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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.
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, lane departure warning systems, rearview cameras, available all wheel drive and around view monitors.
For its top level performance in IIHS driver and passenger-side small overlap frontal, moderate overlap frontal, side impact, roof strength and head restraint tests, its standard vehicle-to-vehicle front crash prevention system, its standard vehicle-to-pedestrian front crash prevention system, and its standard headlight’s “Acceptable” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the XT6 its highest rating: “Top Pick Plus” for 2020, a rating granted to only 30 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Highlander is only a standard “Top Pick” for 2020.
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).
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 3.5 DOHC V6.
As tested in Motor Trend the Cadillac XT6 is faster than the Toyota Highlander:
Zero to 60 MPH
Speed in 1/4 Mile
An engine control system that can shut down some 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 FWD’s standard fuel tank has 1.1 gallons more fuel capacity than the Highlander (19 vs. 17.9 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups. The XT6 AWD’s standard fuel tank has 4.1 gallons more fuel capacity than the Highlander (22 vs. 17.9 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.
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.
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.
The XT6 stops shorter than the Highlander:
60 to 0 MPH (Wet)
For better traction, the XT6 Sport’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Highlander (265/45R21 vs. 235/65R18).
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 L/LE/XLE’s standard 65 series tires. The XT6 Sport’s optional tires have a lower 45 series profile than the Highlander 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 L/LE/XLE. The XT6 Sport’s optional 21-inch wheels are larger than the 20-inch wheels on the Highlander 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.
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 better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the XT6 is 1.1 inches wider in the front and .8 inches wider in the rear than on the Highlander.
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.
The XT6 has 1.1 inches more third row headroom and 1.8 inches more third row legroom than the Highlander.
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.
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.
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’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.
The XT6’s standard rear and side view mirrors have an automatic dimming feature. These mirrors can be set to 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 Limited/Platinum.
To quickly and conveniently keep personal devices charged without cables tangling and wearing out, the Cadillac XT6 has a standard wireless phone charging system (Qi) in the center console. Only the Highlander XLE/Limited/Platinum offers wireless charging.
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.
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