The 7-Seater Slugfest: Lincoln Aviator vs. Cadillac XT6

Lincoln Aviator and Cadillac XT6
Lincoln AviatorCourtesy of Lincoln

You, there, looking for a new ride. You’ve got a patriotic streak: All six Rocky films are in your Netflix queue, even the questionable V. You have a family, and stuff, and enough coin to haul both in style.

Turn your attention, then, to two brand-new, U.S.-made midsize luxury SUVs: Lincoln’s Aviator and Cadillac’s XT6. Both feature V6 engines, three rows, a laundry list of tech, and stickers that start around $50,000. But which deserves a spot in your garage?

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We’ll save you the suspense: It’s the Lincoln. Whatever your opinion of Matthew McConaughey’s fanciful ad spots, it isn’t difficult to discern the differences once your foot hits the pedals. Lincoln went with a more advanced powertrain, and it pays off. The Aviator’s three-liter V6 engine is turbocharged, and most of its power is available as soon as you tip-in.

Cadillac XT6
Courtesy of Cadillac

On the other hand, the Caddy’s naturally aspirated V6 puts out 90 fewer horses and far less torque (271 versus 415 lb-ft), peaking at high RPMs. It’s not anemic, but it’s by no means as satisfying, especially when you consider its fuel economy is only one gallon better on the highway.

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The Aviator’s edge is evident on the inside, too, where you’ll find more metal and leather, and fewer plastic touchpoints. Not to say that the Aviator is perfect. Some choices seem almost arbitrary rather than driven by functional improvements—such as the dash-mounted “piano key” gear selector. The XT6 does have bright spots like excellent suspension tuning, a hushed and comfy cabin, and a solid crash rating—but it still falls just short.

So in this fight, it’s Lincoln. But like Rocky, we look forward to a rematch.

The Specs

Lincoln Aviator

  • MSRP: $51,000
  • Horsepower: 400
  • 0-60: 5.4 sec.
  • Torque: 415 lb-ft

Cadillac XT6

  • MSRP: $52,696
  • Horsepower: 310
  • 0-60: 6.9 sec.
  • Torque: 271 lb-ft

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