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… along with some cutting-edge technology features.
Prices are high, V8 fuel economy is low, and the Escalade’s sheer size can make parking a chore.
The Escalade comes in regular-length or extended-wheelbase ESV models.
WHAT IS IT?
The Escalade is the largest, most expensive SUV Cadillac makes, and it was fully redesigned for 2021. It shares its basic platform with the Chevrolet Tahoe/Suburban and GMC Yukon/Yukon XL SUVs (all of which were also redesigned last year), but has exclusive styling and luxury-level trimmings inside and out. The extended-length ESV model makes the third-row seat a bit more spacious and adds more rear cargo room as well. Posh features are a staple of the Escalade; standard equipment includes a curved-screen digital-gauge/infotainment display (boasting 38 inches of diagonal display space in total), a heated leather-wrapped steering wheel, heated front seats and outboard second-row seats, wireless cellphone charger, AKG-brand premium audio system, tri-zone climate control, and a hands-free power liftgate. Standard safety features include lane-keep assist, forward collision warning, front and rear automatic braking with pedestrian detection, and GM’s Safety Alert Seat (which vibrates to warn the driver of hazards). Among the Escalade’s available features are Cadillac’s Enhanced Super Cruise semi-autonomous driver-assistance system (with an automatic-lane-change function) and an augmented-reality navigation system (which uses a live forward-camera view with virtual overlays to indicate turns).
The Escalade gets minor trim changes and alterations in standard and optional equipment, including a higher level of standard safety equipment and a “Buckle to Drive” feature in the Teen Driver mode that restricts the vehicle from being shifted out of Park if the driver’s seat belt is not buckled. There’s also talk of a high-performance supercharged variant—possibly named Escalade-V—coming in the near future, perhaps as a 2023 model.
EPA estimated fuel economy for the standard-length Escalade and extended-length Escalade ESV is the same: 14 mpg city/20 mpg highway with rear-wheel drive and 13/19 with four-wheel drive. Premium-grade gas is required. The turbo-diesel engine is rated at 21/27 with RWD and 20/26 with 4WD.
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. The Escalade deftly caters to this audience, with cavernous cabin space, dazzling high-end features, and excellent all-around refinement. Simply put, the Escalade offers the luxury, technology gadgets, comfort, space—and blingy attitude—that many buyers in this segment desire.
|BASE PRICE RANGE||$76,295 – $107,595|
|BODY STYLES||4-Door Wagon|
|AVAILABLE ENGINES||420-HP, 6.2-Liter V8; 277-HP, 3.0-liter Turbodiesel 6-Cyl.|
|DRIVE WHEELS||Rear or Four-Wheel Drive|
|EPA FUEL-ECONOMY RANGE||13-27 MPG|