If there’s anything to take away from this 2023 Cadillac XT5 review, it’s the sense of shock I felt when walking up to it for the very first time.

The XT5 is a big honkin’ midsize SUV. Much bigger than I was expecting. It’ll fill nearly any parking space you can squeeze it into with very little room to spare.

I actually didn’t like it at first. However, after a full day of driving, it started to grow on me. No pun intended.

My full (and totally unbiased) review of the 2023 Cadillac XT5

I rented the XT5 you see in these pictures at the Seattle Tacoma International Airport. I certainly didn’t need an SUV to drive around for the day, but they offered me a deal I couldn’t resist. I’m easily persuaded.

Styling and design

Prior to this drive, I knew exactly nothing about the Cadillac XT5. The picture on the rental car app looked nice enough (even nicer than the image of the BMW X3 displayed right next to it). I tend to make my biggest decisions in life based on looks, so I was very much looking forward to driving around in this stylish SUV for a day.

Walking up to it for the first time, I honestly thought that they assigned the wrong vehicle to me. I wasn’t expecting an SUV that freaking big.

2023 Black Cadillac XT5 Front three-quarter view
Whoa. The feeling of seeing an XT5 in real life for the first time is something that will stick with you for a long time. For me, it was a feeling of dread – kinda like “am I going to need a CDL to drive this thing all around town today?”

The XT5 commands a presence. It towers above most everything else in the immediate area, and it’ll be pushing the boundaries of nearly any parking spot. For reference, it feels a lot taller than the 2020 Porsche Macan that I recently reviewed.

2023 black Cadillac XT5 backed into a parking space
Props to whoever it was who wedged backed this thing into this parking spot earlier today. Somewhat evenly between the lines too!

Despite its intimidating size, it’s actually a quite good looking vehicle. It’s well styled without being obnoxious (not something I can say about all Cadillacs), and dare I say it, I think it looks classy. Most importantly, it’s not the kind of SUV that I would feel embarrassed to be seen in.

2023 black cadillac xt5 side view
I wouldn’t go as far as to call this thing “gangster”, but it’s definitely ‘aight. There’s a definite “grandpa” vibe going on with all the chrome trim at methinks.
2023 black Cadillac XT5 front view
There’s no mistaking this for a quasi generic General Motors SUV though. Sorry. There just isn’t.
2023 cadillac xt5 exterior design details

Engine and performance

The XT5 featured in this review had the 2.0 L turbocharged four-cylinder engine rated at 235 horsepower and 258 lb ft of torque. Honestly? It wasn’t enough for an SUV of this size.

2 L four-cylinder engine in the 2023 Cadillac XT5
Remember when Cadillacs used to have carbureted 7.0 L V8s? That was a bit before my time, but that certainly won’t stop me from jumping on the “those were the days” bandwagon.

I wouldn’t necessarily say that it feels underpowered. The problem is that it’s not powerful enough to feel luxurious. Any vehicle at this price point needs to have enough omph to put a s*** eating grin on my face. Sorry, but there’s just no way I could spend that much money on something that accelerates less dramatically than a 2013 Camry.

2 L four-cylinder engine in the 2023 Cadillac XT5
I wonder what all the people driving around in 12 foot long / 5000 lb Eldorado’s in 1973 would think of a four-cylinder turbocharged Cadillac? Thankfully, most of those people are dead, and we don’t have to hear rambling stories about the good ‘ol days.
Scott driving a 2023 cadillac XT5
Uh oh. Is that a 1973 Eldorado in my rearview mirror? Eat my four-cylinder turbocharged rubber!


Just when you thought I had nothing nice to say about the 2023 XT5, I’m about to gush (disgustingly) about how ridiculously nice – and comfortable – the interior is.

2023 cadillac xt5 interior
Ooh baby. I suspect that I’m somewhat in the minority (based on other reviews of the XT5 that I have read), but I don’t care. I think this is a very well designed interior.

The last Cadillac SUV that I drove was a 2016 SRX. Not only was it as exciting as an insurance seminar, it was about as comfortable as any other mass produced General Motors product. Thankfully, the 2023 XT5 hits differently.

2023 Cadillac XT5 dashboard
I will admit that the dashboard is a wee bit overstyled and may be a bit too aggressive for older buyers. Then again – maybe that’s on purpose? Let’s just say that I don’t think this is going to be winning the AARP Car of The Year anytime soon.
2023 cadillac xt5 center console and gear selector
Grip it and rip it! (The gear selector in the center console I mean – not your grandma).
2023 cadillac xt5 backseat
Speaking of getting intimate with grandma, you’ll be happy to know that the backseat area has room to roam.

