What’s the point of saloons when everyone is buying SUVs? Yes, it took Cadillac a while to figure this out but now the brand is going all-out into the crossover fight with this new front-wheel drive based 2020 Cadillac XT6
If you were Cadillac right now you wouldn’t know whether to laugh or cry. In the company’s home market sales were down last year with Americans completely shunning Cadillac saloons – the drop was in the double digits. Actually Porsche sold more 911s globally last year compared to how many Americans bought Cadillac saloons in the same period. Only the new XT4 saved the brand in the US, but as Cadillac grows its SUV range new challenges appear – the XT4 also cannibalised XT5 sales because less people were buying the bigger crossover in 2018 than in 2017.
GM is looking East anyway, and in China Cadillac continues to notch up successes – with double-digit growth last year Cadillac sold more than 200,000 units in the world’s biggest car market for the first time.
Finally getting the picture, Cadillac might be late to the crossover party but the range is quickly expanding to match the bewildering lineups of the brand’s European rivals. The fourth SUV has just been announced in time for the Detroit motor show, and the new 2020 Cadillac XT6 (hint: it’s a dressed-up Chevrolet Traverse/Blazer) is due to fill the gap between the XT5 and the company’s archetypal Escalade full-sizer.
Cadillac says the idea behind the six- or seven-seater XT5 is to cram it full of standard kit and go straight after the Germans like the BMW X5, Audi Q7, and Mercedes-Benz GLE, Volvo XC90, and upcoming Lincoln Aviator.
Available with a 3.6-litre V6 engine in two swims, Premium Luxury or Sport, the 2020 Cadillac XT6 features glitz like carbon fibre trim, exotic wood veneer, 14-speaker sound system, and tech such as adaptive cruise control, night vision, plus a high-definition surround camera. Cadillac also claims the safety systems on board are ‘full-options’ right out the box.
To catch the eye the XT6 rides on 21-inch wheels with loads of LEDs around, and you can optionally spec a projector LED headlamp system. Here’s where it gets interesting though, because the XT6 is a vehicle with a front-wheel drive architecture, although all-wheel drive is standard if you go for the Sport model. This means that even if Cadillac refers to the XT6 as the little bother to the Escalade, it’s actually more like the bigger brother to the XT5.
With a nine-speed automatic transmission along for the ride the V6 makes around 310 horsepower according to Cadillac, and to save fuel the engine can cut two cylinder and run as a V4. We’d have expected the company’s modern turbocharged 3.0-litre to feature instead but that was developed for rear-drive applications, so at launch anyway Cadillac seems content with a naturally aspirated V6 that’s been around since 2004.
After making its public premiere this week in Detroit, the new 2020 Cadillac XT6 will go into production in the company’s Tennessee plant before going on sale this summer. There’s no talk of money yet but considering its positioning we expect the price to start from around AED250,000 once the three-row SUV arrives in the UAE.