IT’S A BEST BUY BECAUSE:

Power, presence, and plushness are key attributes in the premium large SUV class, and the Cadillac Escalade has them in spades.

BUT…

Prices are high, fuel economy is low, and Cadillac’s CUE touchscreen interface can be finicky to use.

WORTH NOTING:

Escalade comes in regular-length or extended-wheelbase ESV models.

WHAT IS IT?

The Escalade is the largest, most expensive SUV Cadillac makes. It shares its basic platform with the Chevrolet Tahoe/Suburban and GMC Yukon, but has exclusive styling and luxury-level trimmings inside and out. Escalade can seat seven with its standard 2nd-row captain’s chairs, or eight when equipped with the optional 2nd-row bench seat. The extended-length ESV model makes the somewhat cramped 3rd-row seat a bit more spacious and adds more rear cargo room as well. Posh features are a staple of the Escalade; standard equipment on the 2015 model includes a heated leather-wrapped steering wheel with wood trim, a concealed center-stack storage compartment with a motorized door, power-folding 3rd-row seat, heated and cooled front seats, and heated 2nd-row seats.

WHAT’S NEW?

Like its Chevrolet Tahoe/Suburban and GMC Yukon cousins, the Escalade is redesigned for 2015. Highlights of the new model include a more powerful 6.2-liter V8, Cadillac’s CUE touchscreen system, and a power 3rd-row seat that folds flat into the floor. New safety features include lane-departure warning, front and rear automatic braking, and a front-center air bag located in between the driver and front-seat passenger.

FUEL ECONOMY

EPA estimated fuel economy for the standard-length Escalade is 15 mpg city/21 mpg highway with rear-wheel drive and 14/21 with four-wheel drive. The extended-length ESV model rates the same, with one exception: the all-wheel drive model gets one less mpg on the highway.

VALUE IN CLASS

The premium large SUV segment is populated by thirsty, often cumbersome vehicles that seem somewhat out of step with the needs of most buyers today. However, for a core group of shoppers nothing else will do—fuel economy, sticker prices, and practicality be damned. Within the unique parameters of its specialized category, the redesigned Cadillac Escalade shines. Its traditional truck-type construction means that the Escalade’s handling is not as polished as some competitors, but it also it can out-tow those rivals. Simply put, the Escalade offers the luxury, technology gadgets, comfort, space—and blingy attitude—that many buyers in this segment desire.

BASE PRICE RANGE $72,970 – $91,875
BODY STYLES 4-door wagon
AVAILABLE ENGINES 420-hp, 6.2-Liter V8
DRIVE WHEELS Rear or Four-Wheel Drive
BUILT IN USA
EPA FUEL-ECONOMY RANGE 14-21 MPG

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