By on August 20, 2020

gm

Cadillac’s XT6, a midsize crossover our reviewers had something to say about, arrived in mid-2019 with one powertrain in tow. Instant rivalry sprung up between the front-drive-biased XT6 and the rear-biased Lincoln Aviator. Our preference lands firmly on the latter CUV.

Regardless of our feelings on the model, Cadillac has decided to broaden the XT6’s net, introducing a new base model for 2021 that sinks the model’s power and price.

Appearing beneath the hood of the 2021 XT6’s entry-level “Luxury” trim is General Motors’s tried and true 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder — an engine you’ll find in all versions of the smaller XT4. Making 237 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque, the four-banger moves the XT6’s 4,362 pounds (4,565 with all-wheel drive) through a nine-speed automatic.

With the Chevrolet Traverse having ditched its optional four-cylinder, this base XT6 becomes the girthiest GM vehicle to pack a 2.0L under hood.

Like numbers? We like numbers. Because of the power drop, XT6 owners who turn up their nose at the previously standard 3.6-liter V6 will discover their trailering capacity has shrunk fourfold, from 4,000 pounds to a weak-sister 1,000 pounds. Fuel economy rises a bit, however. As noted by GM Authority, the EPA has just weighed in on the matter, rating both the FWD and AWD 2.0L XT6 at 23 mpg combined. That’s a 3 mpg increase from the 3.6L model.

More numbers, and ones that might be more important to this model: the front-drive ’21 XT6 Luxury carries an after-destination MSRP of $48,990 — a fairly healthy decrease from the ’20 XT6 Premium Luxury FWD’s $53,690.

You’ll be able to tell the base XT6 apart from loftier variants by its standard 18-inch wheels, as well as its seven-passenger-only cabin. No executive-minded six-person configuration in this trim. Luxury trim buyers will still see a standard 8-inch infotainment screen, heated and ventilated front seats, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity.

Safety aids come in the form of standard automatic emergency braking, forward collision alert, HD rear-vision camera, Safety Alert Seat, intelligent headlamps, and front and rear park assist. However, because this is GM, one must move up the Cadillac trim ladder to receive blind spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert.

[Image: General Motors]

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33 Comments on “A More Basic Base: 2021 Cadillac XT6 Sheds Cylinders, Price...”


  • avatar
    jkross22

    These have been for sale for a few months, yes? I’ve not seen one on the road and I’m not that far from a Cadillac dealer.

    Weird.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      Lol, I live a couple of blocks from a Cadillac dealer and the only one I’ve seen is the one at the dealer up on a pedestal with a $60K price tag. It’s been there a long time

  • avatar
    kcflyer

    What a sad, sad vehicle. It was under powered and overpriced with the v6. Now its just sad. Is this just a compliance piece for the Chinese market? I hope so or there just isn’t any reason to choose this over the other vehicles in it’s class / price range. Or better yet, get a KIA Telluride or Hyundai Pallisade and get a nicer vehicle, more power, more room and better warranty.

    • 0 avatar
      NormSV650

      Assembled in Spring Hill, TN, for North America! With a 3rd row that can for an adult unlike most in this segment.

      • 0 avatar
        kcflyer

        Off the top of my head SUV’s with good or better 3rd row room, Buick Enclave, Chevy Traverse, Kia Telluride, Hyundai Pallisade. I think the Aviator is a bit smaller but usable. The new Tahoe offers better space and a V8 and an Expedition would be a better buy if you can stomach the larger footprint. Final assemble in the U.S. is a plus but parts content is also worth noting. If you must have GM product the Traverse in top trim or the Enclave would be more compelling IMHO.

        • 0 avatar
          eng_alvarado90

          On top of that all products you mentioned (sans the Korean built Palisade) are built in the US, so there’s no real advantage about getting the XT6 over anything else.

        • 0 avatar
          Lorenzo

          In other words, the “Standard Of The World” is now the “Standard Of The Bean Counters.” The GM Board doesn’t want to put its efforts into a low volume division.

