2021 Cadillac Escalade Premium Luxury Platinum First Drive Review: A Proper Flagship?

Cadillac’s Escalade SUV is a king-sized luxurious luminary, and the debut of an all-new model goes past easy automobile introduction to full-scale cultural occasion. Now in its fifth era, what was once a rebadged GMC Yukon has turn into a distinctively styled flagship, albeit one that also shares its fundamental mechanicals with that GMC in addition to the Chevy Tahoe. However Basic Motors has labored onerous to make sure its newest batch of full-size SUV triplets are fraternal reasonably than similar, an effort most obvious contained in the Escalade’s decadent cabin.



The New Escalade’s Inside Is Severely Spectacular

We’ll get to the remainder of the 2021 Escalade in a minute, however this rig actually is all about its inside, a tech- and feature-dense cocoon that lastly befits a six-figure luxurious SUV—at the least within the top-spec Premium Luxurious Platinum mannequin we drove for this assessment. It’s severely good in there.

The star of the present is the large OLED display screen—all 38.Zero inches of it—that’s subdivided into three distinct sections forward of the motive force. There’s the 7.2-inch capacitive menu panel to the left of the steering wheel, the 14.2-inch show that serves because the instrument cluster, and the unimaginable 16.9-inch display screen perched atop the middle stack. All are contained inside one arcing body with an illuminated crystal Cadillac emblem on its rear face. The intelligent packaging of the shows, in addition to the tonally heat strips of wooden positioned close to the screens, assist the Escalade keep away from the chilly, medical really feel of different fashions that includes huge quantities of digital actual property. We’re you, Mercedes.

All the infotainment system is responsive, intuitive, and simple to function. Options similar to augmented-reality navigation within the instrument cluster, smartphone-like contact controls which might be correctly responsive, high-res night time imaginative and prescient that marks pedestrians, and an enormous quantity of non-public customization are at minimal cutting-edge in luxury-car gadgetry and at most actually friggin’ cool. A rotary knob on the middle console will also be used to regulate the principle display screen, a welcome contact for many who want bodily switchgear. The imagery on the curved OLED shows—that are about as thick as a sheet of paper and twice as pixel-dense as a 4K tv—is fantastically vibrant and clear.

These descriptors apply, too, to the AKG audio programs. Our assessment Escalade had the 36-speaker, 28-channel Studio Reference system, and all the things from jazz to pop to indie rock to classical sounded deep and wealthy. (A 19-speaker, 14-channel AKG Studio setup is customary.) A 360-degree sound stage and customized programming permits particular person devices and parts to obviously occupy an area contained in the car, whether or not that’s to the entrance, sides, or rear. An analogous operate additionally permits navigation directions to be given from the course of the flip forward; must make a proper, and also you’ll hear it from the fitting facet of the car.

As in GM’s other full-size SUVs, the Escalade provides much more inside house because of stretches in general size and wheelbase, in addition to a transfer to an unbiased rear suspension. There’s a 68 p.c improve in cargo house behind the third row—now you can match greater than a few pool noodles—and 41 p.c extra legroom within the way-back, and Cadillac claims extra cargo house in any seat up or down configurations than every other car in its class. Extra house is after all obtainable in the long-wheelbase ESV version, which prices $3,000 greater than an in any other case similar customary mannequin.

We are able to’t emphasize sufficient what an unimaginable job Cadillac has carried out with the inside design and high quality. Patrons can variously select from 9 inside colorways, 4 seat sew patterns, and 7 completely different (actual) woods, and the fabric choice and the way in which through which they’re mixed is tasteful and stylish—an enormous leap ahead from the riot of joints and seams in Cadillac’s last-generation fashions.

Within the Platinum, leather-based wraps almost all the things that isn’t brightwork, a display screen, or a swap, and the general aesthetic even manages to raise a number of the parts-bin items shared with lesser GM automobiles. Shiny, onerous plastics are used sparingly and fortunately in locations you’ll hardly ever discover them, whereas cautious detailing (like perforations that echo within the upholstery, speaker grilles, and dashtop) show Cadillac’s sweating the small stuff. All excellent news for a luxurious SUV that value $109,965 as outfitted, which isn’t precisely clowning round cash.

As well as, GM’s enhanced Super Cruise automated-driving technology will quickly be obtainable, that includes greater than 200,000 miles of mapped highways, an improved person interface, and computerized lane adjustments. (The automaker can be engaged on an even more capable “Ultra Cruise” system that it’s going to undoubtedly roll out in Cadillacs as soon as it’s prepared.)

The Finest-Driving Escalade Ever

The Escalade’s mighty 6.2-liter V-Eight packs 420 horsepower and 460 lb-ft, all delivered within the easy method frequent to the good Cadillacs of the previous, these large, whooshing couches that surfed round city on a wave of energy and torque. Our First Test of the Sport-trimmed version, which has the identical engine and output however completely different aesthetics, noticed the massive beast hit 60 mph in 6.1 seconds.

However this Caddy isn’t any sofa, in that the 2021 Escalade drives with newfound refinement and confidence. There may be some wheel patter over high-frequency imperfections, and bigger bumps will ship just a few shudders to occupants, so the Escalade doesn’t equal Audi or Mercedes in journey refinement. However regardless of work to do in that space, lots of our editors really feel the journey falls inside the acceptable vary for a body-on-frame luxurious SUV that may tow as much as 8,300 kilos with the gasoline V-8. (A diesel engine is an choice, too.)

The steering is properly weighted and fairly correct, vital for parking a car stretching 17 and a half ft from stem to stern, and it additionally requires few changes to trace straight on the freeway. The brakes are robust and confidence-inspiring, with linear pedal journey and predictable responses, and the usual 10-speed computerized transmission is so invisible you’d assume the gears had been fabricated from sateen-covered velvet. The Escalade has a stately comportment suiting its standing because the model’s flagship.

The 2021 Escalade signifies Cadillac is as soon as once more able to delivering a decadent, class-competitive luxurious car. The model has for years needed to once more be referred to as the Commonplace of the World, and if what follows this new SUV is nearly as good, it will likely be nearer to doing so than it has been in a really very long time.

2021 Cadillac Escalade Premium Luxurious Platinum Specs
BASE PRICE $104,290 (as examined: $109,965)
LAYOUT Entrance-engine, RWD or 4WD, 7–8-pass, 4-door SUV
ENGINE 6.2L/420-hp/460-lb-ft OHV 16-valve V-8
TRANSMISSION 10-speed auto
CURB WEIGHT 5,635–5,822 lb (mfr)
WHEELBASE 120.9 in
L x W x H 211.Zero x 81.Zero x 76.6 in
0-60 MPH 6.1 sec (MT est)
EPA FUEL ECON 14–15/19–20/16–17 mpg (metropolis/hwy/comb)
ENERGY CONSUMPTION, CITY/HWY 225–241/169–177 kWh/100 miles (est)
CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB 1.15–1.22 lb/mile (est)

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