The Cadillac XT6 is one of the brand's newer products, having only been launched two years ago. It has stunning exterior styling and is one of the best-looking midsize SUVs around. However, its interior is less than cutting edge, and its V6 engine is rather thirsty. To help remedy at least one of these problems, a new 2.0-liter turbo four-pot with 237 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque was introduced to the lineup last year in a new trim. The old 3.6-liter V6 is still there with its 310 horses and 271 lb-ft of torque too, with all models featuring a nine-speed automatic. However, in a world where the BMW X5 and Audi Q7 exist, the XT6 has its work cut out. Can it play with the big boys, or is it just another niche-filler?
Not much changes for the new model year. The leather-trimmed steering wheel that's part of the Platinum package swaps its Turin leather for Modena leather and a new 21-inch alloy wheel option becomes available. The flagship Sport trim gets Brembo brakes with red calipers. Power-folding exterior mirrors, blind-spot monitoring, and rear cross-traffic alert are made standard across the board. The exterior paint palette has also undergone changes.
The cheapest model in the lineup is the Luxury and it starts at a base price of $48,595 in the USA, before a $1,195 destination charge. The mid-level Premium Luxury is on sale for $52,920, while the top Sport trim, which is the only one to get AWD by default, will lighten your wallet to the tune of $58,295. Fully loaded, the Cadillac XT6 will cost in excess of $75,000 for one with all the boxes ticked. The Cadillac XT6 has a high price.
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While the engine has let the XT6 SUV down, the steering system does little to win us back over. It's light, which makes it easy to change direction and park, but it can be too twitchy at times and you feel completely disconnected from the front wheels. The actual handling ability isn't much better, with the body leaning through even moderately quick corners while the brakes are too sensitive at low speeds. Luckily, it's not all bad news as the XT6 rides rather well and is quite comfy over all sorts of terrain, soaking up bumps and abrasions with aplomb. The Sport trim, with its adaptive dampers and stiffer spring rates, is decent too, but handling ability isn't improved much, and some have found that low-speed bumps are too harsh and high-speed bumps feel too floaty. So it's comfortable and easy to park, but it's not a polished product that ticks any other boxes. If you're looking for a more engaging ride, try the BMW X5. If you want better damping and more composure, either the Bimmer or Audi's Q7 will likely impress you more.
With pricing not that different from far more premium and better-built rivals, the XT6 is a hard sell. It suffers from a sub-par cabin in terms of quality and doesn't offer much space behind the third row - despite the third row offering average headroom and legroom. The throttle can be twitchy on the V6, and the four-pot is not capable of being a compelling alternative. The Sport model isn't sporty and the towing capacity of this SUV is below average across all trim levels. Gas mileage is decent, but if fuel economy is all that matters, you wouldn't be looking at an SUV. The Cadillac XT6 has a small third row too. On the other hand, the XT6 offers plenty of cargo volume with the seats folded, and the standard features it is equipped with are impressive, although nothing stands out and sets a benchmark. The infotainment system is also noteworthy for its simple and clear display menus, and customization levels are good. However, in review, there is no doubt that this is a vehicle built to a budget, and the sum of its parts does not add up to a whole that we consider worth the MSRP.
Since the base model is severely underpowered and can barely pull its own weight, let alone a loaded trailer, we recommend at least going for the mid-level Premium Luxury trim with its V6. In fact, this is the only worthwhile option as the Sport is just too pretentious for its own good and doesn't deliver on its promises of an engaging drive. Unless you expect to use it frequently, we'd save weight and avoid the AWD system, but we would take the Platinum package and its associated obligatory options. Sure, these are expensive, but they make the 2022 Cadillac XT6 safer and more comfortable, and XT6 pricing isn't exactly wonderful anyway. Without any additional options, you can spend less than $65k here, which is fairly reasonable.
The Cadillac XT6 vs the Lincoln Aviator: who will come out tops? For starters, the Aviator is similarly sized to the XT6, but with a 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6, a ten-speed automatic, and rear-wheel-drive as standard, it's a lot better to drive. Sure, it costs a little more with a base price of $51,465, but its 400 horsepower and 415 lb-ft of torque more than make up for the extra premium. It can get from 0-60 mph in just 5.4 seconds and can also tow up to 6,700 pounds behind it. Inside, it looks and feels just as premium and luxurious as any German rival, with clean, modern lines and gorgeous display screens. It also offers more so-called trunk space with 18.3 cubes behind the third row compared to the Caddy's 12.6. With all the seats down, it's just one cubic foot down on the Caddy at 77.7 cubes. The options list is also far more impressive. Ultimately, the Lincoln Aviator is a far better vehicle than the XT6 - in any guise.
At a base price of $55,800, the Q7 is undeniably expensive, but there's value here. The base version's 2.0-liter turbo-four produces 248 hp and 273 lb-ft while the top trim's turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 generates a healthy 335 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque. This allows it to tow as much as 7,700 lbs while acceleration is just as good, with a 0-60 time of 5.7 seconds. Inside, the cabin is typically German and typically Audi, with a touchscreen even operating the climate control system and two other screens handling infotainment and driver info duties. There's typically brilliant build quality and premium materials on show for all to see, while the area behind the third row offers 14.2 cubic feet of storage. Maximum volume is below that of the Caddy, with just about 70 cubes, but overall, the Audi beats the XT6 in just about every area.
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