2017 Cadillac XT5
Cadillac is as guilty as anybody for kicking off the large luxury SUV craze. Remember the first 1999 Escalade? Yet, Cadillac was slow to follow the market shift to luxury crossovers. So, even though their mid-size SRX is top seller for the brand, it lacks the wide spread critical praise of their cars. So, let’s see if that changes as Caddy’s reboots their crossover strategy with the all-new XT5.
Although on an all-new chassis, don’t think of the 2017 Cadillac XT5 as an all-new concept. Rather, it’s a continuation of what the SRX started; luxurious, tech-savvy transportation for 5, but this time with driving dynamics that more closely match their key German and Asian rivals.
Whether you’re a fan of the Crossover Touring re-naming strategy or not, hopefully Cadillac will stay consistent with it; as they expand from this midsize XT5 to, perhaps, a 3-row XT7, and compact XT3.
As for the XT5, it wears a face that’s a taller version of Caddy’s new flagship CT6 sedan. Both head and tail lighting have vertical orientation.
There’s less departure along the rest of the exterior, where some shades of SRX and even Chevrolet Equinox remain in profile and in the rear. Our Red Passion Tintcoated Luxury model had excellent paint quality.
Compared to the SRX, there are 2-inches of added wheelbase; yet overall length is almost an inch shorter. It is also slightly taller and narrower. Standard wheels are 18s; 20s are optional.
But, driving is where you notice the biggest XT to SRX changes. Street and highway ride and handling are clearly not old-school Caddy. It’s decidedly European, even borderline stiff; yet compliant enough to eagerly soak up bumps softly. Following a recent and welcomed GM trend, close to 300-lbs. has been shaved and you feel the added responsiveness at every turn of the nicely weighted electric steering.
There’s no Euro-style turbo-4 power under the hood however, at least here in the U.S.; as Caddy’s LGX version of GM’s 3.6-liter V6 is the only choice.
And it’s a very decent one, delivering 310-horsepower and 271 lb-ft. of torque seamlessly; working well with the standard 8-speed automatic transmission. They make a good combo as long you’re not looking for an all-out performance ute.
Front-drive is standard, with a new twin-clutch all-wheel-drive system optional. It can send full power front or rear, as well as left or right at the rear axle. Slippery roads are its forte, but we found this flexible setup to be a welcomed aid in dry handling as well. Or, switch it off for best fuel economy.
Inside, is a clean, simple, attractive design very similar to flagship CT6; with no shortage of tech and luxury touches. Trim, whether traditional wood or sportier bright-work, is exceptional.
You can chose from quite a few light or dark themes, our favorite being the classy Jet Black. And there’s much small item storage space around.
But we have to subtract a few points after dealing with the latest CUE infotainment system. It is fully compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and we love that. But after a long day of getting frustrated with the gesture controls, we could think of only one final gesture to give it. Caddy please give us a knob or two!
The gauge panel is not quite as tech-heavy as CT6, but still a nice info-heavy array, with the now-expected reconfigurable setup.
The front seats look great but need work. We found them hard, yet still lacking in all-day support.
Thanks to the extra wheelbase, the rear seat provides great leg room; not always a high point of this class. It slides and reclines too. Still head room can be tight thanks to an intrusive panoramic glass roof.
E-shifters are “en vogue” these days, and Caddy’s has logical and precise movement. A backup camera is standard, the CT6’s Rear Camera Mirror, and a full suite of active safety features are optional.
Rear seat up cargo capacity is good at 30.0 cu.-ft. Fold the 40/20/40 seatbacks to expand it to 63.0 cu.-ft. A cargo management system is available. Maximum trailer tow is the expected 3,500-lbs.
Government Fuel Economy Ratings for front-wheel-drive are 19-City, 27-Highway, and 22-Combined. For an average Energy Impact Score of 15.0-barrels of annual oil consumption and 6.5-tons of CO2 emissions.
XT5 base pricing is $39,990 for front-wheel drive. All-wheel-drive can be added to mid-level trims for $2,495 more, but it comes standard with the $63,495 top-level Platinum.
The 2017 Cadillac XT5 will have a hard time standing out in the crowded luxury crossover segment. But truth be told, the retiring SRX actually did quite well with what it had, and we think the XT5 will do even better. It provides more luxury, more tech, and yes, a much more satisfying driving experience. It should appeal equally to both long-time and first-time luxury buyers, and bodes well for a future full lineup of crossover Cadillacs.
- Engine: 3.6 liter
- Horsepower: 310
- Torque: 271 lb-ft.
