• Auto123 reviews the 2022 Cadillac XT6.
• This luxury SUV shares its architecture with the GMC Acadia.
• The new Brembo brakes and sport suspension are game changers.
• The XT6's silhouette is fairly generic, sadly.
Cadillac's SUV lineup expanded three seasons ago with the addition of the XT6. The new three-row crossover filled a need within GM’s most premium brand.
The XT6 does not carry the title of Cadillac's flagship - there's the Escalade, after all – and in it’s aimed at a wide-ranging customer base, including motorists who not so long ago might have shopped in the minivan segment, but that today prefer to be seen behind the wheel of something more aggressive-looking.
And even as Cadillac begins its journey to towards electric vehicles starting with the upcoming Lyriq, the brand will need practical vehicles like the XT6 to continue to fund its electric shift.
Yes, like it or not, more traditional ICE vehicles like the XT6 are part of the short-term solution for automakers.
Here’s our review of a luxury crossover that sits in the shadow of the Escalade, a true symbol of American opulence.
A self-effacing design, despite the Sport badge
The XT6 isn't the kind of SUV that stands out in traffic, especially when dressed in Silver Metallic finish and 20-inch wheels. Although, with those red brake calipers on all four corners, the XT6 shows some of its colours (well, a bit).
But looks aside, the addition of this Brembo braking system up front is the biggest news for the XT6 this year. We can confirm that the SUV braking is firmer and requires shorter distances!
This Sport trim is in our view the most attractive of the lineup with its black grille and several other darkened details here and there. The other two trims (Luxury and Premium Luxury) are more chrome-focused.
The XT6's fascia is very nice, certainly more attractive than the SUV's anonymous rear end. Overall, the Cadillac XT6 doesn't break with convention with its rectangular silhouette, but then, for some consumers, sobriety is precisely what they want.
What about the interior?
Things aren’t any more exotic inside. The dashboard is already “old” despite the model's introduction dating back only to the 2020 model-year. This is all the more glaring because Cadillac’s newest dashboards found elsewhere are strikingly from this more conventional arrangement. The presence of carbon-fibre elements helps a bit, but only a bit.
The drive data screen behind the steering wheel still features traditional dials, a clue that betrays the age of the platform, while the multimedia screen relatively small for the segments at 8 inches diagonally.
At least, the XT6 isn't too deprived when it comes to connectivity with wireless versions of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The excellent, easy-to-use infotainment system is great for everyday use.
On the downside, all those touch-sensitive controls on the dashboard aren't very user-friendly, especially on bumpier roads, on which the suspension's bouncing can make finger slip all too easily. Yes, you can use buttons on the steering wheel and other shortcut buttons on the lower centre console, but I personally find those too low and thus a bit of a reach away. Perhaps a smaller gear shifter would allow those buttons to be placed closer to the dashboard, a more ergonomic position in my opinion.
Otherwise, the right driving position is easy to find, the seat and steering column both being power-adjustable. The steering wheel could be more sportier, but given the purpose of this three-row crossover, the generic - and heated - steering wheel is probably the sane choice.
Behind the wheel
This Sport trim is definitely the best of the lineup, and not just because it's prettier. No, the mere presence of a sport suspension - which isn't too firm, by the way - and those big brakes up front add some bite. Certainly, this SUV is a bit more fun to drive than its brethren based on the same platform (Buick Enclave, Chevrolet Traverse, GMC Acadia).
So while the Cadillac XT6 hasn't reached the same level od dynamism as its German competition, we find it's a vehicle that plays role of luxury family people mover to perfection, with just enough sportiness under the right foot to have fun when the occasion permits.
Indeed, the naturally aspirated 3.6L V6 is the best choice for this vehicle. We feel this is a more agile vehicle than the Buick Enclave, for example. And yet, a quick look at the Buick and Cadillac's spec sheet reveals that both are very similar in weight. But the XT6 wins handling points thanks to its shorter platform. The shorter wheelbase improves the crossover's performance in the city, for example.
As a proper family SUV, the 2023 Cadillac XT6 outshines most of its rivals when it comes to comfort. The cabin is well insulated and very comfortable, especially thanks to the leather seating.
In the back, passengers can choose the desired degree of recline for a nap... or to stay vertical to admire the landscape. It may not seem like a big deal, but the fact that the rear seats can all be folded down via a series of buttons makes them much easier to handle, even if they take longer to do so!
The final word
I've been able to drive several GM crossovers over the years and my favorites remain those badged GMC and Cadillac, simply because of their superior handling. There’s not a huge difference, but behind the wheel, you can feel it.
And when you're talking about a vehicle that costs more than $65,000 (before preparation fees and applicable taxes), it’s pretty good that the driving experience can at least generates smiles, even if that's the model’s primary mission.
The quiet ride
The new and improved braking power
Superior handling (Sport model)
We like less
The unobtrusive design
The size of the central screen
Still too many components borrowed from other GM divisions
Some of your questions about the 2023 Cadillac XT6:
How much power does the 3.6L V6 deliver?
Is there another powertrain option?
Yes, it's the 2.0L turbocharged 4-cylinder good for 237 hp, which is reserved for the base Luxury trim level.
Is there less room in the XT6 than in the Buick Enclave, for example?
The answer is yes, but the difference is minimal.