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- Highs Handsomely styled exterior, standard third-row seating, plenty of standard tech goodies.
- Lows Disappointing fuel efficiency, down-market interior materials, plebian powertrain.
- Verdict Although it's dressed for success and wears an upscale badge, the 2020 Cadillac XT6 ultimately fails to convince us that it's a luxury SUV.
Looking to get into the three-row crossover segment with something nimbler than a full-size Escalade, Cadillac has launched the XT6. Based on the same underpinnings as the GMC Acadia and the smaller Cadillac XT5, the mid-size XT6 is spacious and family-friendly. It has many of Cadillac's unique styling cues, including a front end inspired by the Cadillac Escala conceptcar and the brand's signature lighting elements. The XT6 goes head-to-head with many stately offerings from Europe as well as the critically acclaimed Aviator from chief-rival Lincoln. But it's saddled with mainstream parts and a front-wheel drive platform, so the Cadillac is at a disadvantage in this cut-throat, high-end marketplace.
What's New for 2020?
The XT6 is a brand-new offering and a brand-new nameplate for the Cadillac lineup for 2020. It's new from the ground up, although it's based on the same platform as the Buick Enclave, which was last redesigned for the 2018 model year.
Pricing and Which One to Buy
We've driven both and we're not convinced that the Sport model is any sportier to drive than the Premium Luxury, so we'd save the money. We'd upgrade our XT6 by adding the Comfort and Air Quality package (heated rear seats, ventilated front seats, and an air ionizer) as well as the optional second-row captain's chairs, in-dash navigation, and the 14-speaker Bose premium stereo system.
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Engine, Transmission, and Performance
The XT6 shares its one powertrain with General Motors' larger crossovers, the Buick Enclave and Chevrolet Traverse: a 310-hp, 3.6-liter V-6, front- or all-wheel drive, and a nine-speed automatic transmission. Two versions—Premium Luxury and Sport—make up the XT6 lineup, with the former being more about comfort and the latter receiving performance-enhancing extras such as a torque-vectoring rear differential and retuned steering. A Platinum package is available on both and loads the XT6 up with all the goodies. No matter the trim, the XT6 certainly looks handsome; 20-inch wheels are standard and 21-inchers are optional on the Sport model. Handling is reasonably athletic for a three-row crossover, but no one will mistake it for the sharp-handling CT5-V sedan.
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
The XT6's fuel economy estimates are on par with other six-cylinder rivals such as the Acura MDX and the Mercedes-Benz GLE450. Front-wheel drive models are rated by the EPA for 18 mpg city, 25 mpg highway, and 20 mpg combined; all-wheel drive models see city and highway numbers lowered by 1 mpg but the 20-mpg combined figure remains the same. The XT6's result on our 200-mile highway fuel economy test route is less rosy, as our all-wheel drive test vehicle delivered just 22 mpg versus 25 mpg for the MDX and 23 for the GLE450.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
In the interior, the Cadillac offers both seven- and eight-seat layouts with either a second-row, three-seat bench or a pair of captain's chairs; all XT6s come with a third row with space for three passengers. The only downside is that the XT6's interior trimmings don't impress when compared with competitors such as the Audi Q7 or the BMW X5—the three-row SUVs that the XT6 intends to battle in a hotly contested segment. Cargo space is limited behind the XT6's third row, with space for only three carry-on suitcases in our testing. Lowering the third and second row seats to their flat position opens up much more space; we were able to fit 31 carry-ons in total. The Q7 accommodated one more carry-on behind its third row, but just 25 in total with all seats folded, making the XT6 the better choice for bigger, bulkier cargo.
Infotainment and Connectivity
All XT6 models come with touchscreen infotainment, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, onboard Wi-Fi, and wireless smartphone charging. Cadillac's latest version of its CUE (Cadillac User Experience) infotainment software is displayed crisply on an 8.0-inch screen and reacts promptly to commands. Navigation is an optional feature as is a rear-seat entertainment system with onboard DVD player.
Safety and Driver-Assistance Features
Overall Safety Rating (NHTSA)
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has given the XT6 a five-star rating and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) named it a Top Safety Pick+, that agency's highest honor. A host of driver-assistance features are available: automated emergency braking, lane-keeping assist, and blind-spot monitoring are standard, while more advanced features such as adaptive cruise control and night vision are available as options. Key safety features include:
- Standard automated emergency braking with pedestrian detection
- Standard lane-departure warning with lane-keeping assist
- Available adaptive cruise control and night vision
Warranty and Maintenance Coverage
All Cadillac models, including the XT6, come with the same standard warranty package that includes bumper-to-bumper coverage for four years or 50,000 miles and a powertrain warranty that stretches to six years or 70,000 miles. Most of the XT6's European rivals offer only a four-year/50,000 package for both warranties.
- Limited warranty covers 4 years or 50,000 miles
- Powertrain warranty covers 6 years or 70,000 miles
- Complimentary maintenance is covered for the first visit