The interior is incredibly spacious, well laid out, and is as quiet as a church. Well, except when you’re accelerating away from a stoplight. Ain’t nothing is going to mask the sound of that wimpy 2.0 L four-cylinder making a ruckus just a few feet in front of you.

2023 Cadillac XT5 driving POV
One of the things that I like the most about the interior is how good the visibility to the outside world is. That’s technically a part of the interior, right?
2023 cadillac xt5 moonroof
Actually, outward visibility from all directions is pretty good – especially straight up.
2023 cadillac xt5 rear cargo area
But what about storage space? It’s hard not to shake a stick at the size of the large cargo area as well. I would imagine that this would be more than sufficient for most folks.
2023 cadillac xt5 infotainment screen
Perhaps my biggest criticism of this entire interior is the infotainment display. Not only is it angled so far back that it’ll catch every possible reflection, it’s not bright enough to be viewed clearly in bright sunlight. I appreciated having Apple CarPlay though (at least when I could see it through all the reflections).
2023 cadillac xt5 interior design details


Look. The XT5 is a portly vehicle. You’re not going to be able to whip it around tight canyon roads with any sort of grace. You’re going to look like a total idiot trying to keep up with smaller (and far more agile) challengers in the other lane.

That said, you’ll be extremely comfortable in normal driving conditions. It tackles most road conditions exactly how you might expect a 3915 lb SUV would. Cruising down the freeway at 75 mph feels like gliding on a cloud. Traversing potholed roads ain’t nothing but a thing thanks to the fully independent suspension with magnetic ride control. It’s just as perfect for road trips as it is for being a soothing daily driver.

2023 cadillac xt5 tires and wheels
The 235/65R18 tire / wheel combo isn’t exactly sports car like, but they’re sticky (and beefy) enough from keeping you from sliding into a ditch and killing you and your entire family. Unless you’re driving like an a**hole.
2023 cadillac xt5 steering wheel
Honestly? Puttering along at 30 mph (In a straight line) is where the XT5 performs the best. Sure, you can push a little harder than this without completely losing confidence in it, but this thing was built for casual cruising.

Fuel economy

The only nice thing I can say about the 2.0 L engine is that fuel economy is excellent (as long as you’re not driving like an idiot). Unfortunately, I drive like an idiot sometimes, so I only managed 18 MPG in the city and 24 MPG on the highway.

2023 cadillac xt5 at the gas station
She’s a thirsty girl (because I drive like an idiot).


I’m of the opinion that a 2023 Cadillac XT5 would be an excellent daily driver. It feels like an level luxury SUV to me – something you could feel proud to own, but not afraid to drive hard. It’s nothing special. Parts are cheap. Nearly any mechanic could work on it.

Scott looking impressed in a 2023 cadillac xt5
At the end of the day, despite all of its faults, it’s still a Cadillac. I promise that you’ll enjoy driving this thing more than a 2018 Nissan Versa.

Getting into and out of it is relatively easy (even for the vertically challenged). Visibility is excellent. Rear storage space is more than ample. It’s the perfect SUV for 90% of the population IMHO.

Driving a 2023 cadillac xt5
A guy could get used to this. A guy also needs to get used to the AARP crowd asking you questions about it every time you park it somewhere. It just draws those kind of people.

Pros and cons

If I sounded overly negative in this review, it’s only because I’ve never been all that big of a fan of large SUVs. That said, I can appreciate something good when I see (and feel) it. The 2023 Cadillac XT5 is good. It’s not for me, but I can highly recommend it to anyone who is looking for a cost effective way of getting into a somewhat luxurious SUV.


  • The bang for the buck is quite good. It feels 80% as good as a Mercedes or Lexus for a fraction of the price.
  • It’s the ultimate highway cruiser. It’s one of the most comfortable vehicles I’ve ever driven on the interstate.
  • It looks great. Not cutting edge (nor award-winning), but stylish nonetheless.


  • Build quality is questionable. It doesn’t have that solid “milled from a solid chunk of metal” feel to it (like a Lexus would have).
  • Resale value is horrible. Cadillac SUVs don’t hold their value well over the long run, so expect to lose money on it no matter how long it’s in your possession.
  • The 2.0 L four-cylinder isn’t enough. It just isn’t.

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