Cadillac finally jumps into the compact crossover fray with the brand spankin’ new XT4, a sharp-looking package that has the luxury you’d expect from Cadillac at a starting price of $35,790.

The compact crossover segment is the hottest thing going in the auto industry today, and Cadillac makes up for its tardiness with a daring new design, a strong turbocharged engine and a smooth 9-speed automatic transmission. The XT4 also has LED lighting front and rear, AWD, and a full suite of active safety features with a high-def surround-view camera system.

Powering the XT4 is a newly-developed 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder that cranks out 237 horsepower and sends 258 lb.-ft. of torque to either the front wheels or all four (AWD adds $2,500). I found the little turbo had plenty of power for this small CUV, although the high-revving engine exhaust was a little high pitched. The 9-speed automatic transmission was sure of its shift and downshift points.

The XT4 is offered in Luxury, Premium Luxury and Sport trims. My XT4 AWD Sport test car had a black mesh grille inspired by the beastly Cadillac “V’ series models.

LED headlights light up the night like Tiger Stadium. Be honest, you’ve been driving at night and wondered if that approaching car with those really bright headlights has high beams on. You flash your high beams and then get whammed by super bright lights. If you’re behind the wheel of the XT4, you get to be the approaching car.

Inside the cabin, the XT4 is not what I’d call roomy, but it is well crafted and comfortable. The cargo deck in back has a removable cover that limits the height of items but acts a shelf upon which you can put lighter items. Officially, cargo space is 22.5 cubic feet behind the second row, which expands to 48.9 cubic feet if you fold down Row 2.

Front seat headroom is fine at 39.4 inches, and rear seat headroom is 38.3 inches. I’m 6-foot-1 and in Row 2, my head touched the ceiling near the moonroof. Legroom is fine in Row 2, but it still would be more comfortable for two adults or 3 kids.

The front seats in my test Cadillac had power adjustable and massaging seats that were heated and cooled. The layout of the dash and console is intuitive and well thought out. GM has always been a leader in heads-up display technology, and the programmable HUD in this Caddy is terrific. Rows of buttons – as opposed to clusters of buttons – for various vehicle functions is becoming a thing again, and I’m a big fan. There’s also a controller knob that is surrounded by buttons for the most-used functions, including a button that can disable the stop/start function of the engine.

I’m not a big fan of stop/start features, which are on today’s vehicles to help them get better fuel economy by turning off the engine at red lights. The stop/start feature is one of the things that helps the XT4 get up to 30 miles per gallon on the highway (29 mpg with AWD).

The navigation system and other vehicle functions are displayed on a standard 8-inch high-definition touchscreen that supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. A teen driver function is included, and wireless charging is available.

The XT4 is 181 inches long and weighs in between 3,600 and 3,800 pounds depending on trim. The XT4 can two up to 3,500 pounds.

A hands-free liftgate with Cadillac logo ground lighting is available on Premium Luxury and Sport trims.

On the road, the XT4 performs well, with good road manners and linear steering. The relatively wide stance (83.5 inches overall width) and short overhangs makes the car feel secure on the road, and the XT4 absorbed road defects with ease.

When it comes to safety, the brand new XT4 hasn’t yet been crash tested, so no scores are available from the government or the insurance industry. The vehicle is outfitted with the latest safety technologies and a full complement of airbags.

2019 Cadillac XT4 AWD Sport

Engine: 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder

Horsepower/Torque: 237/258 Lb.-ft.

Transmission: 9-speed automatic

Price: $41,795 ($57,735 with options & freight)

EPA mileage estimates: 22 mpg city/29 mpg highway/24 mpg combined

Estimated Highway Range: 473 miles