2021 Volvo XC90 vs. 2020 Cadillac XT6

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/10/23

For enhanced safety, the front and middle seat shoulder belts of the Volvo XC90 have pretensioners to tighten the seatbelts and eliminate dangerous slack in the event of a collision and force limiters to limit the pressure the belts will exert on the passengers. The Cadillac XT6 doesn’t offer pretensioners for the middle seat belts.

Both the XC90 and XT6 have child safety locks to prevent children from opening the rear doors. The XC90 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 Volvo XC90 offers an optional built in child booster seat. It’s more crash worthy than an added child seat because of its direct attachment to the seat. Cadillac doesn’t offer the convenience and security of a built-in child booster seat in the XT6. Their owners must carry a heavy booster seat in and out of the vehicle; XC90 owners can just fold their built-in child seat up or down.

Using vehicle speed sensors and seat sensors, smart airbags in the XC90 deploy with different levels of force or don’t deploy at all to help better protect passengers of all sizes in different collisions. The XC90’s side airbags will shut off if a child is leaning against the door. The XT6’s airbags don’t have smart features and will always deploy full force.

The XC90 has a standard Whiplash Protection System (WHIPS), which use a specially designed seat to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the WHIPS allows the backrest to travel backwards to cushion the occupants and the headrests move forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. At the same time the pretensioning seatbelts fire, removing slack from the belts. The XT6 doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

The XC90 has standard Automatic Braking After Collision, 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 XC90’s standard Hill Descent Control allows you to creep down safely. The XT6 doesn’t offer Hill Descent Control.

The XC90’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 XC90 and the XT6 have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, 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, blind spot warning systems, rearview cameras, rear cross-path warning and available around view monitors.

Warranty

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The XC90’s corrosion warranty is 6 years longer than the XT6’s (12 vs. 6 years).

Volvo pays for scheduled maintenance on the XC90 for 3 years and 36,000 miles. Volvo will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance. Cadillac only pays for the first scheduled maintenance visit on the XT6.

Reliability

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The XT6’s redline is at 7200 RPM, which causes more engine wear, and a greater chance of a catastrophic engine failure. The XC90 has a 6000 RPM redline.

To reliably power the ignition and other systems and to recharge the battery, the XC90 has a standard 210-amp alternator. The XT6’s standard 155-amp alternator and largest (optional) 170-amp alternator aren’t as powerful.

The battery on the XC90 is in the trunk, which protects it from hot underhood temperatures that can degrade battery life. By keeping the XC90’s battery 20 to 30 degrees cooler, its life is increased by years. The XT6’s battery is in the hot engine compartment.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2019 Auto Issue reports that Volvo vehicles are more reliable than Cadillac vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Volvo 6 places higher in reliability than Cadillac.

Engine

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The XC90 T6’s standard 2.0 turbo/supercharged 4-cylinder produces 6 more horsepower (316 vs. 310) and 24 lbs.-ft. more torque (295 vs. 271) than the XT6’s 3.6 DOHC V6. The XC90 Recharge’s standard 2.0 turbo/supercharged 4-cylinder hybrid produces 90 more horsepower (400 vs. 310) and 201 lbs.-ft. more torque (472 vs. 271) than the XT6’s 3.6 DOHC V6.

As tested in Car and Driver the Volvo XC90 is faster than the Cadillac XT6:

XC90 T6

XC90 Recharge

XT6

Zero to 60 MPH

6 sec

5.3 sec

6.4 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

15.5 sec

14.6 sec

16.6 sec

Quarter Mile

14.6 sec

14 sec

15.1 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

97 MPH

98 MPH

96 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

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On the EPA test cycle the XC90 Recharge running on electricity gets better fuel mileage than the XT6:

MPGe

XC90

AWD

Electric Motor

58 city/53 hwy

XT6

MPG

FWD

3.6 DOHC V6

18 city/25 hwy

AWD

3.6 DOHC V6

17 city/24 hwy

On the EPA test cycle the XC90 running its gasoline engine gets better fuel mileage than the XT6:

MPG

XC90

FWD

T5 2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

21 city/30 hwy

AWD

T8 2.0 turbo/SC 4-cyl. Hybrid

26 city/28 hwy

T5 2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

20 city/28 hwy

T6 2.0 turbo/SC 4-cyl.

