What is it?

Welcome to Cadillac’s mid-sized SUV. While the brand made its name in the SUV world with the enormous (and gangster) Escalade, Cadillac has since branched out to the crossover market with first the SRX, and then the XT5 that replaces it. Fun fact: Towards the end of its life, the SRX was Cadillac’s best-selling model in the United States, so the XT5 is an important follow-up. The thing is, these days, there are some pretty serious competitors in this class. If you’re looking at the top-of-the-range XT5 (which you will be), you’ll also be looking at cars like the BMW X3, Audi Q5, Mercedes GLC-Class and Jaguar F-Pace. No pressure, then.

How does it drive?

If we’re honest, not very well. Under the bonnet, you get a 3.6-litre V6 that develops 310 bhp. That’ll get you from 0-100 km/h in a little under 7 seconds, but it never actually feels that fast. The XT5 is allegedly built using lots of lightweight materials, but it feels like a big, heavy car. Of course, being a decently sized SUV (it feels bigger than the cars it competes against – on the inside and out), it doesn’t need to feel like a sports car, but the German compact SUVs do a much better job of hiding their heft.

That feeling really rather spoils any semblance of driving excitement you might get from the XT5. It feels much slower than its 0-100 km/h time would suggest, with lacklustre throttle response and a slow-shifting gearbox. And through the corners, while the top-of-the-range AWD grips well enough, body roll is so severe that you’re dissuaded from attacking bends in anger very quickly.

All of that said, the XT5 is pretty good as something soft to glide about in. Save for an occasionally raspy engine note, the cabin is quiet and serene. The plush adaptive dampers in the suspension setup mean the car does a pretty good job of ironing out bumps on the roads, too. But then again, all of the XT5’s competitors do a good job on the refinement front as well.

Interior quality and tech

There’s little to fault the XT5 on here. The cabin is adorned with much leather, flashes of real wood, and loads of space. We tested the Premium Luxury variant, which came with all the toys you could reasonably expect. There are 360-degree parking sensors (though not a 360-degree camera), a good infotainment system, automatic doors, automatic lights, automatic window washers, remote engine start, and an electric boot lid. The front seats are electronically operated, and there are four USB ports dotted around the cabin.

Again, though, there’s nothing here that really sets the XT5 apart from its competitors. Plus, while the cabin is, on the whole, a very nice place in which to spend time, there are some cheap plastics lurking about – the indicator stalk being the worst offender. Otherwise, everything is pretty par-for-the-course in the class.

Running costs

Year-old, base-level XT5s fetch around AED 135,000 on the second-hand market, which isn’t bad depreciation considering the car starts at AED 167,100 new. However, if you want the fully loaded model we had on test, you’re looking at a showroom price of AED 206,000 – and you can bet you’ll lose more on the depreciation for that. In terms of fuel economy, you should be able to do about 600 km on a tank – about average for the class. Insurance-wise, for the top-of-the-range model, expect to pay around AED 5,000 for a fully comprehensive policy.

Our verdict

There’s nothing inherently bad about the XT5 – it nails the class brief. What’s more, whether you’re on the school run or pulling up at a fancy hotel, it looks great. The thing is, there’s no unique selling point, either. In a class that’s chock-full of interesting motors, the XT5 doesn’t do enough to tempt you over to the Cadillac way of doing things. It’s pretty good, but pretty good doesn’t really cut it in such a competitive class. Really, buying one will just come down to whether you like the look and feel of it.