The 2017 Cadillac XT5 offers two gauge clusters:
- The base (XT5), Luxury, and Premium Luxury trims ship with the standard “half-moon” cluster, while…
- The range-topping XT5 Platinum gets an all-new cluster
The latter is, in my opinion, significantly better than the former.
Cadillac’s half-moon clusters — which the brand has used throughout most of its lineup since (roughly) 2011 — have been widely criticized for lacking in the visual appeal department. Though many might say that such complaints are a lot ado about nothing, I can’t help but note that — as an owner of a 2015 ATS Sedan with the half-moon cluster — the criticisms are not unwarranted: though there is no doubt that Caddy’s half-moon cluster is functional, it’s simply not as pleasing to the eyes as is expected from a luxury car, or as provided by other luxury vehicles — such as those from Audi, Mercedes-Benz, Lexus, and Volvo.The gauge cluster is probably the one component a driver will look at and interact with the most while driving.
This isn’t something that’s easy to understand without comparing the cluster to those found in other luxury vehicles. Do that, and it becomes clear that the clusters offered by the competition are significantly more attractive than Cadillac’s half-moon units, while carrying the same or greater levels of functionality.
In addition, it’s vital to note that Cadillac’s
sole reason for existence current objective is to grow sales and market share in the automotive luxury space. The only way in which it will do so is by stealing sales from well-established rivals. To come remotely close to doing that, Cadillac must be better than those brands on every single level: from design to comfort, from driving dynamics/performance to safety, and from reliability to in-vehicle technology, including the design of its gauges.
Perhaps the best way to illustrate the importance of a solid gauge cluster in a luxury car (or any car, for that matter) is to consider the role the feature plays in the driving and ownership experience: second to the road ahead, the cluster is probably the one component a driver will look at and interact with the most while driving. A feature that receives that much attention should be as functional and as appealing as possible, and the half-moon cluster falls short on appeal. You don’t need to take my word for it, as Cadillac executives have identified gauge cluster design as an area of improvement in future vehicles.
That’s why I’m quite pleased to point out that the up-level cluster in the XT5 Platinum is a vast improvement over the half-moons. Not only is the new unit more functional thanks to a large, 5.7-inch color display, but it is also significantly more attractive from a design standpoint as a result of a new design, new layout and new typography, which consists of an easier-to-read white-on-black typeface.
Hence, I would very much welcome Cadillac standardizing on the gauge cluster found in the 2017 XT5 Platinum across its entire vehicle portfolio. This could be done as a rolling update to current models such as to the 2018 model year ATS, CTS and XTS, or implemented in Cadillac’s next-generation XT# and CT# models, which will debut over the next several years.
Another possibility is that Caddy could be working on an entirely new gauge cluster design that’s even better than the one being discussed here. And that would also be a welcome scenario… just as long as the half-moon design is a thing of the past.
2017 Cadillac XT5 Gauge Cluster Details
- RPO code: UDD
- Description: 5.7″ color display, includes driver personalization, warning messages and vehicle information
- Availability: standard on XT5 base, Luxury, Premium Luxury
- RPO code: UHS
- Description: 8” color, includes driver personalization, warning messages and vehicle information
- Availability: included exclusively in the Platinum equipment group