This week we have two expensive SUVs, one a gas sipper, and a gas guzzler. Starting with the Cadillac XT4, the base price is only $35K.

This one is loaded up with all the options. The list is too long to print here, but there are enough electronic goodies to keep you entertained. It is also entertaining to watch the facial expressions when onlookers see the $57K price tag!

Under the hood is a 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbo putting out 237 horsepower. It’s hooked to a nine-speed automatic gearbox and has paddle shifters on the steering wheel to pick a gear manually. Fuel economy is listed at 24/30 mpg if driven in two-wheel drive, or 22/29 in AWD. A computer control knob provides Normal, Sport and AWD modes.

The cabin has some mixed features. For example the gauge cluster is well designed, but a clear plastic cover catches sun glare, blocking the view at certain angles. The climate controls are very simple buttons, but with 13 in a row all looking alike, they can be confusing to operate. The gear shifter will be awkward for many operators. The SOS emergency button is easy to find but located too close to other buttons, making is too easy to touch by accident in the dark.

The XT4 is a pleasure once on the road. The acceleration is quick enough. The ride and handling are very good. Fuel economy was 26 mpg on long highway trips. But I can’t help thinking that for $56K, the Cadillac dealer could also sell me a full-size GMC double-cab pickup truck loaded with plenty of options.

Next up is the Toyota Sequoia. Not much has changed on this vehicle since it was introduced in 2008. This means the same 5.7-liter V8 putting out 381 horsepower and an antique six-speed automatic transmission. At least this combination is bullet proof. Fuel economy is rated at 13 mpg city and 17 highway, which is what we got.

Since this is an older design, most controls are not routed through the infotainment system. Instead most functions are operated by touching simple knobs and buttons. This is a positive selling point, since operating a knob/button is easier than messing around with a large screen and punching computer commands. This is one case where older is better.

The base price starts about $43K for a two-wheel-drive Sequoia. This was the platinum version, which is supposed to come loaded with everything. This explains the $69K price. It doesn’t explain why Toyota had the nerve to charge an extra $373 for floor mats!

With three-row seating, you can fit seven people in the cabin. Toyota says you can fit eight, but where that extra passenger will fit is a mystery. In any case, this is a comfortable ride, great for long trips. With 4x4 and high ground clearance, it works well off road too. The reliability is there, resale value is high, so if you can afford the fuel bills, this is a nice SUV to own.


Chad Haire, of Phoenix, test-drives vehicles for this feature.