With its authoritative and contemporary exterior design, the 2021 Cadillac XT6 is a genuinely eye-catching SUV. Its performance is far from commanding, however, with either the new 2.0-liter inline-4 engine or the 3.6-liter V6 engine in play. The cabin is also rather underwhelming, albeit commodious; it's just far from competitive with its shoddy build quality and many, easily noticeable low-grade materials. At the 2021 Cadillac XT6 SUV's price, premium 5-door cars such as the Mercedes-AMG GLB 35, BMW X5, and Audi Q7 leave it in the dust in terms of value and quality. Nevertheless, the XT6 is a tranquil cruiser that comes well-equipped with up-to-the-minute creature comforts, conveniences, and technology. It's highly customizable, too, and will haul a lot with the right setup. Do the XT6 SUV's benefits outway its downfalls, or is Cadillac missing the ball with this one?
A year into the first generation, there are only a few changes to the lineup. A new Luxury trim is the XT6's new entry point for the 2021 model year, and it comes with the aforementioned four-banger, but other changes are brought to the range, too. Among these is the addition of wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard, as well as a new wheel design for the top-tier Sport trim. Some new paint options are available, too.
See trim levels and configurations:
There are two engines offered within the 2021 XT6 SUV line; the first is a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder gas unit that's been modulated for an underwhelming 237 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. Standard in the mid- and top-tier XT6 is a 3.6-liter V6 unit that delivers a livelier 310 hp and 271 lb-ft. Both engines come paired with a 9-speed automatic transmission. The Luxury and Premium Luxury trims can be equipped with either a front-wheel or all-wheel drivetrain, while the Sports comes solely in AWD. The 4-cylinder feels far too underpowered for the hefty XT6 SUV and the V6 just feels uncouth. Fortunately, the 9-speed transmission is precise and silky smooth, helping to conceal the V6's imperfections.
At its high starting price of $47,795, there's a lot more the 2021 Cadillac XT6 needs to offer to match up with the far more premium and well-built SUVs in its bracket. The USA may be very patriotic and totally infatuated with crossover SUVs, but even the proudest American cannot deny that European SUVs have more to offer over the homebred Cadillac. The XT6's 4-cylinder lacks power and efficiency and the V6's throttle responses are just too twitchy, plus the 4,000-pound towing capacity the V6 accords is also below average. The most notable drawback, however, is the XT6's low-quality cabin build and impression, which is simply just unacceptable at its price. It's not all bad, though. The XT6 would actually make for a good family runabout with its three spacious rows and multitude of features. The NHTSA's and the IIHS's review of the 2021 Cadillac XT6 also resulted in a near-perfect safety rating, and Cadillac has managed to improve its reliability expectations through the years. That being said, we still feel there are far better SUVs, both local and imported, at the same price.
Being that the 2021 XT6 is a relatively large and hefty vehicle, we'd recommend going for either of the trims with the V6 engine onboard, as the 4-cylinder in the entry-spec model is simply too underpowered. This engine, along with the AWD setup, will also have the XT6 towing a fairly decent load if that is something you're concerned with. Between the two trims that come equipped with the V6, the mid-spec Premium Luxury is the one we'd go for as the Sport seems overly pretentious and really doesn't live up to its name.
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Check out some informative Cadillac XT6 video reviews below.