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2020 Cadillac XT6: Driving Ambitions

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By Kimatni D. Rawlins

It feels like an extended hiatus since I last had the gratification of experiencing the sensation of a newfangled Cadillac and the usual pleasantries offered to customers. Thankfully, the luxury auto brand has restructured corporately, guided attention towards product launches, and set higher goals for owner loyalty and retention. A direct result of the refreshing game plan is the premium 2020 Cadillac XT6 which was highlighted recently from The Ritz-Carlton Georgetown during the national press drive.

Cadillac is in launch mode and will release a new ride to the marketplace every six months through 2021. With the expansion plan, the XT6 joins a family portfolio that includes the segment-leading XT4, a revitalized XT5, and the indomitable Escalade. The pinnacle of Cadillac mobility also includes an EV future and the extension of Super Cruise semi-autonomous driving which the XT6 will receive eventually. Although, I am very apprehensive with my vehicle taking over the cognition required for safe and harmonious driving. Hopefully, this will be an option.

The beautifully curated XT6 work of art representing the mid-size sport utility market is blessed with three rows (power-folding 3rd row seat and power release 2nd row), a 3.6-liter naturally-aspirated V6 engine (310-horsepower) paired with a 9-speed transmission, flushed twin exhaust tips, aggressive shield grille (black mesh in the Sport model), vertical front lighting, and the choice of either FWD or AWD. It’s also 2” wider than the XT5 for a grander stance.  

To begin the testing I started in a Crystal White Tricoat XT6 Sport AWD with a Cirrus/Jet Black interior. The SUV is visually stunning from the outside with a luxurious cabin that is both technological and comforting due to needed upgrades such as the rotary controller that simplifies the operations of Cadillac user experience (CUE) which is the American brand’s proprietary infotainment and connectivity system. In the past CUE required too much attention and too many touch operations. There should always be redundant, physical knobs and dials for drivers who do not wish for the latter. Thankfully CUE has evolved to meet this standard.

“The interior environment is about simplicity, with an execution of premium materials,” said Andrew Smith, executive director, Cadillac Design. “We want the customer to focus on the experience — making each journey extraordinary.”

Pricing for the XT6 Sport AWD starts at $57,095 while my test model was enhanced with $7,850 of options including the slick 21” 12-split spoke Diamond Cut rims ($1,000), captain chairs ($800), and the aforementioned CUE ($1,000) with an 8” touchscreen and 14-speaker Bose Performance Series audio system with Active Noise Cancellation and stainless steel speaker grilles which is a must in my book. The XT6 connects passengers with six USB ports including USB-Cs, 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot, a 15-watt wireless charging pad, Near-Field Communication, and much more.

Cadillac is targeting younger Gen X parents for the XT6 so of course, spaciousness and comfort from all three rows is expected. My only qualm is that the 2nd row became tight when an adult sat in the 3rd row because they needed me to slide forward.

Available in a multitude of hues like Satin Steel Metallic, Stellar Black Metallic, Shadow Metallic, and Garnet Metallic, the XT6 is also presented as a Premium Luxury moniker which starts at $52,695. The Platinum Package is available on either model. As you can imagine, the Sport models are geared towards performance such as Sport Control AWD, an active damping sports suspension, and sporty carbon fiber touches. Both feature 11 driver and safety systems as standard and a new shifter and clusters. Large 20” rims are also standard.

Behind the new power tilt and telescopic steering wheel with paddle shifters, the XT6 feels good and provides enough power in the 3.6-liter which kicks out 271 lb-ft of torque at 5,000 rpms. Acceleration is perfectly adequate and stopping power is on point. On Demand Selectable Driving Modes, perfect for East Coast winters, allow you to customize the ride based on road and weather conditions while the Ultra-view sunroof is ideal for spring and summers. The electric variable-assist rack-and-pinion steering was sharp as well. Expect 25 highway miles from the FWD and 24 highway miles from the AWD.

Of course, safety is a major factor when it comes to the protection of your spouse and kids on the road. I’m a father of two younger teen girls so as much assurance as possible from the vehicle’s safety capabilities is a must. Likewise, the XT6 is engineered with Automatic Emergency Braking, Lane Change Alert, HD Rear Vision Camera, Reverse Automatic Braking, Adaptive Remote Start, Teen Driver, Front Pedestrian Braking, and much more. Also, expect your XT6 to tow up to 4,000 pounds.

The XT6 is a welcomed guest in a crowded automotive field of crossovers demanded by families, couples, and singles on the go. With sedan-like driving mannerisms, utility and storage capabilities for road trips, and premium amenities, the latest Cadillac is sure to catch the eye of many and find a home in the driveways of plenty.