We’ve spent some time driving the 2020 Cadillac XT5, which has been mildly updated for the 2020 model year. We also recently shared with you what has changed on the vehicle. As you know, the model we’re driving is the XT5 Sport powered by the 3.6L V6 LGX engine rated at 310 horsepower and 271 pound-feet of torque.
This also means it comes standard with Caddy’s unique twin-clutch all-wheel drive system with Active Yaw Control, as well as continuously variable dampers. All of this technology can be tuned via the vehicle’s four available drive modes, selected by pressing a button located on the center console. We break down each mode with explanations on what they actually do.
Although the 2020 Cadillac XT5 is an all-wheel-drive vehicle, it has the ability to fully disengage the rear axle in order to save fuel, a feature that isn’t available on several competing models. Thanks to its “disconnect” feature, the XT5’s twin-clutch system can be set to Tour during the summer months, for instance, when all-wheel drive isn’t needed. When Tour mode is selected, the XT5 essentially becomes a front-wheel-driven crossover.
As like its name suggests, AWD mode is rather straight forward as it allows the XT5’s driver to manually engage the vehicle’s all-wheel drive system.
AWD features continuously variable power delivery, with as much as 100 percent of available torque sent to either the front or rear axle. In this mode, the electronically controlled differential uses a high-pressure hydraulic pump to actuate the twin clutches. The system then receives input from the XT5’s stability management and traction control systems in order to determine the right amount of torque to send to each axle.
The system can even send all the available torque to a single rear wheel. This is handy when one side of the vehicle is on a dry surface and the other is on a slippery surface, as the rear tire with the most grip will receive the most power. This mode should be used in winter or when the road is covered in snow and ice. All you need to do is select it, and the system will do its thing underneath you.
In Sport mode, the all-wheel drive system is used to improve the XT5’s handling characteristics. For maximum effect, this mode can be used on a dry or damp twisty road. Since the twin-clutch system can transfer power from one rear wheel to the other, it can also create torque vectoring. While applying the throttle out of a corner, for instance, the XT5’s differential will send more power to the outside wheel, which creates a yaw effect, essentially helping the vehicle rotate on its axis. This significantly improves the vehicle’s overall handling and grip, especially at high speeds.
Off Road Mode
Obviously, the 2020 Cadillac XT5 was never intended for hardcore off-roading, so don’t expect to follow a group of Jeeps down an unbeaten path in your luxury crossover.
However, its all-wheel drive system is nevertheless clever enough to get you out of a tricky situation. When Off Road mode is selected, the vehicle’s twin-clutch system mimics a two-speed transfer case with a 4×4 low range.
This is all done electronically, of course, but it’s good enough to prevent one wheel from spinning while the other is locked up. This allows both wheels on one axle to turn together for optimal grip. Use this mode to get yourself out of a thick snowbank or a muddy trail at low speed.