2020 Cadillac XT6
2020 Cadillac XT6 Review
- Delivers both good power and ride comfort
- Many active safety features are standard equipment
- Third row is roomy enough for most adults
- Infotainment system is easy to use
- Minimal cargo space behind third row
- Jumpy throttle might draw concerned looks from passengers
- Low towing limits
- Competitors are overall less expensive and more refined
- The XT6 is an all-new model
- Part of the first XT6 generation introduced for 2020
It took time, but Cadillac's first three-row crossover is here. The 2020 Cadillac XT6 signals the Detroit luxury automaker's intention to compete at every level of the luxury SUV terra. But wait, you say. Doesn't the Escalade offer three rows? It does, yes, but the Escalade couldn't be more different from the all-new XT6.
The full-size Escalade remains a truck-based SUV powered by a thirsty V8. The XT6 is smaller and lighter thanks to its sedan-like chassis, and it is far more maneuverable than the Escalade's land-yacht proportions.
The XT6 is about the same size as the Audi Q7, one of its primary competitors, yet it offers a roomier third-row seat. It's also easy to reach that third row with second-row seats that slide and tilt forward. The Q7 is one of our top-rated luxury three-row crossovers, but on this score, the XT6 beats it handily.
To get that room, Cadillac took it out of the XT6's luggage space, which ranks low in the class — 12.6 cubic feet with all the seats up. But folding both rear rows opens up a properly large 78.7 cubic feet of space, ideal for times when you'll need to load it to the roof.
The XT6 comes with all the active safety features you expect on a modern vehicle, with even more that are optional. There's an 8-inch touchscreen display, two USB jacks for each row of seats, and an array of options that include a Wi-Fi hotspot, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and wireless device charging.
Power comes from a 310-horsepower V6 engine, the same engine in the smaller XT5 crossover. That's slightly more power than many competitors and is adequate in hustling the larger XT6 to highway speeds. Properly equipped, the XT6 can tow up to 4,000 pounds. That's on the low side of the class, with some luxury rivals able to pull around 7,000 pounds, but it's still enough for most light-duty trailering.
Overall, the XT6 is a solid pick for a three-row luxury crossover SUV, though rivals such as the Q7, Acura MDX and Volvo XC90 are a little more compelling overall.
The Cadillac XT6 is a sharp-looking newcomer to the midsize three-row SUV segment. Appealing technology features and a comfortable cabin impart good initial impressions. But once you start stacking the XT6 up against the competition, it begins to lose its luster. We were underwhelmed mostly by its poor drivability and an all-wheel-drive system you have to engage manually. On top of that, it seems a bit overpriced.
How does the XT6 drive?
The XT6's 3.6-liter V6 engine propels the XT6 to 60 mph in 7.3 seconds, which is sufficient for a vehicle of this size but a fair bit behind the segment leaders. Oddly, the all-wheel-drive system doesn't engage automatically, so you have to switch it manually when you think you need it.
Other disappointing driving traits include torque steer — a trait where the steering wheel can jerk in your hands when you mash the gas — and tricky low-speed drivability because of an overly sensitive gas pedal. Also, the front chin spoiler, which helps with aerodynamics, scrapes on some driveways — a sign that you'll want to avoid off-roading.
How comfortable is the XT6?
The fairly comfortable front seats have effective heating and cooling functions but lack some adjustability; lumbar support is only two-way adjustable, for instance, and there's no thigh cushion extension for those long of leg. The reclinable second-row captain's chairs are relatively comfy but nothing special. As for ride comfort, our test XT6 Sport did a good job of softening hard road impacts but didn't control well the residual up-and-down body motions that followed. This trait could be a problem for motion-sensitive rear passengers.
The automatic climate control system works well and responds immediately to your temperature demands, though the primary controls are split between physical buttons and the touchscreen, which is never really optimal. However, the cabin is pretty well insulated from sound. The XT6 isn't as quiet as an Audi Q7, but it's quieter than many luxury SUVs.
How’s the interior?
Cadillac decided to add a rotary controller to complement its touchscreen interface at a time when most other automakers are getting rid of them. We applaud this decision, but some of the remaining touch-sensitive controls are still finicky to use.
Entering and exiting is a breeze thanks to squared-off door openings and low stepover height. Even crawling into the third row is pretty easy if you get the second-row captain's chairs. Once you're in, there's a pretty good amount of room in all rows. Visibility is good all around and is aided by low-mounted side mirrors and an optional surround-view parking camera system.
How’s the tech?
The optional Bose audio system has enough output to let you really bump up your tunes with decent sound clarity. Unlike some weaker competitor systems, this one sounds loud at even half the volume. The native navigation responds to natural language and is fairly easy to use. For those who prefer their smartphones, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are included, and there is no shortage of charge options. (We counted six USBs plus a wireless phone charger in our test XT6.)
We generally like the XT6's driving aids. Adaptive cruise works well, but the lane keeping system is more of a prevention aid than an active centering aid. Don't bother getting the expensive Night Vision option because it doesn't work very well.
How’s the storage?
Power flat-folding third-row seats are always nice to have, especially if they work quickly, as they do in the XT6. There are controls both at the cargo hatch and the rear passenger door, which is convenient. The cargo area's liftover height is a bit high, and storage behind the third-row seats, at 12.6 cubic feet, is below average. Max cargo capacity is a more appropriate-for-the-class 78.7 cubic feet.
