As the automakers tell us each week, they are quickly on the march to building battery electric vehicles even as big potholes loom on the horizon. During this race to catch Tesla, the traditional auto-brands must still realize real-world profits selling conventional internal-combustion-powered vehicles before they can feed at the government subsidy trough for BEV’s.

This conundrum will still result in continued expansion of, and development monies devoted to, ICE products. After all, more than 95% of all new vehicle sales remain conventionally powered.

GM’s premiere brand is currently straddling this powertrain fence with high-output engines, while touting its debut of the all-new Celestiq EV sedan. The Celestiq debuts in 2023 and Cadillac hopes it will return the brand to the “standard of the world” title it once held. For over $250-large, it darned well better exceed expectations.

Currently, no pun intended, Cadillac employs turbocharged four-cylinder engines in its base sedans and crossovers, like our XT5 sample, naturally aspirated V6 engines (310-hp in our sample XT5 Sport) plus twin-turbo V6 power for its aspirational CT4-V Blackwing Sedan. Cadillac continues to offer diesel power in the Escalade, as well as the potent 6.2-liter V8 borrowed from Chevy and GMC. This motor can be supercharged for 668-hp in the new CT5-V Blackwing sedan, or, 682-hp in the new Escalade-V. Batteries may be in the pipeline, yet consumers still crave high-output gasoline-fueled power.

The mid-sized XT5 battles for a slice of the luxury crossover market against BMW’s X5, the new Genesis GV80, Lexus’ RX, Lincoln’s Nautilus, Mercedes’ GLE, and even Jeep’s Grand Cherokee. In a computer chip constrained world, with over four million units lost from domestic production so far in 2022, Cadillac’s crossover/SUV lineup is 18% down from last year’s sales levels.

The XT5’s interior Tim Plouff

The XT5 comes to the plate with a handsome exterior and a well-finished interior design. The cabin is hushed, comfortable, and expansive with excellent rear seating space as well as a rear cargo compartment utilizing fold-flat seats (with rear release controls), cargo restraint panels, plus ample room for above-average bags for extended travel. The XT5’s dash features a screen integrated into the panel – rather than tacked on afterward – while the fit-and-finish reaffirms the luxury component expected in this segment.

While the 237-hp turbo-four supplies base power for front-drive versions, the 3.6-liter V6 provides more mid-range grunt. With AWD, and selectable traction modes, the XT5 has an EPA rating of 19/25-mpg versus front drive models with 22/29-mpg. A 9-speed automatic is standard on every XT5.

Cadillac has consistently pursued chassis dynamics that reward enthusiast drivers, as well as steering wheel operators more concerned about fluid point A to point B transportation. The XT5 has the perfect balance of responsive agility and a plush ride, swallowing the usual Maine rural road turbulence with aplomb. Steering feels light, and could offer a hint more feedback, yet the vast majority of buyers in this class will never get the tires squealing enough to find the traction limits available.

While visiting, the XT5 got to haul a lawnmower, make the big-box store supply run, and go to the dump. The sliding cargo gate is clever, and pops out, but the big cargo shade panel was in the way every time I hauled something. How about ditching this well-intentioned nuisance automakers, and installing a rear cargo shade in the liftgate? Manual or power, doesn’t matter, but a shade comparable to what is used in the rear passenger doors would never become a device in the way of the intended task: hauling stuff.

Top Sport trim includes the usual goodies: oversized sunroof, LED lights all around, adaptive suspension, Bose 14-speaker stereo, Wi-Fi, remote start, wireless charging, heads-up display, HD surround-view camera, and Cadillac’s safety (vibrating) seat. Up the ante with semi-aniline leather and suede seating, 20-inch wheels, and a plethora of black trim and additional electronic driving aids. Pricing starts at $45,290 for base front drive XT5’s, rising to $58,490 for AWD Sports, and cresting $70,000 for our Stellar Black sample.

Compact and mid-size crossovers are where the market is “hot” right now. Cadillac has the product working hard to restore the panache of this famous brand, but consumers longing for (affordable) electric Cadillac crossovers will have to wait two more years.

Tim Plouff has been reviewing automobiles for more than 20 years.