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  • William Maley
    William Maley

    Review: 2017 Cadillac XT5 Platinum

      Not the SRX, which is good and bad

    Cadillac has been trying to position itself being as an alternative to German brands with models that offer exemplary handling characteristics and sharp designs. But the brand has the issue of models that don’t quite fit the image being presented. The SRX is the poster child for this. Yes, it had the sharp looks the brand was getting known for. But you wouldn’t call it sporty. It was more along the lines of a Lexus RX where luxury and comfort were the main priorities. Enthusiasts and critics were not pleased with this, but consumers gobbled them up. The SRX for a time was Cadillac’s best-selling model.

    Now we come to the successor of the SRX, the 2017 XT5. Those who were hoping for a change in the priorities will be disappointed as the XT5 doesn’t mess with the SRX’s recipe. But is that bad thing?

    Evolution is the impression you get when walking around the XT5. Cadillac’s designers didn’t make any drastic changes to the design profile aside from softening the Art & Science design language. The front now features a comically-large grille and headlights with a strand of LEDs that run into the bumper. Towards the back is an integrated spoiler that extends the roofline, a set of large taillights, and a rear bumper that comes with chrome exhaust ports and a faux skid plate. The XT5 does lose some of the polarizing details that made the SRX stand out, but it still stands out slightly in what is becoming a crowded class.

    Cadillac has been stepping up its game in terms of their interiors with their new models. Case in point is the XT5. Our top-line Platinum tester featured faux suede, leather, and wood trim on a number of surfaces that make it look and feel quite luxurious. We’re glad to see the removal of the Piano Black panel for the center stack as it looked out of place and was a magnet for fingerprints. One design idea we’re not so keen on is the gear selector. Instead of a lever, Cadillac went with a joystick controller to engage the various gears. The controller isn’t intuitive as you’ll find yourself going into the wrong gear or not going into one at all on a somewhat regular basis. You will get the hang of it after a bit, but you can’t help but wonder why Cadillac decided to change this in the first place.

    The leather used for the seats feel quite supple and help fix the issue of uncomfortable seats in the SRX. Interior space has grown, thanks to a two-inch increase in the wheelbase. Rear legroom has grown 3.2 inches and it allows anyone sitting back there to stretch out. Headroom is still slightly tight thanks in part to our tester coming with the optional panoramic sunroof. But this can be alleviated by recalling the rear seat slightly. Cargo space in smack dab in the middle - 30 cubic feet with the rear seats up and 63 cubic feet when folded.

    Cadillac User Interface (CUE) has been one of our least favorite infotainment systems to use since it was introduced a few years ago. The litany of problems ranging from a touch sensitive buttons not responding to inputs to the system crashing have dragged Cadillac down. But the system has been getting a number of changes and updates over the past few years. For starters, Cadillac has removed most of the touch-sensitive buttons from the system. Being able to press an actual button to turn on the heated/ventilated seats or adjust the temperature is really nice. It is a shame Cadillac didn’t bring back an actual volume knob for CUE - the touch-sensitive strip is still there. But at least there are volume controls on the steering wheel that allow you to avoid it. The system itself has been overhauled with a faster processor and a slightly improved interface. The changes make a difference as the system is snappier and a little bit easier to understand. If you still find CUE a bit overwhelming, you’ll be happy to know that CUE now features Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration.

    Cadillac bucks the trend in the midsize luxury crossover class by only offering one engine - a 3.6L V6 producing 310 horsepower and 271 pound-feet of torque (@ 5,000 rpm). This comes paired with an eight-speed automatic and the choice of front or all-wheel drive. The V6 is the weak link in the XT5. When leaving a stop, it takes a moment for the engine to realize the accelerator pedal has been pressed before it starts working. This is even worse when you’re trying to make a pass as it seems the engine was busy taking a nap before it was hastily woken up. Once the engine is awake, it takes its time to get up to speed. There is a positive to the V6 engine and that is the stop-start system. Unlike some previous systems that are slow to restart the engine or do so in a very rough fashion, Cadillac’s system is quick and smooth when you let off the brake. The eight-speed automatic seems reluctant to downshift at times. We’re guessing this transmission was calibrated for fuel economy. At least the eight-speed automatic delivers smooth shifts.

    Fuel economy figures for the 2017 Cadillac XT5 all-wheel drive stand at 18 City/26 Highway/21 Combined. Our average fuel economy for the week landed around 22.3 mpg in mostly city driving. 

    One characteristic we liked about the SRX was its comfortable ride. Yes, it flies in the face of Cadillac’s message of beating the German’s at their own handling game. But buyers loved the smoothness on offer. Sadly, the XT5 loses a bit of the smoothness. Despite our tester featuring an adaptive suspension system, the XT5 wasn’t able to fully iron out bumps. Some of this can be attributed to 20-inch wheels fitted to our tester. At least the XT5 keeps road and wind noise out of the interior. Like the SRX, the XT5 isn’t sporty. Body motions are kept in check, but the light weight and nonexistent feel from the steering puts a halt to that idea. 

    An item Cadillac has been touting on the XT5 is the Rear Camera Mirror. Available only on the top-line Platinum, the mirror can stream the view from the rear camera by flicking a switch. We found this to be really helpful when backing out of parking lots as it gave a view that isn’t hindered by the thick rear pillars. Hopefully, Cadillac spreads this feature down to other trims of the XT5. 

