2020 Ford Explorer vs. 2020 Cadillac XT6

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Both the Explorer and XT6 have child safety locks to prevent children from opening the rear doors. The Explorer has power child safety locks, allowing the driver to activate and deactivate them from the driver's seat and to know when they're engaged. The XT6’s child locks have to be individually engaged at each rear door with a manual switch. The driver can’t know the status of the locks without opening the doors and checking them.

The Explorer has standard Post Collision Braking, which automatically apply the brakes in the event of a crash to help prevent secondary collisions and prevent further injuries. The XT6 doesn’t offer a post collision braking system: in the event of a collision that triggers the airbags, more collisions are possible without the protection of airbags that may have already deployed.

When descending a steep, off-road slope, the Explorer 4WD’s standard Hill Descent Control allows you to creep down safely. The XT6 doesn’t offer Hill Descent Control.

The Explorer’s driver alert monitor detects an inattentive driver then sounds a warning and suggests a break. According to the NHTSA, drivers who fall asleep cause about 100,000 crashes and 1500 deaths a year. The XT6 doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the Explorer and the XT6 have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, 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, blind spot warning systems, rearview cameras, rear cross-path warning, available all wheel drive and around view monitors.


There are over 3 times as many Ford dealers as there are Cadillac dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Explorer’s warranty.


The Explorer has a standard “limp home system” to keep drivers from being stranded if most or all of the engine’s coolant is lost. The engine will run on only half of its cylinders at a time, reduce its power and light a warning lamp on the dashboard so the driver can get to a service station for repairs. The XT6 doesn’t offer a lost coolant limp home mode, so a coolant leak could strand you or seriously damage the truck’s engine.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Ford vehicles are better in initial quality than Cadillac vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Ford fourth in initial quality, above the industry average. With 17 more problems per 100 vehicles, Cadillac is ranked 17th, below the industry average.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Ford vehicles are more reliable than Cadillac vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Ford 16th in reliability. With 20 more problems per 100 vehicles, Cadillac is ranked 23rd.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Ford vehicles are more reliable than Cadillac vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Ford 10 places higher in reliability than Cadillac.


The Explorer’s standard 2.3 turbo 4 cyl. produces 39 lbs.-ft. more torque (310 vs. 271) than the XT6’s 3.6 DOHC V6. The Explorer’s optional 3.3 DOHC V6 hybrid produces 8 more horsepower (318 vs. 310) and 51 lbs.-ft. more torque (322 vs. 271) than the XT6’s 3.6 DOHC V6. The Explorer Platinum’s standard 3.0 turbo V6 produces 55 more horsepower (365 vs. 310) and 109 lbs.-ft. more torque (380 vs. 271) than the XT6’s 3.6 DOHC V6. The Explorer ST’s standard 3.0 turbo V6 produces 90 more horsepower (400 vs. 310) and 144 lbs.-ft. more torque (415 vs. 271) than the XT6’s 3.6 DOHC V6.

Fuel Economy and Range

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




2.3 turbo 4-cyl.

21 city/28 hwy


2.3 turbo 4-cyl.

20 city/27 hwy

3.0 turbo V6

18 city/24 hwy

ST 3.0 turbo V6

18 city/24 hwy



3.6 DOHC V6

18 city/25 hwy


3.6 DOHC V6

17 city/24 hwy

Regenerative brakes improve the Explorer Hybrid’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The XT6 doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.


A 10-speed automatic is standard on the Ford Explorer, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a nine-speed automatic is available for the XT6.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the Explorer’s brake rotors are larger than those on the XT6:


Explorer ST

Explorer ST opt.


Front Rotors

13.6 inches

13.6 inches

14.3 inches

12.6 inches

Rear Rotors

12.4 inches

12.8 inches

13.8 inches

12.4 inches

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Explorer has larger standard tires than the XT6 (255/65R18 vs. 235/55R20). The Explorer ST/Platinum’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the XT6 (275/45R21 vs. 265/45R21).

Having a flat tire is dangerous, inconvenient and expensive. The self-sealing tires available on the Explorer can automatically seal most punctures up to 3/16 of an inch, effectively preventing most flat tires. The XT6 doesn’t offer self-sealing tires.

Suspension and Handling

The Explorer’s drift compensation steering can automatically compensate for road conditions which would cause the vehicle to drift from side to side, helping the driver to keep the vehicle straight more easily. The XT6 doesn’t offer drift compensation steering.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Explorer’s wheelbase is 6.4 inches longer than on the XT6 (119.1 inches vs. 112.7 inches).

For greater off-road capability the Explorer has a 1.25 inches greater minimum ground clearance than the XT6 (7.9 vs. 6.65 inches), allowing the Explorer to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged.


The front grille of the Explorer (except 3.3 V6 non-Hybrid) uses electronically controlled shutters to close off airflow and reduce drag when less engine cooling is needed. This helps improve highway fuel economy. The XT6 doesn’t offer active grille shutters.

Passenger Space

The Explorer has .9 inches more front headroom, 1.8 inches more front legroom, 9.1 inches more front hip room, 3.5 inches more front shoulder room, 1.4 inches more rear headroom, 3.4 inches more rear hip room, 4.5 inches more rear shoulder room, 1.7 inches more third row headroom, 2.7 inches more third row legroom, 1.4 inches more third row hip room and 1.1 inches more third row shoulder room than the XT6.

Cargo Capacity

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



Behind Third Seat

18.2 cubic feet

12.6 cubic feet

Third Seat Folded

47.9 cubic feet

43.1 cubic feet

Second Seat Folded

87.8 cubic feet

78.7 cubic feet


The Explorer’s standard towing capacity is much higher than the XT6’s (3000 vs. 1000 pounds). Maximum trailer towing in the Cadillac XT6 is only 4000 pounds. The Explorer offers up to a 5600 lbs. towing capacity.

Servicing Ease

The engine in the Explorer is mounted longitudinally (North-South), instead of sideways, as in the XT6. This makes it easier to service and maintain, because there are no rear spark plugs and the accessory belts are in front.


In case you lock your keys in your vehicle, or don’t have them with you, you can let yourself in using the Explorer’s exterior PIN entry system. The XT6 doesn’t offer an exterior PIN entry system, and its OnStar® can’t unlock the doors if the vehicle doesn’t have cell phone reception or the driver can’t contact the service.

The XT6’s cornering lamps activate a lamp on the front corner when the turn signal is activated. The Explorer Platinum’s standard adaptive cornering lights turn the actual headlight unit up to several degrees, depending on steering wheel angle and vehicle speed. This lights a significant distance into corners at any speed.

The Explorer Limited/ST/Platinum has a 115-volt a/c outlet on the center console, allowing you to recharge a laptop or run small household appliances without special adapters that can break or get misplaced. The XT6 doesn’t offer a house-current electrical outlet.

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

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