  • avatar
    JMII

    Nobody is towing with these things. I doubt the target audience even knows what cylinders are. They are just mad they could make the numbers work on that Porsche CUV they really wanted.

  • avatar
    ajla

    Cadillac and Lexus bringing some top-tier cynicism today.

    • 0 avatar
      NormSV650

      Like most manufacturers today that are planning EV’s these are just temporary vehicles for this decade.

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        A decade is a long time to half-A$$ it. Especially with your luxury brand.
        Why put an anvil around the future “iq” family’s necks with “temporary products”?

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Every Cadillac is “just temporary” before the next “big thing” comes out and then fails.

        Taking the 4.1 to RWD in early 80s to buy time for FWD.
        Extending C-body a few years because the new E-body was late.
        Running the 4.9 because Northstar was late.
        Running Northstar and K-body through MY03 because Catera Gen 2 wasn’t ready. Continuing the G-body DTS because the CTS/DTS were not proper Cadillacs to the demographic.
        Running Alpha because we’re BMW now.
        Leaning on SRX because the CUVs are coming.

        Cadillac in a metaphor: the dog ate my homework.

        • 0 avatar

          Impressive. Cadillac corporate history in a nutshell. Then they kill SAAB, so the euro turbo in the SRX is gone….and back into parts bin spaaaace….

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Not a SAABist but I believe they were already heavy in the parts bin by the 00s. Oddly enough thought there was a little known Cadillac developed and manufactured by Saab:

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cadillac_BLS

        • 0 avatar
          JMII

          +1 for an accurate description. Caddy / GM seems to phase stuff out just about the time they nearly get it right. And of course they are always a step behind so their best product is always a day late and a dollar short. But hey at least they are consistent.

        • 0 avatar
          Palumboism

          All gas Cadillac’s are just temporary waiting for electric versions as well.

          • 0 avatar
            Art Vandelay

            And all power generation is just temporary…waiting for Cold Fusion. And living on Earth is just temporary until the sun goes Red Giant.

  • avatar
    Jerome10

    I’m not a GM hater. But the last couple years of Cadillac has felt like it has gone in the wrong direction.

    Am I reading correctly that a Chevrolet gets a standard V6 while the Cadillac gets a lesser engine?

    The CT4 and CT5 don’t seem like anything to write home about. I might give some pass here since sedans are dead. Lexus just killed the GS and the new IS is clearly a half-a$$ed attempt as well. BMW and Mercedes are adding cheap, overpriced low-end models as well. Cadillac is not alone here.

    But whereas Lexus, BMW, Mercedes have a strong brand, strong recent heritage (how long that lasts with mediocre products….see Cadillac for the past 30-40 years), Cadillac has already fallen from grace. Half-attempts at this point will not work. Same goes for Acura, Volvo etc.

    And it is extra insulting when you think that it wasn’t beyond most of our lifetimes when Cadillac truly meant the best engineering in the world, the best made cars in the world, truly luxurious automobiles. The name Cadillac still rings extremely loudly despite decades of abuse. It still means something.

    And the new vehicles just seem like they’re moving closer to fancy Chevys rather than being elevated to unique, truly luxurious automobiles. They should know better just by looking at Lincoln…a brand that has already done the “just barely a better Ford” for a few decades. But it appears to me that at least Lincoln finally has grasped what a luxury experience is supposed to be. Cadillac seems to feel it is still 1968 and the emblem on the hood is good enough.

    Actually now that I’m wrapping up…Cadillac was getting away from badge engineering, and now it seems to feel like it is getting sucked back in that direction.

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      If I were king of GM, I’d position Cadillac to compete with Tesla.

      I’ve recently revised my opinion of GM upward, but it’s because of one specific (and obsolete vehicle) which I happen to like: a 2-mode hybrid GMC Sierra. I bought it because it sucks less than the other used full-sized pickup trucks in my price range, but I genuinely like the thing. GM actually nailed it on this vehicle, and they can execute on high-tech vehicle projects when their engineers are allowed to do so.

