Crossover & Midsize

The New Cadillac XT6 Really Stumbled Out of the Gate

When the Cadillac XT6 launched, it was an intended competitor for the Lincoln Aviator and other European luxury SUVs. It featured the same underpinnings as the Cadillac XT5, which is smaller, and the GMC Acadia. It had everything it needed to be a success in the segment from its generous interior space with three-row seating to a  stylish exterior and loads of tech.

So what happened to the 2020 Cadillac XT6? How did it fall short of expectations?

Consumer Reports weighs in

The team at Consumer Reports reviewed the all-new midsize luxury SUV. They got a Premium Luxury AWD model for their testing. They found the SUV to be an elegant, comfortable ride for road trips and commuting. They just didn’t feel it stood out from its crowded segment enough to be remotely memorable.

They found the XT6’s exterior to be modest with a boxy form and large windows that lend themselves well to good visibility. There are distinct Cadillac styling cues and a front end inspired by the concept for the Cadillac Escalade. The signature lighting elements of the brand are used.

On the inside, the tech blends in well with the cabin with easy to find and use controls. Aside from the touchscreen in the center, the dashboard is minimalist. There are controls for the climate system beneath the touchscreen with a rotary style controller between the front seats that allow the driver to make selections on the screen.

The XT6 offers great standard safety features like blind-spot warning, lane-departure warning, and low-speed auto emergency braking that includes detection for pedestrians.

The second and third rows get USB charging ports. There’s climate control for the second row. There’s not a lot of legroom but enough for head and shoulders in the back. There’s not a lot of road and wind noise in the cabin.  

In the road test, the CR team found the new Cadillac XT6 handles like a smaller vehicle without the lean usually experienced in such vehicles going into turns. The ride is smooth over several different road types. It gets good power from the 3.6-liter V6 engine that’s paired with a nine-speed automatic transmission. They discovered that it doesn’t lurch in as some vehicles do in stop and go traffic.

Where it fell short

While you can’t hear a lot of the wind and road noise in the interior, the team heard the engine, particularly during acceleration. They found that the unchecked noise could give the idea that the XT6 was having a hard time accelerating, which isn’t the case. They thought a little extra sound dampening could give the SUV a more upscale experience.

They paid extra to get all-wheel drive for their test vehicle as it comes with front-wheel drive standard. 

They found some seating issues. The driver’s seat, regardless of how it’s adjusted, was uncomfortable for many; its lumbar adjustment doesn’t move up and down at all. There was also an issue with the curve of the rear door that made access to the third row of seats tricky. The second row’s lack of legroom presented problems for some test participants.

The other problems found were pretty minor. The exterior doors won’t unlock without pushing the button on the handle, and there’s no one-touch up feature for the windows in the back either. Commonly used controls on the steering wheel are hard to reach while some of the dashboard displays are hard to read around the wheel.

The team’s biggest complaint was the price. They felt the 2020 Cadillac XT6 lacked the refinements of its peers, many of which cost less. For the price, they didn’t feel the XT6 offered anything new or stood out in any way despite its assets.

And then there’s the predicted reliability rating

Consumer Reports gave the 2020 Cadillac XT6 a one out of five predicted reliability rating. They pointed out that the XT6 shared its underpinnings with GMC’s Acadia and its powertrain with the Buick Enclave and the Chevrolet Traverse. In the past, CR has approved of the handling and value of those vehicles, but they all have lower reliability ratings. The team wonders over time how the XT6 will do as far as reliability for its customers.

With a hefty price tag, mainstream parts, a front-wheel-drive platform, and questionable reliability, the new Cadillac XT6 doesn’t have what it takes to make a splash in the midsize luxury SUV segment.