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Under $30,000: Cadillac XT4 vs Volvo XC40

Jesse McGraw

Luxury compact SUVs are a great buy on the used market, so between a used Cadillac XT4 and used Volvo XC40, which is the best option to buy?

American Luxury Against Swedish Refinement

media.cadillac.com | media.volvocars.com
media.cadillac.com | media.volvocars.com

When shopping on the used car market, you want to find something that doesn’t show its age too much while also providing a nice bargain for your wallet. One of the areas to look into is used luxury compact SUVs. These vehicles come with nice interiors, a long list of features, and could pass for a new model in passing. Being used also cuts the cost a substantial amount for only being a couple of years old with a handful of miles added to the odometer. Today we’re pitting two of the best used options in this segment against each other for a price of under $30,000. That may seem a little high for a used car, but these cars still make it worth it.

Cadillac has been one of the leading American brands when it comes to luxury vehicles. The Cadillac XT4 may be the short in comparison to the rest of their lineup, but it doesn’t lack in quality or features. You can expect almost every luxury and tech advancement from the full-sized Escalade, but just in a smaller and more agile form. While it finds a niche amongst its own family of vehicles, does it have enough to take on its Swedish rival in the Volvo XC40?

The Volvo XC40 is just 7 inches shorter than the XT4 and also hits that luxury compact SUV market. It is well appointed with quality materials, luxurious features, and tech packages that Volvo has come to make itself known for over the years. Let’s compare these two luxury compact SUVs and see which one is truly the one to buy on the used market.

Used Volvo XC40 vs Cadillac XT4 Specs

2019 Volvo XC40 2.0L I4 - carsforsale.com
2019 Volvo XC40 2.0L I4 - carsforsale.com

For under $30,000 you’ll find that a majority of the used Volvo XC40s and Cadillac XT4s are from 2019. Just 2 years behind, within the same generation as new versions, typically under 50,000 miles on them, and they carry all the great features you’d expect in a new vehicle. That’s a decent bargain considering that a new Volvo XC40 starts at $33,700 and a new Cadillac XT4 starts at $35,795. Plus, at those prices for the new base models, you’d miss out on some great features you could experience in used higher trim models with additional packages for less.

Under the hood of these used Volvo XC40 models you’ll find a 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine in two configurations. The T4 engine only comes as a front-wheel drive and produces 184 horsepower and 221 lb-ft of torque. The T5 engine comes in with all-wheel drive and makes 248 horsepower and 248 lb-ft of torque. Both versions are mated to a smooth 8-speed automatic transmission. In either configuration, the used 2019 Volvo XC40 can tow up to 3,500 lbs which is a nice number for a compact SUV.

2019 Cadillac XT4 2.0L I4 - carsforsale.com
2019 Cadillac XT4 2.0L I4 - carsforsale.com

For the used Cadillac XT4 models, there’s just one engine option in a 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine that makes 237 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. The engine is mated to a 9-speed automatic transmission and can be had in either front-wheel or all-wheel drive configuration. The 2019 Cadillac XT4 can also tow up to 3,500 lbs with the Trailering Package, so neither has the upper hand there.

With both models equipped with AWD, the used Volvo XC40 gets the quicker 0-60 time of 6.5 seconds leaving the XT4 behind with a time of 7.3 seconds. With both models equipped with FWD, the used Volvo again wins in fuel economy with 23 mpg city and 33 mpg highway for a combined 27 mpg. The used Cadillac XT4 gets 24 mpg city and 30 mpg highway for a combined 26 mpg.

Driving Impressions from Both

2019 Volvo XC40 - media.volvocars.com
2019 Volvo XC40 - media.volvocars.com

Used Volvo XC40 models have stable handling characteristics and will ride nicely over the odd bumps in the road. The steering is responsive and will create a pleasant experience on winding roads. 4 driving modes can be selected – Eco, Comfort, Dynamic, and Off-Road. Each setting provides a different tailored experience for whatever type of driving you plan on doing by adjusting throttle response, transmission response, steering feel, brake feel, and drivetrain torque. While the typical XC40 won’t be an engaging sports car experience, the R-Design optioned ones will do their best to fill the void with a stiffer suspension, nimbler handling, and an available adjustable suspension.

The Cadillac XT4 takes on much of the same handling characteristics found in the larger SUVs from the company. It provides a luxurious ride and keeps itself planted to the road surface. Steering does feel a little numb and makes any driving involvement feel dull. The XT4 also provides 3 driving modes – Touring is the basic driving mode, Snow/Ice adjusts the drivetrain to work better in slippery conditions, and Sport adjusts transmission and throttle response for extra performance. The Sport mode also adjusts the Continuous Damping Control found on their Sport trimmed models, but that extra suspension help is about the only thing sporty about it.

