We recently spent a week with the 2020 Cadillac XT6, the luxury brand’s the new three-row crossover positioned between the XT5 and the Escalade. The XT6 rides on the GM C1 platform and is powered by the 3.6L LGX V6 engine rated at 310 horsepower and 271 pound-feet of torque. This engine is mated to the GM nine-speed automatic transmission, driving either the front or all four wheels.
Our test unit was an XT6 Sport, which includes all-wheel-drive as standard, while also adding a variety of trim-specific items, like 20-inch wheels, carbon fiber interior trim and gloss black exterior accents, just to name a few.
Now, as we typically do here at GM Authority, it’s time to answer your questions about the newest addition to the Cadillac crossover lineup. We picked some of the most relevant questions asked by our readers. Here goes.
Reader: How is the space behind the third row? Can you fit a compact stroller or pretty much need to fold one chair for anything besides groceries?
GMA: Since the XT6’s main duty is to haul up to seven people and their gear, this is an excellent question. Honestly, it’s hard to find a three-row crossover (as opposed to a body-on-frame SUV) that will fit more than groceries in its cargo area with all seats upright, since third-row seats typically reduce cargo space by a significant amount. This is no different in the case of the 2020 Cadillac XT6. Unless it’s a small, umbrella-type stroller, fitting one with the third row upright could be a tight fit.
Also, the XT6 isn’t exactly class-leading in regards to cargo space. Although it is competitive when all its seats are folded, offering a capacity of up to 78.7 cubic feet, its cargo area is on the smaller side compared to its main rivals.
For example, an XT6 offers up to 12.6 cubic feet behind the third row, which is less than the 18.3 cubic feet in the Lincoln Aviator, 15.0 cubic feet in the Acura MDX and 14.2 cubic feet in the Audi Q7. Incidentally, the XT6’s cargo capacity behind the third row matches that of the Volvo XC90.
That said, the competing models that offer more cargo space behind the third row than the XT6 typically do so by sacrificing passenger room in the second and/or third rows, so it’s a matter of what’s more important to you. If cargo room is truly vital, we would recommend looking at the new 2021 Cadillac Escalade, which offers gobs more space than the XT6 and also more than the last-gen Escalade.
Reader: Is fit and finish in line with European cars in that same $60-70k range?
GMA: The short answer is yes. The longer answer is depends on what’s important to you.
Right off the bat, the XT6’s cabin does offer a high level of craftsmanship and build quality. The doors have a high-quality, solid feel, and every touch point is soft and high quality. When we say “touch point”, we refer to things that a driver or passenger would typically touch during regular vehicle operation.
Nice touches of metal line the dash and door panels, and we appreciated our test unit’s optional carbon fiber trim inserts and unique Bose speaker grilles, which help to give the XT6 an expensive, premium feel. There’s also a unique sliding cupholder tray for the second row that feels very solid as a result of special attention to detail during development.
The Platinum trim takes that a step further by adding Semi-Aniline leather seating on all rows, a leather wrapped instrument panel, console and door trim, plus a microfiber sueded headliner. The XT6’s is particularly attractive in this configuration.
It’s also worth noting that we didn’t experience a single squeak or rattle with our time in the vehicle, which is something that often plagues models from the German competition.
That said, the interior isn’t perfect. If we were to nit-pick, then we would have preferred a more precise operation to the AC vents – something the German trio excels at doing. We also aren’t sold on the storage cubby located on the center stack, beneath the HVAC controls. It seems like an afterthought, and could have been executed better. But these are relatively minor things in what’s otherwise a solid cabin.
Reader: Is the LGX engine actually sporty and fun to drive in this vehicle? Or does it leave much to be desired? Does it accelerate and feel as fun and sporty as, say, a comparable BMW?
GMA: Overall, the LGX V6 rated at 310 horsepower and 271 pound-feet of torque is a perfectly decent engine for the XT6. It also happens to be one of the last naturally-aspirated units remaining in this class. We were also pleased by its throttle response, overall sound and ability to get the 2020 Cadillac XT6 moving quickly.
However, the Caddy’s motor can be outperformed by the turbocharged engines offered by the German brands. For instance, the BMW X5’s twin-turbo 3.0L I6 makes 335 horsepower and 330 pound-feet of torque, and feels stronger, and with more urgency than the LGX in the XT6. That said, the Audi Q7 comes standard with a turbo-charged 2.0L I4 that only makes 248 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque – less than the XT6 out of the box. However, it also offers an optional turbo-charged 3.0L V6 that’s for 335 horsepower and 363 pound-feet of torque.
The scenario is mirror on the Mecedes-Benz GLE-Class, which comes standard with a turbo 2.0L I4 making 255 horses and 273 pound-feet of torque in the GLE350. Meanwhile, the GLE450 gets an optional turbo-charged 3.0L V6 with some hybrid electric boost, good for 362 horses and 363 pound-feet of torque. In both cases, the more powerful engines also deliver a higher price tag.
When compared to the boosted sixes from the German competition, the atmospheric 3.6L LGX in the Cadillac XT6 simply doesn’t have same level of urgency. Even so, it does deliver a solid balance of power, particularly for a standard engine. We also prefer the LGX’s smooth and linear power delivery compared to anything that’s turbocharged. And those planning on keeping their XT6 for years to come should know that it should be more reliable and cheaper to maintain than any of the boosted units.
We’ll leave you with our take on this topic: the LGX is not the most powerful engine in the space, but we don’t think it needs that quality to be successful in this segment. After all, just how many buyers in the market for a luxurious family hauler are looking for all-out performance figures?
Reader: I know this is the Sport trim, but does the ride differ all that much from, say, an Acadia Denali? And does the interior of this car make it worth taking over the Acadia Denali?
GMA: Though the XT6 rides on the same C1 architecture as the Acadia, it does feel quite different on the road as a result of a different body structure. So yes, the XT6’s ride quality does feel more refined and more composed than that of the GMC Acadia Denali with the CDC dampers. And that’s a tall order, since the Acadia Denali already feels quite good and solid.
And while the interior is on the conservative side, it does look and feel significantly richer than that of the Acadia.
Reader: What kind of real-world gas mileage did you guys get?
GMA: We drove the 2020 Cadillac XT6 during mild spring Canadian weather, in both urban and highway situations and managed to pull 21 mpg average (combined).
Reader: How long until it gets 8 cylinders or a pair of turbos on that V6?
GMA: Since the XT6’s main European rivals all offer some kind of performance variant, it would only make sense for Cadillac to follow along in the same direction, right? And with engines like the Cadillac Blackwing, the 3.6-liter twin-turbo LF4 V6 and even the 3.0L twin-turbo LGY V6 in the parts bin, a more potent XT6-V would make sense.
However, such a model is not in Cadillac’s plans, at least not for this generation of the XT6. One of the reasons for this is the GM C1 platform can simply not accommodate anything larger than the current LGX V6 due to its transverse powertrain orientation.
At the end of the day, the C1 architecture was designed for mainstream crossover applications and was never intended for high-performance vehicles. Furthermore, compared to the atmospheric 3.6L LGX, the aforementioned turbo-charged engines are considerably larger and were for vehicles based on platforms with a longitudinal powertrain orientation. Adding them into the current-generation Cadillac XT6 is simply not feasible – something we hope will change for the next-gen XT6.