Building off the success of adding the XT4 to their SUV lineup, Cadillac launched the 3-row XT6 last year. Sitting between the best-selling XT5 and big daddy Escalade, Cadillac seeks to make the driver and each passenger comfortable and connected in more ways than one. We spent a week with the 2020 Cadillac XT6 AWD Sport to see if the new crossover can deliver a connected driving experience and a connected cabin.
Bold styling and crisp lines help the XT6 stand out from the bland three-row competition. Unfortunately, our tester’s Shadow Metallic grey paint doesn’t help highlight the sharp design. The Sport trim features additional styling queues, including a unique black grille and black window trim, unique front and rear fascias with Cadillac’s signature vertical running lights and clear taillight lenses, and visible exhaust outlets. Our tester also featured upgraded “performance” LED headlamps with three-element projectors instead of a mere two and larger 21″ alloy wheels.
Inside, the cabin is set up to comfortably seat 7 or eight depending on second row configuration. Quick seating configuration changes can be made easily with the power-folding third-row and remote fold-down of the second row. The Sport’s distinctive visuals carry through in here as well, with tinted carbon fiber trim in place of the usual wood. Our tester’s Platinum Package also added all the bells and whistles; a Bose 14-speaker sound system, Cadillac user experience infotainment with navigation, an air ionizer, automatic heated/ventilated seats, heated steering wheel and heated rear seats. But Cadillac know that creature comforts need to extend into the digital realm in our connected world. Android Auto and Apple Car Play are standard, and the driver’s phone stay’s charged on the second-gen 15-watt wireless charging pad. Each row also gets two USB ports and 4G LTE wireless hotspot means every device can stay connected.
Unlike some three-row sport utility vehicles, Cadillac attempts puts some Sport into the XT6, but not exactly how you’d expect. The XT6 is only available with a 310hp 3.6L V6 paired with a 9-speed automatic transmission. But the Sport trim’s standard AWD uses a twin-clutch design that allows for active yaw control. The Sport also features unique suspension tuning with Continuous Damping Control and a quicker steering ratio with more feedback. This means the XT6 AWD Sport can handle with surprising deftness. While 310hp doesn’t seem like much on paper, it does manage to move the XT6 adequately as long as fuel economy isn’t at the top of your mind. While the V6’s active fuel management technology can allow it to operate as a V4, we almost never saw the driver’s display report anything but full V6 operation.
No matter how connected the occupants feel to the digital world or how connected the driver feels to the road, there is a problem with the XT6. Cadillac bills the XT6 as a luxury SUV, and with an as-tested price of nearly $70,000 our tester requires a luxury SUV budget to afford. And whether you’re evaluating the interior materials or the drivetrain, the XT6 just doesn’t live up to its price tag. We’d like to have some more torque from either turbocharging or hybrid assist to pep up the Cadillac’s pull off the line. And while the Escalade certainly offers top-shelf cabin experience, the XT6 falls short of the competition. Spend some time in an Audi Q7 or Volvo XC90 to see how a true luxury cabin can be trimmed.
The Cadillac XT6 AWD Sport sits in an awkward position. While the cabin meets the needs of a growing family and the helm offers a surprising command of the road, it feels almost $20k over-priced. First impressions always started immensely positive. We even had a hard time believing a three-row crossover could handle so adeptly. But all it took was one review of the monroney for opinions to change.
|2020 Cadillac XT6 AWD Sport||$57,095|
|Enhanced Visibility and Technology Package||$2,350|
|Driver Assist Package||$1,300|
|Comfort and Air Quality Package||$750|
|21″ 12-Split Spoke alloy wheels with Diamond Cut/Android Finish||$1,000|
|Premium Headlamp System||$700|
|Cadillac user experience with navigation||$1,000|
|Rear cargo area shade||$75|
|As Tested Price||$69,590|