Since it made its debut in 1999, the Cadillac Escalade has developed a solid reputation in the luxury SUV niche. Running on a powerful yet efficient V8 engine, the 2017 model stays true to its roots when it comes to performance. Leather upholstery and other high-end materials decorate the vehicle’s lavish interior that can seat up to seven.
Equipped with the CUE multimedia system, the Escalade is designed with tech-savvy drivers and passengers in mind. The signature platform includes GPS navigation, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay and a wireless internet network. Additionally, this full-size SUV offers dynamic safety technology including the Front and Rear Automatic Braking and Lane Keep Assist.
As one of the most luxurious SUVs on the American marketplace, the Cadillac Escalade comes with a hefty price tag. The Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) for the base edition is just over $73,000. Keep in mind that this trim is loaded with standard lavish features such as leather front seats with a 12-way power design, the CUE infotainment system and 16 Bose speakers.
The Luxury and Premium Luxury editions are priced at more than $80,000. To enjoy the best features that are available for the Escalade, you’ll need to dish out over $95,000 for the Platinum trim. Flirting with a six-figure price tag, this Cadillac model is equipped with class-leading digital technology, active safety features and luxurious interior amenities.
The Cadillac Escalade comes standard with a 6.2L V8 engine that pumps out 420 horsepower and 460 pound-feet of torque. The eight-cylinder engine is paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission. By turning on the Driver Shift Control Mode, you can manually adjust the gear ratios. The Tow/Haul mode is another advanced feature in the transmission system. If you flip on Tow mode, your Cadillac SUV is strong enough to haul a trailer that weighs up to 8,300 pounds.
For its premium price, the Escalade surely offers plenty of other sophisticated installations under the hood. The patented Magnetic Ride Control technology adapts to the road you are driving on each second in order to make the appropriate calibrations to the suspension system, giving you the smoothest ride possible.
Of course, the 4WD system maximizes traction on dry and slippery roads as well as unpaved paths. A rotary dial can be used to activate the Auto Mode, 4 LOW Mode or 4 HI Mode based on real-time driving conditions. A responsive two-speed transfer case distributes torque among the front and rear axles. You can also select the Neutral Mode for normal cruising on dry pavement.
Additionally, the signature StabiliTrak helps you maintain control of the vehicle in inclement weather. This advanced electronic stability control system lowers the potential for skidding and slipping.
The Escalade boasts other heavy-duty equipment such as the engine block heater, external oil cooler and transmission oil cooler. A locking rear-differential provides extra leverage for overcoming rough terrains or uneven surfaces. Installed on all of the wheels, the Duralife brake rotors withstand harsh conditions. These signature brake parts are designed to resist corrosion and other damage from exposure to dust, grime and dirt. The VAC power brakes are also engineered to dissipate heat even under demanding circumstances.
For a full-size SUV, the Escalade has quite an efficient powertrain that’s managed by patented technology. Traditionally, American vehicles in this class have been notorious gas guzzlers.
Fortunately, the car’s V8 engine is managed by the Continuously Variable Valve Timing (VVT) mechanism that improves efficiency for the intake and exhaust strokes. The traditional Spark Ignition Direct Injection (SIDI) smoothly initiates the combustion cycle in each of the eight cylinders. When the Active Fuel Management turns on, the engine runs only on four cylinders.
Based on EPA estimates, you can get up to 20 miles per gallon of premium unleaded gasoline in an Escalade with 4WD. The front-wheel drive (FWD) increases the efficiency to 22 mpg on the highway. In the city, this luxurious SUV offers a fuel economy of 15 mpg with either drivetrain configuration. With a fuel tank that holds 26 gallons, the Escalade offers a nonstop driving range of nearly 600 miles.
Featuring an 8-inch color touch screen, the CUE infotainment system is the heart and soul of the Escalade’s sophisticated cabin. This advanced console includes GPS navigation software with 2-D maps and 3-D terrains. Powered by SiriusXM, NavTraffic helps you find the best route to a given destination. The natural voice recognition and haptic feedback make it easy to get directions and other assistance.
Compatible with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, the CUE suite lets you import applications from smartphones. Additionally, this vehicle can simultaneously support up to 10 Bluetooth-enabled devices. Five USB ports provide other great options for plugging in mobile devices like MP3 players. Wi-Fi by OnStar is another premium connectivity amenity in the Escalade. You can also use various OnStar plans that provide roadside assistance, emergency help after accidents and vehicle diagnostics.
A trip in the Escalade can be quite joyful when you have the Bose CenterPoint Surround System. Featuring 16 speakers, this premium audio system comes with the AudioPilot technology that compensates for external noise. HD Radio, SiriusXM Satellite Radio and Am/FM radio are accessible via the Bose sound system.
Featuring two LCD monitors, the optional rear entertainment system delivers DVD content for the vehicle’s passengers. You can also select a rear entertainment system that includes a 9-inch LED flip-down screen that’s connected to a Blu-ray player.
When it comes to active safety technology, the Escalade offers the following advanced features:
- Forward Collision Alert and Adaptive Cruise Control mitigate front crashes.
- Lane Keep Assist and Side Blind Zone Alert prevent lateral collisions.
- Front and rear automatic braking.
- Safety Alert Seat vibrates when an accident is imminent.
- IntelliBeam Headlamps improve your visibility of the road in dark conditions.
How it Stacks up Against the Competition
When looking at American-made SUVs, there are very few models that can truly compete with the Cadillac Escalade. The Ford Expedition’s most expensive edition costs less than the Escalade’s base trim. Similarly, the Chevy Suburban’s most sophisticated model is also more affordable than the Escalade’s entry-level option. Having better technology and more capable powertrain, this awesome Cadillac is naturally more expensive than other SUVs that are designed by American companies.
When taking on foreign competition, this Cadillac SUV also maintains a confident position. Despite being in the same price range as the Escalade, the Toyota Land Cruiser doesn’t deliver similar performance. The Land Cruiser’s 5.7 L V8 engine generates a maximum of 381 horsepower, which falls significantly short of the Escalade’s standard V8 engine. Additionally, the Toyota’s Entune multimedia system doesn’t offer as many features as the CUE platform.
- More than 10 active safety features that lower the risk of accidents.
- Smartphone-friendly cabin with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.
- Spacious and luxurious interior layout for up to seven people.
- Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of more than 7,000 pounds creates handling challenges.
- The vibrations in the Safety Alert Seat can be distracting in some situations.
- Although it has the Surround Vision camera with aerial views, the vehicle lacks semi-autonomous parking technology.