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2020 Cadillac XT6

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$52,695 — $57,095 MSRP
2
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SUV
6-7 Seats
20 MPG
(Combined)
Key specs of the base trim
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2020 Cadillac XT6 Review

from the Cars.com expert editorial team

By Fred Meier

Cadillac is in the midst of a product rollout to fill holes in its lineup that lagged the market shift to SUVs, having just added the XT4 small utility for 2019. The latest addition is the 2020 XT6 that fills a big gap below the super-sized (and super-priced) Escalade.

Related: 2020 Cadillac XT5 Adds More Standard Tech, New Base Engine

Like the GMC Acadia with which it shares its DNA, the new mid-size XT6 is a “tweener” with a modest third row rather than a full-on three-row model, leaving a gap in the lineup with the full-size, truck-based Escalade and its even more capacious ESV stretch variant. And there is an even bigger gap in price, with the ‘Slade starting more than $20,000 higher.

The XT6 seats seven with a second-row bench or six with optional captain’s chairs and is offered in just two trim levels: Premium Luxury with a bit more bling and a Sport version with black trimmings and some added performance bits. The two reflect Cadillac’s current “Y strategy” for trim levels that diverge into a luxury track or a sportier track. Both XT6 variants offer a Platinum package with additional upscale trimmings, as well as additional tech and feature packages, but the choices still remain relatively simple compared with European brands’ a la carte menus.

I drove both trim levels — each with additional packages — on Washington, D.C., streets and in the Virginia foothills at a Cadillac drive event. (Per our ethics policy, Cars.com pays for its own lodging and travel for such automak...

Cadillac is in the midst of a product rollout to fill holes in its lineup that lagged the market shift to SUVs, having just added the XT4 small utility for 2019. The latest addition is the 2020 XT6 that fills a big gap below the super-sized (and super-priced) Escalade.

Related: 2020 Cadillac XT5 Adds More Standard Tech, New Base Engine

Like the GMC Acadia with which it shares its DNA, the new mid-size XT6 is a “tweener” with a modest third row rather than a full-on three-row model, leaving a gap in the lineup with the full-size, truck-based Escalade and its even more capacious ESV stretch variant. And there is an even bigger gap in price, with the ‘Slade starting more than $20,000 higher.

The XT6 seats seven with a second-row bench or six with optional captain’s chairs and is offered in just two trim levels: Premium Luxury with a bit more bling and a Sport version with black trimmings and some added performance bits. The two reflect Cadillac’s current “Y strategy” for trim levels that diverge into a luxury track or a sportier track. Both XT6 variants offer a Platinum package with additional upscale trimmings, as well as additional tech and feature packages, but the choices still remain relatively simple compared with European brands’ a la carte menus.

I drove both trim levels — each with additional packages — on Washington, D.C., streets and in the Virginia foothills at a Cadillac drive event. (Per our ethics policy, Cars.com pays for its own lodging and travel for such automaker-sponsored events.) The event also included a preview of the refreshed 2020 XT5, Cadillac’s global best-seller and its contestant in the red-hot luxury compact SUV market.

A day in the new XT6, which is on sale now, revealed it to be a capable and comfortable SUV without glaring faults, but also one that doesn’t raise the bar for the breed with the kind of surprises or additional variants — or “presence” — that rival Lincoln brought to the SUV party with the new Aviator. Other premium rivals, by size and price, include the Acura MDX and Audi Q7.

How It Drives

The standard (and only) power is GM’s ubiquitous 310-horsepower V-6 that puts out 271 pounds-feet of torque, mated to a nine-speed automatic transmission and front- or all-wheel drive. The competent V-6 is up to the job, with strong power delivery and adequate, if not flashy, acceleration, both off-the-line and in mid-range passing or on-ramps. The transmission is well-behaved, with smooth shifts and willing downshifts, and the tuning is well-matched with the V-6 in this SUV. It does seem a little noisy when pushed, not intruding on the quiet cabin but sounding a little coarser than I expected in a luxury SUV. The automatic engine stop-start is very smooth and no doubt helps with the XT6’s EPA-estimated 20 mpg combined, but it also comes with an off switch.

