In the segment of luxury cars, crossover utility vehicles are the new standout in America, and Cadillac has attempted to remain relevant in such a space with new vehicles like the Escalade and XT6 for those who have the need for a 3-row luxury SUV. The latest Cadillac XT6 for the 2021 model year remains mostly the same with the exception of a couple changes, such as the addition of wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and a Luxury trim level below the Premium Luxury and Sport trims that sports a base-level 237 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque.
My test vehicle for the week is a loaded-up XT6 Sport AWD that checks all of the boxes for the vast list of options for the midsized luxury three-row crossover. The styling and overall stature of the new XT6 in the Sport trim looks classy yet exhibits a dash of sportiness through a large darkened grill up front and tinted LED taillights out back. The 20-inch wheels complete the look but don’t do much to impress on the sporty side – they are the most conservative-looking part of the XT6 Sport package.
Powering the Cadillac XT6 is a familiar engine in the form of a shared V6 engine within the GM family – their 3.6-liter direct-injection V6 that touts 310 horsepower and 271 lb-ft of torque. Power is directed through a smooth-shifting 9-speed automatic transmission that is somewhat slow with its shifts but proves to be consistent, and it limits unnecessary hunting for the proper gear. Having all-wheel-drive eliminates front wheel spin, as the XT6 is a front-wheel-drive based vehicle. 60 mph ticks off in about 6.8 seconds, which is decent but not up to par with some of its competition, such as the new Lincoln Aviator.
The fuel mileage is consistent but also doesn’t impress considering the horsepower rating of the XT6 – again, competition has done a little better. You will expect to get 18 mpg city, 25 mpg highway, and 21 mpg combined, which are the EPA estimates that I was able to nearly match during my drives, only falling 1 mpg short on the Interstate traveling 5 mph above the posted speed limit.
The Cadillac XT6 has been somewhat of a compromise in the view of many when you pit it against new competition, again – such as the new Lincoln Aviator. It just doesn’t have the polish of the Aviator, and the cargo room behind the third-row of seats is relatively small. Overall, the interior is up to the Luxury theme with a few sporty aspects through the carbon fiber-looking trim and several soft-touch areas with the expected stitching. Nothing really stands out to impress, but the XT6 doesn’t necessarily disappoint with its wide array of features that are found on my test vehicle, such as Night vision, rear camera mirror, and an exceptionally-smooth ride quality thanks to its nicely tuned adaptive dampers.
Cadillac’s quest to conquer in the luxury SUV and crossover segment is better suited for the XT4 and Escalade. I know that may sound strange mentioning the compact-sized XT4, but it offers a bit more “luxury” when you can add on features like massaging seats where the XT6 doesn’t offer such.
In all, the XT6 is a decent vehicle and would get a lot of praise from me if it were not for some of its competition, raising the bar well out of reach of the XT6. Where potential buyers of the XT6 may enjoy such a buy is in its pricing that slightly undercuts others in the same class where it starts at a base price of $48,000 and reaching as much as $72,165 for my fully-loaded XT6 Sport AWD test vehicle.