    In some respects, the 2017 Cadillac XT5 is a step forward. The model improves on certain parts of the SRX such as a more luxurious and spacious interior, improved CUE system, and sharper looks. But in other respects, Cadillac messed up with the XT5. The 3.6L V6 needs to be shown the door and a new engine that offers better low-end performance to take its place. The loss of the smooth ride that the SRX was known for hurts the XT5 as well. Finally, there is the price. Our XT5 Platinum tester came with an as-tested price of $69,985. It is a nice crossover. But if we’re dropping close $70,000 on a luxury crossover, we can think of a few models that would be ahead of the XT5.

    It should be noted that the Cadillac XT5 has taken the place of the SRX of being the brand’s best selling model. At the end of 2016, Cadillac moved 39,485 XT5s. But unlike the SRX which we could recommend without hesitation, the XT5 comes with a number of caveats that we cannot do the same.

    Disclaimer: Cadillac Provided the XT5, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas

    Year: 2017
    Make: Cadillac
    Model: SRX
    Trim: Platinum
    Engine: 3.6L V6 VVT DI
    Driveline: Nine-Speed Automatic, All-Wheel Drive
    Horsepower @ RPM: 310 @ 6,700
    Torque @ RPM: 271 @ 5,000
    Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 18/26/21
    Curb Weight: N/A
    Location of Manufacture: Spring Hill, TN
    Base Price: $62,500
    As Tested Price: $69,985 (Includes $995.00 Destination Charge)

    Options:
    Driver Assist Package - $2,340.00
    20-inch Wheels - $2,095.00
    Trailering Equipment - $575.00
    Black Ice Body Side Moldings - $355.00
    Compact Spare Tire - $350.00
    Black Ice License Plate Bar - $310.00
    Black Roof Rails - $295.00
    Black Splash Guards - $170.00

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    Well written review.  The 3.6L does need shown the door, peak torque at 5,000 RPM is like 90s Honda VTEC sort of numbers, it is just way too high in the rev range to do anything with.  This vehicle would be better served with the 2.0T base and 3.0T V6 as an option and make the turbo V6 standard on Platinum trim.

    Skip the 20 inch wheels and save $2,000 if buying.  And that goes for any car, every car seems to ride worse with 20" or larger.

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    Altho the 3.6L is a great engine.. even better now (I loved the LLT 2011 Camaro RS and love the LFX 2014 Impala LTZ ) in its latest iteration.. the LGX.. Cadillac and JDN need to go the consistent route.. and play more to the Global side with smaller engines boasting big power. Anyone I kno who has driven the 2.0L or 3.0L turbos have had to be convinced that they were 4cyl or 6cyl and not a rung up respectively... On that.. then I actually agree with Smk for a change.  Frankly,  Cadillac needs to abandon N/A 4s and 6s now that they have Turbos that are as sublime as any of their competitors.  XT5 deserves the base engine as the 2.0L turbo and the 3.0 turbo.  270HP and 390HP respectively 

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    China taxes displacement over 2 liters so they have to build a 2.0t version anyway might as well sell it here for the base.  Even Lincoln has turbo V6 options in their crossovers.  Cadillac has to go that route.

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    • LFX 3.6 torque plot is as flat as can be- there's barely any 'peak'; it's not remotely peaky like a Honda :

    2012%20GM%20CAM%2036L%20V-6%20(LFX)%20co

    • Where is the 2.0L S-class, of which half it's global production goes to China? Cause starting April 1, engines over 4.0L get slapped with a 20% consumption tax!

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    I understand why Europe and China prefer a turbocharged smaller engine (i.e. engine displacement taxes). But why should Cadillac settle for that here in the USA?  Turbos mean one thing that GM had mostly been moving away from since 2000: Premium Fuel.  Have you seen premium vs regular fuel prices?  The price gaps are anywhere from 45-60 cents in some places.  And while turbos solve the torque problem somewhat, mileage becomes an issue too.

    Maybe the real problem is that the LFX 3.6L V6 has worse torque than the 3800 and 3900 V6 engines from the last decade.  HP is great but every CUV like every car needs torque.

    Otherwise, the review is spot on.  Keep up the good work.  The CUE issues remind me of all the issues BMW had with its infotainment system on its flagship 7 series back in 2002.  Bavaria needed at least two or three years to resolve those issues.  Why can't Cadillac simply contact JVC or Kenwood and let them do the infotainment instead of CUE?

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    1 hour ago, riviera74 said:

    I understand why Europe and China prefer a turbocharged smaller engine (i.e. engine displacement taxes). But why should Cadillac settle for that here in the USA?  Turbos mean one thing that GM had mostly been moving away from since 2000: Premium Fuel.  Have you seen premium vs regular fuel prices?  The price gaps are anywhere from 45-60 cents in some places.  And while turbos solve the torque problem somewhat, mileage becomes an issue too.

    If a Cadillac buyer is concerned about a few cents difference in the price of a gallon of gas, they have bigger problems...Cadillacs are supposed to be about luxury and excess, not cheapassing and economy. 

