By now you’ve likely heard the news about Cadillac becoming GM’s primary electric vehicle brand. Well, we’ll save that for tomorrow! Today, Cadillac still has to maintain its traditional role as General Motors premier luxury brand. and, that means offering their base plenty of internal combustion engine utilities. Now Caddy has added one more, the new 3-row, XT6.
If we’ve learned anything in the last decade, it’s that a brand can’t have too many utility models. Even when the mother of all Luxury SUVs, the Cadillac Escalade, is in your stable, there’s still room to escalate your game with one more 3-row family hauler. At least Cadillac thinks so, with the introduction of this 2020 XT6.
Cadillac has had its ups and downs in recent years, but things are definitely looking up with their well-received crossovers.
This XT6, their biggest crossover yet, focuses just as much on features for the family as it does on the usual Caddy priorities of luxury and technology.
That starts inside with an invasion of USB ports.Sometimes there just never seems to be enough of them, not the case here; you’ll find six, standard.
With seating for seven, that only leaves one passenger out, unless you upgrade to 2nd row Captain’s chairs, then you’re set. Either way, the 2nd row is quite roomy; 3rd row space is also very good for the segment.
All seats are quite comfortable; and things are superbly quiet and tranquil inside. Lots of tech here as you can imagine, including Night Vision, Surround Vision Camera, and Automatic Parking Assist.
A big change to the user experience; sayonara touchpad CUE! It says a lot about that system when we’re actually glad to see a central controller thrown into the mix. Plenty of traditional controls return as well. We couldn’t be happier.
At launch, you can choose between a Premium Luxury version, or Sport. We opted for Sport, naturally; and it comes with black exterior trim, unique V-series inspired grille, more aggressive fascias for the front and the rear, tinted tail light lenses, unique exhaust outlets, and standard 20-inch wheels, with 21s available.
GM also put some sport in the Sport, with Active Handling Continuous Damping Control and quicker steering. Plus, similar to the XT5, a twin-clutch, torque vectoring all-wheel-drive system. It improves handling by varying power at each rear wheel in corners, and any time traction is hard to come by.
At our test track, despite expected body roll, the XT6 proved pretty light on its feet, rotating fairly quickly.
The XT6 is built on a chassis shared with Buick Enclave, Chevrolet Traverse, and GMC Acadia. It rides on the Acadia’s short wheelbase version. But it is about 5-inches longer overall, and should still fit in most garages.
No 4-cylinder like the GMC. The base and the only XT6 engine is a familiar 3.6-liter V6. Its 310-horsepower and 271 lb-ft. of torque feels adequate, but pales in comparison to the 400 standard horses in rival Lincoln Aviator.
So, on a typically hot and humid mid-Atlantic summer test day, it was a little slow off the line, building power steadily for a 7.2-second 0-60. Shifts from the standard 9-speed automatic are buttery smooth; as we worked our way down the track for a 15.6-second ¼-mile at 90 miles-per-hour.
It’s truly a quite civilized trip down the strip. The suspension soaks up track imperfections with aplomb; with very little noise finding its way into the cabin.
A 120-foot average braking distance from 60 is on par for the segment; good pedal-feel and stability throughout.
As for hauling cargo, space behind the 3rd row is tight, at 12.6 cubic-ft; but expands effectively to a good 43.1 behind the 2nd row, and further to a max of 78.7, which is quite good. Shorter wheelbase keeps towing capacity to a max of 4,000-lbs.
Government Fuel Economy Ratings with all-wheel-drive are 17-City, 24-Highway, and 20-Combined. And that makes for a slightly below average Energy Impact Score of 16.5-barrels of yearly oil use and 7.4-tons of CO2 emissions.
Premium Luxury trim comes with front-wheel-drive as standard, starting at $53,690; all-wheel-drive will cost you another 2-grand. Sport trim includes AWD, and starts at $58,090. All very reasonable for this segment.
No doubt, Cadillac has escalated their crossover profile with the 2020 XT6 where every seat is the best seat in the house. It may not have the cache of the Escalade, or its presence; but it’s a much better family utility. And finally one Cadillac user experience we can get behind.
Engine: 3.6 liter
Torque: 271 lb-ft.
0-60 mph: 7.2 seconds
1/4 mile: 15.6 seconds @ 90 mph
EPA: 17 mpg city / 24 mpg highway
Energy Impact: 16.5 barrels of oil/yr
CO2 Emissions: 7.4 tons/yr