2020 Cadillac XT6 vs. 2019 Ford Explorer

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The XT6’s optional pre-crash front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The Explorer doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

In the past twenty years hundreds of infants and young children have died after being left in vehicles, usually by accident. When turning the vehicle off, drivers of the XT6 are reminded to check the back seat if they opened the rear door before starting out. The Explorer doesn’t offer a back seat reminder.

The XT6 has standard Forward Automatic Braking, which use forward mounted sensors to warn the driver of a possible collision ahead. If the driver doesn’t react and the system determines a collision is imminent, it automatically applies the brakes at full-force in order to reduce the force of the crash or avoid it altogether. The Explorer offers an available collision warning system without the automated brake feature that would prevent or reduce the collision if the driver fails to react.

Over 200 people are killed each year when backed over by motor vehicles. The XT6 offers optional Reverse Automatic Braking that uses rear sensors to monitor and automatically apply the brakes to prevent a rear collision. The Explorer doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.

A passive infrared night vision system optional on the XT6 helps the driver to more easily detect people, animals or other objects in front of the vehicle at night. Using an infrared camera to detect heat, the system then displays the image on a monitor in the dashboard. The Explorer doesn’t offer a night vision system.

The XT6 offers an optional Surround Vision to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The Explorer only offers a rear monitor and front and rear parking sensors that beep or flash a light. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the sides.

Both the XT6 and the Explorer have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, front wheel drive, height adjustable front shoulder belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras and available all wheel drive.

Warranty

The XT6 comes with a full 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire truck and includes 24-hour roadside assistance. The Explorer’s 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 14,000 miles sooner.

Cadillac’s powertrain warranty covers the XT6 1 year and 10,000 miles longer than Ford covers the Explorer. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 6 years or 70,000 miles. Coverage on the Explorer ends after only 5 years or 60,000 miles.

The XT6’s corrosion warranty is 1 year longer than the Explorer’s (6 vs. 5 years).

Engine

The XT6’s 3.6 DOHC V6 produces 30 more horsepower (310 vs. 280) than the Explorer’s optional 2.3 turbo 4-cyl. The XT6’s 3.6 DOHC V6 produces 20 more horsepower (310 vs. 290) and 16 lbs.-ft. more torque (271 vs. 255) than the Explorer’s standard 3.5 DOHC V6.

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the XT6 gets better fuel mileage than the Explorer:

MPG

XT6

FWD

3.6 DOHC V6

18 city/25 hwy

AWD

3.6 DOHC V6

17 city/24 hwy

Explorer

RWD

3.5 DOHC V6

17 city/24 hwy

AWD

3.5 DOHC V6

16 city/22 hwy

An engine control system that can shut down half of the engine’s cylinders helps improve the XT6’s fuel efficiency. The Explorer doesn’t offer a system that can shut down part of the engine.

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the XT6’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. The engine is automatically restarted when the driver gets ready to move again. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) The Explorer doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Cadillac XT6 uses regular unleaded gasoline. The Explorer Sport/Platinum requires premium for maximum efficiency, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

The XT6 AWD’s standard fuel tank has 3.4 gallons more fuel capacity than the Explorer (22 vs. 18.6 gallons).

Transmission

A nine-speed automatic is standard on the Cadillac XT6, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a six-speed automatic is available for the Explorer.

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the XT6Sport’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Explorer (265/45R21 vs. 255/50R20).

The XT6’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 55 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Explorer Base/XLT’s standard 60 series tires. The XT6Sport’s optional tires have a lower 45 series profile than the Explorer’s optional 50 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the XT6 has standard 20-inch wheels. Smaller 18-inch wheels are standard on the Explorer Base/XLT. The XT6Sport’s optional 21-inch wheels are larger than the 20-inch wheels optional on the Explorer.

The Cadillac XT6’s wheels have 6 lugs for longer wheel bearing life, less chance of rotor warping and greater strength. The Ford Explorer only has 5 wheel lugs per wheel.

Suspension and Handling

The XT6 offers an optional driver-adjustable suspension system. It allows the driver to choose between an extra-supple ride, reducing fatigue on long trips, or a sport setting, which allows maximum control for tricky roads or off-road. The Explorer’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

Chassis

The XT6 uses computer-generated active noise cancellation to help remove annoying noise and vibration from the passenger compartment, especially at low frequencies. The Explorer doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.

Servicing Ease

The XT6 uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The Explorer uses a prop rod to support its heavy hood. It takes two hands to open the hood and set the prop rod, the prop rod gets in the way during maintenance and service, and the prop rod could be knocked out, causing the heavy hood to fall on the person maintaining or servicing the car.

J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Cadillac service is better than Ford. J.D. Power ranks Cadillac third in service department satisfaction. With a 69% lower rating, Ford is ranked 24th.

Ergonomics

The XT6’s standard easy entry system raises the steering wheel and glides the driver’s seat back, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. An easy entry system costs extra on the Explorer, and is not available on all models.

The XT6 offers an optional heads-up display that projects speed and other key instrumentation readouts in front of the driver’s line of sight, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The Explorer doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The XT6’s front and rear power windows all lower with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside of the car. The Explorer’s rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to open them fully.

The XT6’s rain-sensitive wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically based on the amount of rainfall on the windshield. This allows the driver to concentrate on driving without constantly adjusting the wipers. The Explorer’s standard intermittent wipers change speed with vehicle speed, but can’t turn on and off or change speed based on changing rainfall.

To help drivers avoid possible obstacles, the XT6 has standard cornering lights to illuminate around corners when the turn signals are activated. The Explorer doesn’t offer cornering lights.

When the XT6 is put in reverse, both rearview mirrors tilt from their original position. This gives the driver a better view of the curb during parallel parking maneuvers. Shifting out of reverse puts the mirrors into their original positions. The Explorer’s mirrors don’t automatically adjust for backing.

The XT6 has a standard heated steering wheel to take the chill out of steering on extremely cold winter days before the vehicle heater warms up. A heated steering wheel costs extra on the Explorer.

The XT6 has a standard dual zone air conditioning allows the driver and front passenger to choose two completely different temperatures so people with different temperature preferences won’t have to compromise. This makes both the driver and front passenger as comfortable as possible. Dual zone air conditioning costs extra on the Explorer and isn’t available on the Explorer Base.

The XT6’s standard automatic temperature control maintains the temperature you set, automatically controlling fan speed, vents and temperature to maintain a consistent, comfortable environment. The Explorer Base doesn’t offer automatic air conditioning.

The XT6’s optional Automatic Park Assist can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, starting and stopping automatically, with the driver only responsible for switching from reverse to drive. The Explorer (except Base/XLT/Sport)’s automatic parking system requires operating the brakes and transmission to safely park.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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