The XT6 checks almost all the boxes, but it lacks the pizzazz that its German rivals offer

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The Cadillac XT6 is a fairly new kid on the block. It is a full-fledged three-row SUV that comes with a smart exterior, a host of features inside the cabin, and two different engine options to choose from. For the 2021 model year, the company has introduced a new base trim with a four-cylinder engine option.

The higher trims, however, come with the big V-6 that is neither fuel-efficient nor too powerful. Even on paper, it doesn’t feel as accomplished as the BMW X5 and the Audi Q7. The XT6 doesn’t feel like a threat to its German counterparts, but it’s still an all-rounded SUV that offers a lot of bang for the buck. Can Cadillac make the XT6 a threatening proposition in the coming years?

Cadillac XT6 Drivetrain, Fuel Economy, and Towing Capacity

  • 2.0-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder engine
  • 237 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque
  • 3.6-liter, V-6 engine
  • 310 horsepower and 271 pound-feet of torque
  • Nine-speed automatic gearbox
  • Front-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive configurations
  • Can tow just 4,000 pounds
2021 Cadillac XT6 - Driven Drivetrain
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The Cadillac XT6 is offered with two different engine options. For the 2021 model year, the company has introduced a new third trim, which sits at the bottom of the hierarchy and is powered by a 2.0-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder engine that produces 237 horses and 258 pound-feet of torque. Power is sent to either front wheels or all the wheels via a nine-speed automatic gearbox. It comes with an automatic start/stop system.

The other engine option is a 3.6-liter, V-6 that is offered on the Premium Luxury and Sport trims. It churns out 310 ponies and 271 pound-feet of torque. It is also mated to a nine-speed automatic transmission. This, too, comes with an automatic start/stop system. In the Sport trim, however, the transmission comes with a twin-clutch system that improves the performance and driving dynamics.

2021 Cadillac XT6 - Driven Drivetrain
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In the Premium Luxury trim, you can have it with either the front-wheel-drive or all-wheel-drive configuration, but in the top Sport trim, it is offered only in an all-wheel-drive layout. Cadillac charges a premium of $2,000 for the AWD system.

What Is The XT6’s Fuel Economy?

2021 Cadillac XT6 - Driven Exterior
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The Cadillac XT6 with its 3.6-liter, V-6 engine delivers 18 mpg in the city, 25 mpg on the highway, and 21 mpg combined. This is slightly better than the Q7’s 3.0-liter V-6, which delivers 18 mpg in the city, 23 mpg on the highway, and 20 mpg combined. The BMW, however, takes the cake. With the 3.0-liter V-6 engine under the hood, it returns 20 miles in the city, 26 miles on the highway, and 22 miles combined for every gallon of gasoline it consumes.

The Cadillac comes with a 22-gallon fuel tank, the BMW with a 21.9-gallon tank, and the Audi with a 22.5-gallon tank.

How Much Can The XT6 Tow?

2021 Cadillac XT6 - Driven Exterior
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If towing capacity plays an integral role in your ownership, then the Cadillac XT6 will disappoint you. It can tow merely 4,000 pounds, which is 2,200 pounds less than the BMW X5 and almost half of the Audi Q7’s 7,700-pound towing capacity.

Cadillac XT6 Exterior Design

  • LED headlights and taillights
  • Vertically-slated DRLs
  • Front cornering lamps
  • 18- to 21-inch wheel options
  • Hands-free power tailgate
  • Active aero shutters
  • Eight different exterior color options
2021 Cadillac XT6 - Driven Exterior
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The Cadillac XT6 looks butch, muscular, and quite proportionate for a three-row SUV. It is sharp, aggressive, and bold from all sides, thus giving a tough fight to the likes of the BMW X5 and the Audi Q7. With the Onyx package that blackens all the chrome detailing, the XT6 stands out in the crowd. The slim headlights, vertically-slated LED daytime running lights, and the big air dam at the bottom make this one hell of a looker.

