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2020 Cadillac XT6 Review by Larry Nutson

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Road Trip in Comfort

By Larry Nutson
Executive Editor and Bureau Chief
Chicago Bureau
The Auto Channel

Americans are expected to hit the highways more than usual this summer. The Covid-19 pandemic is impacting vacation plans according to a recent study by AAA. Travel is expected to be down sharply. Lot’s of stay-cations are being planned. Overall, the anticipated 683 million trips Americans are forecast to take this summer will be by car and not by other transportation means.

My wife and I recently hit the highway for a long-weekend getaway from our Chicago home to the Smokey Mountains of Tennessee. We drove a new 2020 Cadillac XT6, courtesy of Cadillac, for the 570 mile trek each way.

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Cadillac’s XT6 is new to the market this year. It’s a premium mid-size, 3-row, six or seven seat SUV priced at around $53,000 to start. It fills the gap in the Cadillac lineup between the 5-seat XT5 and the larger Escalade.

Two trims are available: Premium Luxury offered in both front- and all-wheel drive, and Sport offered in all-wheel drive only. Both are powered by a 310-horsepower 3.6-Liter V6 mated to a 9-speed automatic.

For our Tennessee trip we drove a Sport trim with seating for seven that had a base price of $57,095. A couple option packages, metallic paint, plus destination charge brought the total to $62,065.

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Granted, for two people there’s more than enough room in the XT6. With the push of a button the third row seat folds down to make adequate room for our luggage. The increase in cargo space from 12.6 cu.ft. to 43.1 cu.ft. made it so we didn’t have to cram everything in. We used the rear seat floor space to have easy access to road snacks, our lunch, and some small personal items.

A strong point of SUVs is increased ride height and higher seating position that provides a better outward view of the roadway ahead. Entry into the XT6 is very comfortable with its moderate 6.65 in. ground clearance that doesn’t require a big step up.

As we hit the road I reset the trip odometer so I could monitor fuel economy. I love a good challenge and wanted to see how the XT6 did in the real world compared to its 24 mpg EPA lab-test highway rating. By the way, the city rating is 17 mpg.

Overall the cabin of the XT6 is very comfortable. The 8-way adjustable driver’s seat as well as the power adjustable steering column allowed me to make slight changes over the length of the drive to move muscles and joints into different positions. The front passenger seat only has a 6-way adjustment and my wife would have liked to change the seat bottom angle a bit.

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I’m a bit of a NVH nerd, and the XT6’s cabin proved nicely quiet. This made for easy conversation and good audio listening. Plus, the drone of tire and/or engine noise itself can be tiring on a long trip. My wife worked as I drove having business phone conversations and using the on-board 4G LTE WIFI to connect to the world.

The Bose 14-speaker delivered great sounds. In addition to Sirius XM radio, Apple Car let us stream some of own playlists and listen to a couple podcasts.

Dynamically the XT6 has very good road manners. There’s plenty of performance from the 310-horsepower. The 9-speed transmission keeps the engine working efficiently and in a good power band. Our route took us along highway interstates that twisted and climbed up to elevations around 2,000 ft. The XT6 provides lots of confidence to safely handle the road with its refined driving dynamics.

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The XT6 has a full contingent of advanced driver-assist safety (ADAS) features. Lane Keep Assist and Blind Spot Alert are nice adds to help keep you out of trouble on the highway.

The XT6 I drove was not equipped with smart cruise control, although it is available as an option. I’m not a big user of cruise control except on long stretches with light vehicle traffic. A head-up display, part of an option package, makes it easy to monitor speed without looking down at the instrument cluster.

As for fuel economy, notwithstanding my desire to move quickly, the XT6 did very well. I got 26.3 mpg on the trip to Tennessee and 26.8 mpg on the trip back home. That put real world fuel economy, in round numbers, two to three mpg above the EPA highway rating of 24 mpg. With its 22 gallon fuel tank the XT6 is good for over 500 miles of highway driving.

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The XT6 drives smaller than its size would lead you to believe. It has car-like driving manners that are enhanced by the suspension’s real time damping. At the end of my day of driving I didn’t feel much fatigue at all. The overall comfort of the XT6 along with its driving ease and behavior makes it a great road tripper. It’s very well executed, drives very composed and has a bright, airy and refreshing interior.

A point to consider in car shopping is to carefully identify how you frequently will use your vehicle. Although my wife and I don’t need a vehicle like the XT6 in our daily lives in Chicago, if we were frequently on the road driving long distances we would want the comfort of a vehicle like the XT6.

By the way, The XT6 is made in Spring Hill Tennessee and is ranked No. 21 out of 91 vehicles on the's 2020 American-Made Index. And note, the Cadillac brand was ranked above average, fourteen overall, in the recently announced J.D. Power Initial Quality Survey.

Thanks again to Cadillac for the use of the XT6.

© 2020 Larry Nutson, the Chicago Car Guy