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    1 hour ago, riviera74 said:

    Maybe the real problem is that the LFX 3.6L V6 has worse torque than the 3800 and 3900 V6 engines from the last decade. 

    I couldn't find a 3.8L TRQ number higher than 230.

    3.6L LFX is over 270. 3.6L LGX is 285.

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    On 2/23/2017 at 9:19 PM, balthazar said:

    I couldn't find a 3.8L TRQ number higher than 230.

    3.6L LFX is over 270. 3.6L LGX is 285.

    Well I think the larger concern is that U have competition from Audi, BMW etc.. even Lexus, with higher V6 hp/torque numbers while Cadillac continues to use the na 3.6 that has less torque than its own turbo 4. What ticks me off is  that they don't even make it optional to have a detuned LGW..  or LF3, both under utilized...  cover a sweet spot of both torque and hp in these vehicles.  

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    • By William Maley
      I rarely get the opportunity to drive two different flavors of the same vehicle within a short timeframe. But that's what happened in the fall when I had the chance to drive the new Hyundai Sonata in its standard and hybrid forms. The Sonata has always been a favorite of mine as it offered a lot for a midsize sedan, with a surprising price tag. It has also come very close to being at the top of the class, but falling somewhat short due to one thing or another. This new version has the chance of changing that.
      Very Polarizing Design

      The consensus from several readers on Cheers & Gears and various social media sites on the Sonata's design was of dislike. Many found the design to be a bit much and overdone. I found myself in the minority as I was impressed by the lengths Hyundai went. The flowing lines and raked roofline reminded me of the 2012 Sonata which gave notice to other automakers to step up their game. Little details such as the bars the run along the outer edge of the hood to the headlights to a distinct rear-end treatment make the Sonata stand out.
      If there is an issue I have with the Sonata's design, it is the grille. I find it to be slightly cartoonish due to the large size and shape.
      Simple, Yet Elegant Interior
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      Despite the coupe-inspired roofline, the Sonata's interior space is quite spacious. Most no one will have any complaints sitting in the back as there is ample head and legroom. Taller passengers should be aware that the optional panoramic sunroof for the Sonata will take away some headroom. The Sonata Hybrid doesn't worry about that as it doesn't offer the sunroof.
      Tech Galore!
      Both of the Sonatas on test came in the Limited trim which means a bountiful selection of technology. It begins with a 10.2-inch TFT display for the instrument cluster which provides all of the key information needed at a glance. A clever trick is when you engage the turn signal, the respective 'dial' brings up a camera mounted underneath the side view mirrors to provide a blind-spot view. I found this system to be helpful as it gave me an extra set of eyes whenever I needed to change lanes.

      Next up is another 10.25-inch screen housing Hyundai's latest infotainment system. I like the three-window layout on the home screen that you can customize to your needs. Navigating around the system is a breeze with a response touchscreen and capacitive touch buttons sitting on either side. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard.
      The next two tech features are exclusive to the standard Sonata. First is what Hyundai calls a digital key. Using the BlueLink application on a compatible smartphone, you can use this instead of the key to start the car and drive away. At the time of this writing, this is only available on Android phones. Hyundai did provide a loner Samsung Note smartphone for the week to try this out. I did not have the best experience with this feature at first because I found you need to be pretty close to the vehicle to make a connection. Trying to connect from my room upstairs, just above where the vehicle was parked, the application would throw up a connection error. I found that if I moved to the living room or just outside the front door, the phone was able to make the connection. This sours some of the appeal of this feature. 
      At least using the phone as the vehicle's key does work a bit better. It only takes a few seconds for the phone to make the connection to the vehicle and you can start it up. Although, I found myself wondering wouldn't it be easier and faster to have the key. The only feature that makes any sense to me is the ability to share the key with other people, but lock down certain aspects.
      Second is Smart Park (or smart parkh as made famous by the Super Bowl commercial from last year). Using the key, you can have the Sonata move forward or back out of the parking spot to allow for easier access to get into the vehicle. It's simple to operate, just hold down one of two buttons for a few seconds; the Sonata starts up and goes into the correct gear to move in the desired direction. I can see the appeal in urban areas where space is limited. But in the current pandemic times all of us find ourselves in, this seems to be more of a gimmick.
      Power Selection
      Hyundai offers two engines for the regular Sonata; a naturally aspirated 2.5L four-cylinder or a turbocharged 1.6L four. A more potent turbocharged 2.5L four-cylinder is available on the upcoming Sonata N Line. My tester featured the turbo 1.6 which produces 180 horsepower and 195 pound-feet of torque. That puts it in line with some of the base engines found in the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry.
      I wouldn't call this engine quick, but it handles most driving situations with aplomb. This comes down to most of the torque being situated at the lower end of the rpm band. The only area where you might be wishing for more power is merging onto a freeway or keeping up traffic. The eight-speed automatic does an excellent job of maximizing the engine's output.
      Under the Sonata Hybrid's hood is a system comprised of a 2.0L four-cylinder and electric motor to provide a total output of 192 horsepower and 151 pound-feet of torque. The Sonata Hybrid feels just as fast as the standard Sonata around town and on country roads. It does struggle slightly on the highway due to the smaller torque figure. The six-speed automatic doesn't stumble when the change over from electric-only to hybrid mode like I have experienced on other Hyundai/Kia hybrid models.

