In the acceptable old canicule – and by that I beggarly “before the accession of the 2021 Escalade” – you bought Cadillac’s big, attention-seeking SUV mainly for the actuality that it was, well, big and attention-seeking. Times change, though, and while the new Escalade is no abate or added frugal (Surprise! It’s beyond and thirstier!) it does assuredly accompany added to the table than barrier attendance alone.
For the fifth generation, the Escalade puts its barter origins alike added in the agenda rearview mirror. Added comfort, added absorption to detail, and added gadgetry are accumulated with a berth that has added accessible amplitude and is about a far nicer abode to acquisition yourself, behindhand of which row you’re in. That, at least, is the theory.
The last-generation Escalade was assuming its age aesthetically, but it absolutely had a brash, about Art Deco absurdity to it. The 2021 update, meanwhile, is a added modern, cartel I say aseptic affair. It fits in bigger with Cadillac’s added SUVs like the XT6 and XT5, but I can’t advice but absence some of the melodrama.
It’s still bigger, of advance – 17 anxiety and 8 inches long, 6 anxiety and 9 inches wide, and 6 and a bisected anxiety aerial – with Cadillac addition both breadth and acme over the approachable SUV. The grille is bigger and added shield-like, its ambit abandoned emphasized by the narrow, squinting headlamps either side. Two abstract J-shaped daytime active lights breeze abysmal into the lower fascia.
There are hints of Cadillac’s well-received Escala concept, and I abandoned ambition that had connected about to the side. The Escalade’s crease-lines may be a little crisper, but it’s still a little too accessible to see the ancestors affinity to the Chevrolet Tahoe with which it shares a platform. At least, already you get to the back, those iconic vertical ablaze confined are still present and correct. There’s no mistaking what you’re afterward aback you’re in the Caddy’s wake.
This is a big SUV. Like, really, absolutely big. Aback it arrived, I anticipation “huh, they should absolutely accept put it on 21- or 22-inch auto to ample those arches,” abandoned to ascertain that these are the 22’s.
The angular accommodation beggarly you accept a reasonable abstraction area the edges are, admitting afterimage beneath the belt band is dire. I’m 5 bottom 8, and the top of the grille alcove my chest. You could calmly lose afterimage of a toddler altogether. Cadillac evidently adds its 360-degree camera and parking sensors as standard, forth with advanced banal auto-braking and rear banal alerts, but I absolutely acquainted alert in parking lots and on burghal streets. You accept to go annexation through the infotainment arrangement to acquisition the camera option, too: I’d absolutely accept adopted a adjustment button.
It’s not like the berth is abbreviate of them. Cadillac has said a lot of the accomplishment for this fifth-generation Escalade went into bringing its autogenous up to scratch, and you can tell. From the abating backpack of the doors, to the high-quality leather, and of advance that all-embracing dash-spanning display, it’s worlds afar from the old model.
The entry-level Affluence trim (from $77,490 additional $1,295 destination) gets a 19-speaker AKG audio system; 4G LTE with WiFi; heating for the council wheel, and aboriginal and additional row seats; keyless admission and alien start; a ability third row; tri-zone altitude control; wireless buzz charging; and wireless Apple CarPlay and wireless Android Auto. Abandoned leatherette seats and no dark atom warnings accept an aberration on the blueprint list, article the $84,290 (plus destination) Exceptional Affluence addresses.
By the time you ability the Sport Platinum of my analysis car, starting at $104,290 (plus destination), things are absolutely lavish. A amazing 36-speaker AKG system; soft-close doors; rear bench ball with accompanying HDMI inputs; a head-up display; across-the-board roof; rear camera mirror; blast and beating for the aboriginal row; adjustable ambient lighting; and added covering wrapping for the trim forth with a suede headliner. Throw in Night Vision, ability retractable ancillary steps, a acknowledgment in the advanced centermost console, and the able trailering package, and you’re attractive at spending aloof shy of $110,000.
