Want a 2020 Cadillac XT6? Sample its crosstown rivals as well
|driving.ca 28 Nov 2020 at 06:24|
So you want a Cadillac XT6. All new this year, Cadillac’s XT6 has turned a few heads with refined styling and a greater commitment, if you will, to three-row seating. It’s handsome, fairly well appointed, and handles surprisingly well. Overall, it’s an impressive package.
But not quite inspiring. As you can read here , the new Caddy nomenclature – in this case 400 – had me expecting a little more performance out of the new XT6 when in fact it is powered by The General’s fairly ubiquitous 3.6-litre V6. The 3.6L is a good engine and well-enough endowed – 310 horsepower – for a naturally-aspirated, mid-displacement V6. But the 400 on the rear decklid had me hoping for a full-zoot 400-hp turbocharged V6. As it is, the powertrain is more than adequate, with the 9-speed automatic well-married to the 3.6L’s torque curve. It’s also pretty darn smooth, not to mention quiet, even when the revs are up.
And the throttle will need a little massaging. The lack of a turbocharger means this 3.6L’s 271 pound-feet of torque only kicks in at 5,000 rpm. Compare that with Cadillac’s former 400-hp – hence my mistake with the badging – 3.0L Twin Turbo V6 that also boasts 400 pound-feet of torque (even more confusion) available at a stump-pulling 2,500 rpm. Considering the new XT6 weighs in at 2,106 kilograms, that extra low-end grunt would not go remiss. Still, the 3.6L is in no way disappointing for what it can do, only for what it could have been.
infotainment is comprehensive without being confounding
The rest of Cadillac’s latest mid-sized ute fares better. Its infotainment is comprehensive without being confounding, both back rows of seats fold without drama (and the second row can be had with its own air conditioning controls), and there’s little wind or road noise to disturb cabin dwellers.
Throw in a smooth ride, roomy seating (at least in the front two rows), and a really excellent 14-speaker Bose sound system but temper that with a little difficulty getting into the 3rd row of seats and an interior that is more capable than luxurious. It even handles well, cornering with more authority than anyone ensconced in the back seats will appreciate.
The new XT6 might not be powerful, but it is more than capable.
2020 Lincoln Aviator Nadine Filion / Driving
You want more power from a domestic mid-sized sport utility. , aren’t you? Part of being miffed at the XT6’s “400” badging is I thought it was a response to the 400 horses Aviator boasts from its 3.0-litre turbocharged EcoBoost V6. With 415 pound-feet of torque available at 3,000 rpm, it also sports the low-end grunt missing in the XT6. And it uses regular gas, not bad considering how much power Ford is ringing out of its comparatively small displacement.
The rest of the Aviator also fares fairly well. The interior is a bit better appointed than the Caddy’s if a little less organized. The third row of seats doesn’t feel as roomy as the Cadillac but they are pushbutton stowable. It also handles equal to the XT6 but its ride is not quite as compliant. In other words, opt for the Lincoln if you value its grunty motor and opulent leather. Opt for the XT6 if a better ride and/or a more ergonomic interior is more important.
Youwant Japanese dependability. Neither the XT6 nor the Aviator have wowed Consumer Reports with their dependability. If totally trouble-free motoring is really your goal, maybe you should look at Acura’s MDX .
Like the XT6, the MDX works with a naturally-aspirated V6, touting 3.5-litres and 290 horses. It’s dependable and fairly smooth, if not quite as powerful as the Caddy and significantly in arrears of Lincoln’s powerhouse. Call it adequate.
There is good news on this front because, for $15,600 more than the base MDX, Acura will sell you a 321-hp hybrid with a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. Yes, yet another hybrid – think Toyota RAV4 Prime here – that is sportier than its traditional sibling and, thanks to Honda engineering, is a sophisticated combination of ICE and electrification. That said, Lincoln’s PHEV version of the Aviator has a much more potent powertrain.
In the end, the MDX rides at least as well as Cadillac, but doesn’t handle nearly as well as either domestic offering. Nor is it as luxurious or as comfortable. Purposeful rather than plush, if you will. Indeed, in the end, the MDX is the sensible but not quite as luxurious alternative to the Cadillac. The Lincoln too for that matter.
You want the most opulent SUV a (fairly) large amount of money can buy. Then you want the brand-new 2021 Cadillac Escalade I just tested . As I said then, the new Escalade’s interior is without par, combining the opulence of a Mercedes-Benz S-Class with the design nous of a Range Rover and the infotainment intelligence of, well, FCA’s UConnect (Chrysler may have some difficulty building a luxury vehicle but their infotainment system is excellent).
The ride, thanks to a new independent suspension in the rear, is cossetting. Cadillac also credits said the IRS with giving the Escalade almost a foot more legroom in the 3rd row seat. The powertrain is smooth, powerful (420-hp) and at least pretends to care about the environment with a new variable cylinder deactivation system that can choose different combinations of cylinders to disable.
Were it just not so massive – parking in a downtown underground parking lot is a travaille – it might be the perfect large luxury SUV. If you can stand its dimensions and price (the 2021 Escalade tops out at over $120,000) the new sport brute is the best truck in its segment and the best thing from Cadillac since the original CTS-V.