For the curious folks wondering what the ‘400’ badge on the tailgate is, it stands for the 367 newton-meter of torque that the 3.6-liter, V-6 engine generates.
2021 Cadillac XT6 - Driven Exterior
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The base trim comes with 18-inch multi-spoke wheels with a bright silver finish as standard. The mid-Luxury trim is offered with 20-inch, six-split spoke wheels with either a polished or android finish as standard. In the top Sport trim, 20-inch 12-Spoke diamond-cut wheels with dark android satin finish pockets is offered as standard. Here, the automaker offers five different wheel designs to choose from. Four of them measure 20-inches and one of them, 21-inches. The 20-inch wheels come wrapped in 235/55 section all-season tires and the 21-inch wheels are wrapped in 265/45 section tires. All the models come with an 18-inch spare steel wheel as standard.

Some notable features in the top Sport trim include:

  • LED headlights and taillights
  • Heated driver side wing mirror
  • Deep-tinted glasses
  • Front cornering lamps
  • Back roof rails
  • Hands-free power tailgate
  • Automatic wipers
  • Power sunroof
  • Active aero shutters to enhance aerodynamics
2021 Cadillac XT6 - Driven Exterior
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Our example came finished in Crystal White Tricoat shade, which is a $1,225 option. In total, the XT6 is offered in eight different shades. These include:

  • Satin Steel Metallic (standard)
  • Stellar Black Metallic ($625)
  • Shadow Metallic ($625)
  • Garnet Metallic ($625)
  • Dark Moon Blue Metallic ($625)
  • Wilder Metallic ($625)
  • Crystal White Tricoat ($1,225)
  • Infrared Tintcoat ($1,225)

How Big Is The XT6?

2021 Cadillac XT6 - Driven Exterior
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The Cadillac XT6 is neither the longest nor the widest vehicle when compared to its immediate rivals. It is 198.8 inches long, 77.3 inches wide, and 68.9 inches tall. The BMW X5 measures 194.3 inches in length, 78.9 inches in width, and 68.7 inches in height, whereas the Audi Q7 is 199.3 inches long, 77.6 inches wide, and 68.5 inches tall.

Although the XT6 is just 0.5 inches shorter in length, it’s wheelbase is over five inches less than the Q7’s. Even the X5 boasts of a longer wheelbase. The numbers stand at 117.9 for the Q7, 117.1 for the X5, and just 112.7 for the XT6.

The tracks are almost identical for all three vehicles. The XT6’s front and rear tracks measure 66.4- and 66.2 inches wide, the X5’s measure 66.1- and 66.9 inches wide, and the Q7’s measure 66.1- and 66.6 inches wide, respectively.

Cadillac XT6 vs competition - exterior dimensions
Cadillac XT6 BMW X5 sDrive40i Audi Q7
Length 198.8 194.3 199.3
Width 77.3 78.9 77.6
Height 68.9 68.7 68.5
Wheelbase 112.7 117.13 117.9
Front Track 66.4 66.1 66.1
Rear Track 66.2 66.9 66.6

How Much Does The XT6 Weigh?

2021 Cadillac XT6 - Driven Exterior
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Despite having the biggest engine under the hood and a row of seats more than the BMW X5, the Cadillac XT6 is the lightest SUV of the lot. It weighs 4,644 pounds, making it almost 200 pounds lighter than the X5 and over pounds lighter than the Q7, which weigh 4,828- and 5,082 pounds respectively.

Cadillac XT6 Interior Design

  • Cabin is ergonomically perfect
  • Four different interior themes to choose from
  • Not a lot of storage space
  • Spacious in all three rows
  • A lot of cargo space available with seats folded
  • Stuff like tri-zone automatic climate control, heated seats, etc.
2021 Cadillac XT6 - Driven Interior
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Step inside and you’ll be welcomed to a rather pleasant and well-laid-out cabin. Nothing here seems too erratic or out of place. There aren’t a lot of cubby holes or storage spaces around the cabin, but there are enough to satisfy the needs of the majority of the customers. Cadillac offers four different interior themes on the XT6:

