Q5 gives you 733 L, and the Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class is just 620 L. The redesigned 2024 Lincoln Nautilus has even more space than the Cadillac, but it’s also grown longer than before. The XT5 with the V6 engine can tow up to 2,268 kg (3,500 lb) when properly equipped.

The Caddy’s front-seat small-item storage is handled through an open bin under the console, the lidded console box, and an open cubby in the centre stack.

Comfort: 9/10

The XT5’s seats are supportive and stay comfortable during longer drives. Heated front seats and steering wheel are standard, while ventilated front seats are an option. The ride is smooth and the cabin is quiet. Headroom is pretty much on par with its rivals, but the Cadillac’s front and rear headroom are more generous than in competitors such as the Audi Q5 and Mercedes GLC-Class.

Power: 8/10

The Luxury and Premium Luxury trims start with a turbocharged 2.0L four-cylinder engine that makes 235 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. Optional under the hood of the Premium Luxury – and standard with the Sport – is a 3.6L V6 engine making 310 hp and 271 lb-ft of torque. Both engines use a nine-speed automatic transmission and AWD.

It’s not as powerful as some competitors, but the V6 is still a good fit to this model. It’s peppy from a stop, and while you have to be firm with your foot to make it happen, it’s strong enough for passing power.

Driving Feel: 8/10

The Sport trim includes a performance suspension with adaptive damping, along with Brembo front brakes, but don’t expect all that sportier components usually promise. Instead, it’s more of a good everyday driver, with accurate and responsive steering, composure around curves, and a well-planted feel on the highway. But I found those Brembo brakes to be grabby, and they’re expensive to replace when they wear.

The base Luxury trim starts with front-wheel drive (FWD) and can be optioned to the AWD system that’s standard on the Luxury Premium and Sport. Both shift power from front to rear as needed for traction, but the Sport further has a twin-clutch system that can also distribute torque to the left or right rear wheel for sticky or snowy situations – as much as 100 per cent of power to one tire – and also to tuck the vehicle tighter into curves. Drive modes include tour, where the XT5 runs in FWD, or an AWD setting, and when you select either one, it stays in that until you switch it over. From there, you can also choose sport or off-road modes.

Fuel Economy: 7/10

The 2023 Cadillac XT5 with V6 engine is rated by Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) at 12.9 L/100 km in the city, 9.3 on the highway, and 11.3 in combined driving, and it runs on regular-grade gasoline. In my week with it, I averaged 11.5 L/100 km.

Many of its close competitors use turbocharged 2.0L engines and get better efficiency. The Audi Q5 45 with mild-hybrid boost is rated at 9.5 L/100 km in combined driving, while the Mercedes GLC-Class is good for 9.8. The XT5 with its four-cylinder isn’t as powerful as those two and is rated at 10.1 L/100 km.

Value: 8/10

The XT5 starts at $48,298 in Luxury trim, and it’s another $2,500 to opt for AWD. The Premium Luxury with standard AWD is $56,398 with the four-cylinder and $57,498 with the V6. Then there’s the Sport that comes only with the V6 and AWD, starting at $61,398.

In comparison, Audi’s Q5, in its 201-hp 40 trim, starts at $51,850; and in the 261-hp 45 runs from $54,550 to $64,850. The Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class is redesigned for 2023 and runs from approximately $61,400 to $65,300; while the equally new 2024 Lincoln Nautilus starts at $64,295 in gas-only and $77,295 for its plug-in hybrid version (all prices including delivery).

The Verdict

The 2023 Cadillac XT5’s interior can look dated next to some of its competitors, and despite offering a Sport trim it drives more like an everyday commuter vehicle. But it’s roomy and comfortable, it has generous cargo space, its V6 engine gets the job done, and if you’re looking at premium compact SUVs, it’s competitively priced. It doesn’t always stand out, but it’s worth cross-shopping.

Engine Displacement 3.6L
Engine Cylinders V6
Peak Horsepower 310 hp @ 6,700 rpm
Peak Torque 271 lb-ft @ 5,000 rpm
Fuel Economy 12.9 / 9.3 / 11.3 L/100 km cty/hwy/cmb
Cargo Space 849 / 1784 L seats up/down
Model Tested 2023 Cadillac XT5 Sport
Base Price $59,098
A/C Tax $100
Destination Fee $2,300
Price as Tested $67,588
Optional Equipment
$6,090 – Crystal White Tri-coat paint, $1,395; Kona Brown Sauvage leather seats, $1,145; 20-inch diamond cut alloy wheels, $690; Monochrome Cadillac emblems, $240; Technology Package of eight-inch instrument cluster screen, camera washer, self-park system, rear pedestrian alert, 360-degree camera and head-up display, $2,620