The luxury division of Detroit-based General Motors is moving into one of the fastest growing segments of the U.S. auto industry with the new crossover. The new small crossover fits beneath Cadillac’s XT5 midsize crossover and large Escalade SUV.
Sales of crossovers in the U.S. rose 8 percent last year to almost 5.4 million vehicles. The segment made up 31 percent of the market, according to Autodata Corp., an industry research firm.
Cadillac wants the XT4 to tap into that growth, said Stephanie Brinley, an analyst with IHS Markit.
“The first-ever 2019 Cadillac XT4 expands our successful SUV lineup to a segment where Cadillac has never been before,” said Cadillac President Johan de Nysschen. “And it sets off a dramatic expansion and elevation of the product range, that will see a new Cadillac virtually once every six months through 2021.”
He said Cadillac expects the XT4 to quickly become the best seller in the luxury compact crossover segment. It would have to beat several established nameplates, including the Lexus NX, Acura RDX, Mercedes-Benz GLC and the BMW X3. Acura will be showing off its redesign of the RDX at the New York show.
The brand needs a high volume seller in the U.S. Cadillac’s U.S. sales fell 8 percent last year to less than 157,000 vehicles. It trails luxury brands leaders including Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Lexus.
Cadillac, which keeps a separate divisional headquarters in New York, is making a strategic move to debut the vehicle at the show.
The New York market had the highest proportion of luxury and premium brand sales among the major metropolitan areas last year. Luxury vehicles accounted for 22.7 percent of registrations in the region in 2017, according to IHS Markit. That compares with 12.4 percent on the national level.
The XT4 Cadillac will come in three available models: Luxury, Premium Luxury and Sport.
Interior creature comforts include a leather wrapped steering wheel and seats.There also an in-cabin ionizer and available white ambient lighting.
The crossover focuses on rear space – it will have a segment-leading 39.5 inches of legroom. The cargo area offers to 48.9 cubic feet of space when the rear seats are folded down.
The XT4 balances style and comfort on long drives and still offers “excellent” cargo room for weekend getaways that require bulky gear, like skiing, said Jim Fleming, exterior design director for Cadillac.
All models offer 15-watt wireless device charging. The infotainment system is displayed on an 8-inch screen, which can be integrated with the user’s smartphone. It also gets Cadillac’s first rotary controller, an alternative way to interact with the system that has shortcut buttons to a home screen as well as for favorite apps and basic audio control.
There are four standard USB ports and three 12-volt power outlets.
Standard safety technology includes rear park assist. The Luxury Premium and Sport models get front park assist, lane change alerts with blind spot monitoring and rear-cross traffic alerts. Additional driver assistance technology features are available with package upgrades.
Under the hood sits an all-new Cadillac 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder engine that makes 237 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. The engine is equipped with is mated to a 9-speed automatic transmission. GM estimates the XT4 will get 30 mpg in highway driving, 25 in the city and 27 combined. It has not yet been rated by the Environmental Protection Agency.
The XT4 comes with 18-inch, 10-spoke silver wheels and a mesh front grille, though the polish varies depending on trim level. There are 20-inch wheels available.
There will be front and rear LED lighting on all trims, but the Sport will get clear taillight lenses compared with the traditional red on the other versions.
A cold weather package also is available.
There are six “metallic” paint colors including Atlantic Metallic, Autumn Metallic, Twilight Blue Metallic, Shadow Metallic, Stellar Black Metallic and Radiant Silver Metallic. It also comes in black and red.
The price of the XT4 will start at $35,790 when it goes on sale this fall. It will be built at GM’s Fairfax assembly plant in Kansas City.