The XT6 marks Cadillac's foray into the three-row midsize SUV market. With its introduction, there is now a Caddy for just about any application. But as with most vehicles by the American manufacturer, premium luxury SUVs from across the pond do it better. That's not too say the XT6 doesn't have its strengths; the V6 is pretty powerful, with 310 horsepower and 271 lb-ft of torque, the interior is quite spacious, and a lot of cargo space can be provided if you're willing to fold down some seats. It also comes with plenty of features to keep the tech-heads happy. But European rivals like the BMW X5 and Audi Q7 are more refined and offer better handling dynamics. Normally, Caddies manage to win over some buyers with their lower price tag, but the XT6 is very much on par with these German luxury SUVs, so the American motor company will be relying on brand loyalty and patriotism to help it compete in the segment.
The XT6 is a whole new SUV for Cadillac, filling a slot that has been vacant for some time now since the departure of the SRX in 2016, which was Cadillac's best-selling model in the U.S. It's built on the same C1XX platform that underpins the smaller Cadillac XT5 and GM cousins, the Chevrolet Traverse and Blazer.
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The new XT6 follows the trend of most luxury SUVs on the market, with light, responsive steering that makes the larger vehicle easier to maneuver around town. However, the steering provides little to no feedback from the wheels, leaving the driver to rely on natural visibility and advanced driver aids to see what is going on around them.
While the engine may be strong enough to give the Caddy some athletic aspirations, its handling is not up to the challenge. The hefty crossover can take a corner quite well at reasonable speeds, but add a little speed to the equation, and it leans too far into turns to provide any real confidence. The Sport trim is slightly more competent with its unique all-wheel drivetrain and chassis damping technology, but it doesn't really earn its name.
One area where Cadillac does manage to show some expertise, though, is ride comfort. The XT6 absorbs road abrasions well despite its overly large 20-inch wheels. The Sport performance suspension is a little stiffer, but unless you opt for the 21-inch wheels, it shouldn't decrease comfort too noticeably.
The Cadillac XT6 is a competent driver that delivers a very comfortable ride, but it is far less agile than more refined rivals on the market.
The XT6 is Cadillac's first recent attempt at a three-row midsize SUV, and its lack of experience shows in most aspects of the crossover. It may be a bit harsh to call it a bad vehicle, but there are certainly better choices out there within the price bracket. Still, brand loyalists may find enough here to justify a purchase.
The Caddy is quite spacious inside, especially in the front two rows, supplying highly competitive levels of head- and legroom. The third-row seats are substantially less impressive. And while the third row may be more legitimate than the optional one found in the BMW X5, it comes at the cost of significantly reducing standard trunk space to a measly 12.6 cubic feet.
The Cadillac also doesn't handle nearly as well as German rivals like the X5 or Mercedes GLE, and despite having a well-appointed interior, it lacks the same level of European refinement and sophistication. One area where it does do well, though, is in its long list of standard features, especially advanced driver aids. But many of those can be added to the X5 or GLE, with cost not being a primary concern to luxury SUV buyers.
With unimpressive fuel economy, clumsy handling, and a price tag set too high for what it does provide buyers, the Cadillac XT6 seems like an overly ambitious entry into the three-row midsize crossover market that doesn't live up to its promises. While you may not regret the purchase outright, you will likely come to look at other luxury SUVs with envy.
The Volvo XC90 comes equipped with a turbo- or twincharged four-cylinder as opposed to a V6 like so many midsize rivals. Power outputs vary from 250 hp and 258 lb-ft to 400 hp and 472 lb-ft on the available hybrid models, offering more variety and much higher performance on the upper trims. The base engine is about as quick as the 310-hp V6 on the Caddy, with a 0-60 mph time of 7.5 seconds while the twincharged inline-four makes the sprint in 6.1 seconds. Even these two powertrains are more efficient than the XT6's, getting 1-2 mpg extra over the combined cycle. The interior is extremely attractive, with high-quality materials and superb styling. It is also quite spacious, for passenger and cargo, with a max capacity of 85.7 cubic feet. With a lower starting price tag, and a good list of standard and available features, the Volvo XC90 is the better-value buy here.
The Audi Q7 offers two powertrains, a 248-hp turbo four-cylinder and a 329-hp V6, with varying levels of quickness. The base Q7 makes the 0-60 mph sprint in 7.1 seconds, marginally slower than the V6 Caddy, while the available V6 engine can do it in 5.7 seconds. The Audi has slightly better fuel economy, and a significantly higher towing capacity of 7,700 lbs. All-wheel-drive and plenty of features come standard on the base-model Q7, matching the XT6's starting price. And while it comes well-appointed, the Audi is no bigger inside than its rival, with only 14.8 cubic feet of standard cargo space, maxing out at 71.6 cubic feet. But where it significantly bests the Cadillac is its handling. Overall, the German crossover is far more refined and agile than its American counterpart, and seems like the smarter buy despite being an older model.
The most popular competitors of 2020 Cadillac XT6: