New premium SUV contender carrying great expectations

Cadillac has unveiled its new XT4 mid-size crossover in New York, aimed at shaking the Mercedes-Benz GLC and BMW X3's establishment in North America. With turbo power, a choice of front- or all-wheel drive and a premium interior, it doesn't exactly break the mould, but that's not really the point here.

Power in the edgy Cadillac crossover comes from a 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo-petrol, hooked up to a nine-speed automatic transmission. It makes 177kW and 350Nm, and can be mated with a front-wheel drive or (optional) all-wheel drive system.

When we say it's a mid-size SUV, the XT4 is actually something of an awkward middle child: it's bigger than a BMW X1, but smaller than an X3. Although Cadillac says it rides on a unique platform, the car is likely built around the same basic D2XX architecture as the Holden Equinox.

The car looks exactly as you'd expect a mid-size Cadillac SUV to look. That means it gets angular headlights with a vertical LED signature, along with tall tail-lights reminiscent of those on modern Volvo SUVs.

It's a handsome thing, if a bit generic. 18-inch alloy wheels are standard across the range, but high-grade models can be optioned with 20-inch rims.

Inside, the XT4 is the first Cadillac to pair its 8.0-inch CUE infotainment system with a rotary controller. A leather-wrapped steering wheel and sports seats (with optional massaging) are available, while ambient lighting is on hand to set the mood. There are four USB ports on board and three 12V sockets, along with wireless phone charging and near-field connectivity.

A sunroof is optional across the range, along with navigation and a Bose audio system. Active sport suspension will be available on range-topping cars.

While we're talking technology, the traditional vacuum-assisted brake booster is backed by an electro-hydraulic system that takes up less space under the bonnet.

“The first-ever 2019 Cadillac XT4 expands our successful SUV lineup to a segment where Cadillac has never been before,” said Cadillac president, Johan de Nysschen. "And it sets off a dramatic expansion and elevation of the product range, that will see a new Cadillac virtually once every six months through 2021."