The all-new Cadillac XT6 has much in common with its GM platform-mates, though it lays on a thick dose of high-end materials and premium features for those who want the interior capacity but not the excessive-for-most hauling capability of the body-on-frame Escalade. This large crossover segment also happens to house some of the best from BMW, Mercedes, and Audi which, at the end of the day, feel like more cohesive designs and better worth the high price tag.
The new Cadillac XT6 receives premium features like LED exterior lighting, a leather-wrapped dash-panel and upper trim, semi-aniline leather-wrapped seats, and a Bose Performance Series 14-speaker stereo system that sounds impressive but also sounds and feels like it’s going to shake the panels off of the doors. The front seats are heated and ventilated while the driver’s gains 8-way power adjustability, however, seat comfort and support were lacking. A short seat cushion is in desperate need of an extension and the cushion’s recline angle needs are too limited for long drive comfort. The seats also lack supportive bolsters and there is no massage functionality available, unlike with its main competitors at this price-point.
The driver enjoys an 8-inch digital display between the analog speedometer and tachometer that displays an assortment of information, including the night-vision camera image which requires a second or two to interpret and is located far from the driver’s line-of-site – not included within the many head-up display configurations. It may be useful for some but its price of $2,000 was tough to swallow. The 8-inch touchscreen located in the middle of the dash for the infotainment system (and more) is easy to use and is quick to react to inputs. It also displays a 360-degree view of what’s happening outside, though the system refuses to turn on until stopped – making it near-useless when parking in a tight spot. There is a controller knob located on the center console but it feels unnecessary and unintuitive to use. Behind the knob is a slot which secures and charges your phone via the wireless charging pad.
Above, the headliner is wrapped in high-class microfiber and also incorporates a panoramic sunroof and LED interior lights. The exterior lights are LED as well, which enable thin characteristic shapes. The headlights lack adaptive control though a bright auxiliary light attempts to help with low-speed sharp turns, like into a driveway after dark. Remote engine start, rain-sensing wipers, a motorized third-row seatback, and a hands-free power tailgate lessen the burden on the driver.
The Cadillac XT6 is equipped with the full suite of driver assistance technology such as automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist and reverse automatic braking. A rearview camera mirror is especially advantageous as it minimizes many of the car’s blind spot areas and eliminates headlight glare, however, the curved shape of the rearview mirror trades added viewing area for style. The XT6 earns a Top Safety Pick rating from IIHS though it has not yet been rated by the government.
Styling and Size
The XT6 is a full-size crossover though it fits in the shadow of its corporate sibling, the body-on-frame Escalade. Its overall shape is limited by its chassis design while the interior also suffers the same fate. Excessive panel gaps, materials that look but don’t feel luxurious, and the head-scratching layout of certain buttons leave an unfinished and stale taste. The interior will immediately be outdated and out-classed by the upcoming Escalade.
Interior passenger space is unlikely to be an issue with 39.1 inches of second-row legroom and a generous 29.5 inches of legroom for third-row passengers.
The storage room is also good with up to 78.7 cubic feet available with all rows folded and 12.6 cubic feet behind the third row. The Escalade’s larger overall size yields more interior space though the load floor is much lower on the XT6.
Power and Efficiency
The new XT6 features the same “high-feature” V6 and 9-speed automatic transmission featured across the GM lineup and its a solid performer. There’s a healthy amount of power found throughout the rev-range and the 9-speed transmission is quick at shifting from one gear ratio to the next. Furthermore, the paddle shifters allow the driver to take control and also allow for easy downshifts – important when heading through the mountains.
The transmission’s shifter is easy enough to use, though it hardly feels ergonomic when pressing the right button and rocking the level to get out of the park while the small park button is also not in easiest to operate quickly.
The tightly spaced lower gears and powerful V6 put the all-wheel-drive system to the test and it does an excellent job of getting the power to the ground without fanfare. To demonstrate its effectiveness, Cadillac includes a Tour mode which disconnects the rear driveline for reduced load loss, and full-throttle from low speeds will cause wheel spin and torque-steer to wiggle at the wheel at just the slightest steering angle.
The XT6 achieves 17 mpg city, 24 highway, and 17 combined which is 3 mpg points better than the large 6.2-liter V8 Escalade – though hardly comparable from an engineering-purpose point-of-view other than the fact that they are large vehicles and can haul seven passengers. Maximum towing is limited to 4,000 lbs which is far short of the 7.700 lbs rating of the Audi Q7.
Ride and Handling
While handling is generally good, the ride needs further refinement. Small road imperfections are felt through the cabin without much sense of isolation and more moderate bumps cause the interior trim panels to noisily rub against each other. The effect is an experience that feels out of place in a vehicle with adaptive suspension and a $72k price tag. At highway speeds, the suspension is able to better work out the surface irregularities for a smooth ride.
With peace and love, the Cadillac XT6 doesn’t feel like an all-new model nor does it feel like a tempting value. It checks enough boxes to sit at the top of Cadillac’s crossover range, however, the constraints of an aging chassis led to too many compromises as well as questions of what could have been for Cadillac’s new premium crossover.