There’s in-car wi-fi, which turns the XT5 into a rolling wireless router. On my test drive, it proved ideal for streaming Olympics coverage to a nearby iPad (in full HD, without any lagging, I’ll add) for passing the time during a rainy camping trip. Further, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay upscale key smartphone interfaces into the central command screen, which runs a more logical and faster-responding version of the Cadillac CUE system.
If you’re a gadget geek, you’ll love the XT5’s wireless smartphone charging system, too. Slip your phone into the console-mounted slot, and the top third peeks out as it sits charging away, sans cord. Said slot is exposed to the air-conditioned interior of the center bin, keeping your phone cool, which helps it charge faster. Slick stuff, and well thought out.
Another important gadget functions in the background to make the XT5 a nicer place to be on the highway. An active noise cancelation system emits sound-neutralizing waves from the audio system speakers, intercepting and eliminating offensive sounds from the environment as you drive. The XT5 isn’t mind-blowingly quiet at 115 km/h, but it’s quiet indeed, with little more than a muted roar seeping past the white-noise sound waves and other sound-deadening implements.
Power comes from GM’s next-generation 3.6L V6, now with added fuel-saving technology and output rated at 310 horsepower. Drive gently, and you’d hardly know the XT5 had a powerplant at all: it’s buttery smooth and virtually inaudible. Called upon for a full-throttle maneuver, the engine emits a pleasing roar, and pulls hard to max revs.
This isn’t the thriller powertrain in the segment: the eight-speed automatic shifts slowly and cautiously no matter what, with a marked off-throttle gap between each gear at full throttle. Further, the giggle-inducing upshifts and downshifts and rev-matching flaunted in comparable European machinery aren’t present here. Likely no matter – though the engine sounds gorgeous when opened up (not quite Lexus RX 350 gorgeous, but close), the XT5 is on top of its game when driven leisurely, even if it lacks the turbocharged low-rev torque characteristic of many competitors.
LED headlights provide adequate peripheral roadside illumination and fantastic colour, but the high beams (automatically activated), are fantastically potent, turning the XT5 into a four-wheeled light-cannon that blasts clean white light a great distance up the road. Brake pedal feel is firm, precise and confidence-inspiring, though emergency stops took longer than your writer expected. Finally, note that as XT5’s AWD system can be fully switched off, you’ll have to remember to turn it on again when you need it.