19 city/28 hwy

XT6

FWD

3.6 DOHC V6

18 city/25 hwy

AWD

3.6 DOHC V6

17 city/24 hwy

The XC90 Recharge can drive on battery power alone for up to 18 miles. The XT6 must run its internal combustion engine to move.

Regenerative brakes improve the XC90 T8’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The XT6 doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.

Brakes and Stopping

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For better stopping power the XC90’s brake rotors are larger than those on the XT6:

XC90 T5/T6

XC90 Recharge

XT6

Front Rotors

13.6 inches

14.4 inches

12.6 inches

Rear Rotors

12.6 inches

13.4 inches

12.4 inches

The XC90 stops much shorter than the XT6:

XC90

XT6

70 to 0 MPH

167 feet

171 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

113 feet

131 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the XC90’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the XT6 (275/45R20 vs. 265/45R21).

The XC90’s optional tires provide better handling because they have a lower 35 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the XT6 Sport’s optional 45 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the XC90 offers optional 22-inch wheels. The XT6’s largest wheels are only 21-inches.

Suspension and Handling

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The XC90 R-Design/Inscription has a standard automatic front and rear load leveling suspension to keep ride height level with a heavy load or when towing. The XC90’s height leveling suspension allows the driver to raise ride height for better off-road clearance and then lower it again for easier entering and exiting and better on-road handling. The XT6 doesn’t offer a load leveling suspension.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the XC90’s wheelbase is 4.8 inches longer than on the XT6 (117.5 inches vs. 112.7 inches).

The XC90 T6 AWD handles at .85 G’s, while the XT6 Sport AWD pulls only .82 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The XC90 T6 AWD executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver quicker than the XT6 Sport AWD (26.8 seconds @ .65 average G’s vs. 27.2 seconds @ .67 average G’s).

For greater off-road capability the XC90 has a 1.65 inches greater minimum ground clearance than the XT6 (8.3 vs. 6.65 inches), allowing the XC90 to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged. The XC90 w/Air Suspension’s minimum ground clearance is 3.25 inches higher than on the XT6 (9.9 vs. 6.65 inches).

Chassis

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The XC90 is 3.5 inches shorter than the XT6, making the XC90 easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Passenger Space

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The XC90 has 5.9 inches more front hip room, .8 inches more rear hip room, 2.4 inches more third row legroom and 5.4 inches more third row hip room than the XT6.

Towing

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The XC90’s minimum standard towing capacity is much higher than the XT6’s (4000 vs. 1000 pounds).

Ergonomics

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If the windows are left open on the XC90 the driver can close them all at the outside door handle. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows at the outside door handle or from a distance using the keyless remote. The driver of the XT6 can only close the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

Heated windshield washer nozzles are optional on the XC90 to prevent washer fluid and nozzles from freezing and help continue to keep the windshield clear in sub-freezing temperatures. The XT6 doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.

In poor weather, headlights can lose their effectiveness as grime builds up on their lenses. This can reduce visibility without the driver realizing. The XC90 has standard headlight washers to keep headlight output high. The XT6 doesn’t offer headlight washers.

The XT6’s cornering lamps activate a lamp on the front corner when the turn signal is activated. The XC90’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.

A manual rear sunshade and rear side window sunshades are optional in the XC90 to help block heat and glare for the rear passengers. The XT6 doesn’t offer a rear or rear side window sunshades.

The XC90 Inscription offers optional massaging front seats in order to maximize comfort and eliminate fatigue on long trips. Massaging seats aren’t available in the XT6.

The XC90 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.

Economic Advantages

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The XC90 will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the XC90 will retain 45.56% to 49.47% of its original price after five years, while the XT6 only retains 38.34% to 38.37%.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the XC90 is less expensive to operate than the XT6 because it costs $210 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the XC90 than the XT6, including $381 less for a muffler, $9 less for fuel injection and $522 less for a timing belt/chain.

Recommendations

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/10/23

The Car Book by Jack Gillis recommends the Volvo XC90, based on economy, maintenance, safety and complaint levels. The Cadillac XT6 isn't recommended.

Motor Trend selected the XC90 as their 2016 Sport Utility of the Year. The XT6 has never been chosen.

The XC90 was chosen as one of Automobile Magazine’s “All Stars” in 2016. The XT6 has never been an “All Star.”

A group of representative automotive journalists from North America selected the XC90 as the 2016 North American Truck of the Year. The XT6 has never been chosen.

The Volvo XC90 outsold the Cadillac XT6 by over three to one during 2019.

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

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