The 2020 Cadillac XT6 is an all-new model for the American luxury brand. It slots between the smaller XT5 and the larger Escalade full-size SUV. The XT6 is a 3-row SUV that is meant for families that don’t really need something as large as the Escalade.
Engine – The Cadillac XT6 is only available with a 3.6L V6 engine. It is not supercharged or turbocharged and while other manufacturers are moving away from large displacement engines, GM decided to stick with the latest generation of an engine that’s been in their lineup since 2004. This 3.6L V6 produces 310 hp and 276 lb-ft of torque in the XT6. It’s enough to accelerate the 2,100 kg body to 96 km/h (60 mph) in 6.9 seconds which is quite respectable for an SUV of this size. Power delivery is smooth albeit mostly at the higher rpms as this is a naturally aspirated engine. The only minor complaint I have is the overly sensitive throttle pedal which at times can make the XT6 lurch from a stop.
Thanks to variable valve timing, direct injection, & cylinder deactivation, the 3.6L V6 can achieve an EnerGuide fuel economy rating of 13.5 L/100km (17.4 mpg) in a city and 9.7 L/100km (24.2 mpg) on a highway. While these are impressive numbers for a big V6 like this, it was very difficult for me to achieve the city fuel economy rating. Highway was no problem. But in the city I actually got closer to 15 L/100km …. Or maybe 16…
Transmission – The V6 engine is mated to a 9-speed automatic transmission which shifts gears seamlessly. Unless you’re paying attention, you wouldn’t even notice the transmission swapping cogs in normal driving conditions. Switch the XT6 into Sport mode and the shifts are more noticeable however, don’t bother relying on the steering wheel mounted paddles as they are slow to react to driver inputs. It’s best to leave the SUV do the shifting for you.
Braking – Automatic emergency braking with forward collision alert and pedestrian detection are standard features on the Cadillac XT6. Stopping the big Cadillac is easy thanks to a smooth brake pedal actuation.
Handling – The 2020 Cadillac XT6 is only available with all-wheel-drive (for the Canadian market) but at the push of a button, it can be front wheel drive. The AWD system is quite sophisticated as it has clutch packs in the rear differential to deliver the engine’s power to whichever wheel has the most grip. This is real torque vectoring rather than electronic torque vectoring that uses the brakes to force power to go to the opposite wheel. This doesn’t mean that the XT6 is a sports SUV that can take on a Porsche Cayenne. Instead, the AWD system is there to provide the driver with confidence when driving in wet or snowy conditions and to keep the SUV in the driver’s complete control.
That is, if the driver switches the AWD system on. There is a button on the center console that can disconnect the rear wheels from the engine to make the XT6 FWD and save fuel. That’s great. But if a driver is caught in a difficult driving situation and they “forget” to switch back to AWD, they only have stability control to rely on. Most other vehicles have an AWD system that switches between FWD and AWD automatically but for some reason the Cadillac XT6 doesn’t.
Ride Comfort – Although this particular Cadillac XT6 is a Sport trim, the ride is not firm at all. It is in fact as Cadillac vehicles should be; smooth and more smooth… if that makes any sense. The suspension absorbs bumps preventing them to be translated into the cabin and the thick sidewall of the tires further absorb smaller road imperfections.
The seats have a good amount of adjustability although adjustable thigh support is lacking. I would even go so far as to say that the padding could be just a tad softer. But that’s personal preference.
Interior Space – As always, front occupants have plenty of space with plenty of adjustments for the front seats. 2nd row occupants also have a good amount of space even if they are taller like myself at 6’4”. The 3rd row is too tight in terms of leg and head room for adults but there is quite a bit of room back there for kids. Getting in and out of the 3rd row is fairly easy and thankfully the Cadillac XT6 doesn’t have the agonizingly slow powered 2nd row seats of the Mercedes-Benz GLS.
Trunk space though is small with all seats up at just 357 L of cargo. Drop the 2nd row and the cargo increases to 1,220 L and with all seats down, it grows to 2,229 L behind the front seats. One thing to note about the trunk area, the fabric cargo cover is a nightmare. It doesn’t roll up like conventional cargo covers and takes a few moments to set up or take down.
Noise, Vibration, & Harshness – For the most part, the 2020 Cadillac XT6 is a quiet SUV. The XT6 comes equipped with an acoustic laminated windshield to reduce wind noise and the engine is well muffled from the cabin. The auto start/stop system is well refined as it doesn’t shake or lurch the SUV when it shuts off or starts the engine at a stop light.
Odds and Ends
Gadgets – For a large 3-row luxury SUV that starts at $61,000 CAD ($53,690 USD), it comes already well equipped. Leather, heated and ventilated seats, heated steering wheel, heated rear seats, sunroof, wireless phone charging, LED headlamps, Apple CarPlay & Android Auto connectivity, automatic emergency braking, lane keep, blind spot sensors, and more. The only worthwhile options are the exterior and interior styling features of this Sport trim, the advanced AWD system with real torque vectoring in this Sport XT6, the driver assist package and the enhanced visibility package. But even when loaded with all the tech, the Cadillac XT6 Sport comes in at just under $69,000 CAD ($66,970 USD). A pretty good price when compared to the German rivals but it is more expensive when compared to the likes of the Acura MDX.
Exterior Design – The XT6 may look like it was designed with nothing but a ruler from far away. However, once you get closer and start looking at the details, the lines have subtle curves. The front has a square and chiseled jaw design while the rear is a bit more simple in its design with just the LED taillights standing out to the eye. As for that 400 badge, it’s the engine’s torque rating in newton-meters rounded up to the nearest 50th. So the engine in the XT6 develops just over 370 Nm of torque and that is rounded up to the nearest 50th which is 400. An odd practice but hey, Mercedes-Benz used to call their 6.2L V8 powered cars AMG 63s. To each their own I guess.
Interior Design – The interior design of the Cadillac XT6 is fairly simple in terms of getting used to where each function and button is. The touch sensitive controls of older Cadillacs are not entirely gone out of this XT6 as there are a few touch sensitive buttons flanking the infotainment screen. But these are features that are not often used. Everything else in the XT6 has normal buttons or knobs.
This Sport trim has lashings of carbon fiber on the dash and door panels. The leather is reasonably soft but not quite as nice to the touch as Napa leather that is found in competitors, particularly the European competitors.
The 2020 Cadillac XT6 is in a bit of an odd place in the market. It is less expensive than a similarly equipped model from Audi, Mercedes-Benz or BMW but it’s almost $10,000 more expensive than the Japanese competitors such as the Acura MDX, which also drives better than the XT6. So its most direct competitor would have to be the Lincoln Aviator which is also all-new for the 2020 model year.
Thank you to Cadillac Canada for providing the vehicle. www.CadillacCanada.ca