Should The Cadillac XT4 Diesel Come To The U.S.?

The Cadillac XT4 was just announced for Europe with a new 2.0L turbo-diesel engine that GM Authority was first to report on earlier this year. The new turbo-diesel four is Euro 6-compliant, and was developed specifically with the European market in mind. Output is rated at 170 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque fed through the GM nine-speed transmission. Front-wheel-drive is standard, while all-wheel-drive is available. Pricing starts at 42,900 euros ($47,310 USD at current exchange rates, 9/4/2019).

Not only does this represent the XT4’s first foray into the European market, but it’s also Cadillac‘s first crossover with a diesel engine. And that leaves us wondering – would it make sense to launch the Cadillac XT4 diesel in the U.S.?

Granted, in the Americas are nowhere near as fond of diesel power as their European counterparts. According to a report from the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA), diesel market share in Europe was 35.9 percent in 2018 for passenger cars, with gas-powered models slotting in at a 56.7-percent majority. While European diesel sales have slipped over the years, down from 44 percent in 2017, U.S. diesel adoption is still way behind the curve, with just a handful of models actually offering a diesel option. In fact, GM’s own Chevrolet Equinox and GMC Terrain were the first to offer a diesel engine, but the option was discontinued for the 2020 model year on both models.

However, that could change. A press release issued earlier this year by the Diesel Technology Forum points to strong growth in demand for diesel vehicles, driven largely by pickups and SUVs. And that makes sense, given the efficiency and reliability of modern diesel powerplants. But is it enough to justify selling the Cadillac XT4 diesel here in the U.S.?

We’ll leave it to you dear reader – should the Cadillac XT4 diesel be offered in the U.S.? Vote in the poll, and let us know your opinion in the comments section. And don’t forget to subscribe to GM Authority for more Cadillac XT4 news, Cadillac news and around-the-clock GM news coverage.

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Jonathan Lopez: Jonathan is an automotive journalist based out of Southern California. He loves anything and everything on four wheels.

View Comments (22)

  • Short answer: Yes.

    Long answer: Yes. But promote the darn thing. I feel it's a mistake to drop the Chevy/GMC twin's diesel, but has anyone ever seen an ad for them? Been offered a demo experience in one? Gotten a direct mail for them? Would I safely say that probably 98% of the "buying" public out there has (had) no idea that GM offered a diesel in smaller cars or the Equinox/Terrain? So here we are once again looking at GM and scratching our heads while asking what the heck they are thinking. So bring the XT4 diesel here. Keep the other GM twin's diesel options. Bring more out and promote them non-stop. Let people know the benefits of them and why it's a good idea to consider them. Not everyone can or will go electric.

    But here's what I'm waiting for: The diesel/electric hybrid. Just imagine if a small gas/electric can get such great MPG's, just how much better a small diesel/electric would be. Yet I don't see or hear about any brands even considering that.

    • I'm all for having more choice and options, but I just don't see GM as having the wherewithal to properly market and price a diesel option in anything less than a pickup truck. The Cruze diesel existed in an environment where VW's TDI options pretty well evaporated, and yet GM couldn't take advantage of the situation. It seems like the Equinox/Terrain diesel came and went with less enthusiasm than for the Regal TourX. The XT4's 2.0T has already been developed to make peak (258 ft-lbs.) torque starting at a diesel-like 1600 RPM. With the added cost, but without a dramatic improvement in drivability, I don't know that the bump in economy is enough of a draw, especially with fuel prices trending as they are. A diesel XT4 might be an answer to a question that nobody's asked.

      If GM could offer the diesel as a stand-alone and minimal-cost engine option for some of these vehicles, and on lower trim levels, the take rate may improve with a better ROI proposition. Otherwise, the cost-sensitive mainstream shopper will be reluctant to add significant cost for improved fuel economy, and the more affluent premium/luxury shopper's buying decision is more likely to be motivated by features/exclusivity than fuel economy.

      Re.: diesel/electric hybrid - there's a good article from a few years back at: https://www.greencarreports.com/news/1080282_diesel-hybrids-why-they-dont-make-as-much-sense-as-you-think
      From the article, the limiting factors boil down to cost (manufacturing/emissions equip.), non-complimentary torque curves (both excel at low-speed torque), and less impressive improvement (diminished efficiency benefit vs. gas/electric). If I recall correctly from the Volt launch, one of the other reasons not to have a small diesel as a generator in the Voltec powertrain was NVH. The clatter of a diesel would have been that much harder to isolate vs. a smooth gas I4.

      • All very good points Eric. I really agree. Especially with the offering the diesel on all trims with a lower cost to the buyer. But GM isn't the only one. As many know, I work at a Mazda and Volvo store now. Mazda (yes, after years of saying so) has actually introduced the CX5 Diesel. Yup, still saying the Mazda 6 will get it, but who knows when. But back to the CX5D. You can only get it in the top level Signature trim!!! That means you will be staring down at the $42,000 plus MSRP. Worse yet, the MPG's are only rated 1 better than the front drive 2.5L gas engine. Talk about stupid, and to top it off Mazda has yet to send one trainer to the dealerships for any diesel training. We've had one now for over a month and not one test drive. Nobody in sales even knows we have it. lol

  • America is not as hyped on diesel as Europe, and even Europe is pushing for EV to be the mainstream propulsion flavor of the decade.

    But if you're already making it, offer it here as well.

  • Bring it on. More displacement and torque than the smaller diesel recently discontinued in Terrain & Equinox, which was mostly indistinguishable from gasoline alternatives in these models.

  • Power is key. Deisels are fun with lots of low end torque, but this would be a hard sell in the USA with only 170hp, and that is with European emissions. Actual USA output would drop to probably 160hp. For the xt4 that isn't hardly enough power to get up and pass and if your on a hill forget about passing. That's only ok in a Prius. I doubt that there is the market demand to redesign the 2.0 turbo for more power or find a way to stuff in the new 3.0 diesel from the Silverado. Gas engines are about their only option

    • You think? Wonder if the higher cost of diesel particularly in this segment is something folks will look at.

  • Cadillac's XT4 situation might be another GM failure in not adopting hybrid technology as a small electric motor to launch the XT4 before the LSY 2.0L DOHC-4v 4-cyl turbo needs to kick in could provide fuel mileage close to 40 mpg; the electric motor could also provide additional torque when needed especially given the XT4's curb weight of 3,660 lbs.

  • Total waste of time and resources. They won’t sell. We’ve seen this time and time again. The thought is fun but in actuality nobody is buying these small diesels. This isn’t Europe. Gas is cheap and it makes the price of an already expensive Cadillac even more. People will see that window sticker and say, no thanks ill take the gas engine.

  • Of course but knowing GM they are to stupid to do it.
    Plus the people cheering on Glassoline are hilarious. Gas is worse for the environment.

  • What they really need to do is having a plug in version ASAP of the XT4 and XT5. I honestly think that they could have a 40 to 50 miles electric range available in a very short period of time, if they would like to do it. Diesel engines don't fly in the USA, especially for the luxury market.

    • Packaging might be an issue, but the Voltec powertrain that seemed so out of place in the ELR might have been just fine for something like an XT4, spec-wise at least...jus' sayin' ... ;-)

  • Only if it meets American standards with no more added cost of development. The American market is not worth the investment in for Diesel in small CUV models as they just do not sell well anymore.

    Now if it is already for emissions give buyers the option but don't build a ton of them for dealers that will just sit and rot.

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