      Opting for Limited on the Sonata Hybrid brings a solar panel for the roof which acts as a trickle charger for both the 12-volt car battery and 1.6-kWh lithium-ion pack for the hybrid system. Hyundai says that the panel can add an extra two miles of range with adequate sunlight. I can't attest to this claim, but will say the solar panel did add an extra bit of charge to the battery, even on an overcast day.
      Fuel economy for both models are as followed,
      Sonata 1.6T: 27 City/36 Highway/31 Combined Sonata Hybrid: 45 City/51 Highway/47 Combined My week saw an average of 29 mpg in the Sonata and 39 mpg for the Sonata Hybrid.
      Calm and Collected
      Hyundai has done some work on the Sonata's chassis and suspension to make it more rewarding to drive. It shows on a winding road as both versions show little body roll and feel more agile than the outgoing model. Steering feels direct and has a decent amount of weight. I will say the Mazda6 is still the one to beat if driving pleasure is your key goal.
      But the Sonata has an ace up its sleeve. It is also one of the most comfortable cars in the class. Driving over some of the roughest roads in Metro Detroit, the Sonata's suspension soaks up most bumps and imperfections to provide a serene ride. The minimal amount of road and wind noise that comes inside also helps.
      Rising To The Top

      The previous generations of the Sonata were always so close to being at the top of the class. But there always something that held it back whether it was the design, handling, or powertrains. But this new model shows how much Hyundai has put in. There is a nice balance between ride and handling; powertrains are very competent, and the interior is best in the class. Plus, the Sonata still retains Hyundai's trademark of offering a lot for not much money.
      Where most people will stumble on the Sonata is the exterior. It is very much a love or hate it affair. Plus, some of the tech features feel more like a party trick to show to friends than something you'll use. 
      Nevertheless, I think Sonata moves up to the top of the midsize sedan pecking order. 
      But there is one more question to answer. Between the regular and hybrid versions, which one I would drive away with. The answer which surprised me is the hybrid. I found it to be a little bit more well-rounded and deliver some excellent fuel economy figures during my time.
      Alternative:
      Kia K5: Like the idea of the Hyundai Sonata, but not to sure on the design? Then the Kia K5 may be the answer. Based on the same bones as the Sonata, the K5 takes a more evolutionary approach to the design. The basic shape may remind you of the previous-generation Optima, but its the little details such as a new grille and revised rear deck lid that help it stand out. From reviews, the K5 proves to be a bit sportier. We hope to get our hands on this challenger in the near future. Disclaimer: Hyundai Provided the Sonatas, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2020
      Make: Hyundai
      Model: Sonata
      Trim: Limited 1.6T
      Engine: Turbocharged 1.6L GDI DOHC 16-Valve Inline-Four
      Driveline: Eight-Speed Automatic, Front-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 180 @ 5,500
      Torque @ RPM: 195 @ 1,500-4,500
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 27/36/31
      Curb Weight: 3,336 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Montgomery, AL
      Base Price: $33,300
      As Tested Price: $34,365 (Includes $930.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Carpeted Floor Mats - $135.00
      Year: 2020
      Make: Hyundai
      Model: Sonata Hybrid
      Trim: Limited
      Engine: 2.0L GDI DOHC 16-Valve Inline-Four, Permanent Magnet Synchronous Motor
      Driveline: Six-Speed Automatic, Front-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 150 @ 6,000 (gas); 51 @ 1,800 - 2,300 (electric motor); 192 (total output)
      Torque @ RPM: 139 @ 5,000 (gas); 151 @ 0 - 1,800 (electric motor)
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 45/51/47
      Curb Weight: 3,530 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Asan, South Korea
      Base Price: $35,300
      As Tested Price: $36,430 (Includes $975.00 Destination Charge)
      Options: 
      Carpeted Floor Mats - $135.00
    • By William Maley
      Despite being one of the best sellers in the luxury crossover class, the Lexus RX lacked something many competitors offered; a third-row option. Lexus rectified this a couple of years ago by stretching the RX's body and adding a third-row to create the RX L. I spent some time in the RX 350L Luxury back in the fall to find out if Lexus has another winner or if this a half-baked attempt.
      You can tell the difference between the standard RX to the longer L by looking for a floating roofline treatment. This is due to Lexus blacking part of the c-pillar to help disguise the added bulk. It doesn't fully work as looks somewhat half-baked. At least Lexus was more successful upfront where non F-Sport models get a new mesh insert to replace the horizontal slats, along with a revised bumper. When equipped with the Luxury Package, the RX is a plush and pleasant place to spend time. The leather upholstery feels nice to the touch and the use of contrasting colors (cream and brown in my tester) help make it feel special. Lexus has finally added a touchscreen for the RX's infotainment and it makes a huge difference. Gone are the litany of issues I have noted in previous models such as, Being precise with your finger movements when selecting an item Becoming very distracting to use when on the move Not the most intuitive controller Now using Lexus Enform or Apple CarPlay/Android Auto is not an exercise in frustration, but one of ease. My only complaint is that I wished Lexus moved the screen slightly more forwards. It is quite a reach to use the touchscreen. Those sitting in the second row will not have much to complain about as head and legroom are plentiful for most passengers. The same cannot be said for the third-row. Getting back here is difficult as there is not enough a gap when the second-row seat is moved forward. Once back here, space is non-existent with your head touching the headliner and legroom from nothing to something bearable depending on where the second-row is set. The one upside to the longer RX is cargo space. With the third-row seat folded, you get about seven extra cubic feet of space compared to standard RX. Power comes from a 3.5L V6 used in several Lexus and Toyota vehicles.  For the RX 350L, it produces 290 horsepower and 267 pound-feet of torque. My tester came with all-wheel drive, but front-wheel drive is standard. Performance is adequate as you'll be able to keep up with traffic or make a pass with no issue. Those wanting a bit more performance should look at something like the upcoming Acura MDX or Volvo XC90. Comfort is still a key hallmark to the RX. Bumps and potholes become mere ripples when driven over. There is also a noticeable lack of road and wind coming inside. The RX 350L feels like a stop-gap solution until Lexus finishes up their upcoming three-row crossover due out within the next couple of years. The third-row isn't all useful for carrying passengers and is best to fold down to expand cargo space. If you need a third-row, there are much better options such as the Volvo XC90. But if you really want an RX, stick with the standard two-row version and pocket the cash you saved for something nice. Disclaimer: Lexus Provided the RX 350L, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2020
      Make: Lexus
      Model: RX
      Trim: 350L Luxury
      Engine: 3.5L DOHC 24-valve with VVT-iW V6
      Driveline: Eight-Speed Automatic, All-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 290 @ 6,300
      Torque @ RPM: 263 @ 4,700
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 18/25/21
      Curb Weight: 4,597 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Miyawaka, Fukuoka, Japan
      Base Price: $54,700
      As Tested Price: $63,540 (Includes $1,025.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      12.3" Navigation System/Mark Levinson 15-Speaker Premium Audio System - $3,365.00
      Blind Spot Monitor with Intuitive Parking Assist, Panoramic View Monitor, and Rear Cross Traffic Alert Braking - $1,865.00
      Running Boards - $640.00
      Color Head-Up Display - $600.00
      Second-Row Captain's Chairs - $405.00
      All-Weather Floor Liners with Cargo Mat - $330.00
      Cold Weather Package - $315.00
      Mudguards - $155.00
      Door Edge Guards - $140.00

