Although it shares components with the GMC Acadia, the 2021 Cadillac XT6 manages to disguise its down-market roots with convincingly upscale styling and a feature-rich options list. Two engines are offered—a turbocharged four-cylinder and a V-6—and there’s even a Sport model with a torque-vectoring rear differential. Despite its performance bits, the XT6 lacks the driving verve of more athletic rivals such as the Audi Q7 and BMW X5. Instead, it seems better suited for taking on its crosstown rival, the Lincoln Aviator. Cadillac provides plenty of desirable equipment in the XT6, including a host of driver-assistance features, three rows of seats, and a power-operated liftgate.
What’s New for 2021?
A turbocharged four-cylinder joins the XT6 lineup for 2021 as part of the new entry-level Luxury trim level. The turbo four is shared with the smaller XT5 SUV, makes 237 horsepower, and comes paired to a nine-speed automatic transmission and either front- or all-wheel drive. The 310-hp V-6 is still standard on the Premium Luxury and Sport models. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration are now standard across the lineup, and the top-level Sport model receives a new 20-inch wheel design.
Engine, Transmission, and Performance
For 2021, XT6 Buyers can choose from either a 237-hp turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder or a 310-hp V-6 engine. Both come with a nine-speed automatic and can be had with front- or all-wheel drive. Three trim levels—Luxury, Premium Luxury, and Sport—make up the XT6 lineup, with the first two being more about comfort and the Sport receiving performance-enhancing extras such as a torque-vectoring rear differential and retuned steering. A Platinum package is available and gives the XT6 all the goodies. No matter the trim, the XT6 certainly looks handsome; 20-inch wheels come standard, but you can get 21-inchers on the Sport model. Handling is reasonably athletic for a three-row crossover, but no one will mistake it for the agile CT5-V sedan.
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
The EPA estimates the 2021 XT6 with the standard turbo-four will earn up to 21 mpg in the city and 27 mpg on the highway. Models with the V-6 engine are rated up to 19 mpg city and 26 highway. The all-wheel-drive XT6 we ran on our 75-mph highway fuel-economy route, which is part of our extensive testing regimen, is less rosy with a result of 22 mpg. For reference, the Mercedes-Benz GLE450 we tested on that route earned 23.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
Inside, the Cadillac offers both seven- and eight-seat layouts, featuring either a pair of captain’s chairs or a three-seat bench in the second row. All XT6s come with a third row that’ll seat three passengers. The XT6’s interior trimmings don’t impress when compared with those of the Audi Q7 or the BMW X5. Cargo space is limited, too, with room for only three carry-on suitcases. But lowering the back two rows frees up enough room to fit 31 suitcases. The Q7 accommodates four cases behind its third row but just 25 with the seats down, making the XT6 the better choice if you regularly need to transport big and bulky cargo.
Infotainment and Connectivity
All XT6 models come with touchscreen infotainment, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration, onboard Wi-Fi, and wireless smartphone charging. Cadillac’s latest version of its CUE (Cadillac User Experience) software is displayed crisply on an 8.0-inch screen and reacts promptly to commands. Navigation is an optional feature, as is a rear-seat entertainment system with a DVD player.
Safety and Driver-Assistance Features
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has given the XT6 a five-star rating, and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) named it a Top Safety Pick+, the agency’s highest honor. A host of driver-assistance features (automated emergency braking, lane-keeping assist, blind-spot monitoring) are standard, while more advanced features (adaptive cruise control, night vision) are available as options. Key safety features include:
- Standard automated emergency braking with pedestrian detection
- Standard lane-departure warning with lane-keeping assist
- Available adaptive cruise control and night vision