You’ve got a boatload of great choices if you’re after a large luxury utility vehicle, and Cadillac’s new-for-2020 XT6 is among the best of these.
Like all of its competitors, XT6 has a unique blend of strengths and weaknesses that shoppers should consider when making a decision.
Every model in this ballgame has a secret sauce. In the Mercedes GLE, it’s the interior, which punches well above its weight. In the Acura MDX, it’s the brand’s gleaming reputation as a sensible choice for long-term ownership. In the BMW X5, it’s a long list of posh features and gadgets.
And from the Cadillac XT6?
The ride, and the drive.
More than just a comfy place to sit, this machine is a must-try for anyone wanting to be comfortably and confidently whisked through even their more uncomfortable motoring moments.
Let me explain.
I first met the XT6 after dark on a rainy evening after an exhausting work week. We’d immediately drive five hours home, mostly via dark and remote highways, in the pouring late-October rain.
Usually, this sort of drive wears me down a little, but the XT6 effectively kept me comfortable and engaged for its duration, quickly earning a spot as one of my favourites.
Huffing in my usual frustration at the onset of a long, bad-weather drive, I started by plugging in my phone. Immediately, Android Auto comes to life on screen: Spotify playing from where I left it, Google Maps up and running with my home address pre-loaded, and voice-command access to virtually anything — all without asking.
Now, just by asking, I can have the system read or mute incoming messages, tell me tomorrow’s agenda, find me some supper ideas, fire up my favourite playlist, read me the weather forecast or news, and plenty more. Put another way, within five seconds of starting the engine, anything or anyone you want to hear, know, note, or contact is a simple spoken command away.
Then, three button presses: auto, auto and auto. Now, the wipers, climate control, and high-beams never need a second thought.
Headlights, next. They’re bright, clean, focused, precise, and pump a lot of illumination far and wide up the road, and into nearby treelines and culverts. The performance is exemplary, reducing eye fatigue by eliminating the need to strain to see far-away detail. After five hours, my healthy 30-something eyeballs felt relaxed and at ease, not tired and sandy.
The ride and handling are expert-level. The XT6 is soft but not bouncy, comfortable but not lifeless, and often pitter-patters softly over the same sort of rough roads that stir noise and harshness from many a competitor — including the GLE and X5. Shoppers who commonly find luxury SUVs too stiff and sporty need to check this out.
And so, even pressing on through hours of pouring rain, you’re comfortable, confident, and highly-connected.
There’s room to spare if you’re bringing some additional humans along for the ride. There are three seating rows available but, with the rear row folded, you’ve got stretch-out space for four big adults, and a heap of cargo space for their luggage or shopping.
Some drivers will wish for more power. The 310-horsepower V6 driveline is smooth and refined, but you’ve got higher-performing options. Elsewhere, interior styling is clean and upscale, but not the segment’s most impressive or high-tech looking for the money.
My tester clocked in around $69,000 with a hearty list of optional equipment. All but the sportiest shoppers in this segment should have the XT6 on their test drive hit list, and ride-quality aficionados can consider it a priority test drive.
Model: 2020 Cadillac XT6
Engine: 3.6L V6, 310 horsepower
Transmission: nine-speed automatic
Features: Bose Performance Series Stereo, LED lighting, HUD, remote start, wireless charging, automatic wipers, climate-controlled seats, radar cruise, motorized tailgate, rear camera mirror system, around-view parking system
What’s hot: excellent ride, great driving feel, easy-to-use technology, top-notch headlights, silky-smooth power
What’s not: some drivers will wish for more power, interior styling not for everyone
As tested: $69,000