      View full article
    • By William Maley
      Despite being one of the best sellers in the luxury crossover class, the Lexus RX lacked something many competitors offered; a third-row option. Lexus rectified this a couple of years ago by stretching the RX's body and adding a third-row to create the RX L. I spent some time in the RX 350L Luxury back in the fall to find out if Lexus has another winner or if this a half-baked attempt.
      You can tell the difference between the standard RX to the longer L by looking for a floating roofline treatment. This is due to Lexus blacking part of the c-pillar to help disguise the added bulk. It doesn't fully work as looks somewhat half-baked. At least Lexus was more successful upfront where non F-Sport models get a new mesh insert to replace the horizontal slats, along with a revised bumper. When equipped with the Luxury Package, the RX is a plush and pleasant place to spend time. The leather upholstery feels nice to the touch and the use of contrasting colors (cream and brown in my tester) help make it feel special. Lexus has finally added a touchscreen for the RX's infotainment and it makes a huge difference. Gone are the litany of issues I have noted in previous models such as, Being precise with your finger movements when selecting an item Becoming very distracting to use when on the move Not the most intuitive controller Now using Lexus Enform or Apple CarPlay/Android Auto is not an exercise in frustration, but one of ease. My only complaint is that I wished Lexus moved the screen slightly more forwards. It is quite a reach to use the touchscreen. Those sitting in the second row will not have much to complain about as head and legroom are plentiful for most passengers. The same cannot be said for the third-row. Getting back here is difficult as there is not enough a gap when the second-row seat is moved forward. Once back here, space is non-existent with your head touching the headliner and legroom from nothing to something bearable depending on where the second-row is set. The one upside to the longer RX is cargo space. With the third-row seat folded, you get about seven extra cubic feet of space compared to standard RX. Power comes from a 3.5L V6 used in several Lexus and Toyota vehicles.  For the RX 350L, it produces 290 horsepower and 267 pound-feet of torque. My tester came with all-wheel drive, but front-wheel drive is standard. Performance is adequate as you'll be able to keep up with traffic or make a pass with no issue. Those wanting a bit more performance should look at something like the upcoming Acura MDX or Volvo XC90. Comfort is still a key hallmark to the RX. Bumps and potholes become mere ripples when driven over. There is also a noticeable lack of road and wind coming inside. The RX 350L feels like a stop-gap solution until Lexus finishes up their upcoming three-row crossover due out within the next couple of years. The third-row isn't all useful for carrying passengers and is best to fold down to expand cargo space. If you need a third-row, there are much better options such as the Volvo XC90. But if you really want an RX, stick with the standard two-row version and pocket the cash you saved for something nice. Disclaimer: Lexus Provided the RX 350L, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2020
      Make: Lexus
      Model: RX
      Trim: 350L Luxury
      Engine: 3.5L DOHC 24-valve with VVT-iW V6
      Driveline: Eight-Speed Automatic, All-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 290 @ 6,300
      Torque @ RPM: 263 @ 4,700
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 18/25/21
      Curb Weight: 4,597 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Miyawaka, Fukuoka, Japan
      Base Price: $54,700
      As Tested Price: $63,540 (Includes $1,025.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      12.3" Navigation System/Mark Levinson 15-Speaker Premium Audio System - $3,365.00
      Blind Spot Monitor with Intuitive Parking Assist, Panoramic View Monitor, and Rear Cross Traffic Alert Braking - $1,865.00
      Running Boards - $640.00
      Color Head-Up Display - $600.00
      Second-Row Captain's Chairs - $405.00
      All-Weather Floor Liners with Cargo Mat - $330.00
      Cold Weather Package - $315.00
      Mudguards - $155.00
      Door Edge Guards - $140.00
    • By William Maley
      After months of rumors and spy photos, Cadillac finally spilled the beans on their new high-performance CT4 and CT5 Blackwing. These new models are planned to give German rivals a bruising when they start arriving at dealers later this summer. Here is what we know.
      CT4 Blackwing
      The smaller of the two Blackwing models starts with a twin-turbo 3.6L V6 engine with 472 horsepower and 445 pound-feet of torque. To achieve this power, Cadillac upgraded the various internals with titanium connecting rods and a revised crankshaft. Power is routed to the rear-wheels by either a six-speed manual or ten-speed automatic. Performance figures are impressive with a 0-60 mph time of 3.8 seconds (automatic transmission) and a top speed of 189 mph.
      In terms of handling, the CT4 Blackwing features an electronic limited-slip rear differential and latest version of Magnetic Ride Control 4.0 - Cadillac claims the latter is the quickest-reacting suspension in the world. A set of Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires keep the vehicle glued to the road, while optional optional carbon ceramic brakes bring it to a quick stop.
