NewsArts & Culture / August 7, 2020

2020 Cadillac XT6, Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid Offer Three Rows Of Domestic Bliss

2020 Cadillac XT6, Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid Offer Three Rows Of Domestic Bliss

2020 Cadillac XT6 Finally Arrives With Style

It was difficult to explain Cadillac’s line-up from just few years ago.  There were three sedans in essentially the same space:  CTS, XTS and CT6.  People weren’t buying sedans, they were buying SUVs.  And, Cadillac only offered the mid-size SRX and truck-based Escalade.  Given GM’s full-line of crossovers elsewhere (Chevrolet, Buick), that was pretty egregious product planning.  Fortunately, Cadillac now offers the compact XT4, mid-size XT5, and finally the three-row XT6.

We have the sport version, which means a black mesh grille and 20-inch alloy wheels.  The front evolves Cadillac’s design language with horizontal LED headlamps while the rear integrates horizontal elements with finlike taillamps.  It looks ritzy in Garnet Metallic paint, but if I parked the XT6 next to a Volvo XC90, you might not know the difference.  The XT6 is undeniably handsome, but Cadillacs should have more swagger.

Moving inside, the XT6 is more clearly a Cadillac.  It’s awash in layers of stitched materials on the dash/doors, swaths of carbon fiber, and soft leather.  Heated front seats, heated steering wheel, and cherubic Bose audio system delight occupants – as does a panoramic sunroof, tri-zone automatic climate control, and wireless phone charging in the console.  Connect via Bluetooth, 4G Wi-Fi hotspot, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto.  Kids fit better than adults in the third row, but adults can fit on shorter treks.

Beyond style, there’s one area Cadillac should be compared favorably to Volvo:  Safety.  For drivers, it starts with a color head-up display that is easily adjusted, adaptive cruise, and rearview camera mirror.  There’s also crash mitigation with 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.

According to Cadillac’s naming strategy, “400” on the power liftgate should represent 400 lb.-ft. of torque, a reckoning of the coming EV age where torque matters more than horsepower.  That’s cute because the 3.6-liter V6 delivers just 310 horsepower and 271 lb.-ft. of torque.  It routes to the all-wheel-drive system through a 9-speed automatic transmission.  That’s enough power to stomp from 0-60 mph in 6.9 seconds, but not to challenge crossovers actually conjuring 400 lb.-ft. of torque.  A couple of turbos would be fantastic.  Fuel economy rates 17/24-MPG city/highway.

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.

Given GM has offered two generations of excellent three-row crossovers during nearly fifteen years, there’s really no excuse for Cadillac just now getting one.  But, the XT6 has arrived with style.  Just a little more distinctive styling, a true Sport mode, and another hundred horsepower would make the XT6 stellar.  Let’s hope an XT6-V is on the way.  Until then, a base price of $52,695, or $62,065 as tested, seems quite reasonable against competitors like the Lincoln Aviator, Audi Q7, Acura MDX, and Lexus RX.

2020 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid Is A Traveler's Dream Wagon

Short of a Winnebago, there’s no better vehicle in which to hit the road than a mini-van.  They have more usable interior space than three-row crossovers and drive like big sedans.  With advanced hybrid systems, they are some of the most advanced vehicles rolling.  If it’s good enough for Waymo’s autonomous taxi program, then it’s good enough for me.  Let’s plug into the 2020 Chrysler Pacifica hybrid.

Fully charged, the Pacifica Hybrid travels 33 miles on electricity before the 287 horsepower 3.6-liter V6 engine fires up to continue the fun for a total of 566 miles.  Re-charge in 2 hours on 240v and expect 84-MPGe in city driving.  Even running on gas, the hybrid van achieves a frugal 32-MPG.  A 16-kWh lithium-ion battery pack and regenerative braking make this possible.  Change the charging schedule and pre-condition the vehicle’s interior from your smartphone.

Chrysler already has a beautifully-sculpted people mover, with grille shutters and under-body panels to aid aero, so designers refrained from superfluous tweaks for hybrid duty.  Look close, though, and you’ll see subtle differences.  Our Limited model comes with 19-inch dark wheels and trim for a sinister style, but hybrids are differentiated by a front fender door for the plug.  Arching bodylines, canted rear windowline, and deftly applied chrome project an upscale presence.  It’s a pretty fetching design given its mission of moving kids and gear.

Inside, it’s swaths of luxury and technology.  Pacifica’s dash projects elegance with a crisp center touchscreen, swoops of contrasting colors on the dash and doors, piano black trim around climate controls, chrome gear selector knob, and leather-wrapped steering wheel.  Soft leather seats feel Jaguar expensive.  When heated and cooled, they’re especially comfy.  A twin-panel panoramic sunroof shines in.

Chrysler’s intuitive infotainment system summons navigation, climate control, and audio via touchscreen, voice, or redundant buttons beneath.  You can direct-tune Satellite radio, or twirl through the stations with a proper tuning knob.  Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility enable easy connections.  Enhance safety with parallel/perpendicular park assist, adaptive cruise control, forward collision avoidance, and lane keep assist systems.

Your friends and family will enjoy the back rows too where they’ll ride in limo comfort.  Add convenience with foot-swipe power sliding doors and rear hatch, twin seat-mounted video screens for all-day entertainment, and dedicated climate controls.  Third-row seats fold flat into the floor, but the middle row Stow n’ Go seats gave their ghost for underfloor battery storage.  If you must haul plywood, twin captain’s chairs are removable.  A kayak fit with the backs folded forward.

Beyond all of the gadgets, the Pacifica Hybrid is a traveler’s dream wagon.  Electric power provides smooth power, but the wide stance and firm suspension provide European handling that’s more like a large Fiat than a smaller Ram van.  Whether carving up mountain two-lanes or flat-footing it across Indiana farmland, the Pacifica maintains its composure.  It may not be the coolest three-row family car, but cross-country expeditions would find you in complete comfort.   A base price of $39,999, or $51,025 as-tested, seems more than fair.

Storm Forward!

Send comments to Casey at AutoCasey@aol.com; follow him on YouTube @AutoCasey.

2020 Cadillac XT6 Sport

Seven-passenger, AWD Crossover

Powertrain: 3.6-liter V6, 9-spd trans

Output:  310hp/271 lb.-ft. torque

Suspension f/r: Elect Ind/Ind

Wheels f/r: 20”/20” alloy

Brakes f/r: disc/disc

Must-have features: Lux, Safety

Fuel economy: 17/24 mpg city/hwy

Assembly: Spring Hill, TN

Base/As-tested price: $44,095/59,340

 

2020 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid

Seven-passenger, FWD Mini-van

Powertrain: 260hp 3.6-liter V6,

       16-kWh li-ion batteries

Suspension f/r: Ind/Ind Twist Blade

Wheels f/r: 19”/19” alloy

Brakes f/r: regen disc/disc

Must-have features: Hybrid, Style

All-elect. range: 32 miles

Fuel economy: 82 mpg-e

Assembly: Windsor, ON

Base price (before credit): $39,995/51,025

 

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