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2019 Cadillac XT4 - media.cadillac.com
2019 Cadillac XT4 - media.cadillac.com

Neither of these compact SUVs were made to perform extensively in an off-road experience and are better suited for road trips or city commutes. The do both offer AWD with capable suspensions if you need to hit the dirt, and if we had to pick one to travel over some harsh terrain it’d be the used Volvo XC40. It has 1.5 inches of extra ground clearance over the Cadillac XT4 and the XC40 has an actual Off-Road oriented drive mode setting. Not a huge improvement over the XT4, but enough to make the decision.

The Interiors are Still Nice

While these models are used, their interiors are still enjoyable, comfortable, and feel up to date in terms of design. The used Volvo XC40 from 2019 are designed much like Ikea furniture, modern contemporary design with thoughtful utilitarian functionality. It offers a decent amount of head room and enough passenger space in the front and rear to accommodate tall passengers. The interior is nicely put together, the components along the door panels and dashboard feel good, and the standard leather seats are appreciated. As for the cargo area, there’s a nice cargo cover behind the rear seats that helps shield whatever you bring on your travels. The cargo space measures out to 20.7 cu-ft and expands to 47.2 cu-ft with the rear seats folded down.

The used Cadillac XT4 models have a design that teeters between Cadillac aesthetics and Chevrolet components. It has a swooping stylized dashboard with faux-leather that continues into the design of the door panels, but the plastics that intertwine with that design feel noticeably cheap. Plus, if you remove the Cadillac badging, the interior resembles a high trim Chevrolet Equinox making the whole “luxury” aspect feel dishonest. As for cabin room, passengers gain close to the same space as the XC40 with a little extra legroom in the back seats. The available cargo room measures out to be 22.3 cu-ft and reaches 48.9 cu-ft with the rear seats down.

These cargo and passenger numbers lean in favor towards the Cadillac XT4 ever so slightly, but as for an actual luxury experience the XC40 seems to win out. Truthfully, it’ll come down to how the previous owners treated their interiors here to make a decision as you can’t completely go wrong with either choice on paper.

Differences in Features and Technology

2019 Volvo XC40 - media.volvocars.com
2019 Volvo XC40 - media.volvocars.com

Available tech and safety features have become a major segment when shopping for vehicles. For used Volvo XC40s you’ll find a fully digital gauge cluster and a nice 9-inch Volvo Sensus Connect infotainment system that is vertically oriented. The infotainment system is angled just a touch towards the driver so they can properly see the screen and its apps for navigation, Spotify, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and more as well as all the car’s functions. It is a little older in terms of performance and can experience some lag, but it’s still not old enough to discredit how nice it is to have.

The XC40 comes with standard safety technology like automated emergency braking, collision avoidance systems, pedestrian detection, and lane-keeping assist. There are also further optional safety features that can be found in used vehicles like semi-autonomous driving, 360-degree camera view, and cross traffic alerts.

2019 Cadillac XT4 - media.cadillac.com
2019 Cadillac XT4 - media.cadillac.com

Used Cadillac XT4 models come with an analog gauge cluster featuring a small digital information screen in the middle and has an 8-inch Cadillac User Experience infotainment system in the center of the dash. The infotainment system can be found with embedded navigation functionality, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and a 4G LTE WiFi hotspot. Like the Volvo, the infotainment system is a little older and can have its hiccups in functionality, but it’s still worth the investment. The XT4 also can be found with a 13-speaker Bose audio system adding to the entertainment sound quality inside the vehicle.

On the safety feature side of used Cadillac XT4s, there’s standard equipment like a rear-view camera, rear parking assist, blind spot monitor, lane departure warning, and cross-traffic alert. Upper trim levels gain additional safety features like lane keep assist, adaptive cruise control, forward and reverse automatic braking, and 360-degree camera view.

Used Volvo XC40 or Used Cadillac XT4?

2019 Volvo XC40 - media.volvocars.com
2019 Volvo XC40 - media.volvocars.com

Cadillac is a great American luxury brand and their XT4 is a nice compact SUV offering, but on the used market for under $30,000 it still feels like it’s too high priced almost. The used Volvo XC40 has the same amount of towing power, can accelerate faster, can get better gas mileage, has a nice modern interior, and has a better infotainment system. The used Cadillac XT4 is still nice for the price and offers a little more room inside, but that’s not enough to seal the deal here.

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Jesse McGraw
Jesse McGraw

Jesse's life-long car obsession began when he started collecting Hot Wheels as a child. He’s constantly keeping up with the latest car news and diving deep into automotive history. His automotive journey began with a rusty ‘99 Dodge Dakota held together by zip ties, only recently replaced by an impeccable 2014 Kia Soul. You can find him modifying and racing cars in video games when he’s not playing paintball or writing about cars.

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