But Cadillac knows there’s potentially even bigger sales action in the compact SUV segment, where premium contenders such as the Audi Q3/Q5, BMW X1/X3 and Mercedes-Benz GLC are currently cashing in. Better late than never, Cadillac is belatedly joining the party with the brand-new XT4, which crams in all the opulence and design flair of its larger siblings but shrinks the recipe to a format that will appeal to a younger, more value-conscious audience.
As evident from the accompanying images, the XT4 has edgy design language that helps set it apart visually from its Euro and Japanese rivals. There’s no danger of it being mistaken for anything other than a Cadillac, thanks to distinctive arrow-shaped headlights and boomerang taillights out back. It’s a refreshingly dynamic looking entrant in a segment that’s populated largely by generically styled vehicles.
Propulsion comes from a 240hp 2.0-litre turbo motor that’s hooked up to a nine-speed automatic transmission. L’Officiel Arabia had the opportunity to briefly sample the XT4 as part of the vehicle’s regional media launch, and our first impression is that the newcomer is a smooth and punchy performer that’s capable enough to hold its own against its German rivals.
Pricing will be announced closer to the on-sale date in early 2019, but we’re anticipating an entry point around the Dh145k mark for the base Luxury Model, which would enable the XT4 to undercut its Euro challengers. The entry model gets 18-inch wheels, eight airbags, LED headlights, power-adjustable front seats, simulated leather upholstery, keyless entry and ignition, remote start, dual-zone climate control and an eight-inch infotainment touchscreen (with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay). If you’re willing to spend more, there will also be Premium Luxury and Sport models that score additional kit and a few cosmetic tweaks.
The cabin is a pleasant place to be, thanks to well sculpted seats with plenty of adjustability. The layout is clean and efficient, with soft-touch surfaces swathed across the dash and inner door panels. Overall, very little to complain about inside, although the XT4 has significantly less cargo space than the likes of the Audi Q5 and BMW X3.
Only the Premium Luxury and Sport variants of the XT4 have all-wheel-drive (the base Luxury model is front-wheel-drive), but it’s a fact that few buyers in this segment are likely to ever go off road. At most, there could be a short excursion on a gravel track, which the Cadillac can comfortably handle.
Verdict? Our preliminary impression is that XT4 has what it takes to succeed in the premium compact crossover segment, but its biggest challenge could be to register in the public psyche as an alternative to the established European and Japanese players.