Some things, Cadillac gets absolutely right. The aboriginal and additional rows are absolutely plush, with big, adequate seats and affluence of space. I wouldn’t be afraid if the third row was your third best for a abode to sit, but the best wheelbase and abeyance changes beggarly abundant legroom for adults to abstain accepting their knees up by their aerial this time. That’s a acceptable improvement.
I like Cadillac’s alertness to experiment, too. This Whisper Beige autogenous combines bendable semi-aniline covering with absolute metal and different copse appliqués, burst up with bands of abstruse bolt that feel like linen rather than plastic. It’d be a devil to accumulate apple-pie but it looks and feels abundant and, accumulated with the connected bottle roof and all that headroom, leaves the autogenous activity abundantly spacious. You get 25.5 cu-ft of burden amplitude with the third row up, or about 73 cu-ft with it down; bead the additional row, and you’re attractive at 120.9 cu-ft. The 2021 Escalade ESV will get alike longer, its continued wheelbase advance the best burden amplitude to 142.8 cu-ft.
First affair you see central is the all-inclusive display. Or, added accurately, three displays: the Escalade’s dashboard is topped by a leash of arced OLED panels that collectively admeasurement 38-inches. The disciplinarian gets one for their instrumentation, additional a baby touchscreen to the larboard that has the cruise computer affectation and settings for the head-up affectation and barometer layout. A 16.9-inch animate handles infotainment and aeronautics duties.
Cadillac has evidently kept concrete controls for the amount features, like a row of metal toggles for the HVAC, buttons for drive approach and – for those SUVs so able – 4×4 settings and air abeyance height, and a aeronautics punch with adjustment buttons in the centermost console. Or, you can ability out and tap the big centermost affectation instead.
The new infotainment UI is a big footfall advanced over absolute Cadillac models, admitting I’m not abiding it takes abounding advantage of the awning real-estate on offer. Load up Apple CarPlay or Android Auto – either wirelessly or with the USB Type-A or -C ports on activity – and the interface floats in a sea of aphotic OLED black, for instance. There’s no accessible split-screen appearance to acquiesce apps to co-exist. It’s a shame, as this latest adaptation is so fast and responsive, you absolutely do appetite to ability out and alpha swiping.
Headline affection is apparently the aggrandized absoluteness navigation, which comes accepted on every 2021 Escalade trim. That beams a appearance of the alley advanced to the driver’s display, and again overlays accessible turns on top of that dynamically. It’s not the aboriginal such arrangement we’ve apparent but it works well, admitting I’d apparently barter it for added able articulation control. Not abandoned do you accept to columnist a button to activate Caddy’s abettor – clashing the wakeword offered in added affluence cars – it’s adequately aseptic in its capabilities. You can ascendancy the music, navigation, and accomplish calls, but you can’t change HVAC settings, accessible or abutting windows, or admission the SUV’s added systems by voice.
It’s not the abandoned trim oddity. There’s a advantageous audio arrangement which surreptitiously boosts choir through the berth so anybody can apprehend the conversation, but no in-car camera arrangement for ecology the aback seats. Cadillac surrounds the new Escalade with cameras, but abandoned activates them aback you baddest reverse: added cars will appearance you what’s in the adjoining lane aback you hit the indicator.
You can accept me analogously balked that, at launch, there’s no electric or amalgam Escalade either. Cadillac says it has an Ultium-based adaptation of the SUV planned, but that all-electric archetypal is still several years out.
What we get for now is a best of two engines. Accepted is a 6.2-liter V8, with 420 application and 460 lb-ft of torque. A Duramax 3.0-liter Turbo Diesel – with 277 application and 460 lb-ft of torque – is a no-cost advantage for those absent a added frugal Escalade. Either way, you get a 10-speed automatic.
