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Test Drive column: All-new 2020 Cadillac XT6 AWD

Greg Zyla
More Content Now
Herald-Journal

Entry price: $52,695

Price as tested: $63,810

This week we drive the all-new 2020 Cadillac XT6, the largest of the three new “XT” Cadillac SUVs and the only one that features three rows of seating. Our tester arrived in mid level AWD Premium Luxury trim that starts at $55,690.

To better explain Cadillac’s new XT family, it includes the small X4 Crossover/SUV, Compact X5 and Midsize X6. All are front-wheel drive platform Cadillacs unless you opt for the AWD model that adds additional traction to the rear wheels via a dual clutch 4x4 unit. With XT4 and XT5 utilizing a similar yet very impressive front end styling, the XT6 features a more chiseled, straight up front end design that gives it a dignified look.

These smaller Cadillac SUVs join flagship full size Escalade (116-inch wheelbase) and stretched Escalade ESV (130-inch wheelbase), which are the ultra-prominent, beyond full size members with 420 horse V8 power under the hood. As for sibling wheelbase comparisons the XT4 is 109.4 inches while the XT5 is 112.5 inches, a mere two tenths of an inch less than the XT6.

XT6 offers decent room in that third row seat for medium to smaller passengers although it’s a bit snug for 6-footers and up. On the plus side, no other third row SUV in this class offers more headroom than the X6, a noted advantage, and the ultra view power sunroof reaches all the way back to the third row passengers.

The Cadillac XT4 and XT5 offer three trims, specifically Luxury, Premium Luxury and Sport while the XT6 is available only in two trims, notably Premium Luxury and Sport, the latter the most expensive of the trim lines. As we mentioned in our review of the XT4 a few months back, Sport trim Cadillacs are now the top line models in both Cadillac SUV and sedan offerings. This major trim turnaround is to better compete with the European luxury sport models ala Jaguar, Range Rover, Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Audi, Porsche and even Maserati and Alfa Romeo, all of which offer performance SUV models. Most notable are the modern day sport luxury V-Line Cadillac cars that utilize powerful V8s and most recently twin turbo V6s that are prized possessions of Cadillac enthusiasts.

However, there’s no V-line yet in the midsize Cadillac SUVs, although I’m hoping to see a V-line V6 twin-turbo make an XT6 appearance in the future.

The 2020 XT6 is indeed an all new, great looking midsize SUV that comes with a host of standard luxury features, from most every high tech driver assist safety items to a beautifully stitched leather interior that screams Cadillac opulence.

Power comes from the 310-horsepower 3.6-liter V6 that is the only engine available, which to me is XT6’s only Achilles heel. The XT5 offers two engines, including a turbocharged inline-4 which happens to be the only engine available in the XT4, or the identical V6 that powers the XT6. Torque is good at 271 lb. ft. while the 9-speed automatic shifts effortlessly with a manual mode shift gate available. By this point some readers have figured out that the XT5 Cadillac is the only trim that gives the consumer a choice of engines.

Which brings us to the big question thus far: Is the XT5 a better buy than both the X4 and X6 based on engine choices and the fact that the XT6 is only two tenths of an inch longer in wheelbase than the XT5? As for price, the XT4 starts at $35,695, the XT5 at $44,095 while the XT6 starts at $52,695. With this in mind, I’d test drive all three and then make a choice.

Underneath, a MacPherson strut front setup couples with a multi-link rear suspension making for a very smooth yet snug driving experience. The standard 20-inch Michelin tires assist in cornering grip and highway cruising and the optional polished alloy wheels for $2,095 more really enhance XT6s looks. It’s a very expensive, nonessential upgrade, but a Cadillac with spoke chrome style polished alloys is to me a Cadillac necessity. Still, at more than $2,000, I understand some reluctance.

Fuel mileage is acceptable at 17 city 24 highway, and the XT6 has already been awarded the Insurance Institute Highway Safety award for all vehicles built since 2019. Notable is that the XT6 can be ordered without the third row if desired and as for major differences between the Premium Luxury and Sport trims, it’s all cosmetic and not a performance enrichment.

Instead of listing over 75 standard amenities and safety items (we just don’t have the space), we’ll list the options on our X6 that help make it the special vehicle it is. First is a $2,300 Advanced Visibility and Tech package that adds a rear-camera mirror with washer, 8-inch color gauge cluster, automatic parking assist with braking, rear pedestrian alert, HD surround vision, and a surround vision recorder. Next is a $1,300 Driver Assist auto seat belt tightening, adaptive smart cruise, advanced automatic emergency braking and reverse automatic braking. Then for $1,000 more, the Cadillac User Experience adds embedded navigation and a great sounding Bose Performance Series 14-speaker upgrade that replaces the 8-speaker standard Bose surround stereo. For $750, an air quality package features heated rear outboard seats, air ionizer and ventilated front seating. The last option is a Manhattan Noir Metallic paint for an additional $625 that when combined with $995 delivery, the final retail comes in at $63,810. (Check with your Cadillac dealer for current incentives on both lease and buy programs).

Important numbers include a wheelbase of 112.7 inches, 4,644 lb. curb weight, from 12.6 to 78.7 cu. ft. of cargo space, and a 22 gallon fuel tank.

In summary, the 2020 XT6 Premium Luxury is indeed a special Cadillac SUV, yet it’s only lack is a more powerful engine option, especially considering even an Alfa Romeo Stelvio offers a Ferrari inspired 505 horses. If you’re not interested in higher horsepower, then the Cadillac XT family is sure to be a popular consumer choice both domestically and overseas.

Still, I predict you’ll see a 400-plus horsepower XT6-V line soon.

Likes: Great all-new looks, standard luxury/safety features, third row, outstanding interior.

Dislikes: Can’t compete with Europeans as a 310 horse V6 won’t cut it in this price category, Sport trim not performance oriented, nothing else.

Greg Zyla writes weekly for More Content Now and Gannett Co. Inc. Contact him at greg@gregzyla.com or at 303 Roosevelt St., Sayre, PA 18840.