Cadillac and the Virginia countryside gave us the opportunity to take the all-new Cadillac XT6 for a drive. Here’s our take on it.
(Leesburg, Virginia) The 2020 Cadillac XT6 aims to bring back some of Cadillac’s magic. Growing up in the ’80s, the bigger the car your dad had, the more success points he gained – after all, saying something was “the Cadillac of…” really put the subject up there.
The huge rectangular lights in the rear and the predominant Caddy emblem in the front, the plush seating inside complimented by wood accents on the door handles and the ambient lights embedded in the C pillars, were all signs that, if you were sitting in there, you were going places. And if you weren’t a CEO, you could fake it ’till you made it.
Since then, Cadillac has been shuffling the cards, launching, re-naming and pulling models out of the lineup to make the emblem shine again, and to adapt the product catalogue to the current automotive climate here and abroad (read China).
In an effort to attract younger professionals who are, like Cadillac calls them, “CEOs of everything”, the XT6 charges forward as a contribution to the luxury 3-row SUV segment. It provides more space, tech and safety to drivers and occupants, without the need to upgrade to the more expensive Cadillac Escalade.
A familiar look
The XT6 borrows its looks from its smaller siblings. With the grille and LED lights carried over from the XT4 and familiar lines found on the XT5. It is offered in two “personalities”: The Premium Luxury model and the Sport model.
Hypothetically, you can probably figure out which model is for you. They differ in certain aspects, starting with the exterior characteristics. The Luxury model has more Galvano chrome, while the Sport is “darker” with smoked taillights and a different set of wheels. I reckon beauty is subjective, but I think that Sport model looks gorgeous, with just the right amount of “bling”.
Nuts & Bolts
A familiar unit takes place under the hood of the XT6. This SUV relies on the proven 3.6-litre engine that makes 310 horsepower and 271 lb-ft of torque. Paired with a 9-Speed transmission, it distributes the power to all four wheels on both variants, but the Sport variant gets a dual-clutch AWD system. The Sport model also gets a standard Continuous Damping Control Active Sport Chassis suspension system.
On the road in the 2020 Cadillac XT6
Stepping inside the Cadillac XT6 is just like stepping inside the XT4 and XT5. It’s not a design marvel, but the functionality is there. In the rear, the XT6’s primary attribute is the third row. And third rows are always confusing because they seldom provide enough room for an adult to fit in there. I have to say that the XT6’s surprised me, compared to the Escalades’ configuration, this one is roomier.
The 3.6-Liter V6 engine is not the most thrilling powerplant out there, but it is tested and true. With the 9-Speed automatic transmission, accelerations can feel slow and in between gears at times, a reality that we, unfortunately, have to get used to with the multiplication of gears in those boxes, which prioritize fuel savings over excitement.
The Premium Luxury XT6 feels a little heavy when turning in. Opting for the Sport variant will mitigate this point. But one has to remember that driving a three-row SUV calls for some compromises in driving dynamics. Either way, driving comfort was more than acceptable.
We were also expecting the XT6 to roll out with the Super Cruise, Cadillac’s semi-autonomous driving system that relies on maps and sensors to virtually eliminate the need to interact with the steering wheel every now and then. But Cadillac says it will be made available with the XT6 in a timely manner.
Did I feel like a “CEO of everything” when driving the 2020 Cadillac XT6? YES in the sense that it can do a lot of things, like haul people and fill the needs of tech-hungry occupants. NO in the sense that, no matter how much tech and gizmos listed on its standard equipment list and how elegant it physically looks, it lacks refinement in the drive and overall prestige.
Cadillac admits it; the XT6 is not meant to compete with the German counterparts at Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz. It is more in the league of the Acura MDX and the Lincoln Aviator. But with a price tag starting at $60,995 for the Premium Luxury model, one would be tempted to look at the above-mentioned competition, or even at the Buick Enclave which shares the same platform. And we have to point out that the absence of a modern and more powerful engine option is quite unfortunate.
In the end, we’ll have to give the XT6 a few years in the field to see how it pushes through.