2022 Cadillac XT6 Platinum

INDIANAPOLIS — There’s no question the Cadillac Escalade is an incredible SUV, able to move passengers and all their stuff in three rows of splendor.  But, most luxury buyers don’t need a full-size truck capable of pulling a 30-foot RV or coastal yacht.  For them, the 2022 Cadillac XT6 Platinum might be a better choice that still lets them marinate in luxury.

Front styling echoes the Escalade’s with large chrome-kissed grille, squinty horizontal LED headlamps, and thin vertical driving lights.  The side profile is edgy and sleek, but the average person would confuse it with a Volvo XC90.  Nobody will confuse the rear vertical tailfins for anything but a Cadillac.  Put it all over 20” alloys, paint it Rosewood Metallic and it puts its best fashion forward.
Layers of luxury envelop the XT6’s spacious cabin.  It’s awash in soft semi-aniline leather, sueded headliner, leather-wrapped dash/doors, and French-stitched horn pad.  It’s pretty posh, especially with heated/ventilated front seats, heated outboard rear seats, and a heated steering wheel too.  There are also tri-zone automatic climate control, panoramic sunroof, and Bose Performance Series 14-speaker audio system to saturate passengers.  Power folding third-row seats, power steering column, and touch-less power rear hatch add conveniences — as does 4G Wi-Fi, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and wireless device charging.

Beyond style, there’s one area Cadillac should be compared favorably to Volvo:  Safety.  For drivers, it starts with a color head-up display, adaptive cruise, and rearview camera mirror.  There’s also crash mitigation autonomous braking, rear cross traffic alert with pedestrian detection, lane keep assist, and blind spot warning.  The safety alert seat vibrates in the direction of danger to warn drivers while an interior motion sensor notifies parents of kids left in the rear.  Adaptive cruise keeps a safe distance on the highway.

The XT6’s base turbo-four is wholly inadequate, so thankfully our fully primped diva runs with the optional 3.6-liter V6 that delivers 310 horsepower and 271 lb.-ft. of torque routed to the all-wheel-drive system through a 9-speed automatic transmission.  That’s barely enough power to move a large three-row crossover with luxury badge smacked on the grille, running 0-60 mph in 6.9 seconds, but fuel economy of 18/25-MPG city/highway is more pleasing.  Twin turbos and something close to 400 horsepower would make it even better, but the current V6 gets it done.

At least the engine is smooth and quiet, which also describes the ride.  Real time damping smooths bumps and controls body lean in corners, but it could be even more aggressive in stiffening the suspension.  Drive modes theoretically adjust the chassis, steering, and throttle response from Normal comfort mode to performance-oriented Sport mode, but there’s not enough difference for most drivers to discern.  No matter, it’s peaceful traveling in all modes and having electronic all-wheel-drive provides confidence whether switching through Indiana backroads or tackling several inches of snow.

Would I like an Escalade?  Yes!  But, do I need one?  Nope — for most of what SUV owners want, the XT6 satisfies.  It’s large, comfortable, and expertly crafted.  A little more power and chassis refinement would be appreciated, but a base price of $48,595 and $70,965 seems wholly earned.  Competitors include the Lincoln Aviator, Audi Q7, Jeep Grand Cherokee, and Genesis GV80.

— Casey Williams (MyCarData)