2020 Cadillac XT6 Sport offers space and style but without the extra expense of the Escalade.

2020 Cadillac XT6 Sport offers space and style but without the extra expense of the Escalade.

2021 Cadillac XT6: More room, more seating and an enjoyable first-class ride

A Cadillac with three rows of seats, but without the Escalade’s hefty size or price

As with all of General Motors’ vehicle divisions, Cadillac offers multiple types and sizes of utility vehicles along with a wide range of powertrains. The XT6 is the newest and is also one of the largest members of the group.

A rung down from the massive Escalade, the XT6 is the only other Cadillac that can seat more than five people. It might look like an XT5, but the XT6’s main party trick is seating seven souls across three rows of seats (or six people with the optional second-row bucket seats).

Before the XT6, the only way to get three rows of seats in Cadillac was to buy an Escalade, which is substantially more money. Or, go with the smaller XT5 and settle for two rows of seats. PHOTO: CADILLAC

Before the XT6, the only way to get three rows of seats in Cadillac was to buy an Escalade, which is substantially more money. Or, go with the smaller XT5 and settle for two rows of seats. PHOTO: CADILLAC

The two vehicles share platforms and come from the same Tennessee plant, along with the GMC Acadia. Although the distance between the front and rear wheels is identical for both, the XT6 is about 23 centimetres longer, 6cm wider and more than 7.5cm taller.

The front end is understated — just like the XT5’s — and the roofline slopes to a lesser degree. The liftgate is more vertical, which helps provide third-row riders a reasonable amount of headroom as well as anti-claustrophobia side glass. Similar to the third rows of competing models, in the XT6 adult-sized occupants sit close to the floor with their knees pointing upward.

The squared-off shape means 25-per-cent-greater cargo capacity than the XT5 has, with the rear rows folded forward. With the third-row bench in use, there’s not a great deal of stowage space to be had in the XT6.

The dash layout is similar to the XT5’s, including an electronic gear selector that takes some getting used to. PHOTO: CADILLAC

The dash layout is similar to the XT5’s, including an electronic gear selector that takes some getting used to. PHOTO: CADILLAC

Similarities between the two models carry through to the interior where the two dashboards differ only slightly. The XT6’s unconventional gear changer takes some getting used to since you toggle, rather than shift, your selections. Beside it, a rotary dial controls the various functions (i.e. infotainment, navigation, etc.) displayed on the eight-inch touch-screen.

The XT6 scores points for its supportive, yet cushy seats and a whisper-quiet interior that contributes to an enjoyable first-class ride.

For 2021, the XT6 adds a turbocharged 2.0-litre base engine that delivers 237 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. The formerly standard 3.6-litre V-6 with 310 horsepower and 271 pound-feet is now optional.

Base fuel economy is pegged at 11.2 l/100 km in the city, 9.0 on the highway and 10.2 combined.

According to Cadillac, the V-6-equipped XT6 hits 60 mph (96 km/h) from rest in 6.9 seconds (Cadillac has not provided times for the four-cylinder). That’s reasonably rapid for a vehicle weighing in the 2,000-kilogram range. The power is plentiful and comes on seamlessly.

The nine-speed automatic transmission — common to both engines — also reacts quickly and always seems to be in the right gear, no matter the speed or the throttle position.

Pricing for the XT6 starts at $59,900 (including destination charges) for the base Luxury trim level, which includes standard all-wheel-drive. It also comes with tri-zone climate control, leather upholstery, power liftgate, power-folding third-row seat, panoramic sunroof and an eight-speaker Bose-brand audio system, to name just some of the standard goodies.

All-wheel-drive is standard with either engine. The AWD version that comes with the Sport trim adds torque vectoring for more precise cornering. PHOTO: CADILLAC

All-wheel-drive is standard with either engine. The AWD version that comes with the Sport trim adds torque vectoring for more precise cornering. PHOTO: CADILLAC

The XT6 Sport adds a blacked-out grille and trim, carbon-fibre-look interior bits, heavy-duty cooling system and a dynamic (constantly adjusting) suspension. This feature allows all available torque to be directed to either outside wheel when turning (torque vectoring).

Options for the Luxury and Sport include automatic parking assist, trailer-hitch guidance (the XT6 has a 1,815-kilogram towing capacity), reverse automatic braking, head-up information display and an infrared night-vision camera that can detect and track otherwise unseen people or animals beyond headlight range.

For families with kids and/or for people requiring more cargo room, selecting the XT6 over the XT5 might be the smart play, especially when considering the extra cost and bulk of stepping up to the Escalade.

What you should know: 2021 Cadillac XT6

Type: Four-door, all-wheel-drive midsize utility vehicle

Engines (h.p.): 2.0-liter four-cylinder (237); 3.6-liter V-6 (310)

Transmission: Nine-speed automatic with manual-shift mode

Market position: The XT6 is one of a long list of premium midsize utility vehicles with three rows of seats plus an array of luxury and safety items. Before the XT6’s arrival, Cadillac buyers had to choose either the XT5 or the Escalade.

Points: Design is the epitome of understated elegance. • First-rate interior appointments. • Base turbocharged four-cylinder and optional V-6 deliver acceptable power but an XT6-V with a twin-turbo-V-6 would likely be a popular option. • This is the one to get if the size and expense of a Cadillac Escalade is not to your liking.

Active safety: Blind-spot warning with cross-traffic backup alert (std.); active cruise control (std.); emergency braking (std.); pedestrian detection (std.); lane-keeping assist with lane departure warning (std.)

L/100 km (city/hwy): 11.2/9.0 (2.0, FWD)

Base price (incl. destination): $59,900

BY COMPARISON

Audi Q7

  • Base price: $70,250
  • Well-priced model with AWD standard and an available 333-h.p. V-6.

Volvo XC90

  • Base price: $66,765
  • Seven-seat model uses turbo-I-4 engines with up to 400 h.p. AWD is standard.

Acura MDX

  • Base price: $58,500
  • New 2022 AWD model is well equipped. Type S trim uses a 355-h.p turbo V-6.

– written by Malcom Gunn, Managing Partner at Wheelbase Media

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