Three rows without the bulk. The 2020 model year is when Cadillac finally gets competitive in the three-row luxury crossover movement with the Chevrolet Traverse-derived XT6.

The all-new 2020 Cadillac XT6 finds a nice spot for itself between the compact Cadillac XT4 and the hulking Cadillac Escalade, giving buyers seating for up to seven without moving into a land yacht and tons of premium materials and features to go with it.

Is this enough to set the XT6 apart in a crowded segment? Continue reading to find out.

Smooth powertrain that lacks any “wow” moments. The Cadillac XT6 turns its nose up at the thought of turbocharged four-cylinder base engines with its standard 3.6-liter V6.

As one of General Motors’ most used engines, this V6 offers no performance surprises, but it delivers smooth acceleration thanks to its 310 horsepower and 271 pound-feet of torque. This output bests the Acura MDX by 20 hp and the Volvo XC90 T5 by 60 hp.

Mated to this smooth V6 engine is a standard nine-speed automatic transmission. While many of these higher-gear-count automatic transmissions have a tendency to hunt for the right gear in city driving, the XT6’s nine-speed unit goes completely unnoticed in the best way possible.

This all adds up to a comfortable ride that offends no one, but the XT6 fails to deliver any real excitement when the pedal hits the carpet.

Cadillac XT6

Spacious, comfy cabin with a forgettable third row. Inside, the Cadillac XT6 must deliver optimal comfort and quietness to separate itself from the crowded luxury crossover segment. It does just that – in its front two rows, at least – with well-padded front seats that offer just enough lateral support and plenty of adjustments for all passenger sizes.

The second-row seats are available as a single bench or a pair of captain’s chairs, and the latter offer just as much comfort as the front thrones. Plus, taller second-row riders won’t feel the squeeze with up to 39.1 inches of leg room, which beats the XC90 by 2.1 inches and the MDX by 0.6 inches. Sadly, we cannot say the same for the third row, which offers just 29.5 inches of leg room, making it a child-only row.

Making the third row even more expendable is the tight 12.6 cubic feet of cargo room it leaves when upright. This is tighter than a trunk in most compact sedans and falls 3.2 cubes short of the XC90 and MDX.

With the third row folded, this expands to a more useful 43.1 cubes, which beats the XC90 by 1.3 cubes. Your best bet is to forget there is a third row, except in emergencies, and leave it folded the majority of the time.

Cadillac threw all the features at the base XT6. When it comes to standard features, Cadillac threw everything, including the kitchen sink, at the base XT6.

Its long list of standard features includes 20-inch wheels, a hands-free power tailgate, 4G LTE wi-fi, eight-way power front seats, an automatic heated steering wheel, heated front seats, a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, six USB ports, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

This matches it up nicely against its two biggest competitors, the MDX and XC90. In fact, it even gets the better of these two with its standard wi-fi, mini-perforated leather seating, wireless charging, and plethora of USB ports, but it rings in at a much higher price of $53,690 (destination fees included) — $4,995 more than the XC90 and $8,295 more than the MDX.

Final thoughts. The 2020 Cadillac XT6 does a great job flying in the face of its key competitors with a potent V6 engine, a massive list of standard features, roomy and comfortable seating, and all the standard safety features a family will need.

However, its price tag is outrageous relative to the MDX and XC90 without offering significantly more features. The smooth ride may be worth the extra cash, but that requires serious test driving before making the commitment.

Buyers who plan to use the third-row seats with some regularity will likely find the XT6’s seats way too tight. These buyers would prefer the 31.9 inches of leg room in the XC90. The XC90 also delivers more inspiring straight-line performance with its 400-hp T8 plug-in hybrid powertrain.

Check prices for the 2020 Cadillac XT6 »