Automotive

Review: 2020 Cadillac XT6 is American luxury in a three-row

Review: 2020 Cadillac XT6 is A...
The Cadillac XT6 blends into the luxury crossover crowd, doing little to differentiate with its exterior
The Cadillac XT6 blends into the luxury crossover crowd, doing little to differentiate with its exterior
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The Cadillac XT6 blends into the luxury crossover crowd, doing little to differentiate with its exterior
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The Cadillac XT6 blends into the luxury crossover crowd, doing little to differentiate with its exterior
There is a reason this basic design language is seen on most luxury sport utilities: it's classy and it works
2/9
There is a reason this basic design language is seen on most luxury sport utilities: it's classy and it works
The grille on the Cadillac XT6 is all Detroit, showing off Caddy's signature shield nicely
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The grille on the Cadillac XT6 is all Detroit, showing off Caddy's signature shield nicely
This particular Cadillac XT6 is bedecked in a shimmery Garnet Metallic paint that flashes purple behind a
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This particular Cadillac XT6 is bedecked in a shimmery Garnet Metallic paint that flashes purple behind a dark shade
It's the Darkness, Charlie Murphy
5/9
It's the Darkness, Charlie Murphy
Cadillac manages to blend wood, plastic, metal, and carbon fiber with leather and electronics in a way no other luxury make can
6/9
Cadillac manages to blend wood, plastic, metal, and carbon fiber with leather and electronics in a way no other luxury make can
From the moment of entry, the driver is embraced with opulence and American luxury
7/9
From the moment of entry, the driver is embraced with opulence and American luxury
Like the Buick and Chevrolet models the Cadillac XT6 is derived from, entry and exit is easy and well-considered
8/9
Like the Buick and Chevrolet models the Cadillac XT6 is derived from, entry and exit is easy and well considered
Cargo space in the Cadillac XT6 is a little skimpy when all three rows are in use, but otherwise very accommodating
9/9
Cargo space in the Cadillac XT6 is a little skimpy when all three rows are in use, but otherwise very accommodating
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Introduced for the 2020 model year, the Cadillac XT6 becomes Caddy’s first three-row crossover. Based on the well-received Buick Enclave and Chevrolet Traverse, the XT6 is designed for luxury-level buyers with an eye towards Cadillac’s penchant for all things posh.

The Escalade remains as a full SUV, but misses the market for buyers looking for more fuel economy and fewer truck-based features. The XT6 is a bit smaller, has more maneuverability, and has better interior use of space than the Escalade. Comparables for the XT6 include the Audi Q7 and the BMW X7. Where those two German offerings aim largely for performance and road handling, however, the XT6 focuses on comfort and interior ambiance as only Americans can make it.

The 2020 XT6 has a roomier third row when compared to most of the luxury three-row offerings on the market. This comes at the expense of the cargo area, which shrinks to 12.6 cubic feet (356.8 liters) when the third row is deployed. Dropping both the third and second rows, however, opens up 78.7 cubic feet (2,028.5 liters) of space with a (mostly) flat floor for loading. So skimping behind the third row didn’t mean skimping overall.

In a nod to modern times, the comfortable interior features two USB ports for each row (six in all) and an 8-inch touchscreen for infotainment up front. This can be made larger with upgrades, adding a Wi-Fi hotspot and wireless device charging. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are standard, as is GM’s own screen-mirroring app. Upgrades can add GM’s Marketplace on-the-road shopping app and more.

Cadillac manages to blend wood, plastic, metal, and carbon fiber with leather and electronics in a way no other luxury make can
Cadillac manages to blend wood, plastic, metal, and carbon fiber with leather and electronics in a way no other luxury make can

Where the XT6 shines, though, is in its overall interior design. Seating is comfortable in all three rows. More than that, though, is the exquisite use of materials in the XT6’s cabin. Wood, plastic, metal and blends of the same complement leather (or leatherette) and carpeting for a seamlessly luxuriant experience. It’s clear that Cadillac’s expertise in finding ways to combine and complement materials choices into design elements was put foremost in the XT6’s interior. This Caddy is one of the most all-around opulent interiors we’ve experienced below the triple-digit price field.

The Cadillac XT6 has a starting price of US$52,695, making it one of the lower-priced entries into the three-row luxury field. This is surprising, given its interior accoutrements. The lower cost comes from a less refined powertrain, which is based off a well-performing, exuberant 3.6-liter V6 outputting up to 310 horsepower (231 kW). The engine is a great match for the XT6, but has a less refined, shift-happy nine-speed automatic attached. That transmission can make the vehicle feel jumpy at times. It’s tempered a bit in the all-wheel drive model, but not enough to remove the complaint. The XT6 is not nearly as smooth on the road as are its major luxury rivals.

