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Review: 2021 Cadillac XT6 Sport test drive

There is just something about the third grade. Folding those rear seats to pull out a group of kids is a feature that giant SUVs have, but they usually come with more real estate than some people need or want. This rear seat isn’t usually an option with small car-based crossovers. So, to feed the American need for third grades – which has become a real search filter –Cadillac Subtract the second iteration of a file XT6 Medium sized SUV. General Motors handed over the keys to a 900-mile family road trip from New York to Virginia. Here’s what we learned about 2021 Cadillac XT6 Sport.

The Cadillac XT6's rear seat is more spacious than you might expect.  Our Sport trim tester had a center row of captain's chairs, rather than an optional seat.
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Day 1: That third grade

While it may seem normal to start in the third row, it’s an important distinction with the XT6. The rear seat of a Cadillac is more spacious than you might expect. Our Sport trim tester had a center row of captain’s chairs instead of an optional seat. This reduces the total seating from eight to seven, but provides ample legroom. However, this trend makes it easier for kids to get into and down the middle lane. Once they reach the back, they will have roughly the most space in the class. Taller adults can get back in there, too, without feeling claustrophobic.

It is easy to control in the separate rear seat. Switches on the rear doors and in the luggage compartment give you access no matter where you are. Everyone in the back has access to charging ports and their fair share of HVAC. Where things can get tight is the luggage space behind that third row. At about 12 1/2 cubic feet, it’s enough for three handbags, a midweek grocery store, or maybe some minor league baseball gear. This all changes if you fold both rows down. Then you can easily throw in a mountain bike – not that you want to disturb the interior of your Cadillac, but the principle is good.

My wife, Razim Lilly, and I. We folded the back seats down for the evening before the early morning started and had enough room for two carry-on bags, a full-size duffle, a few odds and ends bags, snacks, gear for the dog we were taking down the road, and even a fan (we’re serious about cleanliness Sleep, okay?).

An intuitive console at the front makes controlling the 8-inch infotainment screen a breeze.  The XT6 syncs with Apple and Android seamlessly and USB ports are scattered throughout the cabin, where there's a handy wireless charger port.
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Day 2: Settling in the Design

The XT6 is just right at home with the same bold styling that runs across the 2021 Cadillac lineup. Those clean, modern lines are scattered throughout the exterior. However, it is prevalent at the front with the wide grille, slender horizontal headlights and vertical fog lights. The rear end is less dramatic although it does a clever job of tucking the windshield wiper into the spoiler. The gloss black accents and dark paint inside the 20-inch wheels – which also help visually fill the wheel well – give the car a very front-of-the-road look.

Inside, the layout and seating are very comfortable – up to seven hours indoors. An intuitive front-facing console makes controlling the 8-inch infotainment screen a breeze. The XT6 syncs seamlessly with Apple and Android and USB ports are scattered throughout the cabin; There is also a handy wireless charger port. The infotainment control is a well placed click wheel. It’s the perfect strike distance for those who want to hang their right hand down from the padded central armrest to spin, shift and squeeze away. While the colors and graphics are crisp, and the information is easily visible (aka not narrow), it’s common to see screens over 12 inches in this category.

Soft surfaces like the seats, wheel, and dash are buttery leather with contrast stitching. Our Sport Tester has carbon fiber accents scattered throughout the cabin. The large two-part glass roof extends almost entirely above the middle row, letting in plenty of sunlight. Retractable sun visors get rid of the harsh midday sun, and temperature-controlled seats keep everyone comfortable in a more personal way than dual climate controls.

We found the cabin to be quiet at highway speeds, and our tester was equipped with 16 Bose speakers (instead of the standard eight), which performed well with decent clarity and bass.

But an SUV of this size needs a 3.6-liter V6, which gets the XT6 to 60 mph in 7.3 seconds.
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Day 3: Access to the open road

For 2021, Cadillac paired the XT6 with either a four-cylinder engine or a V6, which powered our test rig. The smaller engine is new for 2021 and is only available in one of three trim levels. Our guess is that it helps lower your starting cost. But an SUV of this size needs a 3.6-liter V6, which gets the XT6 to 60 mph in 7.3 seconds. Compare the specs and this is decent for a ride of this size, but it’s far from fast. You can find more smart options in this chapter. It’s also not something you want to take off-road. For example, you might scrape the front end when pulling off some suburban driveways. An AWD option is there, but it requires manual execution when you think you’ll need it in snow, ice or rain, rather than auto-tuning at the luxury ride price point.

On the I-95, our Sport tester smoothed out rough road surfaces for a fluid ride. There was a touch of bounce in the cabin which we could see was a comfort issue, but it proved comfortable for getting around town and long stretches of windy back roads. Are there seats with more modifications on the market? Yes, but the XT6 had just enough lumbar support to keep us happy. She has enough guts to pass at highway speeds to boot. If you spin the dial to sport mode and mash it on the pedal, there’s a fun amount of loop feedback. Visibility is also excellent, with an array of cameras covering every angle.

In areas where the XT6 lacks the domestic and imported third-tier — like diameter, infotainment screen size, what might sound like a disappointing engine — it makes up for with safety technology. Since parents are the most likely buyers of the XT6, that carries a lot of weight. The Cadillac is considered an IIHS Safety Pick and received a five-star NHTSA rating for its frontal and side crash ratings. The tester came with a standard Cadillac bag for safety technology including cruise control with distance assist, automatic emergency braking, and cross-traffic alert. The distance control feature was easy to adjust from the steering wheel controls. But there’s an optional driver assistance package (about $1,300 extra) if you want features like adaptive cruise control with zero braking, automatic high-speed emergency braking, and automatic emergency braking.

minimum: The XT6 has first-class safety features, comfortable seating, and more third-row space than you’d expect. But with more than 310 horsepower, we wish GM would supply the XT6 with a more powerful engine. Pricing starts at $56,890, and the sports car we tested clocked in at over $72,000, which puts it in class with German and Lincoln imports.

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Written by Joseph

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