Cadil­lac XT6 makes live de­but in De­troit

The Detroit News - - DETROIT AUTO SHOW - BY HENRY PAYNE AND NORA NAUGHTON The De­troit News

De­troit — The Es­calade’s stylish lit­tle brother, the Cadil­lac XT6, made its live de­but Sun­day at the Gar­den Theater ahead of the De­troit auto show.

Cadil­lac’s first uni­body three-row SUV, based on the same ar­chi­tec­ture as the two-row XT5, will play an im­por­tant role in the De­troit lux­ury brand’s grow­ing SUV lineup.

Through clever pack­ag­ing the XT6 man­ages to add a third-row of seat­ing to the 112.5-inch wheel­base of the XT5 with more legroom than the base, 116-inch wheel­base Es­calade.

The 2020 XT6, how­ever, is smaller in cargo and legroom than its three-row GM sib­lings, Buick En­clave and Chevy Tra­verse. It sets it­self apart from those of­fer­ings with Cadil­lac style and tech­nol­ogy. The big cross­over will fea­ture the lat­est ap­pli­ca­tion of Caddy’s CUE in­fo­tain­ment sys­tem with touch­screen-and-re­mote-ro­tary dial op­er­a­tion, elec­tronic dampers and a stan­dard panoramic sun­roof.

“The XT6 takes the Es­calade’s scale down to an every­day pack­age,” says An­drew Smith, Cadil­lac’s global de­sign chief. The fam­ily-hauler will com­pete in a dog-eat-poo­dle seg­ment that in­cludes the the Audi Q7, Volvo XC90 and crosstown ri­val Lin­coln Avi­a­tor.

Built on the same bones as the Chevy Sil­ver­ado pickup, the hulk­ing bling-tastic Es­calade has long been GM’s SUV icon — a fa­vorite of well-heeled sub­ur­ban­ites and rap­pers alike. With the XT6, Cadil­lac fills out its soc­cer mom-ori­ented cross­over lineup with the XT5 and com­pact XT4 below it.

“The XT6 is ex­actly what Cadil­lac needs at ex­actly the right time,” said Brian Moody, an au­to­mo­tive an­a­lyst for Cox Au­to­mo­tive. “Ex­pected to be more af­ford­able than the Es­calade, the XT6 fits per­fectly be­tween that full-size SUV and the smaller XT5.”

Like its re­tir­ing sedan com­pa­triot CT6 (Caddy sedans use the CT moniker, while XT ap­plies to SUVs), the XT6 of­fers the big­gest can­vas to ap­ply its Es­cala con­cept-in­spired de­sign. The XT6’s fas­cia plants the Es­cala’s large grille/thin LED head­light sculp­ture to an up­right SUV fas­cia. Ver­ti­cal LED run­ning lights on the front cor­ners main­tain Cadil­lac’s sig­na­ture ver­ti­cal de­sign cues and will make it in­stantly rec­og­niz­able at night.

Span­ning the XT6’s 16-foot-5-inch length, bold shoul­der lines ex­tend over stan­dard 20-inch wheels. Out back, the XT6 es­chews the Es­calade’s ver­ti­cal tail­lights for more mod­est T-shaped lamps.

“The tail­lights are more like the CT6,” says de­signer Smith. “All our SUVs have their own unique ap­pear­ance.”

Un­like the CT6, which pi­o­neered an all-new, rear-wheel drive, mixed-ma­te­rial chas­sis, the XT6 will be built on the fa­mil­iar bones of other GM SUVs. Its hor­i­zon­tally mounted, 310-horse­power 3.6-liter V-6 en­gine — the only of­fer­ing for now — is also com­mon to the smaller XT5. Front-wheel drive is stan­dard with all-wheel drive as an op­tion.

In con­trast, Lin­coln’s all-new three-row Avi­a­tor — which will show in De­troit for the first time this week — boasts a RWD plat­form shared with the Ford Ex­plorer.

The XT6 adopts Cadil­lac’s new, sim­pli­fied trim of­fer­ings of Sport and Premium models. The Premium model will fea­ture a crest-crusted grille and prom­i­nent chrome trim, while the Sport model will carry a more ma­cho, blacked-out theme with black-mesh grille, black win­dow trim and black­rimmed tail lights.

Sport is the pricier of the two trims as it gets stan­dard up­grades like all-wheel drive, elec­tronic shocks and quicker steer­ing to aid its ath­letic as­pi­ra­tions. The AWD sys­tem packs so­phis­ti­cated, twin clutches in the rear that elec­tron­i­cally di­rect 100 per­cent of torque to ei­ther rear wheel in or­der to pre­vent tire slip­page in, say, icy con­di­tions.

In­side ac­cents will dif­fer de­pend­ing on trim, with the Premium avail­able with four species of ex­otic woods and the Sport out­fit­ted with black leather and car­bon-fiber in­serts.

The XT6 con­sole will show off the lat­est in Cadil­lac User Ex­pe­ri­ence, aka CUE. The sys­tem was ma­ligned for its mad­den­ing hap­tic-touch in­ter­face when it de­buted on the 2014 CTS sedan. The new sys­tem of­fers the choice of op­er­at­ing the in­fo­tain­ment screen by touch or ro­tary dial. The new CUE de­buted on the XT4 this year, and the XT6 up­grades the dial with BMW-like jog func­tion­al­ity for bet­ter menu nav­i­ga­tion.

The Cadil­lac’s elec­tronic, 9-speed shifter ditches ca­ble op­er­a­tion and opens up purse-friendly stor­age un­der­neath the con­sole.

The third rows is eas­ily ac­cessed via a one-pull tab that tips and slides the mid­dle seats. A stan­dard, two-pane, panoramic roof stretches across the cabin.

As is com­mon now on lux­ury as well as main­stream ve­hi­cles, the Caddy comes with a bas­ket of stan­dard safety fea­tures in­clud­ing blind-spot as­sist, au­to­matic emer­gency-brak­ing, au­to­matic wind­shield wipers and lane-keep-as­sist. Op­tion­ing a radar and a driver-as­sist pack­age brings giz­mos like adap­tive cruise-con­trol. An avail­able vis­i­bil­ity Tech Pack­age adds fea­tures like heads-up­dis­play, rear-view cam­era mir­ror and park-as­sist into par­al­lel park­ing spots.

Pric­ing will be avail­able closer to when XT6 hits show­room floors this sum­mer. The XT6 is as­sem­bled in Spring Hill, Ten­nessee.

Jose Juarez / Spe­cial to The De­troit News

The 2020 Cadil­lac XT6 sport edi­tion de­buts Sun­day at the Gar­den Theater in De­troit.

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