WhichCar
Powered by
  • WheelsWheels
  • MOTORMOTOR
  • 4X4 Australia4X4 Australia
  • Street MachineStreet Machine
  • Trade Unique CarsTrade Unique Cars

Is this the most Australian Cadillac SUV ever?

By Tim Robson, 12 Dec 2019 Car News

2020 Cadillac XT6

New Cadillac XT6 SUV was tuned in Melbourne and designed by the same bloke who did the Holden ute

  • Cadillac XT6 is twin of Holden Acadia
  • Holden boss asked to assess Cadillac return to Australia
  • Pivot to SUV sales model could open door wider to import

Even though Holden no longer makes cars here, its parent company General Motors still leans heavily on its Australian subsidiary's expertise.

This, for example, is the recently announced Cadillac XT6. Underneath it’s a direct relative of the Holden Acadia. Not only that, the XT6’s list of Australian credentials is long and distinguished.

Its designer, for example, is Andrew Smith, an Australian who rose to the top of Cadillac design by way of programs like the Holden VU ute and the stunning Holden Sandman concept of the early 2000s.

Andrew’s boss is Michael Simcoe, who has risen through the ranks to become the global head of General Motors’ Design across all its brands. Simcoe became the chief of Holden Design back in 1987 and lists both the VE and VF Commodores on his CV.

Legend has it that he sketched up a life-size version of the 2001 Monaro on his lounge room wall.

More Holden news

Holden Commodore axed

Why Holden's mountain of problems just got taller

Potential Commodore replacement lands in Melbourne

 

Mechanically, the Holden Acadia has undergone a raft of localisation tuning at Holden’s Lang Lang proving ground, which survived a stay of execution when local manufacturing ended in 2016.

The left-hand-drive Cadillac XT6 ran alongside that same program, a Holden insider confirmed, running thousands of kilometres on Melbourne roads as engineers worked to bake in Cadillac levels of ride comfort and noise suppression into a car that was originally built for GM’s truck brand, GMC.

READ MORE The decline of Holden (and Commodore) in numbers

There haven't been too many other details released about the three-row XT6 – which was announced alongside GM’s SUV EV (SUEV?) plans – but we know that the 3.6-litre V6 engine will be mated to an all-wheel drivetrain.

That same powertrain could be fitted to the Holden Acadia across the three-variant range.

Could we ever see Cadillac in Australia? The news out of the US is interesting; former Holden boss and now president of GM, Mark Reuss, asked former Holden head David Buttner to reassess the brand’s suitability for Australia.

Even so, it would be a brave bet to make that the Caddy badge – which came literally hours away from debuting here in 2009 – ends up in a showroom near you any time soon.

Cadillac is playing catch-up in the SUV space; a reported $20 billion reboot in its sedan line-up in 2015 came at the exact wrong moment in history, with customers in the premium space turning to luxury SUVs like the Audi Q7 and BMW X5 instead of Caddy sedans.

READ MORE Could the V8, rear-drive Commodore make a comeback?

Meanwhile, Holden’s Acadia has had a worryingly slow start to its sales since coming on the market in November 2018.

In its first full year on sale, it's sold 2900 units, putting it well below cars like the ageing Subaru Outback (6772), Mazda's CX-9 (6600) and way behind the runaway large SUV leader, Toyota's Kluger (16,945).

Sign up here to get the free weekly WhichCar eNewsletter