2020 Cadillac XT6 3-row SUV gives Escalade a smaller luxe sibling

Big changes were promised for Cadillac, and the automaker has wasted no time in unveiling the 2020 XT6, its all-new three-row crossover SUV. Arriving on the eve of the Detroit Auto Show 2019, the new XT6 adds a fresh nameplate to Cadillac's XT-range of SUVs and crossovers.

In this particular case, the 2020 XT6 slots in as the luxury family car. Shorter, narrower, and lower than an Escalade – with all the benefits that come from that in squeezing into parking spots – it also promises to be more nimble than its bigger sibling.

Outside, Cadillac's crisp design language still looks sharp. The grille has been pared back, similar to the aesthetic in recent concept cars like the Cadillac Escala from back in 2016, while the LED lighting is unmistakably recognizable. Two versions will be offered, the 2020 XT6 Premium Luxury and the 2020 XT6 Sport.

The Premium Luxury trim will get Bright Galvano accents on the grille, side window moldings, and on the roof rails. It has unique front and rear fascias, too, with red taillight lenses and through-fascia exhaust outlets. 20-inch wheels are standard.

As for the XT6 Sport, that gets a black grille with a specific, V-Series-inspired pattern. There are matching black window moldings and roof rails, too, while the front and rear fascias get tinted clear taillight lenses. Again, 20-inch wheels are standard, though 21-inch wheels are available.

Either way, under the hood there's a 3.6-liter V6 good for 310 horsepower and 271 lb-ft of torque. It's paired with a nine-speed automatic transmission with Electronic Precision Shift. Four driving modes are offered, and the engine can automatically deactivate two of its cylinders for frugality.

The XT6 Premium Luxury is front-wheel drive as standard, with all-wheel drive an option. The XT6 Sport is all-wheel drive as standard. The latter also gets a Sport Control active twin-clutch AWD system, with active yaw control, along with Continuous Damping Control active handling and a faster steering ratio.

As for the cabin, that aims for simplicity and minimalist, albeit with no sacrificing comfort features. Premium Luxury models get exotic wood trim, while the Sport gets carbon fiber. A 14-speaker Bose Performance Series audio system is optional, as is semi-aniline leather seating, an air ionizer, automatic heated and ventilated front seats, heated second-row outboard seats, and a standard heated steering wheel.

Adaptive cruise control is optional, as is night vision and a power hands-free tailgate. Keyless entry is available, as is NFC phone pairing and 15W wireless charging. An HD surround vision camera can be added, too.

The third row is power-folding as standard, while there's remote fold-down for the second-row seating. The second row also offers tip/pitch-and-slide.

For safety, forward collision alerts, automatic emergency braking with front pedestrian braking, parking assistance front and rear, lane change alerts with blind spot warnings, rear cross traffic alerts, and lane keep assistance are all standard. Adaptive cruise control, automatic parking assistance, rear pedestrian alert, and reverse automatic braking are optional. You can also have a surround vision recorder and a head-up display.

The latest Cadillac user experience is onboard, with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support; it's controlled either via the 8-inch touchscreen or a new rotary controller. 4G LTE with WiFi hotspot support is standard, and there's natural address entry for the new navigation system. There are two USB charging ports for each row of seats.

The 2020 Cadillac XT6 will go on sale this spring. Pricing and specific availability will be announced closer to release.