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An SUV with third-row seating is practically a must for families and makes up one of the hottest segments in the market. For Cadillac, that used to mean the only choice was the Escalade, the body-on-frame SUV derived from the Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban. However, for the past several years, Cadillac has also made the midsize XT6, which shares its platform with the Chevy Traverse, GMC Acadia, and Buick Enclave. 

The XT6 has some definite pros and cons compared to the Escalade. Although the unibody crossover doesn’t offer its bigger sibling’s towing capacity or off-road capability, it boasts a comfortable ride and a spacious interior — two pluses more important to many buyers. That’s why the XT6 is the best Cadillac of 2023, according to TrueCar.

Pros and cons of the 2023 Cadillac XT6

Best Cadillac: 2023 Cadillac XT6 vs. Escalade and Lyriq
2023 Cadillac XT6 | Cadillac

The 2023 Cadillac XT6’s key benefits are space, space, and more space. Riders like the spacious interior, which includes generous room for seven passengers. And unlike other three-row SUVs, the backseat is large enough for adults. Then there’s the cargo area, with almost 13 cubic feet of space behind the back row. That’s not a lot, but the number grows to over 43 cubic feet with the third row stowed and a cavernous 78.7 cubic feet with all rear seats folded flat.   

The downside to all of that space is modest performance and less-than-average fuel economy. The XT6 offers two engine choices — a standard 237-hp 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder and an optional 310-hp 3.6-liter V6. Both pair with front-wheel drive and a nine-speed automatic transmission, but all-wheel drive is available.

The base four-cylinder engine is acceptable for around-town driving but struggles when merging onto the highway. And when hauling cargo or passengers, the turbo-four sounds strained and coarse. However, its EPA-estimated fuel economy is an admirable 21 mpg in the city and 27 on the highway with FWD and premium gas. The V6 is a much better option but isn’t fast for the segment. And it trades quicker acceleration for fuel efficiency — 14/19 mpg city/highway. 

The 2023 Cadillac XT6 beat the Escalade and the Lyriq  

Despite its drawbacks, the Cadillac XT6 is a better option for most people than the Escalade,  TrueCar believes. The XT6 is smaller and less expensive while offering similar interior space. It also comes standard with front-wheel drive and gets better fuel economy. When nicely equipped, it has a similar level of features as the Escalate, including a premium audio system, heated front seats, and advanced driver assists such as automatic emergency braking and lane keeping.  

In addition, the XT6 has more room, more seating, and a lower base price than its five-passenger midsize electric sibling, the Lyriq. The XT6 starts at under $50,000, while the Lyriq’s base MSRP is $62,990. The two areas where the EV beats its stablemate are performance and the gotta-have-it factor of being the latest thing. Thanks to a 500-hp electric motor and rear-wheel drive, the Lyriq can reach 60 mph in just over five seconds. Plus, its interior and exterior styling looks positively space-age compared to the more family-oriented XT6.   

Should you consider the XT6?

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If you want to make a statement, the Escalade is your ride. Bold, powerful, and luxurious, it makes the XT6 look like a minivan. People considering a Cadillac want it to make a statement, which the Escalade and Lyriq do much better than the XT6. 

Also, if you’re looking for the most luxurious three-row crossover, the Lincoln Aviator, Acura MDX, and BMW X7 are better options. But the XT6 bests those rivals in interior space and pricing. 

The biggest problem with the 2023 Cadillac XT6 is it doesn’t offer anything more substantial than its corporate cousins, notably the GMC Acadia and Buick Enclave. Both offer a similar level of luxury for less money. And though the Acadia is slightly smaller, the Enclave provides the same room, features, and performance. In fact, U.S. News ranks the 2023 Enclave ninth on its list of over 20 midsize SUVs, while the XT6 finishes 19th.