2020 Cadillac XT6 picks up where the CT6 leaves off

What is it? Say goodbye to the long and angular Cadillac CT6 sedan — once the brand’s technology leader — and say cheers to its replacement, a three-row, unibody luxury SUV named the XT6 that promises a rich and luxurious interior to go along with a boatload of standard equipment, including AWD.

Riding on a long-wheelbase version of the C1XX platform, the 2020 XT6 is proportionally similar to the Chevrolet Traverse and Buick Enclave, but smaller than the truck-based Escalade — which also has three rows, but isn’t everyone’s favourite as it rides more like a truck with a body-on-frame SUV. The XT6 joins the smaller and all new XT4, as well as the XT5, to make for a trifecta of car-based SUVs that consumers appear to want today.

Standard features included a long list of safety technologies, with even more safety features as optional in either the “Premium Luxury” version or the Sport Design model. Both ride on 20-inch wheels, with 21-inchers available on the Sport. Cargo space is 78.7 cubic-feet behind the front seats with all seats folded, 43.1 behind the second row and 12.6 behind the third. That’s slightly less than the new BMW X7, but more than the Audi Q7.

For now, only one engine — a 3.6-litre V6 with 310 horsepower and 271 lb.-ft. of torque — is mated to a nine speed automatic with “electronic precision shift.”

Why does it matter? GM has a handful of three-row SUVs, but none that fit squarely into the luxury realm. The Chevrolet Traverse, GMC Acadia, and Buick Enclave just don’t command the luxury respect the way a Cadillac can. With BMW, Lincoln, Mercedes, Infiniti and others producing new, three-row SUVs, Cadillac’s aging Escalade can no longer fill the void by itself. Given its size, the XT6 should come in both seven and eight-seat versions, and will come with its own flavour of Cadillac styling to set it apart.

It will also introduce new technology: A first for Cadillac, the XT6 will use a rotary controller with a tilt function — similar to a joystick — to complement hard buttons and steering wheel controls. The controller works in conjunction with an 8-inch-diagonal color touchscreen display that builds on the technology introduced on the XT4.

When will Canada get it? Manufactured in Spring Hill, Tenn., the XT6 will be available for ordering this spring. Pricing will be announced closer to the start of production.

Should you buy it? If you like Cadillac’s design direction and want a roomy, luxurious family hauler, the XT6 should be high on your list of SUVs to test drive. But with so many other manufactures crowding this space, the decision ultimately comes down to which vehicle stands head and shoulders above the others. Upon first look, the XT6 is off to a good start.

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