For the past 22 years, the Escalade has been Cadillac’s only full-size vehicle capable of carrying seven passengers. Although the $75,000 Escalade remains at the top of Cadillac’s lineup, the all-new $53,000 XT6 offers a more modern and affordable option for those wanting to carry seven people in comfort and style.
Better Than Taking The Bus
Like the all-new XT4 and recently refreshed XT5, Cadillac gave the XT6 a modern, luxurious interior. From the driver’s seat, the XT6 feels big and airy, like a leather-lined concert hall. Depending on how many passengers you anticipate carrying, the second row of seats is available with either dual captain’s chairs or a 3-seat, split-folding bench seat. Both the second and third row of seats can be folded and unfolded electronically with the push of a button in the trunk or just inside the rear doors.
Accessing the surprisingly roomy third row is as easy and grabbing a lever on the seatback and pulling forward. At 5’11”, I had plenty of room although there isn’t a ton of trunk space left with the third row in place. That being said, rear-seat occupants will appreciate the huge panoramic sunroof that lets in tons of natural light. There are also USB-C type chargers for third-row passengers.
Looking around the interior, everything felt nice to the touch. The clean, elegant dash hides a number of useful storage cubbies and charging ports. My favorite is two USB ports hidden within the cavernous center console storage area. This storage bin has a hidden opening to allow you to feed your USB cord out to a more accessible, but unobtrusive spot that is sized perfectly for holding a phone. That way, your phone can be out of sight but always within reach.
The updated Cadillac User Experience infotainment system – “CUE” for short – offers a smartphone-like touchscreen that lets you swipe between menus. Or, if you prefer to keep the screen free of fingerprints, CUE can also be operated via an aluminum knob on the center console. It’s similar to what you’d find in some of the German luxury brands and works great in this case. This latest version of CUE is intuitive and easy to use, with big, bold icons, while audio, phone, and navigation information is always displayed on the home screen. It’s nice to see both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto come standard on the XT6.
Utilizing General Motor’s tried and true 3.6L V6, the XT6 puts down 310 horsepower to the front wheels, although all-wheel drive is available. While that doesn’t sound like much power to move the 4,644-lb seven-seater, the XT6 is perfectly capable of gliding through traffic effortlessly. The 9-speed automatic transmission helps both acceleration and fuel economy. The gearing allows the engine to remain calm while cruising but is also happy to downshift when you need a little extra thrust.
In terms of fuel economy, the XT6 manages 18 MPG in the city and 25 MPG on the highway. Not bad, but not great either. Maybe as the model evolves, Cadillac will try to incorporate some sort of mild hybrid system into the XT6 to pump up those numbers. A little electric boost might also help with towing capacity, which is 1,500 lbs for the XT6. Those looking to tow a boat with their Cadillac may want to choose the Escalade instead.
Big And Beautiful
It’s hard to make a big seven-passenger crossover look this good, but to my eyes, Cadillac’s designers nailed it. There’s no denying this is a big vehicle but Cadillac owns that fact. It looks large and in charge. It won’t quite fill other drivers’ rearview mirrors like the Escalade does but the XT6 looks classy and sophisticated. The Premium Luxury trim includes miles of chrome trim but personally, I prefer the Sport trim’s stealthy, blacked-out grille and trim pieces.
The Sky Is The Limit
The model I drove for the past few days was relatively light on options, and honestly, I couldn’t think of anything more I’d want from it. Cadillac does have some really cool features available on the XT6 now, or in the near future. Things like a 360-degree camera that works great for parking, for instance, but also allows you to record the footage onto an SD card to use as sort of a dashcam for the entire vehicle. Cadillac also offers a head-up display and night vision on the XT6. The XT6 Sport model comes with adaptive suspension and a trick twin-clutch AWD system that can adjust power to each wheel individually. And although it’s not available until next year, you’ll soon be able to equip the XT6 with Cadillac’s Super Cruise semi-autonomous functionality.
It seems like Cadillac has a hit on their hands. The market has been clamoring for seven-passenger crossovers and Cadillac has positioned the XT6 well. It’s more affordable than a lot of its German competitors while offering more luxury than anything costing less. For parents who have to shuffle kids to and from soccer practice or cello recitals and want to drive something that doesn’t just feel like an appliance, the XT6 is perfect. It comes standard with loads of technology and safety features and you can still enjoy driving it even when you don’t have the back seats full of children.
To learn more about the Cadillac XT6, visit Morrie’s Golden Valley Cadillac.