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2021 Cadillac XT6 Review

A lackluster engine, an unsettled ride, firm seats, and a shortage of high-end materials all help keep the 2021 Cadillac XT6 near the bottom of our luxury midsize SUV rankings.

Pros & Cons

  • Composed handling
  • Roomy seats in all rows
  • Above average overall cargo capacity
  • Underwhelming engine options
  • Fewer premium cabin materials than in rivals
  • Seats could use additional support

7.3

Overall

Scorecard

Critics' Rating: 7.0
Performance: 6.6
Interior: 6.9
Safety: 9.8
Reliability:
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

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Is the Cadillac XT6 a Good SUV?

Despite its ranking, the Cadillac XT6 is a good luxury midsize SUV. Its overall cargo capacity eclipses that of many rivals, and it has three rows of spacious seats. However, this Cadillac doesn't match the luxury of other vehicles in the class. Its ride can feel floaty over potholes, and its seats are neither as supportive nor as comfortable as those of its classmates. Furthermore, its base engine feels underpowered, and even the available V6 is just fine rather than great.

Why You Can Trust Us: 28 Reviews Analyzed

Our goal is to make shopping for your next car as easy as possible. You'll find everything you need to know about this SUV in our comprehensive review. It combines concrete data like fuel economy estimates, horsepower specs, and cargo space dimensions with 26 professional reviews.

This 2021 Cadillac XT6 review incorporates applicable research for all models in this generation, which launched for 2020.

U.S. News Best Cars has been ranking and reviewing vehicles since 2007, and our staff has more than 75 years of combined experience in the auto industry. To ensure our objectivity, we never accept expensive gifts from carmakers, and an outside firm manages the ads on our site.

Should I Buy the Cadillac XT6?

Cadillac loads the XT6 with plenty of features for a below-average price, but there are a lot of better options in the class. The Acura MDX is even more affordable than the XT6, and the Genesis GV80 pairs powerful engines with a low price tag. Additionally, if you like the XT6 but don't care about the luxury badge, you might want to check out some midsize crossovers that are built on the same platform, such as the Buick Enclave, GMC Acadia, or Chevrolet Traverse.

Find a 2021 Cadillac XT6 for sale near you »

2020 vs. 2021 Cadillac XT6: What's the Difference?

For the 2021 model year, Cadillac introduces a new base trim to the XT6’s lineup, and it comes with a turbocharged four-cylinder engine that wasn’t previously available. Otherwise, the XT6 is largely unchanged from 2020, when it debuted as a brand-new SUV.

Compare the 2020 and 2021 XT6 »

If you're considering an older model, be sure to read our 2020 XT6 review to help make your decision. Also, check out our Best New Car Deals and Best New Car Lease Deals pages to learn about savings and discounts you can find on new vehicles.

How Much Does the Cadillac XT6 Cost?

The entry-level Cadillac XT6 Luxury has a starting MSRP of $47,995, which leans toward the affordable range of luxury midsize SUV retail prices. The top trim Sport model starts at $57,195, which significantly undercuts the base price of many rivals’ top trims, though keep in mind that many competitors offer true performance-oriented trims with more powerful engines that the XT6 lacks.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Cadillac dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Cadillac deals page.

Cadillac XT6 Versus the Competition

Cadillac XT6 vs. Lincoln Aviator

The Lincoln Aviator is a great luxury midsize SUV, and it’s a better choice than the XT6 in most ways. Its base engine is more powerful than anything in the XT6, and it offers a gentler ride, a larger touch screen, and more cargo room behind the third row. The Cadillac has more overall cargo room, and buying a base model will save you around $3,100 compared to the Lincoln, but if you have a little leeway in your budget, take off in the Aviator.

Compare the XT6 and Aviator »

Cadillac XT6 vs. Cadillac Escalade

The Cadillac Escalade is the brand’s full-size SUV. Fully redesigned for 2021, the Escalade is a great vehicle. It blows past the XT6 when it comes to power, passenger and cargo space, and technology. The Escalade also has a more sumptuous cabin. Price is the main obstacle here; the base Escalade costs about $28,200 more than the XT6. For more budget-minded shoppers, the XT6 is still a decent pick.

Compare the XT6 and Escalade »

Compare the XT6, Aviator, and Escalade »

XT6 Interior: Good, but Not Great

XT6 Cargo Space

This Cadillac has 12.6 cubic feet of space behind the third row, 43.1 cubic feet behind the second row, and 78.7 cubic feet behind the first row. The space in the very back is enough for a few grocery bags and not much else, but the other figures are above average for the class. Power-folding third-row seats and a power liftgate come standard.

How Many People Does the XT6 Seat?

The XT6 is a three-row luxury SUV with seating for up to seven people. Models with second-row captain’s chairs only seat six. There’s a good amount of space in all three rows, and accessing the rear is easy. However, some critics express a desire for the seats to be better cushioned and more supportive.

