In most parts of the country, carping about the state of this nation’s roads is an art form. New expletives have been crafted solely for use when one’s brand-new set of winter tires slam into an unexpected pothole. Fillings have been jarred loose by washboard road surfaces. Alignment mechanics rejoice the former, dentists do brisk business with the latter. Hey, at least someone is making bank off of our rough roads.
Across Canada, wild temperature swings and an abundance of road salt conspire to scupper even the best paving job. Jagged lines cut every surface like a botched episiotomy, with macadam crumbling like day-old sponge cake.
Armed with CAA’s list of Ten Worst Roads in the Maritimes and the keys to a 2020 Cadillac XT6 crossover, we decided to seek out these potholed pavements in an effort to gauge the state of our roads.
Would the Cadillac provide a comfortable journey? Will this infrastructure hammer our spines into oblivion? Did I make a theme-based playlist filled with The Stones and the score from Rocky?
The answers to those questions were yes, no and an emphatic yes.
First, the Cadillac. The luxury arm of General Motors has been fiddling with their “Standard of the World” for a few years now, rolling out two new sedans and three new crossovers in quick succession.
The XT6 is the largest of these, acting as a draw for customers seeking a snazzy three-row machine with all-wheel-drive. Cadillac already has a three-row SUV in its quiver of course, but the large-and-in-charge Escalade scares away some customers thanks to its bulk and truck-based roots. For anyone trading out of an Acura MDX or Volvo XC90, the XT6 will be much more approachable.
Outside, the Cadillac certainly looks the part, with our Sport-trimmed tester dipped in $900 worth of inky Stellar Black Metallic paint. Unlike the Premium Luxury models, the Sport eschews all exterior brightwork save for a spear along its lower flanks and one edging the perimeter of its front grille. A completely blacked-out grille, bookended with headlights narrowed like the eyes of a stern headmaster, is a dealer-installed accessory and should be fitted to every XT6 regardless of colour.
The last road of the day was Waterford Road just outside of Sussex. Locals said this stretch of tarmac captured the number two spot on The List thanks to a combination of patchwork repairs and the lack of any major work since 2009.
Alert readers will correctly guess that a layer of fresh tar now covers this road surface as well, one which strafes a river and whose proximity to several of New Brunswick’s famed covered bridges makes it popular with tourists.
All of this taught us two things. First, CAA’s annual list does indeed spur local governments to action, proving that the voice of the people is not always routinely ignored by those who move the levers of power. Second, Cadillac’s new XT6 is a sumptuous if costly player in the luxury three-row game. It looks good and is endlessly comfortable but the brand needs to introduce the excellent Super Cruise hands-free driving assistance feature in order for it to truly stand out in a very crowded segment.