In the present work, the evolution of microstructure and mechanical properties of high-strength low-alloy D6AC steel containing the Ce element was synthetically investigated by means of electron backscatter diffraction, scanning electron microscope, Transmission electron microscope, and tensile and impact tests. The experimental results show that adding a certain amount of Ce into HSLA-D6AC steel can refine grains and martensite laths, as well as increase the fine VC precipitates, which not only enhance the strength of the steel but also improve the toughness and plasticity. Meanwhile, the morphology of martensite in HSLA-D6AC steel changes from twin martensite to dislocation martensite. It is found that after adding Ce, HSLA-D6AC steel exhibits a distinct necking stage in the tensile test, and the impact toughness value increases from 83 to 136 J. With the appearance of some more and deeper homogeneous dimples, the quasi-cleavage fracture transforms into a ductile fracture characterized by microvoid coalescence, demonstrating that HSLA-D6AC steel with the Ce element achieves excellent comprehensive mechanical properties.