General Motors unveiled its all-new 2020 Cadillac XT6, a three-row luxury SUV entering a growing and lucrative segment, on Sunday ahead of the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
The XT6 offers plush standard features, advanced safety technology and a 3.6-liter V6 engine with 310 horsepower. Cadillac also showcased a new rotary controller that operates its infotainment system.
The seven-seater joins the compact XT4, midsize XT5 and flagship Escalade in the brand’s SUV lineup. Dealerships will begin to take orders in the spring.
Cadillac expects the 2020 XT6 to compete with luxury people-haulers such as the Acura MDX, Infiniti QX60 and Lexus RX L. It also faces a formidable challenge from Ford Motor Co.’s new Lincoln Aviator, recently debuted at the Los Angeles Auto Show.
“It’s a large segment and there are a lot of consumers there,” said Steve Carlisle, president of Cadillac. “Cadillac is coming to play and to win.”
Two Trim Choices
The 2020 Cadillac XT6 comes in two trims: Sport and Premium Luxury.
Premium Luxury is available in either front-wheel-drive or all-wheel-drive. There are unique front and rear fascias, a Bright Galvano grille and red taillight lenses. It comes with 20-inch wheels and interior wood accents.
Sport models have a black grille and trim and clear taillight lenses. Wheels come in 20-inch styles and are available up to 21 inches. Carbon fiber accents add to the performance character.
The XT6 Sport comes only in all-wheel-drive. Active yaw control improves balance on twisty roads, while continuous damping control aids in more aggressive cornering.
Sport also has a faster steering ratio. At 4,690 pounds of curb weight, however, it’s 45 pounds heavier than Premium Luxury AWD models.
The XT6 is powered by a 3.6-liter V6 engine that delivers 310 horsepower and 271 pound-feet of torque. It’s paired to a nine-speed automatic transmission. The same powertrain is employed by GM in its Chevrolet Traverse, Buick Enclave and GMC Acadia crossovers.
In the XT6, the V6 is equipped with GM’s active fuel management, which lets the engine deactivate two of its cylinders when their use isn’t necessary to save fuel.
The new SUV features a standard heated steering wheel. Available interior features include a Bose Performance Series 14-speaker sound system, heated and cooled front seats, an in-vehicle ionizer to improve air quality and advanced adaptive cruise control.
Standard safety features include a high-definition rearview camera, automatic emergency braking, blind-spot warning, forward-collision alert with pedestrian braking, rear cross-traffic alert and lane-keep assist.
A rearview camera mirror, enhanced emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, surround vision, head-up display and night vision are optional. Notably, Cadillac’s Super Cruise automated driving technology is not available on the XT6.
It is not an adventure-minded SUV. The XT6 has 6.7 inches of ground clearance – most off-road capable vehicles offer at least 8.5 inches. Its maximum towing capacity is a meager 4,000 pounds. Roof rails are available but not standard.
The rear has a maximum 12.6 cubic feet of cargo capacity. A standard power-folding third row creates 43.1 cubic feet of room behind the second row. The Subaru Ascent, a more rugged three-row crossover, has 17.8 cubic feet of rear storage and 47.5 cubic feet with the third row down.
The XT6 rides on the short-wheelbase version of the platform shared by its Enclave and Acadia siblings. The fact that Cadillac borrowed heavily from other GM brands concerned analysts.
“I’m skeptical as to whether it goes far enough,” said Ed Kim, an analyst with automotive consulting firm AutoPacific. “There are a lot of good choices in the segment.”
Cadillac hopes the new XT6 will kick-start the brand. Sales of both its light trucks and passenger cars dipped by about 1 percent in 2018 compared with the year prior. The XT6 arrives as consumers prefer light trucks – a category which includes pickup trucks, SUVs and crossovers – to smaller passenger cars at a rate greater than 2-to-1.
Lincoln’s Aviator could be the XT6’s biggest hurdle.
“They’ve not made a big leap like the Aviator,” said Stephanie Brinley, an analyst with IHS Markit.
The XT6 and Aviator go on sale at roughly the same time. But the Aviator debuts a new platform that is based on a rear-wheel-drive, not front-wheel-drive like the XT6. The Aviator also features adaptive air suspension, a twin-turbo V6 engine and available plug-in hybrid option making up to 600 pound-feet of torque.
“Straight spec-for-spec, it’s going to be a difficult proposition,” Brinley said.
GM will build the 2020 Cadillac XT6 at its plant in Spring Hill, Tenn. Pricing will be available closer to launch.