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  • Writer's pictureAlain Kuhn Von Kuhnenfeld

2020 Cadillac XT6 Sport

This week we are reviewing the 2020 Cadillac XT6 in Sport trim. Our vehicle was assembled at the Springhill plant in Tennessee and has an MSRP of 81,823.00 CAD.

Fun Factor: 6

Can it Family: 9

Fuel-Friendly: 5

HWY-warrior: 7

Karaoke Friendly: 6

Baby-friendly: 7

City Cruising: 5

The XT6 is a brand-new model for Cadillac; it fills the spot in their lineup under the Escalade and above the XT5. At first glance we wished it had more of an American flair when it came to its presence on the road; it felt more as a vehicle that comes to fill in the gap between both SUVs above. Yes, the ride is extremely comfortable and the handling quite precise and sporty, however for such SUV, we expected it to handle better in the snow. The XT6 comes with a torque vectoring system that can send additional power to the rear wheels independently to the one that needs it the most; this is especially handy around corners, where this system makes the XT6 feel a lot smaller than competitors in this segment. While this makes it a winner on paper, in the real world, since the XT6 is based on a FWD powertrain, it reacts to slippage instead of activating its system when the road conditions start to deteriorate. All this in the name of fuel economy, something we wished did returned better results; we'll talk more about it in our fuel economy section below. The XT6 is powered by a proven 3.6L V6 that produces 271 lb-ft of torque and 373 Nm, the 400 we see in the back of the XT6 represents this figure rounded up to the hundreds. This type of nameplate shows its power output, it's new for Cadillac and will be featured on all models such as the new Escalade. Something that wowed us was the XT6 9-speed automatic transmission that shifts deliciously well and operates similarly to the stick shift found in BMW’s and also helps delivers a smooth acceleration for a vehicle this size. In our real-life test to 100km/h in the snow, we were able to achieve that figure in 7.55 seconds. In the summer, this number should be around 6.8 seconds to 100km/h we do not have any official numbers at this time.

The XT6 offers quite a lot of space and seating for 7 passengers, Cadillac also offers a 6-passenger version which we would recommend if you're thinking of carrying more adults than kids, as for our version we would say about 4 adults can fit comfortably. The middle seat in the 2nd-row is more appropriate for a child as the size would be limited for an adult. As for the 3rd row it is usable for smaller adults, something that isn't always the case with three-row SUVs in this segment. The downside with that 3rd row is that access to it is quite tricky; the space is narrow and requires some acrobatics getting to the back. With the 3rd row up the cargo space is limited to a stroller and a couple of shopping bags, underneath the false floor you do get additional storage space for smaller items. When the 3rd row is not in use, the trunk is quite spacious and can accommodate a large stroller and a couple of suitcases in the trunk. The 3rd row is electronically controlled via buttons found in the trunk, and the 2nd row can be released from the trunk too when the need arises to transport even larger items. As for convenient features, the front seats are heated and ventilated (part of a package below) and heat up efficiently; the steering wheel heats up nice and warm. It's too bad the paddle sifters are so close to the steering wheel, they stayed frosty the length of our journey since they were made out of metal alloy. Yes, it's totally nitpicking on our part, but we would expect from Cadillac to have considered these details. Our vehicle was also equipped with "Comfort & Air Quality Package," which includes heated rear seats and an in-vehicle air ionizer.

The fuel economy we've experienced with the XT6 in the city was 15.9L per 100km, and 10.9L per 100km on the HWY, we averaged 13.0L per 100km over a 500km distance. Our test was conducted while exterior temperatures oscillated between -2c and -16c. Cadillac announces the following fuel consumption in the city 13.5L/100km and 9.7L/100 on the HWY. While the XT6 has a cylinder deactivation feature that transforms the 6-cylinder engine into a 4-cylinder, we rarely saw it active, and it also made the engine note unpleasant. It also didn't return the expected fuel economy expected of this type of system in the real world. We think that a mild-hybrid system would actually enhance the smoothness of the XT6. While this isn't what the Cadillac brand wants, they are shifting directly to full-electric by 2030 or at least they want most of their vehicles to have an alternative powertrain. This is a bold move from Cadillac; we applaud them as this will trickle down to other GM products not limited to the Bolt that is currently there only EV model sold in North America. The CO2 emission of the XT6 is 277g/km and compared to all of its German rivals; its emissions are lower; however, compared to the Asian competitors, they all have lower emissions.

The strength of the XT6 is driving down the HWY. The ride is comfortable even when you experience less than stellar roads. The suspension is tuned to be on the softer side without losing precision around corners. Other SUVs this size get tossed around with high winds, the XT6 stays planted, and you’ll also see that Cadillac invested a lot of time making the XT6 as aerodynamic as possible.

Our XT6 came with an 8-speaker Bose system that did an okay job for most of the music we played on it, like with other Bose lower frequencies aren't put forward, the rest of the spectrum does sounds rich. The infotainment is easy to use; the click wheel or touch screen can operate it. What can cause some frustration, is when, for example, we were trying to look for the directions of the fans, no physical button was available. When we found the option, it was hidden within the infotainment and required you to look away, most of these simple commands required us to look away to be able to operate it properly. The integration of Android Auto and Apple Car Play is nicely done and works like a charm. Unfortunately, Apple Car Play isn't available wirelessly; this seems like a missed opportunity as the design of the phone holder is so well thought of that other companies should offer similar storage; its minimalist size while still offering wireless charging. Another fantastic feature is the "REAR CAMERA MIRROR" system; this displays a broader view than what you see traditionally in the rear mirror. While we were in the middle lane, we were able to see all 3 lanes behind us and in some way without any blind spots. My first thought was how is this feature going to hold up in a snowstorm, so many rear cameras become unusable in bad weather. On the contrary, the camera is placed on top of the vehicle, helping it not get dirty when used daily. The second feature they've integrated to make it useful in any weather is that it can be cleaned by pressing a button that will spray it with windshield washer. The XT6 offers 6 USB outlets, and they've made them also future proof as some of them are also USB-C ports.

Getting car seats into the XT6 isn't too complicated; the doors open quite wide, the ISOFIX ports, are a little hidden underneath the outer seats in the 2nd row while they aren't the most accessible, latching the car seat wasn't too difficult. When a car seat is installed on one of these seats, access to the 3rd row is compromised. As for the 3rd row, car seats can only be latched using the anchor latch. Young children getting into the vehicle will require an adult to open the door, once that is done the floor is quite low to the ground making it easy to hop on and hop out. As mentioned above, the seats don't move forward a lot; however, it will be enough for young children to pass through it.

While we don't like the fuel economy we saw in the city, all the security tech found in the XT6 is pleasant. It works as advertised, such as rear pedestrian detection, automatic parking that even worked when there was snow. What we liked less is that each time we left from a still stand and accelerated quickly, it would induce torque steer, making it unpleasant to drive in the city. The suspension, on the other hand, was tuned nice and soft and was able to smooth out the worst crevasses it could find. The steering was light, which helped maneuverability in the city.

Why would we buy the 2020 Cadillac XT6 Sport or what we like about it: Well designed interior around the driver and comfortable seats, rear camera mirror adds visibility, well-balanced suspension, perfect for long road trips with the family.

Why we wouldn't buy the 2020 Cadillac XT6 Sport or what we didn't like about it: Only one engine option, and for the price of the vehicle, we would expect a more powerful engine, especially compared to competitors. High fuel economy in the city, AWD not as good as other vehicles in this segment.

Cadillac has lent us this vehicle for one weeks as a press vehicle, we have no affiliation with GM Canada, and the above is a recollection of our personal opinion of the vehicle referred above.

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