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Cadillac wants a piece of the compact luxury SUV pie

Releases a youthful-looking model called XT4

A little too playful for a Cadillac, don't you think? PHOTO FROM CADILLAC

In case there’s still any doubt as to what vehicle segment luxury car brands are making most of their profits from these days, American premium marque Cadillac has cast another vote in favor of small SUVs, unveiling a new compact luxury crossover called the XT4.

We have a feeling the brand bosses were emboldened by the success of the midsize luxury SUV XT5—not to mention the consistent sales performance of the full-size Escalade—which probably convinced them that if they were going to get more than their usual slice of the high-end pie, it would have to be via the SUV route.

This is so much more youthful-looking than the XT5. PHOTOS FROM CADILLAC

While industry chatter has circulated talks of Cadillac taking full advantage of platform-sharing and basing the XT4 on existing models within the General Motors stable—namely, the Chevrolet Equinox and the GMC Terrain—official press communication asserts that the XT4 was “developed on an exclusive compact SUV architecture,” presumably to assure its more upscale target market that this isn’t just some rebadged Chevy.

Even the powertrain is touted as an all-new Cadillac 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbo engine that produces 237hp and 350Nm. This powerplant is mated to a nine-speed automatic transmission in the XT4—a pairing that Cadillac says results in a highway mileage estimate of 13km/L.

The front-wheel-driven XT4 comes with an optional twin-clutch all-wheel drive system.

Young corporate types should now be considering a brand they used to find to be too old. PHOTOS FROM CADILLAC

The XT4 measures 4,599mm in length, 1,881mm in width and 1,627mm in height, with a wheelbase of 2,779mm. That puts it right in between BMW’s X1 and X3 in terms of exterior dimensions.

The five-seater crossover is available in three variants—Luxury, Premium Luxury and Sport—all of which come standard with 18-inch alloy wheels (with different finishes). It will be priced in the United States from $35,790 (P1,870,000).

Now, that's a tasteful luxury cabin. Good job, Cadillac. PHOTOS FROM CADILLAC

It remains to be seen whether this car is a legitimately brilliant luxury vehicle or just another money grab by a luxury brand working its way back to global relevance.

“The first-ever XT4 expands our successful SUV lineup to a segment where Cadillac has never been before, and it sets off a dramatic expansion and elevation of our product range, which will see a new Cadillac virtually once every six months through 2021,” Cadillac president Johan de Nysschen is quoted by the press release as saying.

We take this to mean that Cadillac is gearing for an aggressive product offensive in the next couple of years. And the start of the assault has just been officially signaled by the XT4.

Vernon B. Sarne

Vernon is the founder and editor-in-chief of VISOR. He has been an automotive journalist for 26 years. He became one by serendipity, walking into the office of a small publishing company and applying for a position he had no idea was for a local car magazine. God has watched over him throughout his humble journey. He writes the ‘Spoiler’ column.