These are the 8 things I love most (but, there’s more!)
“I don’t really love it, but I wanted a Cadillac,” my friend Susan told me about her Escalade. It was too big for her, it was hard to park and felt more like a truck than a family car, but she didn’t have a choice. She needed a full size SUV with a third row and she wanted a luxury brand. This has been the dilemma for many families who want a luxury SUV and need a full-size third row.
But finally, Cadillac has answered the call. The Cadillac XT6 is slightly smaller than the Escalade and much easier to drive, but accommodates more passengers and stuff than the XT5, Cadillac’s 2-row SUV.
We’ve been waiting for this. Susan, and thousands like her, love all that Cadillac stands for: American luxury and beautiful details, an easy ownership offer and when needed, easy to repair. It’s a great fit for drivers who need more cargo space, more seating capacity and for those who need a full time third row, the second row captains chairs make this a true option.
What The Cadillac XT6 Costs
- Starting price for 3.6 liter V6 with 310 horsepower base model which is pretty nicely loaded, about $54,000
- The Luxury edition we drove, fully loaded, including head up display, a dual panel sunroof and most of the luxuries mentioned here, about $59,790
- The Sport edition starts at a few thousand more and with a few more options, the fully loaded top of the line XT6 can be closer to $68,000
We took the XT6 for a test drive through Virginia’s wine country and got to take note of all the awesome details that make this just what we’ve been waiting for.
1. The New Face of Cadillac: A Modern, Elegant Look and Feel
More than any single detail, and yet, the sum of many beautiful details, the modern elegance of the XT6 comes through, in inside and out.
The exterior look is streamlined with a simplified front grille and smaller headlights; the chrome that surrounds the grille, headlights and other features is minimal and subdued, an accent rather than a center stage feature. Windows and other features are framed in black.
2. The Modern Elegance Continues Inside
Inside, the dashboard is covered in a gorgeous, glossy wood grain, or if you choose, a glowing woven carbon fiber (which I fell in love with!). The wood grain is perfectly matched and finished so that it comes to a “V” at the center of the dash, just under the infotainment screen, for the most elegant look and feel—a true Cadillac detail.
The infotainment system has been updated and streamlined for more function, less frustration. I found it easy to use and with Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, it was even easier to plug-and-go.
The seating is classic Cadillac too, with channeled chevron panels that support your weight are comfortable and firm, even in the second and third row. The overall effect is distinct, modern and fresh.
And in the Sport model, Alcantara microsuede lines the dash, the doors and the ceiling headliner. This suede, which also lines Louis Vuitton handbags, gives the XT6 lush, cocoon-like feel.
3. Cargo Space That is Ample, and a Brilliant Grocery Bin!
I loved this detail: Lift the cargo floor behind the third row to find a grocery bin. It’s angled so things won’t roll around (much). Also, the floor lid can be left open at an angle and it’ll stay there. Perfect for plants, groceries or other items you don’t want crushed.
4. Sliding Second Row Seats
Buyers will have to make a choice here: second row captains chairs for a total passenger capacity of 6, or a second row bench for seating for 7. With the captains chairs the third row is much easier to access, so for families that need it daily, this is a great choice. But if you need that 7th seat, the second row seats easily tilt and slide forward for third row access (I did this and it was fairly easy to get in and out).
5. Space-Age Technology in a Family Car! Head Up Display, Night Vision, a Live View Mirror and 6 USB Ports Are at Your Service
These are three features I really love: Head up display projects key driver information (your speed, the speed limit, and most importantly, the song on the radio) onto the windshield in front of you.
Night vision pops up on the driver display at night (or dark conditions) to show you the machinery, people and other breathing things in front of you.
The rear view mirror can be toggled between a live mirror view and a live camera view. Using the rear view camera, you have a live, wider view of all that is behind you, without blindspots or obstructions.
In a 6 or 7 passenger SUV these can be invaluable, not only helping you see through your blind spots, but helping to cut through the distractions that so many passengers can pose.
And USB ports! There are 6, plus a wireless charging pad made for oversized phones. 3 of the USB ports are USB-A (standard types) and 3 are USB-C which is the coming standard and starting to be implemented by Apple’s laptops and Android phones.
6. The XT6’s Drivability — HUGE Yay in a Not-So-Huge SUV
I loved driving this car. It was quiet, it was easy and it was fun. Sport mode gives you a bit more fun when you want it, and AWD and Off-Road mode add to the capability. But what I liked most is that it’s not an Escalade. I love the space in the Escalade but parking it can be a challenge. The XT6 was easier to drive, even on narrow roads, and easier to handle. It didn’t feel nearly as big as it is.
7. It’s the Little Things That Matter Most
Like the awesome Hollywood-lighting style vanity mirrors. And the chevron channeled upholstery that was so comfortable. And the woven carbon fiber on the dashboard. And the rear seat reminder that lets you know you put something in the back seat—a child perhaps? And the sliding second row seats that make getting in and out of the third row easy. And the nearly flat floor of the second row that makes a perfect place to put your handbag.
8. The XT6 Was Built by a Diverse Team, Which Is Probably Why It’s So Thoughtful
When Cadillac first revealed the XT6 in Detroit in January I got to spend a few minutes with Crystal Windham, one of the XT6’s designers. She’s been on an amazing journey at General Motors bringing her own personal insights to car design, making sure that the voice of female customers is heard, and that each design reflects how we want to look and feel in our cars. She proudly showed me the grocery bin, the woven carbon fiber and the chevron-channeled leather seats. But Crystal is one of many people who put their imprint on the XT6, a large, diverse team who work together to build a car they love and that they think you will love, too.
Cadillac has been on a journey of reinvention. They knew they needed to serve the customer who wants luxury and space, but in a not-too-large SUV, so the XT6 was chosen to represent the brand’s new direction. It showcases many of Cadillac’s new details and the brand’s modern new look. And that this showcase is in a 3-row SUV makes us happy. There’s room for us all to enjoy the journey.
What We Listened to in the Cadillac XT6
The Bose premium sound system isn’t there just to look pretty (though it does look pretty). This is what we thought sounded awesome in the Cadillac.
Disclosure: I was Cadillac’s guest for this test drive; travel and accommodations were provided but all opinions are my own.