  • Jet Black, Leather Seating Surfaces with Mini-Perforated inserts
  • Cirrus, Leather Seating Surfaces with Mini-Perforated inserts
  • Jet Black, Semi-Aniline Leather Seating Surfaces with Chevron-Perforated inserts
  • Maple Sugar, Semi-Aniline Leather Seating Surfaces with Chevron-Perforated inserts

Some of the standard and optional features inside the cabin include:

  • Automatic heated steering wheel
  • Heated driver and passenger seats
  • Tri-zone automatic climate control
  • Head-up display
  • Keyless entry
  • Tire Pressure Monitoring System

Is The XT6 Spacious?

2021 Cadillac XT6 - Driven Interior
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Despite having the shortest wheelbase and least width, the XT6 is surprisingly as spacious as its counterparts. In the first row, it offers headroom of 39.8 inches, legroom of 41.2 inches, shoulder room of 58.3 inches, and hip room of 56.1 inches. The X5 and the Q7 offer a headroom of 40.8- and 39.9 inches, legroom of 39.8 and 41.7 inches, and shoulder room of 60- and 59.5 inches.

In the second row, things are equally impressive. The XT6 comes with 39.1 inches of headroom and legroom, 57.4 inches of shoulder room, and 55.7 inches of hip room. The X5, on the other hand, comes with a 38.7-inch headroom, 37.4-inch legroom, and 58.1-inch shoulder room. As for the Q7, you get a headroom and legroom of 38.8 inches, and shoulder room of 58.5 inches.

2021 Cadillac XT6 - Driven Interior
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The BMW X5 is a two-row vehicle whereas the XT6 and the Q7 come with a third row. The XT6 is a little more spacious here, measuring 37.2- and 29.5 inches in the headroom and legroom department, and 53.5- and 39.5 inches in the shoulder room and hip room aspect. As for the Q7, the headroom, legroom, and shoulder room are rated at 35.9-, 29.2-, and 49.4 inches, respectively.

Cadillac XT6 vs competition - interior dimensions
Cadillac XT6 BMW X5 sDrive40i Audi Q7
1st Row Headroom 39.8 40.8 39.9
1st Row Leg Room 41.2 39.8 41.7
1st Row Shoulder Room 58.3 60 59.5
1st Row Hip Room 56.1 NA NA
2nd Row Headroom 39.1 38.7 38.8
2nd Row Leg Room 39.1 37.4 38.8
2nd Row Shoulder Room 57.4 58.1 58.5
2nd Row Hip Room 55.7 NA NA
3rd Row Headroom 37.2 NA 35.9
3rd Row Leg Room 29.5 NA 29.2
3rd Row Shoulder Room 53.5 NA 49.4
3rd Row Hip Room 39.5 NA NA

How Much Cargo Can The XT6 Carry?

2021 Cadillac XT6 - Driven Interior
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With all the seats in place, the Cadillac XT6 offers a cargo space of 12.6 cubic feet, which is 1.6 cubic feet less than the Audi Q7. Flip down the third row and the XT6 offers the maximum space. It is rated at 43.1 cubic feet compared to the Q7’s 35.7 cubic feet of space. Since the X5 doesn’t have a third row, the space behind the two rows is 33.9 cubic feet, which is almost 10 cubic feet less than the XT6. With the second row also folded, the Cadillac XT6 offers a cargo space of 78.7 cubic, which is 6.4 cubic feet more than BMW X5’s 72.3 cubic feet of space, and a massive 9.1 cubic feet more than the Q7’s 69.6 cubic feet of space.

Cadillac XT6 Technology

  • Analog-digital instrument cluster
  • Eight-inch touchscreen infotainment system
  • Supports wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
  • Optional 14-speaker Bose audio system
  • Wireless charger
  • Six USB ports as standard
2021 Cadillac XT6 - Driven Interior
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Behind the chunky leather-wrapped steering is an analog-digital instrument cluster. Opt for the Enhanced Visibility and Technology Package and you will get an eight-inch color driver information center display that shows all the necessary drive-related data, warning messages, vehicle information, and can be personalized as per your needs.

