2020 Cadillac XT6 vs. 2019 Toyota Highlander

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 Highlander 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 Highlander doesn’t offer a back seat reminder.

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 Highlander 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 Highlander doesn’t offer a night vision system.

Both the XT6 and the Highlander have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee 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, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, lane departure warning systems, rearview cameras, available all wheel drive and around view monitors.

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 Highlander’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 Toyota covers the Highlander. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 6 years or 70,000 miles. Coverage on the Highlander ends after only 5 years or 60,000 miles.

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

Engine

The XT6’s 3.6 DOHC V6 produces 125 more horsepower (310 vs. 185) and 87 lbs.-ft. more torque (271 vs. 184) than the Highlander’s standard 2.7 DOHC 4-cyl. The XT6’s 3.6 DOHC V6 produces 15 more horsepower (310 vs. 295) and 8 lbs.-ft. more torque (271 vs. 263) than the Highlander’s optional 3.5 DOHC V6.

Fuel Economy and Range

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

The XT6 AWD’s standard fuel tank has 2.8 gallons more fuel capacity than the Highlander (22 vs. 19.2 gallons).

The XT6 has a standard cap-less fueling system. The fuel filler is automatically opened when the fuel nozzle is inserted and automatically closed when it’s removed. This eliminates the need to unscrew and replace the cap and it reduces fuel evaporation, which causes pollution. The Highlander doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

Transmission

A nine-speed automatic is standard on the Cadillac XT6, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only an eight-speed automatic is available for the Highlander.

Brakes and Stopping

The XT6’s standard front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs on the Highlander are solid, not vented.

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the XT6Sport’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Highlander (265/45R21 vs. 245/60R18).

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 Highlander’s standard 60 series tires. The XT6Sport’s optional tires have a lower 45 series profile than the Highlander SE/Limited/Platinum’s 55 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the XT6 has standard 20-inch wheels. Smaller 18-inch wheels are standard on the Highlander. The XT6Sport’s optional 21-inch wheels are larger than the 19-inch wheels on the Highlander SE/Limited/Platinum.

The Cadillac XT6’s wheels have 6 lugs for longer wheel bearing life, less chance of rotor warping and greater strength. The Toyota Highlander 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 Highlander’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

The XT6 has vehicle speed sensitive variable-assist power steering, for low-effort parking, better control at highway speeds and during hard cornering, and a better feel of the road. The Highlander doesn’t offer variable-assist power steering.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the XT6’s wheelbase is 2.9 inches longer than on the Highlander (112.7 inches vs. 109.8 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the XT6 is 2 inches wider in the front and 2 inches wider in the rear than on the Highlander.

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 Highlander doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.

Passenger Space

The XT6 has .7 inches more rear legroom, 1.3 inches more third row headroom and 1.8 inches more third row legroom than the Highlander.

Cargo Capacity

The XT6’s cargo area provides more volume than the Highlander.

XT6

Highlander

Third Seat Folded

43.1 cubic feet

42.3 cubic feet

Pressing a switch automatically lowers the XT6’s second and third row seats, to make changing between passengers and cargo easier. The Highlander doesn’t offer automatic folding seats.

To make loading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the XT6’s liftgate can be opened and closed just by kicking your foot under the back bumper, leaving your hands completely free. The Highlander doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its liftgate, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.

Servicing Ease

The XT6 uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The Highlander 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 Toyota. J.D. Power ranks Cadillac third in service department satisfaction. With a 40% lower rating, Toyota is ranked 14th.

Ergonomics

The XT6 has a standard remote vehicle starting system, so the vehicle can be started from inside the driver's house. This allows the driver to comfortably warm up the engine before going out to the vehicle. The climate system will also automatically heat or cool the interior. The Highlander doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

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. The Highlander doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

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 Highlander doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The power windows standard on both the XT6 and the Highlander have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the XT6 is engaged the driver can still operate all of the windows, for instance to close one opened by a child. The Highlander prevents the driver from operating the other windows just as it does the other passengers.

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 Highlander’s standard power windows’ rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to open them fully.

On a hot day the XT6’s driver can lower all the windows from a distance using the keyless remote. The driver of the Highlander can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

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 Highlander’s standard manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

To help drivers avoid possible obstacles, the XT6 has standard cornering lights to illuminate around corners when the turn signals are activated. The Highlander 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 Highlander’s mirrors don’t automatically adjust for backing.

The XT6 has standard automatic dimming rear and side view mirrors which automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on them, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The Highlander offers an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.

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 is only available on the Highlander Platinum.

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 Highlander.

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 Highlander doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

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

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