2020 Cadillac XT6 - Crashing the Party Late

Tim Healey
by Tim Healey
2020 cadillac xt6 crashing the party late

I wasn’t sure if I’d see the Cadillac XT6 in person, even though I assigned myself the story when us editor types divvied up our coverage of this year’s Detroit Auto Show.

You see, I asked to be added to the media list a little late, and was told the event would be at capacity. But a journalist doesn’t let little things like “fire codes” stand in the way of his story. So I showed up a little late and used my Midwestern charm to get in the door. In a very polite way, I crashed the party.

Which is what Cadillac is doing, in a way.

The XT6 officially broke cover while I was making my way across Michigan, and pics cropped up on social media. As did derision from journos. Paraphrasing: “It’s an expensive Hyundai Palisade!” “It’s front-wheel drive and expects to compete with Audi and BMW and Volvo?” “Man, it’s boring — Cadillac needs something snazzier than this.”

Even at the event, another journalist sidled up to me and said something like, “where was this two or three years ago?”

Cadillac, then, has crashed the crossover party, arriving late and trying to get in the door.

Wearing the equivalent of a tasteful yet plain suit, the XT6 will be powered by a 3.6-liter V6 expected to make 310 horsepower and 271 lb-ft of torque. All-wheel drive will be available (standard on the Sport trim), and the V6 will pair with a nine-speed automatic and offer cylinder deactivation. It will ride on 20- or 21-inch wheels.

Slated for production in Spring Hill, Tennessee, Cadillac has loaded the three-row XT6 with a lengthy list of available content, including: Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, an updated version of Cadillac User Experience, navigation, in-car wi-fi hotspot, satellite radio, wireless cell-phone charging, rearview-camera with remote wash, rearview-camera mirror with remote wash, night vision, a trailer-hitch guidance system, head-up display, all the usual safety and driver-aid systems (adaptive cruise control, forward-collision alert, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, etc.), hands-free liftgate, NFC phone pairing, heated and cooled front seats, heated second-row seats, heated steering wheel, keyless entry, and something called adaptive remote start.

The third row of seats folds down with power, and the second row can be folded via remote.

Seen up close, the XT6 doesn’t exactly excite, but I do like the Cadillac grille and headlight treatment. Otherwise, the peanut gallery is on to something — the boxy XT6 is a bit of a letdown from a brand that has taken chances with design in recent years. Maybe “art and science” wasn’t for you, but Cadillac can’t be accused of not trying. Even the XT4 is an attempt at excitement, even if you don’t think it succeeds.

On the other hand, does the well-heeled family give a whit? For some, the long list of available features will be enough, and the Cadillac name still carries some cachet. There will be some in the private-school carpool lane who don’t need a BMW or Audi badge to feel good about themselves, and some of these folks may find the Escalade too flashy.

And that may be the biggest downer about the XT6. Not that it’s a bit anonymous, but that Cadillac probably could’ve gotten away with it two years ago.

Unless one is trying to sneak in, it’s harder to make a grand entrance if you’re too late. You need more pizzazz in that case, and the XT6 appears to lack it upon first blush.

That said, final judgment only occurs from behind the wheel. This Caddy still has time to schmooze. But until then, it’s the quiet party crasher, not the fun one.

[Images © 2019 Tim Healey/TTAC]

Join the conversation
3 of 89 comments
  • Speedlaw Speedlaw on Jan 15, 2019

    3.6 six is a decent motor, but I think that it shouldn't be fit in every single vehicle-they probably have the per unit cost down so low that it fits literally everywhere. Need 300 hp twist ? Here ya go. DW's comments about lowest bidder parts bin stuff is accurate, though. My Cadillac is gone. In 75k the 'repairs" folder was the same size as my MDX with 196k miles...and I'm not including consumables. GM is very good at making a car cheaply. Cadillac deals with this by the best warranty at GM, but once the first buyer is through the car, sayonara ! It's probably cheaper to warranty the parts that fail under 120k than fix the problems (and screw the lower tier buyers). The styling is total meh. Not ugly, but other than the side looking kinda BMW-ish, the front looks like someone's first pass. Interior likewise. I'm very unlikely to buy another GM, and don't need a family truckster any more, but this isn't going to clog the school run in the nicer burbs around NYC. Like the CT6, I'll probably need a few months to see one in the wild, in the most new and competitive auto pool short of Beverly Hills.....