      Visually, the CT4 Blackwing uses a new grille with larger openings to gobble up more air; functional fender vents, front splitter, and a rear spoiler. A carbon fiber package that claims to reduce aerodynamic lift by 214 percent is an option.
      CT5 Blackwing
      For those who want something a bit more mad can direct their attention to the CT5 Blackwing. Under its hood lies a massaged 6.2L supercharged V8 engine with 668 horsepower and 659 pound-feet of torque. Again, power is routed to the rear-wheels via a six-speed manual or ten-speed automatic. 0-60 mph takes 3.7 seconds (automatic transmission) and can cruise towards 200-plus mph. 
      What does this massaged V8 engine have? For starters. there's a larger supercharger (1.7-liters), aluminum cylinder heads, titanium intake valves, and improved airflow. 
      Like the CT4, the CT5 Blackwing gets Magnetic Ride Control 4.0 and electronic limited-slip rear differential. A set of forged 19-inch wheels exclusive to the Blackwing come wrapped in a set of Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires. 
      Outside, a new grille with larger openings to allow for more air, front splitter, and rear spoiler are the key changes to note. A carbon fiber package is optional.
      How Much?
      The CT4 Blackwing will set you back $59,990, and the larger CT5 Blackwing will cost $84,990. Both prices include a $995 destination charge. You can head down to your nearest Cadillac dealer to place a pre-order for either model right now.
      Source: Cadillac
      V-Series Blackwing: Ultimate Track Capability, Zero Compromise
      The 2022 Cadillac CT4-V Blackwing and CT5-V Blackwing, two of the most powerful Cadillacs ever, raise the bar on performance The 2022 Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing and CT4-V Blackwing represent the pinnacle of Cadillac performance and craftsmanship, leveraging championship-winning racing heritage to create the most track-capable Cadillacs ever, while continuing to set new standards for luxury and comfort.
      Leveraging a Cadillac racing history that began in 1949 and has seen sustained success over the last two decades, the V-Series Blackwing models were developed with driver engagement and performance at the top of mind.
      “V-Series Blackwing stands for the very highest level of execution from Cadillac and offers a distinctly American vision of performance: incredible power and luxurious craftsmanship, with absolutely zero compromise,” said Brandon Vivian, executive chief engineer, Cadillac. “We looked to our championship-winning racing heritage and brought an uncompromising eye for detail to create two cars that elevate the V-Series experience.”
      V-Series Blackwing vehicles build on the already excellent performance dynamics of the CT5-V and CT4-V to create the top tier of the Cadillac sedan lineup.
      Highlights include:
      Evolutions of the track-ready Cadillac 6.2L Supercharged V8 in the CT5-V Blackwing and 3.6L Twin-Turbo V6 in the CT4-V Blackwing Upgraded TREMEC six-speed manual transmission standard Available 10-speed automatic transmission Electronic Limited Slip Rear Differential enhanced to reduce mass and improve on-track reliability Advanced suspension refinements providing greater body control and a more agile feel Magnetic Ride Control 4.0, the world’s fastest reacting suspension technology, sharpening the balance between daily-driving comfort and high-performance track capability Unique structural enhancements improving steering response and handling on the track Cadillac’s largest ever factory-installed brakes, available on the CT5-V Blackwing Extensive validation including 12-hour and 24-hour track testing Customizable integrated digital gauge cluster with Custom Launch Control and Performance Traction Management settings Liberating performance
      The CT5-V Blackwing uses an upgraded 6.2L supercharged V8 that, thanks to a higher flow air-intake and revised exhaust system, is rated at 668 horsepower (498 kW) and 659 lb-ft of torque (893 Nm), making it the most powerful production Cadillac ever. Each engine is hand-built at GM’s Bowling Green Assembly facility in Kentucky and features a signed engine builder’s plate.
      The CT4-V Blackwing sports an evolution of the Cadillac 3.6L Twin-Turbo V6 that features revised control system software and an improved air intake system to create 472 horsepower (352 kW) and 445 lb-ft of torque (603 Nm). The turbos’ low-inertia (titanium-aluminide) turbine wheels enable more precise and responsive application of torque throughout the rev range.
      Highlighted features and output:
      CT5-V Blackwing: 6.2L Supercharged V8 - 668 hp, 659 lb-ft of torque GM-estimated top track speed: over 200 mph GM-estimated 0-60 mph: 3.7 seconds (automatic transmission) Most powerful Cadillac ever Air intake airflow is improved by 46 percent vs. the CTS-V Compact, high-output 1.7L four-lobe Eaton supercharger with small-diameter rotors that enable boost to be generated earlier in the rpm band for instantaneous response Rotocast A356T6 aluminum cylinder heads are stronger and handle heat better than conventional aluminum-alloy heads Lightweight titanium intake valves Track-capable wet-sump oiling and vent system with external oil separator and drainback CT4-V Blackwing: 3.6L Twin-Turbo V6 - 472 hp, 445 lb-ft of torque GM-estimated top speed: 189 mph GM-estimated 0-60 mph: 3.8 seconds (automatic transmission) Most powerful and fastest Cadillac in the subcompact class Air intake restriction is improved by 39 percent vs. the ATS-V Turbocharger compressors matched for peak efficiency at peak power for optimal track performance Titanium connecting rods (manual transmission only) and revised crankshaft counterweights reduce main/rod bearing reciprocating loads Re-targeted piston oil squirters, which direct engine oil at the bottoms of the pistons, for improved temperature control The manifold-integrated water-to-air charge cooling system contributes to more immediate torque response Airflow routing volume is reduced by 60 percent when compared to a conventional design that features a remotely mounted heat exchanger Track-capable braking systems
      Both V-Series Blackwing models feature advanced high-performance braking systems that have been extensively track and road-tested. The exclusive V-Series Blackwing wheel designs enable an even larger rotor over the previous CTS-V, making the CT5-V Blackwing braking system the largest factory-installed brakes in Cadillac history. Additionally, an available carbon-ceramic brake package for the CT5-V Blackwing, featuring cross-drilled rotors, deliver several benefits including weight savings, durability and heat management.
      Highlighted features:
      CT4-V Blackwing: 14.96 x 1.34-inch (380 X 34 mm) front rotors and 13.4 x 1.1-inch (340.5 x 28 mm) rear rotors CT5-V Blackwing: 15.67 x 1.42-inch (398 X 36 mm) front rotors and 14.7 x 1.1-inch (373.5 x 28 mm) rear rotors Staggered Brembo® six-piston front calipers and four-piston rear calipers Available on the CT5-V Blackwing, the lightweight carbon-ceramic brake package significantly improves heat management, as well as greater resistance to wear under extreme conditions on the racetrack, while also reducing unsprung mass and rotating mass: 53-pound (24 kg) reduction in unsprung weight 62-pound (28 kg) reduction in rotating mass High-performance copper-free brake linings comply with California law and deliver superior fade resistance with an excellent pedal feel on and off the track Brake systems are integrated to each vehicles’ selectable drive modes, including brake pedal feel. Brake pedal feel can also be assigned within My-Mode and V-Mode Manual transmission is standard
      Rare for sport sedans today, a six-speed TREMEC manual transmission is standard on both vehicles. It has been optimized for each V-Series Blackwing vehicle to provide an engaging experience on the track or on the road. Details include:
      LuK twin-disc clutch for high torque capacity and great pedal feel Active Rev Matching accessible via a console mounted toggle switch to automatically adjust engine speed to match anticipated downshifts No-Lift Shift allowing the driver to shift gears without letting off the gas pedal. In the case of the CT4-V Blackwing, it allows the turbos to remain spooled, resulting in faster lap times Transmission and rear differential cooling – the manual and automatic transmissions use the same track-performance cooling system for greater track performance Clutch and brake pedals positioned for optimal driver ergonomics A physical barrier stop for the clutch pedal rather than a hydraulic master cylinder stop provides greater driver feedback during clutch operation A shorter shifter ratio than previous generations for more precise shifts Ten-speed automatic transmission
      The CT5-V Blackwing and CT4-V Blackwing are available with a 10-speed electronically controlled automatic transmission. It is tuned to complement the dual-personality experience of each respective model.
      Highlighted features:
      Tap Shift/Manual Mode allowing the driver to use integrated magnesium paddle shifters to select a gear and hold it until selecting the next gear, up or down Sport Mode providing real-time interpretation of driving conditions, adjusting the transmission to reduce shift busyness and improve performance, while retaining aggressive driving dynamics Twenty-four-hour track testing resulted in several improvements in response to the demands of a high-g track environment, including a unique oil pan design and priority valve changes Unique control systems with performance calibrations tailored for each model Ten forward gears offer the most available transmission speeds in each sedans’ respective segments, helping keep the engines within their optimal rpm bands, while also anticipating the next shifts Dynamic Performance Mode is calibrated specifically for V-Series Blackwing to deliver track focused shift patterns and automatically activates when high-g forces are experienced in Sport or Track mode An auxiliary pump primes the automatic transmission system from the time the vehicle door is opened for improved cold-shift performance. Both V-Series Blackwing models also feature an enhanced Electronic Limited Slip Rear Differential. It weighs less and has been optimized for each driving mode and each Performance Traction Management setting.
      Highlighted features:
      More control of the rear differential compared to traditional open and mechanical limited-slip differentials Enhances road grip by automatically allocating torque to the rear wheel with the most traction during hard cornering — with the capability of sending up to 1,475 lb-ft (2,000 Nm) of locking torque across the axle High-performance differential cooler An aluminum housing replacing the previous generation cast iron housing, reducing mass by more than 22 pounds (10 kg) Exclusive integrated heat exchanger for enhanced cooling Advanced suspension systems and strengthened chassis
      V-Series Blackwing combines the fourth generation of Magnetic Ride Control (MR 4.0), with improvements to the front and rear suspension systems. Stiffer spring rates, unique hollow stabilizer bars, higher-rate bushings and more enable a driving experience that isolates the driver from road imperfections, while also providing a precise, engaging connection with the road.
      MR 4.0 highlights:
      Immense performance envelope that gave Cadillac engineers the freedom to optimize everyday driving and aggressive track performance New accelerometers and an inertial measurement unit that transmit and process changes in road conditions four times faster than the previous generation system Secondary temperature maps that enable engineers to compensate for changes in damper fluid temperature for more consistent performance, even during performance driving Inertial measurement unit that provides more precise measurements of body motion relative to the wheel for more accurate readings under heavy braking, hard cornering and other driving conditions Improved magnetic flux control that creates a more consistent and accurate transition between rebound and compression Improvements to transient body control that allow the vehicle to remain more level while transitioning between corners MacPherson strut front suspension:
      Ride link includes an all-new 100-percent elastomer bushing on the CT4-V Blackwing and a retuned hydro bushing on the CT5-V Blackwing, for improved ride response Handling link has cross-axis ball joints for improved lateral control and quicker steering response Five-link independent rear suspension:
      Lateral link features stiffer bushings for faster response and increased cornering agility Toe link has cross-axis ball joints for increased stability and driver confidence Rear knuckles have increased stiffness for improved braking and better control during cornering Rear cradle mounts have been stiffened for optimum balance between road comfort and track performance V-Series Blackwing models are built on Cadillac’s award-winning rear-wheel drive architecture and feature unique structural enhancements including shock tower braces, an underside shear plate and thicker rear cross members to improve chassis rigidity. Along with the unique suspension elements, the stiffer structure enhances steering response, handling and the everyday driving experience.
      All-day performance, on and off the track
      The CT5-V Blackwing and CT4-V Blackwing build on Cadillac’s racing heritage and were developed to be track-capable straight from the factory. That includes an intensive validation program to ensure consistent performance during the most challenging track conditions.
      Validation for both models included:
      Twenty-four-hour continuous track testing with the available automatic transmission, available carbon fiber aero package, aluminum wheels and available carbon ceramic brake package Twelve-hour continuous track testing with the standard manual transmission, available carbon fiber aero package, aluminum wheels and available carbon ceramic brake package Functional aerodynamics, including an available carbon fiber aero package, contribute to the V-Series Blackwing models’ track prowess to support a variety of cooling needs for the cars’ respective engines, transmissions, axles and other supporting systems.
      Additionally, MICHELIN® Pilot Sport 4S tires developed exclusively for the V-Series Blackwing models contribute to their balance of track capability and road comfort. Highlights include:
      Unique, multiple-compound tread composition: Contact patch composed of three unique tread rubber compounds Racing “R compound” used for the majority of the tread Compounds optimized for wet traction, enhanced street and track durability, as well as rolling resistance The mold shape of the tire has been specifically engineered for Blackwing models to optimize contact with the road Tire sizes: CT5-V Blackwing tire size: 275/35ZR19 (front) and 305/30ZR19 (rear) CT4-V Blackwing tire size: 255/35ZR18 (front) and 275/35ZR18 (rear) Both V-Series Blackwing vehicles feature standard forged aluminum alloy wheels with staggered widths, front to rear. These forged wheels are stronger and lighter than conventional cast aluminum.
      Wheel sizes:
      CT5-V Blackwing: Front – 19 x 10 inches / Rear – 19 x 11 inches CT4-V Blackwing: Front – 18 x 9 inches / Rear – 18 x 9.5 inches Coming this summer
      Reservations for both vehicles open on Feb. 1, 2021 at 7:30 p.m. ET on Cadillac.com, with deliveries later this summer. Pricing begins at $59,9901 for the CT4-V Blackwing and $84,9901 for the CT5-V Blackwing.
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