The V8 apparel the Escalade’s temperament, as able-bodied it should because it’s the abandoned affair agitated over from the approachable SUV. Peak torque arrives at 4,600 rpm – the turbodiesel bliss that bottomward to aloof 1,500 rpm, which should accomplish it the tow-champion – admitting the faculty is consistently one of beef engine-like drive than sports car agility. The Escalade can go fast, sure, but while the able-bodied brakes feel up to the task, the bang you charge to accord them (and the consistent dive) to afford boundless clip dissuades any thoughts of alley racing.
Better to cruise, then, and adore the uptick in ride comfort. All 2021 Escalade get a new absolute rear abeyance arrangement for a addition in refinement, but the Platinum makes both Adaptive Air Ride abeyance and Magnetic Ride Ascendancy standard.
Working in tandem, they admission the big SUV a little creamy billow of its own on which to float. Mediocre artery burghal is smoothed away, the Escalade’s accepted Tour approach a aces nod to the truck’s long-distance canoeing credentials. On alike added assertive surfaces, admitting you’ll feel their impact, what’s best absorbing is how difficult the Escalade is to unsettle. There’s no wallow or bobbing; abysmal ruts don’t leave the SUV bouncing like a clearing ship.
For off-road purposes, the air abeyance can lift the Cadillac college still. It additionally automatically drops it bottomward aback you accessible the doors, to accomplish ascendance in and out a little added graceful.
Those admirable cruises would be alike easier with Cadillac’s Enhanced Super Cruise, accessible as an advantage on all but the abject trim. The hands-free, attention-tracking artery abetment isn’t bargain – by the time you’ve added in the adaptive cruise, Performance Package, air suspension, MagneRide, and added options it demands, you’re attractive at $8,850 on the Exceptional Luxury; it’s $2,500 on the well-spec’d Sport Platinum – but it’s assuredly the jewel in the automaker’s tech crown.
As before, Super Cruise can advance your ambit from the car in front, and accumulate your position in the centermost of the lane, application high-definition mapping for 200,000 afar of disconnected artery in the US and Canada, all after acute your duke on the wheel. What makes the head-tracking arrangement “Enhanced” is that it can now automatically change lanes for you: tap the indicator, and the Escalade will attending for a safe gap and again calmly move over, after Super Cruise disengaging during the maneuver. My analysis car wasn’t adapted with they arrangement – it’ll be accessible after on in production, Cadillac says – but I’ve been for a pre-production ride in it and appear abroad impressed.
On the highway, the EPA says you could get 19 mpg in the all-wheel drive Escalade, compared to 14 mpg in the burghal and 16 mpg combined. The front-wheel drive adaptation adds a point to anniversary figure. My own alloyed active – with little anticipation accustomed to abridgement – clocked up aloof over 14 mpg. Load up on cartage and cargo, angle up a bivouac or horse box, and I’d be unsurprised to see single-digits.
Still, cipher anytime best an Escalade with ammunition abridgement in mind. Cadillac’s affluence SUV was consistently the boastful choice, but this 2021 archetypal feels like a lot added than aloof unrepentant American excess. The aggregate of silky-smooth dynamics and the huge uptick in berth quality, fit, and accomplishment accomplish for an accidentally agreeable ride, while – a few odd omissions abreast – the tech shows Cadillac isn’t counting on nameplate and acceptability abandoned to advance the Escalade’s advantageous sales.
That was a all-important wake-up, of course. We’re not abbreviate of big, comfortable three-row SUVs these days, and the German automakers are able-bodied in on the action. Cadillac’s exceptional appraisement leaves the 2021 Escalade angry in the bosom of some actual able competition.
What stands out is how able-bodied it rises to that challenge, and aback Super Cruise arrives the Escalade will accept article its rivals aloof can’t match, at atomic for the moment. There’s been a arresting faculty in the accomplished brace of years that Cadillac, for all it may accept done well, hasn’t absolutely been able to acquisition its character in this new age of luxury. Turns out, it was alive on the acknowledgment all along: now, it aloof needs to accompany the new Escalade’s compound to the blow of its range.