Time behind the wheel teaches the driver to feather rather than press the accelerator when already moving, and to laze around corners rather than push. The XT6 is a luxury drive in the American tradition, where long, smooth, and uneventful is the expectation. Surprisingly, though, the XT6 is also very maneuverable and easy to park.

Cargo space in the Cadillac XT6 is a little skimpy when all three rows are in use, but otherwise very accommodating
Cargo space in the Cadillac XT6 is a little skimpy when all three rows are in use, but otherwise very accommodating

As with most modern Cadillac models, the XT6 is opulent, comfortable, and ergonomic for the user. Its exterior look is good, but not unique or eye-catching when compared to the rest of the segment. It fits in, save for its Caddy shield.

Inside, though, it’s difficult to name a better design or overall feel for appeal than what the XT6 offers. For those looking for something uniquely American, this new Cadillac crossover delivers.

Product Page: 2020 Cadillac XT6

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1 comment
Firemedic
I consider myself a very educated and conscientious vehicle shopper. I will also admit that I've been a very loyal GM customer, having purchased 13 new GM vehicles within our household over the past 30 years. I’ve been actively researching a purchase of a Mid-Size Luxury SUV for the past year. When GM announced the production of the Cadillac XT6, I was waiting with baited breath to learn more and tests drive this “NEW” model. When I finally had the opportunity to drive the XT6, I was immediately left with serious concerns and disappointment. Having test driven the new 2020 Lincoln Aviator prior to the XT6 may have influenced my opinion of the Cadillac prematurely; so I thought. However, as I took careful time to seriously compare of these two American Luxury brands, I felt compelled to turn away from the Cadillac XT6 and pursue a purchase of the Lincoln Aviator. Let it be known that my reason from turning away from GM wasn’t because of any negative experiences with previous GM products! Simply stated, I've become increasingly frustrated with GMs failure to seriously differentiate its product lineup to include Chevrolet, GMC, Buick, and Cadillac. With the exception of some simple exterior/interior cues, GM still insists on sharing one common parts-bin amongst all of its product divisions. From the powertrains to the dashboards, all GM divisions share way too much in common. Additionally, the exterior and interior appearances are lackluster and appear very "dated". The issues that these GM models face can no longer justify the significant difference in pricing that they command. GM has lost its ability to “wow” me with its “new” lineups. Specifically, my comparison of the XT6 and the Aviator allowed me to undeniably conclude that these two vehicles are Not Even Close in many aspects. If anyone has completed simple research, they cannot deny the facts. It is clear that GM demonstrates some serious neglect in the XT6 engineering by fast-tracking its development. As a result, the XT6 became a stretched version of the XT5, which limited its development, therefore forcing comprises in function and performance. Indeed, the XT6 it attractive and functional, however, for five distinct reasons I predict that the XT6 will remain out of reach of the Lincoln Aviator in sales and owner satisfaction. These five keys areas are: Use of C1XX platform (stretched version of XT5); Front wheel drive; Use of 3.6L V6 (LGX) naturally aspirated Engine; No option of a Hybrid variant powertrain; A base MSRPs that is within $2K of the Aviator. Regardless of these major points, when considering the XT6, you are simply looking at a well-dressed and rebadged Enclave, Traverse or Acadia that present with the simplest differences in grills, tailgates and dashboards. In sharp contrast, the new Lincoln Aviator is a truly redesigned luxury vehicle that cannot be mistaken for the 2020 Ford Explorer which shares the same platform. Lincoln did some serious homework and accomplished some serious engineering goals. Not only has Lincoln separated itself brilliantly from its Ford brethren, but it truly put a lot of distance between itself and the Cadillac XT6, as well as every other Foreign competitor in the same Class. The Aviator's size inside and out, as well as its base Twin-Turbocharged 400 HP V-6 engine are alone, enough to make it a much better value than the aforementioned threats. It is obvious that the Aviator was meticulously designed from bottom up. Although the Cadillac XT6 has its strengths, as a loyal GM customer for decades, I must regretfully admit that it still falls short in nearly every measure when compared to most other Mid-size Luxury SUVs in the same class. It is disappointing that the XT6 was conceived which such limited time and resources. My conclusion is that it would be a regrettable mistake to purchase the Cadillac XT6 without first exploring the Lincoln Aviator. With my opinions aside, only future sales will definitively dictate who will come out ahead. Do your own research and buy wisely!