Test Drive: 2020 Cadillac XT6

A three-row luxe alternative to the brand's more truck-like Escalade

Pulling away from Washington DC’s National Mall toward the green woods of Northern Virginia, there’s a calming near-silence in the cabin of the 2020 Cadillac XT6. The ride is smooth too, the result of a lot of chassis engineering ensures road vibration doesn’t translate to the cabin. New Cadillac-specific Bose speakers offer noise-cancelling technology. Details like these matter most to buyers of Cadillac‘s new three-row crossover, which is larger than the XT4 and the XT5 and smaller than the massive Escalade.

On the Platinum Edition, there’s a carbon fiber interior trim that has some unique thought put into it. It features a copper wire that’s actually woven through the structure and it gives off a reflection in the light. There’s also a unique finish applied. “You’ll notice on the instrument panel it has a hand-painted ombre effect. You get this darker shift as you move down to the lower section of the detail and it just accentuates the form. After the part’s been formed and the gloss coating is on it, there’s someone that adds that coloring to the bottom section, to add a little bit of movement as well,” Mara Kapsis, a color and trim designer tells us.

She explains how decisions like this are based on trends, but also how the team interprets them: “Obviously it’s a really big trend in fashion, in furniture, in interiors and this was a way of sort of bringing that in, in a really sophisticated way,” she says.

Andrew Smith, Cadillac’s Design Director,  shares that “as the portfolio of SUVs has expanded, it’s been critical for the design team to think about the different customers for each (model) and then define the character of that vehicle. The XT6 has…a relaxing and spacious interior experience. We wanted to make it feel incredibly spacious irrespective of where you sit. The exterior brief was to deliver Escalade-like presence with a scale that fits everyday life.” The XT6 delivers on each of these intentions.

There are several other subtle, deliberate and intentional touches that are thoughtful too—the headlights have a bit of the bright Galvano metallic finish (which looks like a slightly subdued chrome) that matches the Galvano-finished metal work on the side of the vehicle, the wheels and rear.

A laser-etched Cadillac chevron in the headlights matches the chevron on the seats, connecting exterior and interior. Similarly, the Cadillac script can be found in the headlights and inside of the vehicle. “We really want that to be a bit of a surprise and delight feature for the customer,” adds Ryan Skelley, who leads wheel design.

In fact, the details all interweave. Skelley says, “The idea was you’ve got your bright work on the front and as your eye moves around to the side you get to the bright work on the wheel, and then you get to the Galvano bright bar itself, and then you hit another wheel, and then you get to the bright bar on the rear, so the customer’s eye is always moving around the car, always in motion.”

Skelley says this helps the car feel elegant, but also more mobile and dynamic. The XT6 also debuts Cadillac’s first-ever 21-inch wheel as an option. The optional Sport wheel (finished in Medium Android Satin) is meant to work with the Galvano bright metallic finishes on the car.

While there are several thoughtful details, Cadillac has covered the basics as well. Regardless the version or trim, the XT6 is powered by a 310 horsepower, 271 pound-foot 3.6-liter V6 engine. Power is distributed to the front or all four wheels via a nine-speed automatic transmission, and the delivery is smooth. Sitting on the same architecture as the XTV, the XT6 gets stretched about nine inches longer and a couple inches taller.

An eight-inch screen features the newest CUE (Cadillac User Experience) infotainment system, and it’s logical and easy to use. There are six USB ports, seats can be heated and cooled, and a myriad of options offer significant choice. While the XT6 begins at $52,695, our well-equipped and highly-optioned model is priced at $71,000. The XT6 will be available in dealerships in late summer.

Images courtesy of Cadillac