It’s essentially a sleeker version of the XT5, and that’s not a bad thing

Cadillac is finally getting its design groove on with the launch of the XT4 crossover. The new addition to Caddy’s crossover and SUV lineup was just unveiled at the 2018 New York Auto Show, and it’s packing the kind of design that should attract its share of attention. The XT4’s positioning as a smaller and cheaper alternative to the XT5 also opens the door for the luxury automaker to become a player in this specific segment. It’s been said that the best way to a consumer’s heart is to make a lasting first impression. As far as its design goes, the Cadillac XT4 did just that.

To be clear, the XT4’s design isn’t something that Cadillac just cooked up for this specific model. We’ve already seen it on a handful of new Caddys, most recently on the crossover’s big brother, the XT5. We lauded Cadillac’s renewed design vigor on the XT5, and while it didn’t necessarily manifest itself in the cleanest of ways in that model — the XT5 still looks a little bloated to us — a lot of the company’s new design cues fit more naturally on the XT4. Simply put, the XT4 is what the XT5 is supposed to look like without all the girth wrapped up in it.

One of the XT5’s design issues came as a result of its size. Caddy’s new headlights configuration was supposed to be one of its most distinctive design features. It was present on the XT5, but it somehow got swallowed up by the overall proportions of the SUV. It didn’t stand out like it was supposed to. That’s not an issue in the XT4. The crossover’s leaner and tighter design actually helps the L-shaped LED running lights stand out more than they do. Not only does that put the focus on that particular design, but it also highlights other aspects of the crossover’s front section, including the front grille, front bumper, fenders, and the black cladding. It creates a more vivid and more expressive-looking crossover, which is exactly what potential customers are looking for.

The more balanced styling extends to the side and rear sections of the XT4. There are no unnecessary bulges sticking out. The character and body lines are present, but they don’t have to do too much to emphasize the XT4’s masculinity. Even those creases on the hood pop out more compared to the ones found on the XT5. The rear section also gets a subtle spoiler and LED taillights that extend into the liftgate. There’s nothing fancy about it, but it works in creating a nice balance of sportiness and luxury that imbibe the spirit of what Cadillac’s are supposed to look like.

That said, the XT4 does have a few design flaws, including the decision to use plastic on any part of the crossover’s exterior. I get it the functionality that comes with the use of the material, but it’s a little too cheap to see on a body of a Caddy. if Cadillac really wanted to give the XT4 an exclusively premium feel, I’m not sure plastic is the way to do it.

Overall, though, the automaker should get credit for its design of the XT4. It emphasized the right parts without having to compromise on other elements of its styling. The result is a clean yet aggressive crossover that’s going to turn a lot of heads in New York.


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