Cadillac and Lincoln are clawing their way back to prominence in their own way. Both have invested vast amounts of time and money over the last few years to develop products that can take on the best from Germany and Japan. However, both are doing so in their own unique way. Cadillac is slowly filling out its product portfolio with lucrative crossovers and SUVs, platform sharing with other GM products. Lincoln, which has suffered from badge engineering run amok, is finally diversifying its products with distinct styling, powerful powertrains, and high-end materials. Just look at the 2020 Lincoln Aviator. It rides on the next-generation, rear-wheel-drive CD6 platform, and it looks nothing like a Ford.
Cadillac is preparing the XT6 three-row crossover, which will slot between the XT5 and Escalade, to launch for the 2020 model year. It’s expected to ride on the same extended wheelbase C1 platform as the Buick Enclave and Chevrolet Traverse. That would mean it’s front-wheel-drive-based product that’ll likely use the same engines found in the Enclave and Traverse. Its distinct Cadillac styling may not be enough to take the RWD Aviator head-on.
Comparing Cadillac and Lincoln brings up an interesting question. What is luxury these days? The democratization of technology means affordable cars can come packed with the latest gadgets and gizmos—heated seats, blind-spot monitoring, an upgraded sound system, and much more. Packing a new car with nice materials and technology is no longer enough to stand out from the luxury crowd. As such, a luxury vehicle needs presence.
And that’s what the 2020 Lincoln Aviator seems to do exceptionally well at first blush, borrowing what made the new Navigator so successful. It oozes luxury while sitting still. Lincoln has worked hard to define its vehicles as luxurious, creating high-end Black Label trims and packing powerful engines under the hood that don’t focus on the performance like the Germans. The base engine in the Aviator is a 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged V6 engine producing an impressive 400 horsepower and 400 pound-feet of torque. There’s a Grand Touring trim that adds a mild-mild-hybrid system that adds 50 horsepower and 200 pound-feet of torque. Yes, you read that right.
While the Cadillac XT6 and Lincoln Aviator will technically be rivals and priced similarly when both debut, they’re expected to be barely comparable beyond that. Both offer three rows of seats, but the approach is wildly different, likely leaving the Aviator unrivaled from Cadillac.