August 19, 2019
NAPA, Calif. — The 2020 Lincoln Aviator and Cadillac XT6, large crossovers that launched this summer within a month of each other, are the latest expressions of what their reinvented brands hope to become.
They also provide a window into the two marques' revivals, showing that Cadillac has a formidable challenger in Detroit again after years of having domestic-leaning luxury buyers largely to itself. Cadillac is still bigger, but Lincoln is on the rise.
"Lincoln was not effectively competing with Cadillac in most ways a short time ago ... but they've changed everything from the naming strategy to the styling strategy, and I think it's completely worked," Karl Brauer, executive publisher of Autotrader and Kelley Blue Book, told Automotive News. "Now it's a much more interesting battle between the two brands."
Lincoln crafted the Aviator on a new rear-wheel-drive platform with a plug-in hybrid option. It replaces the MKT as the brand distances itself from the blander designs and confusing names it favored earlier this decade.
Cadillac, which has been working to rebalance its sedan-heavy lineup since replacing President Johan de Nysschen last year, brought the XT6 to market with a single powertrain. There's no hybrid or plug-in variant, and the Super Cruise hands-free driving system won't be offered until later, even as the brand positions itself as the pinnacle of General Motors' technology and electrification efforts.
The Aviator costs less, is more powerful and has won widespread praise from critics for its distinctive styling. Reviews of the XT6 have been more mixed.
The articles makes it seem like JdN wasn't pushing CUVs, when he was (he just ultimately didn't get them in the form he had wanted).
The XT6 had the benefit of launching first, logging 74 sales in June before the Aviator began reaching dealerships in July.
Brauer argued that, although the Cadillac crossover likely will win new customers and help the brand, its more conservative design makes it harder to stand out from the fast-growing list of luxury crossovers on the market. "It's evolutionary, in a good direction," Brauer said. "It certainly isn't revolutionary, which is what I would call the Lincoln style."
Don't think either design language is revolutionary; Lincoln's is just more noticeable since it's more of a departure from what they had done in the past (starting w/ the Conti).
Maybe what's revolutionary (for a domestic brand) is the care taken w/ regard to the design and quality of the interior.
Would not at all be surprised if the XT6 ends up outselling the Aviator - but that's w/ more $$ on the hood and at a lower ATP.
Cadillac has basically beaten Lexus to the punch w/ a proper 3-row CUV (as opposed to the cheap hack job that is the RX-L), so definitely can see it attract the more value-oriented buyer (once aggressive pricing kicks in).
At the same time, have noticed numerous reviews mention the (loaded versions) of the Telluride and Palisade as being better value alternatives to the XT6.
Have yet to see that mentioned for an Aviator review (once the Genesis GV80 launches, that'll likely be the one most oft compared to the Aviator).