By Shari Prymak
Cadillac has certainly experienced its fair share of struggles trying to reinvent itself time and again. The luxury arm of General Motors has managed to produce a few rather memorable models, including the insanely powerful CTS-V super sedan and the short-lived CT6 luxury flagship. Unfortunately, most attempts have been met with an apathetic response from consumers. Although luxury sedans such as CT4 and CT5 remain a part of the lineup, Cadillac has shifted its focus towards crossovers and SUVs. The XT6 represents the brand’s three-row offering, designed to compete with luxury crossovers such as the Volvo XC90, Lincoln Aviator, and Acura MDX.
The XT6 is positioned on the top end of Cadillac’s expanding crossover lineup, right above the smaller two-row XT5 and XT4 models. Its design mimics that of the iconic Escalade with sleek slender headlights and a prominent front grill. It is an attractive design befitting of a luxury SUV, but it doesn’t exactly break new ground or make a strong effort to stand out. The boxy dimensions at least provide a generous amount of interior space with adequate room for adults in all three rows. Although the cargo area is quite small, the second and third rows can easily fold using buttons located near the second row seats and cargo area. Six USB ports are available so occupants of all three rows should have no problem connecting their devices.
The interior of the XT6 appears luxurious enough, but there are a few cheap-feeling reminders that Cadillac doesn’t quite sweat the details like other luxury brands. A down market Toyota Highlander Platinum or Mazda CX-9 Signature offers a comparable interior atmosphere. The advantages here over its luxury rivals are a relatively easy-to-use infotainment system and control setup. Although the screen itself looks small at 8 inches, the interface is straightforward and offers Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity. The centre console has redundant controls for those who prefer not to use the touchscreen. The instrument cluster offers a full digital display with some customizability. One unique option here is the night vision camera which helps illuminate pedestrians when driving at night.
The XT6 feels appropriately refined and luxurious with a comfortable ride and decent body control. The HD camera systems make reversing and maneuvering a breeze with plenty of active safety tech to help keep you out of trouble. The drivetrain consists of a naturally-aspirated 3.6L V6 engine matched to a 9-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive. It offers an adequate amount of power with a towing capacity of 1,800kg. Rated at 13.5L/100km in the city and 9.7L/100km on the highway, fuel economy is about average for the class. Unlike most luxury vehicles, however, the XT6 is capable of running on regular fuel.
The XT6 would be a solid option if it were priced aggressively relative to its competition. Unfortunately, Cadillac’s pricing structure seems rather ambitious for what’s offered. The starting MSRP of $61,098 seems reasonable, but adding desirable options including various active safety features, camera systems, and cosmetic upgrades can inflate the price tag north of $80,000. That’s simply too much to ask when mainstream three-row crossovers bordering on luxury can be had for $25,000 less. At least Cadillac includes a few perks such as a free maintenance program for the duration of the 4 year 80,000km comprehensive warranty period. At 6 years or 110,000km, it also has the longest powertrain warranty in the luxury segment.
The XT6 offers up a handsome design, spacious interior, and plenty of well-crafted features in a well-rounded package. It isn’t quite enough, however, to offset its hefty pricing when there are plenty of attractive alternatives available for far less. Unless Cadillac ups its luxury game or puts the right purchase incentives in place, the XT6 is a bit of a tough sell against its luxury rivals such as the Acura MDX or Lexus RX 350L. For those won over by the Cadillac image and willing to pay the premium, the XT6 is worthy of consideration. For the rest, competing crossovers just have a bit more to offer.