All the Cadillac XT6 trims come with the same eight-inch touchscreen on the center console. It seems a little too small as per the current standards, but the flawless integration of the same into the layout is appealing. It runs on the CUE – Cadillac User Experience – infotainment system. Cadillac offers a premium eight-speaker Bose audio system as standard on all the trims. For the audiophiles, the automaker is offering a 14-speaker Bose Performance Series audio system on the top two trims.

2021 Cadillac XT6 - Driven Interior
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Wireless Apple CarPlay and wireless Android Auto are offered as standard.

Navigation and wireless phone charger are reserved for the mid- and top trims, but only when you opt for the optional packages. There are six USB ports in total all around the cabin (two in each row). Trail subscriptions for SiriusXM and 4G Hotspot are offered as well.

Cadillac XT6 Pricing

2021 Cadillac XT6 - Driven Exterior
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The 2021 Cadillac XT6 is offered in three trims and here’s how it’s priced:

  • Luxury - $50,990
  • Premium Luxury - $55,790
  • Sport - $58,190

Is The Cadillac XT6 Better Than The BMW X5?

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BMW X5 is one of the best options in this segment. It comes with butch exterior looks, a feature-rich cabin, and an engine that will make you grin every time you get behind the wheel. It is powered by a 3.0-liter, twin-turbo six-cylinder engine that dishes out 335 horses and 331 pound-feet of torque. You can either have it in rear-wheel-drive configuration – which makes it a better driver than the FWD XT6 – or an all-wheel-drive layout. The engine is mated to an eight-speed automatic gearbox with paddle shifters and Launch Control. A V-8 engine is also available, but that puts it in a different league altogether.

Unlike the XT6 and the Q7, the BMW X5 is a two-row SUV. The company offers third-row as optional, but it feels like a makeshift arrangement rather than a full-fledged six/seven-seater like its counterparts. The BWM X5 range starts at $59,400.

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Cadillac XT6 vs BMW X5 sDrive40i
Cadillac XT6 BMW X5 sDrive40i
Engine 3.6L V-6 DOHC VVT with Direct Injection 3.0-liter BMW TwinPower Turbo inline 6-cylinder
Fuel Gas Gas
Horsepower 310 @ 6600 335 @ 5500-6500
Torque 271 @ 5000 331 @ 1500-5200
Transmission Nine-speed automatic 8-speed Sport Automatic
Drive AWD AWD
Towing Capacity 4000 6200
Fuel Economy 18/25/21 20/26/22
Curb Weight 4,644 4,828
Fuel Capacity 22 gal 21.9

Read our full review on the BMW X5

Is The Cadillac XT6 Better Than The Audi Q7?

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The world is talking about the BMW grilles, but let’s not forget that the ones on Audi are getting bigger as well. Take the Q7 itself, for instance. The big mouth coupled with sharp curves on all sides makes the Q7 an aggressive-looking SUV. The Audi Q7 is offered in three trims and two engine options. One is a 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine that makes 248 ponies and 273 pound-feet of torque, whereas the other one is a 3.0-liter, six-cylinder mill that dishes out 335 ponies and 369 pound-feet of torque. Both these engines are mated to an eight-speed automatic gearbox.

The Q7 is loaded in terms of features and comes with a useable third-row. It also offers the best towing capacity of the lot. The Audi Q7 starts at $54,950, and can go close to the six-digit figure in the top-spec with optional accessories.

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Cadillac XT6 vs Audi Q7
Cadillac XT6 Audi Q7
Engine 3.6L V-6 DOHC VVT with Direct Injection 3.0-liter six-cylinder
Fuel Gas Gas
Horsepower 310 @ 6600 335 hp @ 5000 rpm
Torque 271 @ 5000 369 lb-ft @ 1370 rpm
Transmission Nine-speed automatic Eight-speed Tiptronic
Drive AWD AWD
Towing Capacity 4000 7,700
Fuel Economy 18/25/21 18/23/20
Curb Weight 4,644 5,082
Fuel Capacity 22 gal 22.5

Read our full review on the Audi Q7

Cadillac XT6 Warranty

2021 Cadillac XT6 - Driven Exterior
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Cadillac offers a bumper-to-bumper Limited Warranty of 4 years/50,000 miles on all the trims of the XT6. The Powertrain Limited Warranty and the Roadside Assistance Program run at 6 years/70,000 miles.