- EPA: 19 mpg city/ 27 mpg highway
- Energy Impact: 15.0 barrels of oil/yr
- CO2 Emissions: 6.5 tons/yr
Still The Same Mazda3, Just A Bit Better
When the fourth-gen Mazda3 arrived for 2019, it grew a little more stylish, a lot more upscale; and loads more practical too, adding all-wheel drive into the mix for the first time. How does it get better than that? Well, for ’23 the 3 adds an engine update that promises to deliver more power and better efficiency. Time to speak truth to this power.
The Mazda3 has always been a great compact car, big on both fun and value, and has earned numerous MotorWeek Drivers’ Choice Awards over the years. This current-gen has been on the road for 4-years now, and it gets even better for 2023.
Starting with the powertrain, the base 2.0-liter I4 has been eliminated leaving just 2 versions of the 2.5-liter 4-cylinder, turbo and non-turbo. Base versions get a 5-horsepower bump to 191-horsepower, along with updates for its cylinder deactivation system. The 2.5 Turbo fits standard all-wheel drive and outputs the same 250-horsepower and 320 lb-ft. of torque as last year; provided you use Premium gas. Max ratings drop to 227-horsepower and 310 lb-ft. with Regular.
A 6-speed manual transmission remains available in front-wheel drive 3s, but AWDs come exclusively with a sport-tuned 6-speed automatic. We found it well-sorted and seemingly always on the same page as us whether we were shuffling through back roads or sitting in traffic. There is a softer overall feel compared to Mazda3s of old, which you’ll appreciate when encountering harsh pavement, but it still feels plenty agile when called upon.
That softer feel certainly carries over inside, where it has gotten much quieter, and quite nicely finished, consistent with Mazda’s Audi-like premium intentions. All 3s get an 8.8-inch center display, and all of the fingerprints on our test car’s screen signifies most people assume it’s a touchscreen. It’s not, however, as inputs are made with a rotary controller on the console. It’s not the most intuitive system, but once you’re past the learning curve, it’s tolerable.
The rear seat room doesn’t have the roomy feel of the Subaru Impreza, but space is certainly more than adequate compared to the rest of the compact set. Rear cargo space for this hatchback rates a good 20.1 cubic-ft. with trunk space in the sedan coming in at 13.2 cubic-ft. So yes, the Mazda3 remains available in both sedan and hatchback, but we still prefer the 5-door hatch both for its practicality and for its sporty looks. Top Turbo Premium Plus gets gloss black aero treatments including a roof spoiler and front air dam.
At the test track, power from the 2.5-turbo felt more than adequate off the line, using all-wheel-drive grip to bite into the pavement and get up and go to 60 in 6.0-seconds flat. There was virtually no turbo lag, and the engine felt nicely refined with its power delivery. Transmission operation was equally as smooth and kept the power flowing quite effectively throughout the ¼-mile, which ended in 14.5-seconds at 95 miles-per-hour. We really appreciate a well-tuned 6-speed in this world of overactive 8 and 10 speed automatics.
While there was definitely some understeer to manage in our handling course, the 3 turned in quickly and provided real, sporting feedback through our cone course. I-Activ AWD features G-Vectoring Control Plus, which uses both engine torque vectoring as well as selective braking to minimize body roll, and preserve the lively feel we’ve come to expect from Mazda. In panic braking runs, the pedal was soft, but that kept ABS pulsing to a minimum; and the results were great, as we averaged a very short 106-feet from 60, with minimal nose dive and stable, straight stops.
Government Fuel Economy Ratings for an all-wheel drive Turbo are 23-City, 31-Highway, and 26-Combined; we averaged a good 28.4 miles-per-gallon of Regular.
Obviously by eliminating the previous base engine, prices have taken a jump for ’23, but so has everything else. Still they remain more than reasonable. The base S now starts at $26,855, with the top Turbo Premium Plus at $37,815, with many options in between. And sedan prices are even more sensible, starting at $23,715.
Like most brands, Mazda seems to be going all-in on SUVs; as the 3 is the last family sedan and hatchback in their lineup. And it would be a real shame if that were to change. As the 2023 Mazda3, the hatchback in particular, is just about the perfect car, offering utility vehicles levels of practicality along with better than average luxury, plus handling performance that few crossovers can match. So, long live the Mazda3!
- Engine: 2.5-liter Turbo-4
- Horsepower: 227 | 250
- 0-60 mph: 6.0 seconds
- 60-0 Braking: 106 feet (avg)
- MW Fuel Economy: 28.4 MPG (Regular)
- Transmission: 6-speed auto
- Torque: 310 lb-ft. | 320 lb-ft
- 1/4 Mile: 14.5-seconds at 95 mph
- EPA: 23-City / 31-Highway / 26-Combined