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FALLING BEHIND: 2021 CADILLAC XT6

It has been a couple of years since we had some seat time behind the wheel of Cadillac’s family oriented XT6, which was one of the last few luxury branded crossovers to hit the market that offered a third-row.  Since its launch in 2020, a lot has changed in the industry that has brought in some freshened faces and even some new models amongst its competitors. The question lies, does the XT6 still stack up being that it’s just a couple years old.

Looking at what changed for the model, we see that there are not a whole lot of differences between the 2020 model we tested and this 2022 Premium Luxury example we had now. Most of the changes that take place occur on the top trim Sport, starting at $59,490 with upgraded red-caliper Brembo Brakes and new 21-inch multi-spoke rims which come as a $1200 optional upgrade.

New to the scene a couple of years ago, the XT6 had quite the uphill battle from the start. Since then, new models like the BMW X7, Lincoln Aviator, Genesis GV80 and Acura MDX have come into the picture, overshadowing the XT6’s likability.  However, with our subject coming in just over $70,000, we start to look beyond its likable characteristics and more into how it serves as a premium competitor.

There is a certain level of expectations we start to look for a premium product, just because the leather is soft, the seats are comfortable and has a gutsy V-6 under the hood, doesn’t mean it’s necessarily premium. The 3.6-liter V-6 for example is a hardy engine – it’s the same engine we’ll find in the Chevrolet Traverse, Buick Enclave and GMC Arcadia – its 310-horsepower power plant suites the weight of the vehicle and moves it with hast with 60-mph taking roughly 6.5-seconds of our time. Yet, connected to a 9-speed automatic, the engine and transmission feels less refine compared to the 3.5-liter twin-turbo found in a Genesis GV80.  The transmission has some jerking moments at low speed and the engines gives off an all bark and no bite sensation.

All but the Sport trim have the option of front-wheel or all-wheel drive for a mere $2000 more – it comes standard on the Sport. Unlike most brands however, the all-wheel drive system has to be manually engaged, otherwise its front-wheel drive all the time. So don’t forget to hit the button during those rainy/snowy days. Left to its standard Tour drive mode, the front-wheel drive struggles to handle 271lb-ft of torque from a hard acceleration with noticeable torque steer. On the road, the ride comfort isn’t as smooth as we expected from Cadillac either – and we can’t put too much blame on the 20-inch wheels it comes standard with as there is still plenty of rubber to absorb the harsh impacts.

Fitted to be a 7-passenger crossover, the option for second row captain’s chairs will cost an extra $800. Access to the third row may not be as aesthetically pleasing for a full-size adult as it does take some twisting – third row comfort is adequate for a crossover of its size but not for long as the seats are low to the ground like sitting in a toddler’s lounge chair.  

Despite starting at $51,790 for the Luxury trim and $56,190 for our Premium Luxury subject, some of the interior components didn’t feel up to today’s standard in terms of premium quality. The dashboard for instance consisted of some hard plastic verses being wrapped in leather. And even though Apple CarPlay and Android Auto is fitted to the high-definition infotainment display – Navigation is a $1000 option. We will however find all the latest safety hardware standardly equipped such as blind spot monitoring, forward collision alert with emergency braking, lane departure warning with lane keep assist and rear-cross traffic and pedestrian detection with emergency alert and braking.

Should someone want a Cadillac with three-rows but don’t want to spend Escalade money, the XT6 will have you covered. But when compared to the vast competition it faces against, the XT6 is falling behind the times and needs to catch up, quick. 

VEHICLE SPECIFICATIONS

Vehicle: 2021 Cadillac XT6 Premium Luxury
Base Price: $56,190
As-Tested Price: $70,340

PERFORMANCE SPECIFICATIONS

Engine: 3.6-liter V-6
Horsepower | Torque: 310-Horsepower | 271 lb-ft of Torque
Transmission: 9-Speed Automatic
Drivetrain: All-Wheel Drive
MPG: 18 | 25| 21 (City | Highway | Combined)
As-Tested MPG: 17.9-MPG Combined
Fuel Range: 385 miles
0-60 MPH: ±6.5-seconds

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