Cadillac XT6 Optional Packages

2021 Cadillac XT6 - Driven Exterior
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Cadillac offers many packages for the XT6. Not all of them are offered on every trim and the price of the package depends on the trim you’ve selected. Here’s what they include and how they’re priced:

Platinum Package ($3,700/$4,900)

  • Semi-Aniline Leather Seating with Chevron-Perforated inserts (all rows)
  • French-stitched leather-wrapped horn pad
  • Leather-wrapped instrument panel, console, and door trim
  • Microfiber suede headliner
  • Front and rear premium carpeted floor mats
  • Two unique interior trims to choose from: Jet Black with Bronze Carbon Fiber trim with Ombre finish, or Maple Sugar with Jet Black accents with Fineline Calico wood trim
  • Priced at $4,900 with Chassis Damping Control and Performance suspension
2021 Cadillac XT6 - Driven Exterior
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Enhanced Visibility and Technology Package ($2,350)

  • Eight-inch color Driver Information Center display
  • Reconfigurable color
  • Head-Up Display
  • Rear Camera Mirror with Washer
  • HD Surround Vision with Recorder
  • Rear Pedestrian Alert
  • Automatic Parking Assist with Braking

Onyx Package ($3,995/$4,595)

  • 20-inch Gloss Black wheels
  • Gloss Black grille
  • Gloss Black bodyside moldings
  • Gloss Black front fascia applique
  • Gloss Black rear license plate applique
  • Gloss Black exhaust bezel
  • Priced at $4,595 with all-season tires

Radiant Package ($3,695/$3,295)

  • 20-inch Chrome wheels
  • Bright grille
  • Illuminated cargo sill plate
  • Priced at $3,295 on the Luxury Premium trim
2021 Cadillac XT6 - Driven Interior
- image 963729

Cargo Convenience Package ($995)

  • Stainless assist steps
  • Bright roof rack cross rails

Driver Assist Package ($1,300)

  • Adaptive Cruise Control
  • Automatic Seat Belt Tightening
  • Enhanced Automatic Emergency Braking
  • Reverse Automatic Braking

Floor Liner Package ($405)

  • All-weather integrated cargo liner
  • All-weather floor liners

Premium Carpet Package ($550)

  • Premium carpeted floor mats
  • Premium carpeted cargo mat

Interior Protection Package ($360)

  • All-weather floor mats
  • All-weather integrated cargo liner

Comfort and Air Quality Package ($750)

  • Air Ionizer
  • Driver and front passenger ventilated seats
  • Rear outboard heated seats

Cadillac XT6 Safety and Driver-Assistance Features

2021 Cadillac XT6 - Driven Exterior
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Some of the safety and driver assistance features on the Cadillac XT6 include:

  • Seven Airbags
  • Adaptive Cruise Control
  • Automatic Emergency Braking
  • Automatic Parking Assist with Braking
  • Forward Collision Alert
  • Front Pedestrian Braking
  • Front and Rear Park Assist
  • Lane Keep Assist
  • Rear Cross Traffic Alert
  • Leave it
    • Not up to the mark in terms of technology
    • Front-wheel-drive layout when rivals offer RWD

Source: Photo Credit: Phil Daix

Sidd Dhimaan
Associate Editor and Truck Expert - sidd@topspeed.com
Sidd joined the Topspeed.com team in 2017 as an intern and in less than a year he earned a full-time position as an associate editor and junior automotive expert. He is currently our pickup truck expert and focuses his attention on heavy-duty and off-road vehicles.  Read full bio
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