The XT6 is no sports sedan, but its driving manners are more carlike and agile than its size would lead you to expect. It’s a fairly big SUV but feels smaller, with modest lean in corners and controlled body motion. That is especially true with the Sport trim level, which includes an adaptive suspension (optional on the Premium Luxury), as well as a quicker steering ratio and sportier transmission tuning. A bonus with the adaptive suspension is noticeably better ride quality both on city streets and on the highway. The standard suspension also had a smooth ride but seemed busier and bumpier by comparison.

The Sport also gets its own torque-vectoring all-wheel-drive system with an electronically controlled dual-clutch rear differential that can shift torque side to side. It provided improved cornering and understeer, and added a feel of rear bias.

The variable steering was light enough for parking lots but firmed up nicely at speed, and it was precise though without much road feedback. Braking was strong and pedal feel was linear.

On balance, the XT6 is well-behaved and comfortable, though also unexceptional, and its overall appeal would benefit from a more exciting power option. The tow rating is a relatively modest 4,000 pounds, but if your needs are more substantial or you tow a lot, the Escalade is Cadillac’s better choice.

Does It Say Luxury

Whether the vehicle says luxury tends to matter to luxury buyers. Comparisons to the Lincoln Aviator are inevitable, and in both exterior and interior design, the XT6 simply has a less luxurious presence. It also offers no high-end upgrades, such as a fancy Black Label trim level or the coming 400-plus-horsepower hybrid Aviator. The front end has some of the edgier look of Cadillac’s Escala concept, but the XT-6’s sedate look overall is the least edgy in the Cadillac lineup. Inside, the materials and trim are high-quality and authentic, with real wood veneers or carbon fiber, but the look is similarly generic next to the high-style Aviator and much of the European competition, not to mention the in-house XT4 and XT5. If you’re looking at it next to an Acura MDX, it’s more than competitive (at least until a new-generation MDX rolls out), but that would hardly seem to be Cadillac’s — or an XT6 buyer’s — highest aspiration.

The XT6 also has some luxury detail lapses, such as windows that are one-touch-down all around, but aren’t one-touch-up for the rear doors. Also, a configurable instrument cluster is an option even though this feature is standard in many lesser vehicles now. And where are the surprise-and-delight options such as fancy massaging seats, cabin aromatherapy or fancy display graphics? A small slice of people might take these options, just as few will opt for others’ over-the-top trim levels with nosebleed prices, but they do have a halo effect on the whole line.

Well-Equipped, Including Safety Tech

Still, the XT6 in either trim level comes with an impressive array of standard equipment, from a power panoramic moonroof, a power-folding third row, a heated steering wheel and front seats, tri-zone climate control, a power tilt-and-telescope steering wheel, a hands-free power liftgate, LED front and rear lighting, eight-speaker Bose audio, wireless phone charging and both USB-A and newer USB-C ports for the first two rows and a pair of USB-C ports for the third row. It also gets Cadillac’s latest-generation media system with a knob-and-button “joystick” controller on the center console along with the touchscreen.

Also standard, and important for such an SUV, is more than adequate interior storage, including ample bins in front, a pull-out storage drawer for the second-row seat and removable underfloor storage in the cargo area that also stores the cargo cover.

More important, the XT6 has a load of standard safety and driver assistance tech (as many GM products do not) that includes a low-speed (up to 50 mph) front collision prevention system with automatic braking and pedestrian detection, front and rear parking sensors, a blind spot monitor with rear cross-traffic alert, auto-dimming inside and outside mirrors, lane departure warning, lane keeping assist, automatic high beams and cornering lamps. Available option packages add adaptive cruise control, a higher-speed front collision system, rear automatic braking and pedestrian alert, a video rearview mirror, a very capable 360-degree camera system, head-up display, an automatic parking system and a slick infrared night vision system that displays on the dash and alerts to upcoming hazards.

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Good Enough

The XT6 puts Cadillac on the board in the three-row competition but seems like more of an effort to fill the slot quickly and be good enough. It is a much nicer Acadia. It is very competitive on price and features, starting at $53,690 including destination, with the entry prices for similar-size rival SUVs including the MDX, Aviator and Q7. And while the latter two offer more variety in features and powertrains, they also can climb to near an Escalade’s price if you check all the boxes. Compare rival prices and features here and get more information on XT6 pricing here. The XT6 was enjoyable and comfortable to drive but also unremarkable, and it feels a little like a placeholder. It looks like we’ll have to wait for a next-generation XT6 to see if Cadillac can break out with something truly distinctive in a three-row SUV.