      If GM were to decide on an electric future for Cadillac, they could make it happen. But that’s a big change, and big changes are hard at big companies. I’m very likely to own a Tesla long before GM even makes the decision to make Cadillac relevant again, and Chevrolet has become GM’s tech brand anyway. [Shrug]

      • 0 avatar
        Art Vandelay

        If I am GM and want to compete with Tesla, why do it with a brand with all that baggage? I’d go with another Saturn style effort. Start new and take every chance to distance the entity from GM. Then if EV’s do take hold and the brand sells, let that brand drag the rest of GM kicking and screaming into modern times.

        But what does Cadillac even mean? The people that would respond “The Standard of the World” probably aren’t allowed to drive anymore. Most people are going to think of some mediocre product or engine. Anyone with a favorable impression probably had one of the “V” cars and I don’t know how much crossover there is with respect to EV’s there.

  • avatar
    Fred

    Maybe just buy a Buick or Chevy?

  • avatar
    Palumboism

    I see nothing wrong with a four cylinder front drive Traverse for $49K. Nothing to see here people, please move along.

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      I see nothing wrong with *selling* a four cylinder front drive Traverse for $49K.

      Buying it for that price is another matter, though. I’m out.

      Cadillac’s brand isn’t strong enough for Veblen pricing. Buyers aren’t going to value a Cadillac more because you put a higher price on it. It’s not a designer handbag from one of *those* designers.

  • avatar
    dwford

    Isn’t this thing bad enough already?? Why would you want a $49k 4 CYLINDER XT6 when you could get a loaded V6 Enclave that’s bigger and sitting in the same showroom??

  • avatar
    conundrum

    Heck, GM couldn’t even put the tractor engine 2.7t TechnoShaker four from their cheapest pickup and the Cadillac CT4V in it. Instead, this is their long stroke chuffer pussycat 2.0t, the replacement for what was a decent 2.0t with a bit of get up and go. Its main boast is that it’s quiet and about as peppy as the Lexus 2.0t, which is to say rice pudding skins are in no danger of being separated from the splodge underneath. Point this baby at the Rockies on cruise and listen to it purr its way over the mountain crests without a hint of strain.

    You thought Johan de Nysschen was bad? This is his replacement Steve Carlisle’s GM Parts Bin Special Cadillac.

  • avatar
    pb35

    I’m driving one of these as a loaner right now in V6 Luxury trim. I was prepared to not like it on paper and it wasn’t under consideration when I was shopping for a new crossover last year for the wife. I would’ve preferred an Aviator but I let her pick her new car this time around as I’ve been choosing her vehicles for many years.

    The V6 is adequate, it’s 400Nm (ha) move it with authority from a stop. The interior is nice but the sun visors literally feel like cardboard. This is one of the things you’d likely miss on the test drive and be pissed about after you signed for it and brought it home. Otherwise, it’s quiet, nicely appointed, rides like a Caddy and is generally inoffensive. I haven’t driven a Telluride but I’d probably pick this over one. Maybe I’m just getting old. Crap.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    Waiting for a Cadillac version of the Buick Encore with a turbo I-3 and a CVT at a starting price of 39k. Just change the grill and the badges.

  • avatar
    JLGOLDEN

    I’ve sat in these a few times, just to gauge the most basic “ass in the seat” impressions. Nothing feels especially premium to the touch, and there are no “wow” factors with design, materials, or textures. A loaded Hyundai Palisade, on the other hand, feels coddling and rich from the driver’s reach. Hell, even the dated Infiniti QX60 has a more inviting interior, satisfying controls/touch points.

  • avatar
    tankinbeans

    I find that almost handsome, but the inset vents make it look like it has hollow cheeks.

    That said, I can’t imagine spending that much on any car.

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