Small-item storage in the cabin is also average. Others in the class offer more clever solutions. We had trouble finding space for sunglasses, for instance. And the upper tray under the armrest is a bit cumbersome to remove, especially if you have the USB cables plugged in. For family duty, the XT6 offers sufficient space in the second row to fit a large rear-facing car seat behind the driver.
How economical is the XT6?
The XT6 is estimated to return 22 mpg combined (17 city/24 highway), which is about where most of the competition falls. We achieved an average of 22.6 mpg on our 115-mile mixed-driving evaluation route, which is in line with our expectations, and possibly an indication that the XT6 should match its window sticker targets.
Is the XT6 a good value?
The XT6 from a value standpoint is sadly less than the sum of its parts. The interior cabin materials are actually quite nice, but the execution of how those materials are put together is lacking. This cabin doesn't quite meet the level of sophistication of other competitors at this price, or even competitors that are thousands of dollars cheaper. Cadillac's MSRP seems too much for what you get here. Many competitors have more to offer, whether it's lower cost or better luxury.
Cadillac offers a better powertrain warranty than the Europeans, and its roadside assistance coverage is better than most others. It also offers one year of free scheduled maintenance, which is a small plus.
We dig the XT6's styling overall and that it's instantly recognizable as a Cadillac. The interior design is also cohesive and works with the underlying design, but it doesn't feel as upscale as others, especially at this price. Where this XT6 mostly loses us is the driving experience. At times we thought to engage the all-wheel-drive system full time just to get rid of the torque-steer issue, but that would come at the unnecessary cost of fuel efficiency. That probably detracts the most from the luxury experience.
Which XT6 does Edmunds recommend?
Cadillac XT6 models
The 2020 Cadillac XT6 is available in two trim levels, Premium Luxury and Sport. Both come with a 3.6-liter V6 engine (310 horsepower, 271 lb-ft of torque) and a nine-speed automatic transmission. Premium Luxury trims come standard with front-wheel drive, but all-wheel drive is optional. Sport trims are all-wheel-drive only.
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2020 Cadillac XT6 video
2020 Cadillac XT6 First Look | NY Auto Show
Our experts’ favorite XT6 safety features:
- Safety Alert Seat
- Vibrates the driver's seat to alert you of things such as unintentional lane departure.
- Teen Driver
- Monitors driving habits, prevents disabling safety features such as stability control, and lets parents limit the volume of the stereo.
- Rear Camera Mirror
- Displays the view of a wide-angle camera in the rearview mirror to make reversing safer and easier.
Cadillac XT6 vs. the competition
2020 Cadillac XT6
2020 Audi Q7
Cadillac XT6 vs. Audi Q7
The Q7's technology features are among the most advanced, user-friendly and well-executed in the luxury-car class. The big Audi also rides like a dream regardless of road surface, and its interior is constructed to exceptional standards. The XT6 is similarly loaded with tech, but its interior doesn't quite measure up to the Audi, with one notable exception: space. The XT6's third row is more usable and adult-friendly than the Q7's. Still, the Q7 is an all-around winner. It's no surprise we've picked it as one of the best luxury SUVs around.
Cadillac XT6 vs. Acura MDX
Do you want value? The MDX has a surplus. It starts nearly $10,000 cheaper than the XT6 and comes with a generous set of safety and advanced tech features. It's also a joy to drive, even on twisty roads, thanks to a well-sorted suspension and sophisticated ride. Its fuel economy is better than the XT6's. About the only thing the MDX doesn't do is ooze luxury cachet like its European rivals or Cadillac competitor.
Cadillac XT6 vs. Lincoln Aviator
With the Aviator and the XT6, America has a good old-fashioned domestic automaker rivalry once again. Like the XT6, the Aviator is all-new for 2020 and has nothing to do with the same-named model of nearly 20 years ago. Today's Aviator is still based on Ford's Explorer platform but looks much more like a scaled-down Lincoln Navigator — and that's a good thing. The Aviator and the XT6 go toe to toe in style and interior sophistication, but the XT6 has the edge on third-row room and comfort. The Aviator offers a plug-in hybrid version, however, making it a solid choice for those seeking a big family SUV that doesn't extract a big fuel bill.
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Is the Cadillac XT6 a good car?
What's new in the 2020 Cadillac XT6?
According to Edmunds’ car experts, here’s what’s new for the 2020 Cadillac XT6:
- The XT6 is an all-new model
- Part of the first XT6 generation introduced for 2020
Is the Cadillac XT6 reliable?
Is the 2020 Cadillac XT6 a good car?
How much should I pay for a 2020 Cadillac XT6?
The least-expensive 2020 Cadillac XT6 is the 2020 Cadillac XT6 Premium Luxury 4dr SUV (3.6L 6cyl 9A). Including destination charge, it arrives with a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of about $52,695.
Other versions include:
- Premium Luxury 4dr SUV (3.6L 6cyl 9A) which starts at $52,695
- Premium Luxury 4dr SUV AWD (3.6L 6cyl 9A) which starts at $54,695
- Sport 4dr SUV AWD (3.6L 6cyl 9A) which starts at $57,095