Cars.com’s Editorial department is your source for automotive news and reviews. In line with Cars.com’s long-standing ethics policy, editors and reviewers don’t accept gifts or free trips from automakers. The Editorial department is independent of Cars.com’s advertising, sales and sponsored content departments.

Consumer Reviews

What drivers are saying

5.0
6 reviews — Read All reviews
Exterior Styling
(5.0)
Performance
(5.0)
Interior Design
(5.0)
Comfort
(5.0)
Reliability
(5.0)
Value For The Money
(5.0)
(5.0)

This car is so amazing!

by The Thelen's from Vacaville, CA on November 11, 2019

This car has everything that could possibly be out there currently! It can park itself...whoa! And safety features galore. Got the Sport edition with the beefy black mesh front end and it looks pretty... Read full review

(5.0)

Smooth ride

by Bthiara from Yuba City, Ca on November 7, 2019

My wife and I Originally went to the Roseville Automall to purchase the Lincoln Aviators. Let’s just say I had a horrible experience at the Ford dealership but still had the opportunity to test drive ... Read full review

Safety

Recalls and crash tests

Recalls

The 2020 Cadillac XT6 currently has 0 recalls


Crash and Rollover Test Ratings

The 2020 Cadillac XT6 has not been tested.

Warranty

New car and certified pre-owned programs by Cadillac

New Car Program Benefits

  • Bumper-to-Bumper

    48 months / 50,000 miles

  • Powertrain

    72 months / 70,000 miles

  • Roadside Assistance

    72 months / 70,000 miles

Certified Pre-Owned Program Benefits

  • Maximum Age/Mileage

    Less than 50,000 miles

  • Basic Warranty Terms

    4 year, 50,000 miles bumper-to-bumper

  • Powertrain

    6 years/100,000 miles (2012-2017 models)

  • Dealer Certification Required

    172-point inspection

  • Roadside Assistance

    Yes

  • View All CPO Program Details

Latest 2020 XT6 Stories

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Cars.com Car Seat Check

Certified child passenger safety technicians conduct hands-on tests of a car’s Latch system and check the vehicle’s ability to accommodate different types of car seats. The XT6 received the following grades on a scale of A-F.*
* This score may not apply to all trims, especially for vehicles with multiple body styles that affect the space and design of the seating.

Warranty FAQs

What is a Bumper-to-Bumper warranty?

Often called a basic warranty or new-vehicle warranty, a bumper-to-bumper policy covers components like air conditioning, audio systems, vehicle sensors, fuel systems and major electrical components. Most policies exclude regular maintenance like fluid top offs and oil changes, but a few brands have separate free-maintenance provisions, and those that do offer them is slowly rising. Bumper-to-bumper warranties typically expire faster than powertrain warranties.

What is a Powertrain warranty?

Don't be misled a 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty doesn't promise a decade of free repairs for your car. It typically covers just the engine and transmission, along with any other moving parts that lead to the wheels, like the driveshaft and constant velocity joints. Some automakers also bundle seat belts and airbags into their powertrain warranties. With a few exceptions, powertrain warranties don't cover regular maintenance like engine tuneups and tire rotations.

What is included in Roadside Assistance?

Some automakers include roadside assistance with their bumper-to-bumper or powertrain warranties, while others have separate policies. These programs cover anything from flat-tire changes and locksmith services to jump-starts and towing. Few reimburse incidental costs like motel rooms (if you have to wait for repairs).

What other services could be included in a warranty?

Some automakers include free scheduled maintenance for items such as oil changes, air filters and tire rotations. Some include consumables including brake pads and windshield wipers; others do not. They are typically for the first couple of years of ownership of a new car.

What does CPO mean?

A certified pre-owned or CPO car has been inspected to meet minimum quality standards and typically includes some type of warranty. While dealers and third parties certify cars, the gold standard is an automaker-certified vehicle that provides a factory-backed warranty, often extending the original coverage. Vehicles must be in excellent condition and have low miles and wear to be certified, which is why off-lease vehicles feed many CPO programs.

See also the latest CPO incentives by automaker

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