  • Speedlaw Speedlaw on Jan 15, 2019

    My caddy proved the point that to drive a used luxury car you can afford a new one, and lived the meme of unreliability that is credited to Germans on the internet. Meanwhile, my Germans were friggin Hondas compared to the Caddy.

    • DeadWeight DeadWeight on Jan 15, 2019

      Rolling dumpster fire Guangzhou-Guadalajara (GM) vehicles, whether bearing a Chevrolet bowtie, or Chevrolac/Clakilac wreath & crest, are full of absolute lowest cost bidder reject parts, yo. Cadillac hangs down with Jaguar-Land Rover-Range Rover in terms of reliability according g to the most complete, comprehensive and voluminous surveys and indexes. The XT6 is a rebadged Traverse, ala Roger Smith-era GM, and another pox among billions on the Silver Silos and the braniac trust of Barra-Ammann-Carlisle. It's a laughable and insulting joke of a product that is engineered cynicism on 4 wheels, and makes the new Kia Telluride and new Ford Explorer look positively amazing, both inside and out. Just take Cadillac behind the barn and cap it in the head, and sell the carcass to GM Shanghai (SAIC) before the brand equity depreciates to $0 or worse.

  • SCE to AUX From the SAE: https://www.sae.org/blog/sae-j3016-updateFor Level 3: "When the feature requests, you must drive."The timing of that request will be the subject of lawsuits. Too little warning, and this is just a Level 2 system wearing nicer clothes.Pretty car, though.
  • Analoggrotto So, who has the digital Tourettes?
  • Analoggrotto Mercedes can try but will NEVER match the superlative engineering of TESLA. The #1 Choice for the #1 members of society. The lower class can stay on earth and drive Mercedes.
  • Dukeisduke The "fix" is not a fix - it just assures that when the o-ring breaks down and leaks brake fluid onto the board, the fuse will blow and the car won't burn to the ground. The HECU ("Hydraulic Unit Assembly" in H/K parlance) will still be dead, and you'll have no ABS or ESC. So the car won't burn to the ground, but you'll be looking at an expensive repair. I priced the HECU (Kia p/n 58920-1M640) for the 2012 Forte Koup - the MSRP is $2,325.79, and I can get one from the online seller I buy from for $1646.65. It's not much labor to replace, but then you have to bleed the brakes, or preferably flush the system, since the car's 11 years old and could use a flush. Folks relying on a dealer will be out $3k or more for repairs.I went to the NHTSA site and filed a defect report (the only way I could find to comment on the recall) to tell them that they should force H/K to replace the HECUs on all the affected vehicles, instead of allowing them to just do the minimum.
  • SCE to AUX All right Hyundai - enough of this.These are all older cars, and I believe H/K issued a recall for the same thing before. My former 09 Sedona was recalled for an ABS fire risk. The solution was some sort of extra ground wire from the battery down to the ABS unit or something - I didn't trace it.H/K has a habit of issuing partial solutions with limited scope (saving face), then later expanding the recall greatly. They did this with the 2.4 engine debacle, corroding control arms, and now this ABS thing.As for the EV vs ICE fire debate, no need to stir that pot here. EVs use hydraulic ABS brakes as well, but they don't appear to be covered in this recall (yet... and it would only be the early Ioniq 1 EV, if any).Looking into my crystal ball, they'll probably have to recall the Ioniq 5/6 and Genesis GV60 for an ongoing charging issue, where the charging port heats up and limits the charging rate on an AC plug (at home).Following their usual pattern, a software fix was issued first, greatly slowing the charge rate. Owners are irate, and I think Hyundai is simply delaying the day when they have to replace the wiring harness and charge port on all their new EVs, at great expense.Sorry Hyundai - can't defend you on this one.