Finally, Cadillac has an SUV to rival popular small luxury rivals such as the BMW X1 and Land Rover Range Rover Evoque. Based on the fact that SUVs are about the only Cadillacs anyone is buying these days, the 2019 XT4 should help get more foot traffic in showrooms. There’s just one thing: you can’t get the XT4 with Cadillac’s excellent Super Cruise driver assistance system.
Super Cruise debuted last year on the flagship CT6 and we found it set Cadillac apart from every other brand marketing a semi-autonomous driving system. It uses cameras, sensors, and mapping data to allow drivers to take their hands off the wheel for a time, but has an infrared camera to make sure eyes stay on the road. A more comprehensive driver assistance system than those offered by the likes of Tesla and Volvo, Super Cruise should be Cadillac’s way of breaking out of old stereotypes and introduce the brand to a new customer. Instead, they’re just making another compact SUV.
It’s also bizarre that Cadillac doesn’t even offer the system on the CT6 V-Sport, also shown at this year’s show. While the V-Sport is more about power and a more aggressive personality, it’s also likely to be the most expensive version of the CT6. Shouldn’t that mean it gets all the options available on that car?
A Cadillac spokesperson told The Verge that the CT6 V-Sport lacks Super Cruise because of “packaging” issues, but declined to elaborate. Some of that must have to do with hiding the cameras and sensors to make the system work in the V-Sport’s revised front end compared to the standard CT6 models. And in any case, customers seeking out a CT6 V-Sport are probably more interested in actually driving a sedan with 550 horsepower from a 4.2-liter twin-turbo V8 themselves.
And even if the XT4 doesn’t break any new ground in terms of semi-autonomy, it’s still a sharp-looking thing covered in lights. It has a low, slightly curved appearance that somehow works with Cadillac’s theme of upright grilles and lights. It’s a good size, too, which is also a surprise from a brand best known for its giant Escalade SUV. And the XT4 is offered with a wireless charging pad for phones, which could be useful.
There seem to be Super Cruise commercials playing all the time, with the brand pushing technology and performance, too. But if you can’t get the technology on the majority of the vehicles, how is anyone going to get to experience it? Other automakers have been democratizing their semi-autonomous technology slowly but surely. Nissan, for example, is spreading its ProPilot Assist to mainstream models like the Altima, Rogue, and Leaf — even if its setup isn’t as comprehensive as Super Cruise’s. Cadillac could be known for its good technology and bring in younger, more technology savvy customers.
But hey, a small, orange SUV might work, too.