Synthetic leather upholstery and front seats with heating and power adjustments come standard. Genuine leather upholstery is available, along with more power adjustments for the front seats, ventilated front seats, heated second-row outboard seats, and a heated, power-adjustable steering wheel.

XT6 and Child Car Seats

There is a complete set of LATCH connectors for the XT6’s second-row outboard seats. The tethers are easy to use, but the lower anchors are set deeply in the seats. The third-row outboard seats also have a single tether anchor, which can be easily confused with other hardware. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gives the LATCH system the second-highest rating of Acceptable for its ease of use.

XT6 Interior Quality

Although the Cadillac XT6 has a handsome and well-insulated cabin, many midsize luxury crossovers are more opulent and feature higher-end materials.

XT6 Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

The CUE infotainment system’s touch screen has crisp graphics and rapid responses, and there are plenty of physical controls. Figuring out how the system works can take a bit of time though, and the touch-sensitive climate controls are somewhat finicky.

  • Standard infotainment features: an 8-inch touch screen, six USB ports, Bluetooth, a Wi-Fi hot spot, an eight-speaker Bose stereo, satellite radio, and wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay
  • Available infotainment features: an 8-inch digital gauge cluster, wireless device charging, navigation, a 14-speaker Bose stereo, and a rear-seat entertainment system with dual displays
  • Additional standard features: tri-zone automatic climate control, remote start, proximity keyless entry, push-button start, and a sunroof

For more information, read What Is Apple CarPlay? and What Is Android Auto?

Read more about interior »

XT6 Performance: Back of the Pack

XT6 Engine

Standard in the base trim is a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 237 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. This engine is underpowered, and acceleration comes slowly. The Premium Luxury and Sport trims swap the turbo-four for a 3.6-liter V6. With 310 horsepower and 271 pound-feet of torque, it’s more energetic than the base engine, but it’s only satisfactory at best. You can find more powerful setups in plenty of rivals.

A nine-speed automatic transmission is standard throughout the lineup.

XT6 Gas Mileage

With its turbo-four engine, the XT6 returns an EPA-estimated 21 mpg in the city and 27 or 26 mpg on the highway, depending on whether it has front- or all-wheel drive. These are good ratings for the luxury midsize SUV class. Models with the V6 are rated at 18 to 19 mpg city and 25 to 26 mpg highway, which are more typical for the segment and more comparable since many rivals feature six-cylinder engines.

Keep in mind that the Cadillac’s four-cylinder model uses premium gasoline while the V6 takes regular. This means annual fuel costs may actually be higher for the four-cylinder than the V6. According to the EPA, fueling the four-cylinder model may cost around $250 more per year than the V6, despite its better rating.

XT6 Ride and Handling

While it’s hard to call any three-row SUV sporty, this Cadillac handles with confidence. Body roll is kept in check, and precise steering and strong brakes help it remain poised around turns. The ride is comfortable, but larger bumps and dips in the road can cause the XT6 to feel unsettled. For extra athleticism, consider the XT6 Sport, which comes with enhancements like a torque-vectoring rear differential and a uniquely tuned all-wheel-drive system.

XT6 Towing Capacity

When properly equipped, this luxury SUV can tow up to 4,000 pounds.

Read more about performance »

XT6 Reliability

Is the Cadillac XT6 Reliable?

As of this writing, the 2021 XT6 has not been evaluated for predicted reliability.

Cadillac XT6 Warranty

Cadillac backs the XT6 with a four-year/50,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty and a six-year/70,000-mile powertrain warranty.

Read more about reliability »

XT6 Safety

XT6 Crash Test Results

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the 2021 XT6 an overall safety rating of five out of five stars. The XT6 earned five stars in the frontal and side crash tests and four stars in the rollover test.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety named the 2021 XT6 a Top Safety Pick+, giving it the highest rating of Good in all six crash tests and the second-highest rating of Acceptable for how well its headlights illuminate the road ahead. The IIHS uses a different scale for grading collision avoidance features, and it gave this vehicle’s front crash prevention systems the highest rating of Superior.

XT6 Safety Features

Standard advanced safety features:

  • Rearview camera
  • Forward collision warning
  • Forward automatic emergency braking
  • Pedestrian detection
  • Lane departure warning
  • Lane keep assist
  • Front and rear parking sensors
  • Following distance indicator
  • Safety alert driver’s seat (vibrates in conjunction with other active safety features to alert driver to potential hazards)
  • Teen Driver (lets you do things like set speed and audio volume limits for secondary drivers)

Available advanced safety features:

  • Parallel and perpendicular park assist
  • Surround-view parking camera system
  • Rear camera mirror (displays camera feed from behind car onto rearview mirror)
  • Blind spot monitoring
  • Rear cross traffic alert
  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Reverse automatic emergency braking
  • Night vision camera

Read more about safety »

XT6 Dimensions and Weight

The XT6 is 16.5 feet long. Its curb weight ranges from 4,362 to 4,690 pounds.

