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Exterior view of the 2021 Cadillac XT6 Sport AWD

Today, the three-row crossover segment is red-hot. While Cadillac was an innovator in this segment years ago with the first-gen SRX crossover, GM's luxury brand went almost a decade without offering anything in the segment.

But with the introduction of the three-row XT6 in 2020, luxury buyers now had a choice between the mid-size XT5 crossover and the full-size Escalade SUV. Since there's no shortage of competitors (like the Lexus RX L, BMW X7 and Lincoln Aviator), I was curious to see how the 2021 Cadillac XT6 in its more capable and aggressively styled Sport AWD trim level.

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2021 Cadillac XT6 Sport AWD Exterior

Exterior view of the 2021 Cadillac XT6 Sport AWD

The styling of the Cadillac XT6 showcases the next generation of Cadillac's design language, which has been subsequently used for the CT4 and CT5 sedans as well as the fifth-gen Escalade. Up front, this look is defined by its narrow, horizontal headlights, large grille, and vertical accent lights. In my opinion, the  chiseled body lines and short overhangs are a refreshing contrast to other modern crossovers, which can look hauntingly similar to minivans.

With blacked out window surrounds, a black mesh grille, and body color door handles, the XT6 Sport trim level deletes all of the chrome, and the only bright trim found on the exterior is a limited amount of brushed-style trim. This tester showed off the new 20-inch wheel design, and it was equipped with Cadillac's premium headlamp system ($700), along with the Shadow Metallic paint finish, which is a $625 option. Prospective buyers should know that there's only one color (Satin Steel Metallic) which doesn't cost extra to select.

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2021 Cadillac XT6 Sport AWD Interior

Exterior view of the 2021 Cadillac XT6 Sport AWD

While the exterior of the 2021 Cadillac XT6 is completely different from the XT5, the relationship between these two mid-size Cadillac crossovers is instantly obvious from the inside. In its base form, the XT6 has an interior design that is stylish, intuitive and uncluttered. But my tester featured the $3,700 Platinum Package, which literally upgrades the interior from top to bottom. There's a microfiber headliner, a leather-wrapped instrument panel, semi-aniline leather seats, illuminated door sills, and premium floor mats. There are four interior color options to choose from, but it's tough to imagine any which look better than the two-tone Maple Sugar and Jet Black pairing on this XT6.

Cadillac was in desperate need of a three-row crossover, and the XT6 delivers a hat trick of roomy seating. In standard form, the XT6 has room for up to seven passengers, this tester added second-row captain's chairs, in addition to heated and cooled front seats and heated outboard second row seats. The XT6 Sport is the top model offered on this crossover, and it comes standard with a panoramic sunroof, six USB charging ports, a wireless smartphone charger, three-zone automatic climate control, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility.

While Cadillac's CUE infotainment system is standard on the XT6, to get navigation on the XT6 Sport, that's a $1,000 option, as it comes bundled with the 14-speaker Bose audio system. Rounding out the list of cabin tech, my XT6 Sport was equipped with the $2,000 night vision system. Bottom line, no matter where you're sitting in the XT6, there's an abundance of luxury and comfort, and even when maximum cargo space is needed, this Caddy can hold 12.6 cubic feet behind the third row, which allows for a total of 78.7 cubic-feet when the second and third rows are folded flat.

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2021 Cadillac XT6 Sport AWD Performance

Exterior view of the 2021 Cadillac XT6 Sport AWD

The 2021 Cadillac XT6 comes standard with a turbocharged four-cylinder engine, but my tester featured the 3.6-liter direct-injected V6, which produces 310 horsepower and 271 lb-ft of torque. Regardless of which engine you go with, both are paired to a smooth and responsive nine-speed automatic.

All XT6 Sport models come standard with all-wheel drive, and are the heaviest of the XT6 lineup. As such, the EPA-rated fuel economy estimates of 18 mpg** in the city and 25 mpg** on the highway were toward the bottom of the list when it comes to other three-row luxury crossovers. But I still averaged a respectable 20.1 mpg** after almost a week of driving.

While the Sport gets no suspension or engine tuning changes, it delivers a smooth and quiet ride. And despite offering up three rows of seating, with quick and responsive steering, the XT6 handles like a much smaller vehicle. Now, while the XT6 might not offer the sheer size and power of a standard SUV, a max towing capacity of 4,000 pounds means the XT6 V-6 still offers plenty of utility.

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2021 Cadillac XT6 Sport AWD Safety

Exterior view of the 2021 Cadillac XT6 Sport AWD

When it comes to safety, the 2021 Cadillac XT6 earned a Five-Star crash rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

That's thanks in part to its robust list of standard safety features, such as Front Pedestrian Braking, Forward Collision Alert, Lane Keep Assist, and Lane Departure Warning. My tester also added the $2,350 Enhanced Visibility Package, which included Automatic Parking Assist, Rear Pedestrian Alert, HD Surround Vision, and a Surround Vision Recorder, which allows the camera to record data in certain instances.

The $1,300 Driver Assist Package includes Adaptive Cruise Control, Enhanced Automatic Emergency Braking, Reverse Automatic Braking, and Automatic Seat Belt Tightening. Unfortunately, the XT6 is not yet available with Cadillac's Super Cruise.

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2021 Cadillac XT6 Sport AWD Overall

Exterior view of the 2021 Cadillac XT6 Sport AWD

Cadillac may have been fashionably late to the three-row crossover party, but this fashionable family hauler is a great addition to a growing segment.

While the 2021 Cadillac XT6 has taken some heat for its starting price of $47,995*, the fact is it's positioned competitively with the three-row Lexus RX L, which is the benchmark in the segment. More curiously, that base price is actually less than what you'll pay for luxury versions of the Chevrolet Traverse High Country and Buick Enclave Avenir, two of GM crossovers the XT6 shares its platform with. 

Of course, options can quickly inflate the base price,and my tester had more than $13,000 worth of equipment to the XT6 Sport's $58,640 starting price. The additional bells and whistles resulted in an as-tested price of $71,565*, which is only about $5,000 shy of the XT6's bigger brother, the Escalade!

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Jeffrey N. Ross | May 14, 2021

2021 Cadillac XT6 Sport AWD Specs


4-door, 7-passenger, RWD


3.6L V6, 310 hp, 271 lb-ft
Nine-speed automatic


18/25 mpg (city/hwy)

NHTSA Safety Rating

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

AutoNation Drive Test Drive Review: ★ ★ ★ ★

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*MSRP excludes tax, license, registration, destination charge and options. Dealer prices may vary.

**Based on EPA mileage ratings. Your mileage will vary depending on specific vehicle trim, how you drive and maintain your vehicle, driving conditions, and other factors.