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Refreshing or Revolting: 2019 Cadillac XT4 vs. The Competition

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 9/21/2018 Motor Trend Staff
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Entry-level sedans were the first to prove that luxury can come in small sizes with relatively small price tags. But now that customer preferences have changed, automakers are starting to introduce more and more small crossovers. Cadillac just rolled out the XT4, joining another new entry, the Volvo XC40. These models compete against more established players, including the Audi Q3, Mercedes-Benz GLA, and others. But which one has the right look to attract buyers?

2019 Cadillac XT4 v Competition© Motor Trend Staff 2019 Cadillac XT4 v Competition

All four crossovers take design risks, and usually this starts up front. The Cadillac XT4 has a conventional-looking grille, but the vertical headlights add visual interest. Like the rest of the vehicle, the front end of the Volvo XC40 takes on a boxy shape, complemented by a square grille and distinctive Thor's Hammer lights. Audi recently revamped the Q3, giving it a huge grille and large air inlets. The Mercedes GLA is the oldest of the four crossovers, having been fully redesigned for 2015 and mildly refreshed for 2018. Fortunately, the design holds up well with time, with a glitzy grille and rounded headlights.

The Cadillac XT4 is a little larger than the other crossovers. It measures 181.1 inches long, compared to the XC40 at 174.2, Q3 at 176.6, and GLA at 173.9. Looking at its side profile, however, you probably won't notice the extra length. Arguably, the XT4 looks pretty conventional from this angle, save for the window line that tapers off to a sharp point in the rear. Volvo's XC40 has the most avant-garde design, continuing the boxy theme. Not only does it have unusual character lines, but the belt line rises sharply in the back. The Q3 stands out with defined hips, while the GLA looks the least SUV-like thanks to its raised hatchback proportions.

In the rear, each vehicle does its own thing to stand out and grab entry-luxe crossover shoppers' attention. Cadillac gave the XT4 long vertical taillights, echoing the crossover's design up front. The Volvo's taillights are also vertical, but the two vehicles look completely different from behind. Audi sticks to narrow horizontal taillights that sit low on the rear, giving the model a planted appearance. The GLA has a very short, round back end with prominent round taillights. Unlike the other models, the GLA features a silver bar connecting the taillights.

Peek inside the cabin of the Caddy, and you might be a little disappointed with some of the materials. But we do like the new, responsive infotainment screen that sits above two clean rows of buttons. Volvo gets rid of many of the buttons you'll normally find in a car, preferring a large touchscreen to dominate the center. The Q3 benefits from Audi's available Virtual Cockpit gauge cluster, as well as high-quality materials and ambient lighting on offer. Unfortunately, the Mercedes can't hide its age when it comes to the interior. Although we like the circular air vents, the GLA has too many buttons and a rather small screen.

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