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2020 Cadillac XT6: 3-Row Caddy Crossover De-Escalates From Escalade

2020 Cadillac XT6

Competes with: Lincoln Aviator, Infiniti QX70, Acura MDX, Audi Q7

Looks like: A 2019 Hyundai Santa Fe

Drivetrains: 310-horsepower, 3.6-liter V-6; nine-speed automatic transmission; front- or all-wheel drive

Hits dealerships: Spring

Cadillac has been behind the eight ball in reacting to the massive interest in crossovers and SUVs from luxury buyers, and the company aims to rectify that in 2019 with the introduction of a bunch of new models. First was the XT4 compact crossover, which has proven popular, but the latest is this: the new 2020 Cadillac XT6 three-row luxury crossover, now making its debut at the 2019 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. 

Related: More 2019 Detroit Auto Show Coverage

 

 

The XT6 is a front-wheel-drive model based on the same platform as the GMC Acadia, but with unique styling and a Cadillac interior. One thing it's not is an alternative to Cadillac's own massively popular Escalade, the GM brand's other three-row SUV — because why build yourself a competitor in your own showroom?

Exterior

There's definitely some Cadillac influence in the sheet metal, with a choice of two headlight patterns and standard vertical LED accent light bars. Rear taillights are also LED and designed to evoke the idea of tailfins. Two different themes will be available for the XT6 appearance-wise: the uninspiringly named Premium Luxury and Sport trims. Premium Luxury gets bright "Galvano" exterior accents on the trim and grille, while the Sport model gets dark accents, available 21-inch wheels and "performance-inspired" detailing.

Interior

The cabin of the XT6 is familiar Cadillac in shapes and materials, with a choice of colors and two distinct looks depending on trim: Premium Luxury gets wood d‚cor, while the Sport gets carbon fiber. Semi-aniline leather seating is optional, as are automatic heated/ventilated front- and heated second-row outboard seats, an in-vehicle cabin air ionizer and a Bose Performance Series 14-speaker premium audio system. Power-folding third-row seats are actually standard, while a "tip/pitch-and-slide" feature helps the second row move forward, allowing for easier ingress to that third row. A remote-folding feature for the second row is also standard.

There's a decent list of optional equipment for the XT6, as well including a night vision camera, an HD surround-vision camera, a hands-free liftgate and keyless open with adaptive remote start.

The latest version of the Cadillac User Experience multimedia system is present, now featuring an additional rotary controller knob with a "jog" feature that allows for even more flexibility in controlling the system. An 8-inch touchscreen display is standard, as is Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Near-field communication is also standard, allowing users one-touch phone connectivity; six USB ports are also available, two for every row.

Under the Hood

Powering the XT6 is GM's venerable 3.6-liter V-6 engine, which makes 310 horsepower. It's mated to a nine-speed automatic transmission that drives the front wheels with all-wheel drive optional (standard on the Sport trim). The transmission offers four drive modes, and the V-6 features active fuel management that can kill two cylinders in light duty for fuel economy benefits.

The Sport model gets some actual performance upgrades, as well, not just cosmetic changes. The all-wheel-drive system gets a Sport Control active twin-clutch design with active yaw control for better traction, while a "continuous damping control" active suspension is fitted. The Sport also gets a faster steering ratio for more aggressive steering response and feedback.

Safety

The XT6's biggest strength may be in its long list of standard safety equipment. These include an HD rear camera with washer; forward collision alert with automatic emergency braking, front pedestrian detection and braking; front and rear park assist; lane keep assist with lane departure warning; blind spot warning; rear cross-traffic alert; and more. Optional packages will net you a rear camera mirror with remote wash, adaptive cruise control, automatic park assist, rear pedestrian alert, a surround-view camera, a head-up display, reverse automatic braking and a night vision system.

The new Cadillac XT6 will go up against the formidable new 2020 Lincoln Aviator when it arrives in showrooms in the spring, and it will have its work cut out for it — it's down in horsepower, on-board technology, fuel economy systems and more. Stay tuned for a matchup as soon as we can get our hands on one.

2020 Cadillac XT6; Manufacturer images

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