Our Doug DeMuro has done much ranting about how Cadillac needs to go back in time and invest much more heavily in SUVs, so I don’t think that’s a topic we need to spend a lot of time revisiting. Obviously, Cadillac got caught with its pants down on the luxury crossover craze, but now it’s finally playing catch up and fleshing out a bigger portfolio of crossovers (XT4, XT5). Better late than never, right?
The newest addition to this growing crossover family is the midsize, 3-row Cadillac XT6. It’s the first 3-row Cadillac crossover since the first-gen SRX shrunk a size a decade ago, and it has seating for six or seven depending on how you option it. It’s big, it’s packaged nicely and it should have pretty good ride quality at a competitive price — but I think the XT6 is, quite simply, too little, too late.
We already talked a little bit about how it’s too late. Where was this thing 10 years ago? Instead of making the SRX smaller with fewer seats, why not just split it into two crossovers: a 2-row and a 3-row? They even could have done what Lexus is doing now with the RX and the RXL, just different wheelbases and seat counts for the same basic vehicle.
But enough about how this SUV should have been around a long time ago. I think now that it’s finally here, it has missed the mark. For starters, I think it looks very plain, probably the most sedate looking vehicle in the whole Cadillac line up. I was optimistic that the XT6 would bring an edgy look to a generally stodgy segment.
I had high hopes because of how cool the current-gen Escalade still looks, and I think they got the aesthetics right on the smaller XT4 that came out last year, too. Frankly, you could take the badges off of the XT6 and I’m not sure I’d be able to tell you who makes it — except maybe by the somewhat distinct tail lights. Even non-luxury crossovers like the Mazda CX-9, the Kia Telluride and the Hyundai Palisade have a more dramatic look.
There’s also nothing super special about the drivetrain. Take a guess at what’s under the hood. Yes, that’s right: a naturally-aspirated 3.6-liter V6 linked to a 9-speed automatic transmission with either front- or all-wheel drive. No, it’s not a bad engine, but there’s also nothing interesting about it. And I’m not saying it must have some cutting edge engine, like Cadillac’s new Blackwing V8 (although that would be most welcome) — but for that to be the only engine option doesn’t do this crossover any favors. I’m surprised there’s no plug-in hybrid versions like the Volvo XC90 and the Lincoln Aviator. AND, the XT6 doesn’t get Cadillac’s new Super Cruise driver assist technology either.
What really drags down the Cadillac XT6 isn’t so much what it is, but rather, what it isn’t. And what it isn’t is the Lincoln Aviator. I’m of the opinion that Lincoln knocked it out of the park with the all-new Aviator. Not only does it look cool with its Navigator-inspired styling both inside and out, but it has two very interesting powertrain options. It can be had with a twin-turbo V6 or a high-performance plug-in hybrid variant of that engine cranking out 450 horsepower and 600 lb-ft of torque. Also, the Aviator is rear-wheel drive or AWD. Being able to send that much twist to the rear wheels will appeal to enthusiasts, while the handsome look and posh interior will appeal to everyone else.
I was hoping the Cadillac XT6 would be more. Find a Cadillac XT6 for sale