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2020 Cadillac XT6 luxury three-row crossover SUV first look: Family hauler for a new generation

January 12, 2019

Most of us knew the back seat of a boxy minivan better than homework folders, Happy Meal mazes, and Saturday morning cartoons combined.

The 2020 Cadillac XT6 that showed up Sunday ahead of the 2019 North American International Auto Show in Detroit is more spacious than those minivans from yesteryear littered with plastic toys and smashed cereal, but will be just as ubiquitous and useful in suburban driveways.

The three-row crossover SUV is based loosely on the same framework as the Chevrolet Traverse and Buick Enclave, although it's shorter between the wheels and between the bumpers than both by about six inches. Three rows of seats are standard, with six USB charge ports spread among the rows (two for each row of seats) and a wireless smartphone charger is optional.

An 8.0-inch touchscreen handles infotainment duties in the XT6, complete with Bluetooth connectivity and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. Soft leather upholstery is available, and interior trim accents depend on trim level: Premium Luxury XT6 versions get real wood, Sport XT6 models get carbon fiber accents.

DON'T MISS: Read our 2020 Cadillac XT6 preview

Behind the third row, the XT6 offers 12.6 cubic feet of cargo room, but the rear row folds flat for up to 43.1 cubes of storage. Tumble down the second row and the XT6 boasts more than 78.7 cubic feet of cargo storage if empty-nesters can't get the kids out of the house fast enough.

The XT6 borrows more of its style from Cadillac's other crossovers: the small XT4 or mid-size XT5, than it does from the Escalade. The broad front face is bookended by tall LED daytime running lights that are capped by thin headlights. The maw dips low and wide around the grille: black mesh on Sport versions or chromed for Premium Luxury models. Along the sides, standard 20-inch wheels fill out creased arches that read bigger. Even ritzier, 21-inch wheels are available on XT6 Sports.

The back skips the tall taillights from the Escalade for smaller, L-shaped lights that reach into the rear fenders and drop toward chromed exhaust ports built into the rear bumpers. The split taillights offer a wider aperture for the rear liftgate, too. The loading floor appears low and wide for easier access.

Inside, the front- and second-row passengers get the most comfortable seats. Optionally heated and cooled front seats get bathed in ambient interior lighting, while second-row passengers are treated with seats that can be optionally heated. Both front- and second-row passengers get roughly 40 inches of leg room with about 40 inches of head room, even with a standard sunroof. Third-row passengers only get 29.5 inches of leg room, less than the Traverse or Enclave, but about the same space as the Acura MDX.

READ NEXT: 2019 Cadillac XT4 review

Unlike the MDX, the new XT6 doesn't offer a hybrid powertrain—at least not yet. The three-row Cadillac is powered by a familiar engine found in many other GM crossovers, including the Traverse, Enclave and GMC Acadia. A 3.6-liter V-6 spins out 310 horsepower and 271 pound-feet of torque and is exclusively mated to a 9-speed automatic. Front-wheel drive is standard in Premium Luxury trims, and all-wheel drive is optional. The 2020 XT6 Sport is all-wheel drive only.

That all-wheel-drive system is borrowed from the XT4, and is a fully disconnecting, twin-clutch version that can disconnect the rear axle for better fuel economy. Cadillac didn't guess at the XT6's fuel-economy ratings, although it's likely to be close to the Enclave's 20-mpg combined rating with all-wheel drive.

2020 Cadillac XT6

2020 Cadillac XT6

2020 Cadillac XT6

2020 Cadillac XT6

2020 Cadillac XT6

2020 Cadillac XT6

Automatic emergency braking and active lane control are standard on all models, while active safety features such as a surround-view and night vision camera system, full-speed automatic emergency braking, and an exterior video recording system are optional extras.

Cadillac didn't say if the XT6 would be available with a semi-autonomous driving system that GM calls SuperCruise, although it's likely to follow soon if it's absent at launch. Cadillac said last week that it's making the system available in all its cars by the end of next year.

The Cadillac XT6 will go on sale later this spring.

For more from the 2019 Detroit auto show, head over to our dedicated hub.

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