2019 Cadillac XT4 Sport AWD

The compact luxury SUV market just got more crowded. The all-new Cadillac XT4, introduced to the world last September, falls right in the middle.

Recently Therese Pinazzo, one of the XT4’s exterior designers described this vehicle to me as not understanding “how small it is.” A couple of weeks later, I tested one for the week. For the most part, I concur with Pinazzo.

For urban drivers who want to tick a lot of boxes, the XT4 Sport is worth a tootle in. As Pinazzo implies, space within is cleverly divided. You’re cossetted but never cramped up front or in the back. Mind, you wouldn’t want to drive to Florida in the rear middle seat. For a growing family, it offers loads of diversions and bling for your buck, but we’ll return to that.

Not knowing how small it is? Despite the included sport steering wheel and sporty alloy pedals, this is illustrated most clearly when you stomp on the pedal. The turbocharged four-cylinder engine felt a bit meek for the larger packaging. But then I’m not the target market.

Note the graphic. Even the potential fuel efficiency (if you drive gingerly) falls right in the middle of the class.

It’s supplemented by automatic start/stop tech which drives some people crazy and mustn’t be confused with turbo lag.

Its target customer is likely happy that driving the XT4 is more like a trip to the spa than the race track. If you’re splashing out for a rear-camera washer and air ionizer, you’re probably not some red-meat eating consumer of Car & Driver’s Lightning Lap sections.

The XT4 is aiming for the connected commuter with multiple needs. It delivers. The base trim comes with an 8-inch diagonal colour display with enhanced voice recognition, HD radio, a 3-month Sirius XM trial (just enough to hook you) and compatibility with Apple Carplay and Android Auto. While you’re at it, the connected driver probably won’t balk at launching the Onstar-activated Wii-fi hotspot.

Sidebar: If you get FOMO when not ‘connected’, be aware that the provincial police here in Ontario kicked off the New Year with increased fines for handling your phone. You can still operate. Exploit these options to remain connected without having to touch the phone. It’s not that hard. Have your salesperson walk you through it during your test.

Likewise, if you’re worried about all the connected people who don’t bother with basic handsfree tech, you’ll appreciate the litany of safety features that come with the entry-level XT4: park assist, airbags galore, traction and stability control, lane change alert with side blind zone alert, rear cross traffic alert and too many more to list without boring you.

An established but still almost unique aspect to the above alerts is Cadillac’s bottom wobbling. Unlike the beeping and flashing of other alert systems, this one jiggles beneath the driver’s seat, enlightening you to a potential danger a whole different way. It’s certainly effective — at least at first. I’ve never owned a Cadillac and can’t promise you wouldn’t become as inured to it as the other Vegas-esque bleeps and blinding bursts that safety engineers put in your attention’s way.

If you’re customizing your ride, you may be interested in how this tester came stacked with extras. If you’re a serious commuter, stuck in daily traffic for hours, consider the comfort and convenience package with its front seat massage control. A $2,795 jump in price, it’ll at least save on trips to the chiropractor. Meanwhile, the $1,795 enhanced visibility package is a good safety buffer against all those idiots ignoring the distraction ban. And the $1,595 technology package is an Island of Misfit Toys, combining such strange bedfellows as a telescoping steering column (meaning you can move the steering wheel closer to or farther from your chest) and the aforementioned air ionizer.

Standard Price: $42,795

As Driven: $59,410

This is a test