Reviews from the Road: The Cadillac XT6

Cadillac continues to expand its line of crossovers with the all-new XT6. It’s a twin-turbocharged, high-tech, seven-seat machine, and it may be the best all-around vehicle in the luxury brand’s fleet.

It’s a bold statement for us to make — especially considering the fact we’re still a bit sore about the demise of cars like the ATS-V — but after sampling numerous vehicles in Cadillac’s portfolio, the XT6 is the ride that seems to get everything just right. It’s way more comfortable than the XT5, way easier to drive than the massive Escalade, and it doesn’t have that weird fake-window plastic C-pillar trim like the CT5.

Cadillac has given us the keys to a 2020 XT6 Sport. Being the “sport” version, the typical chrome brightwork has been swapped out for high-gloss black trim. This crossover embodies the latest iteration of Cadillac’s angular Art & Science design language; with this colour combo, it has a hint of a stealth fighter vibe. Up front, its front fascia features Cadillac’s new signature squinty smoked headlights, tall LED driving lights at the lower front corners, and a black mesh grille. Out of the current Cadillac lineup, we feel that this front end works best on the XT6, with its clean — albeit average — boxy body complimenting the bold, flat surfaces up front.

Move inside the Cadillac XT6 Sport and you’re greeted by acres of sleek, expansive surfaces, with added pop coming courtesy of the brushed-aluminum salt shaker-style speaker grilles. We love the use of a carbon fibre-inspired material to make up the dash and door trim, which reveals a bronze weave when carefully studied. It’s a minimalist take on a luxury cabin, and it all works. Mostly.

Things feel bespoke, meaning they don’t feel like they came from the GM parts bin, and reinforce the idea that this is an elevated interior. Seating is firm, wrapped in leather and, up front, are sculpted to cradle the driver and front passenger. They’re more reminiscent of what you’d find in a sports car, vs. driving around on an old leather couch, but are nice to spend long stretches of time in.

As for that aforementioned “mostly” comment — that again comes from Cadillac’s insistence on sticking with its so-so CUE capacitive touch controls. In our minds, if you’re going to make something look like buttons, just go ahead and make them buttons. As they sit, they still lack the concrete feedback to let us know if they did what we just asked them to do, meaning we find ourselves doing things like hit the “temperature up” button an extra 20 times.

The cabin is mostly quiet, but still allows some coarseness from the 3.6-litre’s V6 to find its way inside. As for that engine, it’s got a decent amount of power — 310 hp, to be exact — but it doesn’t sound good, so we’d be happy if Cadillac spent a bit more effort further deadening the sound.

As for the other mechanical bits, they include a 9-speed automatic transmission and Sport Control AWD system, but they don’t do much in terms of making this crossover feel like a performance car. That said, the XT6 is very nice to drive, with a smooth, controlled ride and easy handling. You wouldn’t want to storm the Nürburgring with this thing, but it’s great for taking on everyday family duties.

As we posited up front, the XT6 may be the best all-around vehicle in Cadillac’s fleet. It’s a crossover whose look feels elevated, does everything well from a practicality standpoint, and has what we feel is the most cohesive design out of Cadillac’s new generation of vehicles. That said, we wouldn’t be mad if Cadillac offered an XT6-V. Please, Cadillac? Pretty please?

 

 

 

Ramsin Khachi
Ramsin Khachi is a designer, writer, and media personality.

In the media, Ramsin shares his wisdom on various platforms such as the Marilyn Denis Show on CTV, the Toronto Star, the National Post, and various lifestyle magazines as well as his own online luxury magazine. Known for his vivacious personality and distinctive style, he educates on topics such as design trends, innovative products, and the latest in techie gadgets.

From real estate sales, commercial design, and construction to building custom homes, Ramsin’s experience has turned his once small, one-man construction company into a full service Design/Build firm. A leader in his field, Ramsin’s unparalleled integrity for quality and his knowledge of construction and innovation integration has made him a prominent member of the design community and a trusted influencer in design and lifestyle trends. In addition to his media appearances, Ramsin frequently lectures at public forums and to professional organizations and is a brand advocate to select partners.
Justin Kaehler
Justin Kaehler is a Los Angeles-based writer, photographer, and auto enthusiast who has been sharing his passion for cars for over 15 years.