There are few transformation stories in the car world as extreme as that of Cadillac. Famous in the 90s and early 2000s for its large and slow traditional luxury land yachts, Cadillac completely reinvented itself as a chic, modern, and performance-oriented brand.
While it is not as sporty as some of the models that Cadillac has been putting out in recent years, the newest addition to its line - the Cadillac XT5 - is certainly a modern and upscale vehicle, with plenty of technology on offer together with the famous Cadillac luxury and style.
Initially released only last year, the 2018 Cadillac XT5 is pretty much identical to the first model. It replaces the SRX, which was Cadillac’s first foray into the crossover market, and is expected to be followed shortly by the compact XT4 crossover as well.
Like all Cadillacs, the XT5 starts out at ‘very nice’ and moves up through a selection of luxury trim levels to end up at ‘decadent’. There are four trim levels, and each one adds a significant set of luxury, comfort and technology features. Some can also be outfitted with some special packages to further expand their available equipment.
Compare the 2018 XT5 base vs Luxury Trims. What is the difference?
The starting trim of the Cadillac XT5 is called just XT5 or the base model. It is slightly less expensive than other mid-size luxury crossovers, but does not skimp when it comes to amenities. It rides on 18-inch wheels and is accented with brushed aluminum roof rails. Inside, the interior is cut and sewn by hand, and is punctuated by Okapi deco wood trim. Dual-zone climate control is standard, front seats and steering column are power adjustable, and the rear bench seat reclines for improved comfort.
The car comes with a smart key and push button start, as well as a powered liftgate and a rear seat reminder. Nor does the Cadillac fall short when it comes to connectivity and infotainment. The standard CUE system displays on an 8-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Bluetooth, auxiliary input, and four USB ports, in addition to support for satellite and HD radio. The sound plays over an eight-speakers Bose sound system, and there is an available 4G LTE Wi-Fi connection through OnStar available. The base XT5 also comes with a rearview camera and rear parking sensors for safety equipment.
Compared to the other models, the base XT5 offers only a few optional packages and most of them are cosmetic. The Sport Package adds 20-inch wheels, sport pedal covers, and a contrast black grille with a bright chrome frame. The Black Ice Package adds gray 20-inch wheels and a number of Black Ice trim pieces such as a grille insert, side mouldings, rear fascia, and liftgate trim.
The final appearance package is the Radiant Package, which adds bright 20-inch wheels and a shiny grille. The last package is the Interior Protection Package, which comes with all-weather floor mats and cargo cover.
The Luxury trim level adds a fair bit of standard features to the XT5, significantly upgrading its interior and technology, as well as adding several major optional packages. Unlike the base model, the Luxury XT5 is trimmed in leather, with seat heating for the two front seats. There is also a memory function for the driver’s seat that automatically adjusts the seat itself as well as the side mirrors and the steering column. The side mirrors themselves are also heated on this model, as is the steering wheel.
There is also a fair bit of added safety technology on this level. The Luxury trim adds blind spot monitors with lane change assist and rear cross traffic alert, front and rear parking sensors, rain-sensing windshield wipers, and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. In terms of styling, the Luxury adds accent interior lighting, 18-inch wheels unique to the model, and a panoramic sunroof.
The Luxury offers all of the same packages that the base model offers and more. In addition to the Sport Package, the Black Ice Package, the Radiant Package, and the Interior Protection Package, there is also the Driver Awareness Package, the Advanced Security Package, and the Cargo Convenience Package.
The Driver Awareness Package adds further active safety features. It includes a forward collision warning, low speed automatic braking, a lane departure warning with lane keep assist, following distance indicator, pedestrian detection, smart headlights, and the safety alert seat that vibrates when the car’s sensors detect danger.
The Advanced Security Package adds a number of security features, including wheel locks, a locking steering column, shields for the locks and latches, an alarm system, and sensors that can detect inclination and interior movement.
The Cargo Convenience Package adds an all-weather cargo tray, a cargo net and cargo dividers, tie downs, and crossbars for the roof rails.
While the Luxury trim level is significantly more expensive than the base model, it is likely to be the starting point for most shoppers considering a Cadillac XT5. The lack of a leather interior does harm the base XT5’s luxury credibility, and it is somewhat limited in available active safety and infotainment options.
Compare the 2018 Cadillac XT5 Luxury vs Premium Luxury Trim Levels. What is the difference?
The Premium Luxury trim is an extension of the Luxury feature set that incorporates several of its optional features and includes some additional upgrades. The Driver Awareness package is included on this model as standard equipment, and it also comes with 20-inch wheels and LED headlights. It also upgrades the Bose sound system to a 14-speaker surround sound setup, and adds built-in navigation to the infotainment screen. There are also extra lighting accents along the doors, ventilation for the front seats, and a dynamic performance suspension system.
With the exception of the included Driver Awareness Package, the Premium Luxury XT5 can be equipped with all of the same optional packages as the regular Luxury model, as well as an added Driver Assist Package. Improving on the Driver Awareness Package, the Driver Assist Package adds full-speed automatic braking which also works when reversing, adaptive cruise control, automatic parking assist, and pre-collision seat belt tightening.
The Premium Luxury costs quite a bit over the base Luxury model, but also adds a fair number of features. The included 20-inch wheels and the Driver Awareness Package help improve the value, though it is still over a $5,000 cost increase. However, those looking for the true Cadillac driving experience will really start to feel it at this trim level, thanks to the adaptive suspension system.
Compare the XT5 Premium Luxury vs Platinum Trims. What is the difference?
As the peak of the XT5 model lineup, the Platinum is a bespoke trim level that is loaded up with luxury. It is all-wheel drive only, and includes the Advanced Security Package as standard equipment. It also comes with premium semi-aniline leather seats, a suede headliner, and leather wrapping for the doors, armrests, and the instrument panel. Rear seats are heated and there is a three-zone automatic climate control system to give everyone their preferred interior temperature. The rearview camera also comes with a mirror, and is upgraded to a 360-degree view.
Driver information is relayed through either a heads up display or a fully-customizable digital instrument cluster. In terms of packages, the Platinum is slightly more constrained than the Luxury models. It offers the Driver Assist Package, as well as Interior Protection and Cargo Convenience packages, but not much beyond that.
The XT5 Platinum is the fully equipped model, only missing the additional active safety features of the Driver Assist Package, which is likely to be included on most of the Platinum XT5s rolling off of the assembly line. It is an expensive package, but for fans of Cadillac’s aesthetic it will definitely be worth it. It does not offer as big of a jump in comfort as the Premium Luxury though, and faces some competition from other luxury crossovers that offer similar features and quality at a slightly lower price point.
Which Trim Level to Choose?
The 2018 Cadillac XT5 is a luxury vehicle, so it is not a surprise that our favorite trims on this model are the ones with Luxury in their names. The first Luxury model impresses with its full range of added comfort features and available technologies, while still residing at a slightly lower price point than other similar luxury vehicles.
The Premium Luxury does not quite match the same value, but offers a much more comfortable ride thanks to even more available safety technology and the incredible adjustable suspension system. The base XT5 falls a little short of the mark due to its lack of advanced safety features and leather upholstery, which is difficult to explain at this price point. Meanwhile, the XT5 Platinum has everything one could want from a luxury crossover, but so do many of its cheaper competitors, making it less of a great value compared to the Luxury trims.
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