2017 Cadillac XT5 Platinum AWD

The 2017 Cadillac XT5 is the vehicle that Cadillac needs now in a way than it probably has never needed a vehicle more.

The 2017 Cadillac XT5 is the vehicle that Cadillac needs now in a way than it probably has never needed a vehicle more.

Whether its luxury or mainstream, the buying public is interested in crossovers. While Cadillac had had the SRX, that vehicle, which was originally introduced in 2003 as a model year 2004 model, and which had a second-generation for model year 2010, was certainly solid, but it was not quite what Cadillac needs in the luxury space circa right now.

So enter the XT5.

The first-ever 2017 Cadillac XT5 is a comprehensively upgraded luxury crossover and the cornerstone of a new series of crossovers in the brand’s ongoing expansion. The XT5 further builds on Cadillac’s trademark attributes of distinctive, sophisticated and agile vehicles. Pictured: 2017 Cadillac XT5 Platinum; Exterior paint shown in in Red Passion Tintcoat; Interior environment shown in Maple Sugar with Jet Black accents and Satin Rosewood wood trim.

(In case you’re wondering whether that alphanumeric means anything, it does: “Crossover Touring 5.” Which goes to the X as the crossover part; the T for touring; the 5 for—and this is pure speculation—the fact that it is a five-door (well, four doors and a hatch). There have been some people who are critical of Cadillac’s approach to naming its vehicles, know that as far as I can tell, the massively successful SRX—in 2015, its last full year of production, there were 68,850 SRXes delivered, and the total number of Cadillacs sold in the U.S. that year—as in ATS, CTS, ELR, Escalade, Escalade ESV, XTS, and SRX—was 175,287, so SRX handily outsold everything else in the showroom by a significant number (e.g., second place would be both Escalades combined, and that would only get to 35,921)—has less meaning, because according to the news release for the original 2004: “SRX is the latest model to express Cadillac's bold new design form vocabulary, and echoes the crisp, creased look of its concept vehicle predecessor, Vizón (2001). As the first of Cadillac's S-series of models, SRX foreshadows and shares automotive DNA with future vehicles like the all-new 2005 STS sedan.” The STS (Sport Touring Sedan?) lasted until model year 2011.)

Anyway. . .

The XT5 is the latest vehicle in Cadillac’s vehicular transformation, a transformation that is predicated on two things that might seem to be polar opposites: engineering and fashion.

While it might seem that the word fashion might be replaced by design, that’s simply not the case because while design is certainly important to the vehicle’s presence, there is much more to it than the way the sheet metal creases and the way the cockpit is laid out. When you’re in the real realm of luxury, you are in the space were fashion must be in the fore, and there is no question that Cadillac is on that path.

2017 Cadillac XT5 luxury crossover

Wood, leather, suede, carbon fiber, metal—there is a superb orchestration of materials inside the XT5. The execution is stylish, attractive and, because this is a vehicle that is offered with all-wheel drive, functional (i.e., you want the inside of your vehicle to be as upscale as possible, but not so much as you’re afraid to take it out in the winter because you might get the mats wet and dirty).

When the vehicle was being introduced, Cadillac head Johan de Nysschen said, “The all-new XT5 not only enters the most popular segment in the worldwide luxury auto market, it is the first of four new crossovers from Cadillac. It’s pivotal to our ongoing growth, which is why we’ve developed XT5 from the inside out to provide customers more space, more technology, more luxury and more efficiency.”

Which I quote for two reasons: One, because note how he said it was developed “from the inside out,” as in the importance of the interior of the vehicle, and two, because he used the phrase “worldwide luxury auto market.”

That phrase is important because it underscores the fact that the XT5 was engineered not only for the U.S. market, but for markets around the world. This is not to diminish the importance of the U.S. market. But when you’re amortizing the cost of vehicle development, having global scale is exceedingly helpful in covering the costs of everything from engineering to a heated steering wheel. That’s nontrivial.

The 2017 Cadillac XT5 crossover has earned a 2016 Top Safety Pick+ rating from the IIHS. Shown here is the mixed-metal body structure of the XT5; engineering safety into the vehicle was a top priority during the XT5’s development.

Ultra-high-strength steels, laser welding, advanced analytics—yes, all of the engineering a contemporary crossover requires.

So a word about the engineering. The XT5 is an all-new vehicle. Not a SRX Mark II. And because the engineers who worked on the vehicle knew that they were going to have their efforts measured against the likes of the German competitors, they leapfrogged the benchmarks, as in making it bigger (seven inches longer) than a competitive Audi Q5, yet lighter (by 100 pounds), which is important for reasons ranging from ride and handling to fuel efficiency.

Once it may have been that people bought Cadillacs because they had a loyalty to the brand or to General Motors or for some other reason that had little to do with the product in and of itself.

That’s no longer the case. While Cadillacs like the CTS have been good for a number of years and arguably overlooked, anyone interested in a midsize crossover would be doing themselves a disservice not to consider the XT5.

And one other possibility for the “5” in the name of the vehicle. That’s the number of people who can sit in the XT5.

Engine: 3.6-liter direct-injected V6, 310 hp// Transmission: Eight-speed automatic//Seating: 5// Passenger volume: 104.5 cu. ft.// Cargo volume: 63 cu. ft. behind first row, 30 cu. ft. behind second row // Fuel economy: 18/26/21 city/highway/combined mpg