Review update: 2022 Cadillac XT6 fails to imprint a strong impression

February 21, 2022

The Cadillac XT6 has a problem: It’s a lackluster crossover SUV in a cutthroat premium segment that includes the lounge-like Lincoln Aviator and gorgeous Volvo XC90.

Despite being a milquetoast option, the three-row SUV still has some surprising details that ever so slightly redeem it for family hauling duties, though certainly not for $70,965.

With a TCC Rating of 6.8 out of 10, the 2022 Cadillac XT6 appeals with convenient seating, good smartphone integration, and a good use of mixed materials. But its transmission isn’t always happy, it gets too expensive, and it lacks any swagger.

Here’s what I experienced during a week with the 2022 Cadillac XT6 Premium Luxury AWD.

2022 Cadillac XT6

2022 Cadillac XT6

2022 Cadillac XT6

2022 Cadillac XT6

Hit: Surprise and delights (the kids)

My 5- and 8-year-old kids love their independence. They want to do everything on their own, and that includes buckling into the car. Unlike the 2022 Chevrolet Suburban, which has seat buckles that fall down and frustrate little kids, the XT6 has a nice little elastic band that holds up the available second-row captain’s chairs seat belt clip, making it much easier for youngsters to buckle themselves in.

2022 Cadillac XT6

2022 Cadillac XT6

Miss: The shudders

Every 2022 XT6 has a 9-speed automatic transmission regardless of whether there’s a turbo-4 or V-6 under the hood. My V-6-powered XT6 Premium Luxury AWD tester had only 700 miles on the odometer. Yet it didn’t run like it was new. The 1-2 and 2-3 shifts had a distinct and recurring shudder, as if the XT6 was groaning, asking why it had to haul the kids around town before accepting its fate. The 8-speeds in the Audi Q7 or BMW X5 are smoother.

2022 Cadillac XT6

2022 Cadillac XT6

2022 Cadillac XT6

2022 Cadillac XT6

2022 Cadillac XT6

2022 Cadillac XT6

Hit: Smartly integrated smartphone tech

In far too many vehicles Apple CarPlay feels, and acts, like an afterthought. That’s not the case in the XT6. CarPlay connects wirelessly, though it can be connected via a USB cable. There’s a wireless charging pad integrated into a cubby just ahead of the center armrest. Cadillac’s integrated Apple CarPlay into some of the hard buttons. The phone button on the center console opens the phone screen in Apple CarPlay, never jarring you out of the Apple interface. But the same functionality unfortunately isn’t extended to the navigation and music buttons, which is a silly oversight.

2022 Cadillac XT6

2022 Cadillac XT6

2022 Cadillac XT6

2022 Cadillac XT6

Miss: Laughably expensive

The 2022 XT6 costs $50,415 in base form, but my loaded tester had a window sticker of $70,965. The $14,775 in options ranged from the $2,350 Technology Package with a head-up display to $2,000 for night vision, putting the XT6 deep into luxury territory. That kind of money buys a very well-equipped Volvo XC90 or Lincoln Aviator, both of which carry more cache and with more luxurious interiors than the XT6.

2022 Cadillac XT6

2022 Cadillac XT6

2022 Cadillac XT6

2022 Cadillac XT6

2022 Cadillac XT6

2022 Cadillac XT6

Hit: Nice materials

The interior of the XT6 has a surprisingly nice mix of high-end materials. My tester’s $5,000 Platinum package added semi-aniline leather, French stitching, and a suede headliner to go along with the real wood and metal trim throughout the cabin. It was all nice to the touch and pleasing to the eye.

2022 Cadillac XT6

2022 Cadillac XT6

Miss: Needs more swagger

I’ve documented before what the XT6 was supposed to be. And while it is what it is, that doesn’t excuse the fact it could be, and should be, better. The front looks fine, but its proportions shout this is an expensive, gussied-up Chevy Traverse. A Kia Telluride has more swagger for much less money. That’s a problem.

The 2022 Cadillac XT6 embodies what Cadillac is today, and hopefully not what it is tomorrow. The Escalade pulls off the luxury game better while the CT4 and CT5 sedans get premium bones, but the XT6 is like the XT5 and XT4 siblings in their combined inability to make a strong impression.

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2022 Cadillac XT6 Premium Luxury AWD

Base price: $50,415, including $1,195 destination
Price as tested: $70,965
Powertrain: 310-hp 3.6-liter V-6, 9-speed automatic, all-wheel drive
EPA fuel economy: 18/25/21 mpg
The hits: Helpful detail for young kids, good smartphone integration, nice materials
The misses: Too expensive when optioned, transmission can shudder, looks frumpy

2022
The Car Connection
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2022
The Car Connection
 
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