Where Is the 2021 Cadillac XT6 Built?

Cadillac builds the 2021 XT6 in Tennessee.

Which Cadillac XT6 Model Is Right for Me?

Cadillac makes the 2021 XT6 in three trim levels: Luxury, Premium Luxury, and Sport. The Luxury has a 237-horsepower turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, and the other trims upgrade to a 310-horsepower 3.6-liter V6. A nine-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive are standard. All-wheel drive is available in the Luxury and Premium Luxury, and the Sport comes standard with a uniquely tuned all-wheel-drive system.

It’s worth upgrading to the Premium Luxury for the stronger engine alone, but it’s also available with a host of driver assistance and convenience features. Performance-minded shoppers may want to consider the Sport model.

A $1,995 dual-headrest rear-seat entertainment system is available throughout the lineup.

Cadillac XT6 Luxury

The base XT6 Luxury has a starting MSRP of $47,995. For that money, you’ll get an 8-inch touch screen, wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, six USB ports, an eight-speaker Bose stereo, satellite radio, a Wi-Fi hot spot, front and rear parking sensors, lane keep assist, lane departure warning, forward collision alert, low-speed automatic emergency braking, pedestrian detection, front and rear parking sensors, a rearview camera, a safety alert driver’s seat, synthetic leather upholstery, heated front seats, proximity keyless entry, remote start, tri-zone automatic climate control, a power liftgate, and a sunroof.

Other than a few styling tweaks, Cadillac does not offer any major packages with this trim. All-wheel drive costs $2,000.

Cadillac XT6 Premium Luxury

Premium Luxury models start at $52,795. Additions include genuine leather upholstery, more power adjustments for the front seats, power-folding capability for the third row, a power-adjustable and heated steering wheel, blind spot monitoring, rear ross traffic alert, rain-sensing windshield wipers, a hands-free power liftgate, and wireless device charging.

Most of the Premium Luxury’s other additions come as options. For $2,350, you can get the Enhanced Visibility and Technology package, which sports an 8-inch digital gauge cluster, a head-up display, a rear camera mirror, a surround-view parking camera system, rear pedestrian alert, and an automatic park assist system. The $1,300 Driver Assist package also comes with a few safety features, such as reverse automatic emergency braking, high-speed automatic emergency braking, and adaptive cruise control. For $750, you can get the Comfort and Air Quality package, which has ventilated front seats, heated second-row outboard seats, and an air purifier. Other options include assist steps for $750, navigation for $1,000, and second-row captain’s chairs for $800.

The $11,250 Platinum package outfits the Premium Luxury trim with the contents of the above packages, as well as semi-aniline leather upholstery, an adaptive suspension, a 14-speaker Bose stereo, navigation, and a few other interior enhancements, such as a microfiber headliner and carbon fiber or Calico wood accents. If you have the Platinum package, you can get a night vision camera for another $2,000.

Cadillac XT6 Sport

With a starting MSRP of $57,195, the Sport trim doesn’t add much over the Premium Luxury, aside from a uniquely tuned all-wheel-drive system, selectable drive modes, and a damping suspension. The same options and packages remain available, though pricing may be slightly different.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Cadillac dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Cadillac deals page.

See 2021 Cadillac XT6 specs and trims »

The Final Call

The 2021 Cadillac XT6 handles well for its size, it has a large cargo hold, and it offers plenty of passenger space, even in the third row. It comes loaded with features too. However, it’s held back in our luxury midsize SUV rankings by meager engines, an uneven ride over rough roads, and unsupportive seats. Despite some nice cabin materials, this Cadillac lags its rivals when it comes to luxury too.

Don't just take our word for it. Check out comments from some of the reviews that drive our rankings and analysis.

  • "The Cadillac XT6 is a sharp-looking newcomer to the midsize three-row SUV segment. Appealing technology features and a comfortable cabin impart good initial impressions. But once you start stacking the XT6 up against the competition, it begins to lose its luster. We were underwhelmed mostly by its poor drivability and an all-wheel-drive system you have to engage manually. On top of that, it seems a bit overpriced." -- Edmunds
  • "The XT6 is a luxury three-row SUV that’s positioned to rival premium models such as the Audi Q7 and Lexus RX L. But this inviting vehicle comes up a bit short. The XT6 lacks some features that buyers might expect in a luxury SUV, and it has disappointing fuel economy. Cadillac’s poor brand reliability also hurts the vehicle’s Overall Score. We found it to be a pleasant companion for commuting and road trips. But this Cadillac hasn't demonstrated any reason for buyers to choose it over key competitors." -- Consumer Reports
  • "So, it looks like a supermodel; that's a slam dunk, and it's not completely devoid of substance. Dynamically, it's probably a step behind those aforementioned Germans, and a step ahead of the MDX and QX60, but do luxury crossover buyers care about that? I don't think so. It's also the newest three-row on the block, and Cadillac is solidly moving in the right direction." -- Autoweek (2020)
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