As I sit here in front of my Mac, preparing to write my review on the new 2020 Cadillac XT6, I’m also on Cadillac Canada’s website for specs. The Cadillac XT6’s homepage plays a video featuring “crews” or what looks like a band, or two, fashion models, young ninjas and I suppose a pack of superheroes. I’ve now watched the footage about 12 times over and all I keep saying to myself is that this whole video tells me nothing about the XT6, other than there’s room for six.
Well, it does highlight the new 2020 Cadillac XT6’s greatest attribute: Its styling. From the moment I first spotted pictures of the new XT6 online, I’ve thought that Cadillac had succeeded in designing a convincingly attractive SUV. The medium-big Caddy’s front fascia is impressively well sorted visually. The grille-headlight-air-vent-bumper balance is just about perfect. This explains why the leaked pictures of the new Escalade, whose front end is inspired by the XT6, seem off.
Despite being based on the Chevrolet Traverse and Buick Enclave, Cadillac gave the XT6 a profile that is distinct enough to differentiate it from the others, same for the SUV’s rear. The unique 12-spoke 20-inch wheels included with the tested Sport trim and other various gloss-black appliques and smoked taillights give it a little more visual appeal.
The cabin is typical Cadillac
Stepping on board the 2020 Cadillac XT6, one comes face-to-face with a standard Cadillac dashboard and general layout. While the 8-inch display and upgraded instrument panel with 8-inch central screen are functional, I would have expected Cadillac to put in more effort into what should become their 2nd best-selling nameplate before too long. Standard features are certainly numerous and include a WIFI hotspot, Bose Audio, leather everything or nearly, nice wood trim, heated seats and steering wheel, panoramic sunroof, and loads more.
Once more, I bring up the new 2021 Escalade, which is on the receiving end of an all-new dashboard with unique curved OLED twin-screens. Although I get that the Escalade is the flagship Caddy, I think this is a missed opportunity for Cadillac to deliver more value to its potential buyers. The 3-row luxury SUV segment is loaded with options, from the Acura MDX, new Audi Q7, the Infiniti QX60 and Lexus RX350L. And, let’s not forget the very enticing all-new 2020 Lincoln Aviator.
The price point
All of the above are priced within $10k of each other ($60k-$70k), with the exception of the Infiniti which starts just under $50k, which happens to be the 2020 Buick Enclave’s base price.
Now, although the 2020 XT6 features nicer materials and a little more kit than the Buick, the Caddy’s interior displays and user interface are not so superior to really justify asking nearly $10,000 more over the base AWD Buick Enclave. At $60,998 for the Premium Luxury, I figure it’s about $5k too much. If the new XT6 had a better interior, however nice the current one is, the asking price would be relevant.
My Sport tester starts at $63,798 and includes worthy bits such as adaptive dampers and Sport control AWD. My unit also featured the Platinum, enhanced Visibility and Driver Assist packages and more for a grand total of $76,570. The current $75,000 Aviator Reserve is quite a fearsome foe.
The usual powertrain
The other reason why the Cadillac XT6 falls out of favor is its full drivetrain. It is lifted verbatim out of the Enclave, 3.6-litre V6, 9-speed automatic and all. Its 310-horsepower and 271 lb.-ft. of torque are nothing to write home about but they do get the XT6 up to speed briskly enough. The 9-speed automatic transmission performed flawlessly while the SUV was in my custody and together, are wonderfully refined and smooth.
Smooth and refined describe the XT6’s on-road manners aptly. The adaptive dampers are certainly part and parcel to this as is the extensive amount of sound management onboard.
Needs more, or be priced lower
Value is partially subjective. I say this because I felt nothing, as in not special or unique, or in the know, from behind the wheel of the Cadillac XT6 as I was faced with existing designs and presentation – it did not feel “new.” For $76,000, I find this wrong. Objectively, however, had GM decided to drop in Caddy’s completely revamped dash-panel with screens and switchgear, the XT6 would have felt new.
As is, the 2020 Cadillac XT6 is a fabulous effort by Caddy’s exterior design team and little more. The driving praise given to the XT6, although brief, applies directly to the Buick Enclave, to be clear.
In closing, the XT6 is a fine 3-row SUV. The main issues are a lack of perceived value and it is priced far too high. Unless GM is aggressive with lease incentives, I think they’ve missed the mark.