2021 Cadillac Escalade ESV

Smaller than a barn, however actually not by a lot.

Tim Stevens/Roadshow

It’s been satisfying to look at the Cadillac Escalade develop over the past decade or so. I do not imply actually, although its dimensions are really prodigious (particularly within the ESV trim you see right here). I’m as a substitute speaking about how the Escalade has matured and advanced from a stately however acquainted SUV into one thing really premium.

Making that evolution extra impressive is that, on the floor, not all that a lot has modified for the reason that final revision. This ESV mannequin is a thumb in need of 19 toes lengthy and one set of golf golf equipment shy of 6,000 kilos, all wrapped round principally the identical 6.2-liter V8 as within the earlier era, nonetheless placing down a wholesome 420 horsepower and 460 pound-feet of torque.


  • Strong V8 energy
  • Impressive cabin tech
  • All the great things comes customary

Don’t Like

  • Middling gas financial system
  • Just a few low-cost plastics inside

Even when motivating one thing this prodigious, that motor proves a lot, accelerating easily and cleanly slicing via the connected 10-speed auto. It even sounds good when pressed, deep and purposeful with out being annoying. It’s a thirsty factor, although, a reality that ought to come as no shock. The EPA says it’s best to count on 14 miles per gallon within the metropolis and 19 mpg on the freeway. My largely rural driving scored me 15.3 mpg, simply shy of the official 16 mpg mixed ranking. Keep in thoughts these gallons have to be of 91 octane gas, additional boosting the working prices. (If gas financial system is a significant concern, maybe contemplate the Escalade Diesel.)

The Escalade brakes simply as competently because it goes, and whereas the pedal really feel is usually a bit missing, the lengthy throw means you will get precisely as a lot stopping energy as you want. The new, impartial rear suspension additionally means a smoother, extra compliant trip for these within the again. Important particulars, these, for a rig destined to haul as many dignitaries as this one certainly will.

And what luxurious appointments await for them, a reinvented inside that is way more polished than something I’ve seen in Caddy’s greatest boy earlier than. Sure, particular person options aren’t fairly as posh as, say, a Mercedes-Benz GLS or BMW X7, however there is a totally different form of luxurious to be discovered right here, one which emphasizes quantity and spaciousness.

2021 Cadillac Escalade ESV

Quite a view.

Tim Stevens/Roadshow

That’s to not say the small print are missing. Hallmark of this newest Escalade is the sequence of huge, curving OLED panels that sweep cleanly from gauge cluster to infotainment. OLED not solely permits the refined shaping right here but additionally means inky blacks and large distinction of the kind you simply cannot get out of ye olde LCDs. The general impact just isn’t solely expansive however genuinely premium feeling and looking. It’s an enormous step up over the outgoing expertise.

Both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are right here, wirelessly even, however you will should depend on the built-in navigation if you wish to reap the benefits of one of many Cadillac’s new trick options: augmented-reality navigation. In this mode, the automotive makes use of a high-resolution, forward-facing digital camera and paints the footage from that onto the gauge cluster. When it comes time for a flip, the automotive superimposes a giant, hovering arrow over the picture to actually level the best way. It’s overkill for leisurely journeys throughout nation roads, however I may completely see it being a godsend on trickier jaunts via twisty metropolis confines. After all, if you’re piloting one thing this large, you will need all the assistance you will get to keep away from having to make an additional U-turn.

That mega gauge cluster can be toggled over to indicate the Escalade’s night time imaginative and prescient system, which not solely provides a complete imaginative and prescient into the darkness however kindly highlights and warns about pedestrians or wildlife alongside the best way. My highway at all times, at all times has deer this time of yr, and the Escalade by no means did not slap a giant yellow field round them. However, as a $2,000 choice, you are paying a hefty premium for that warning.

2021 Cadillac Escalade ESV

This makes different reconfigurable gauge clusters look a bit… fundamental.

Tim Stevens/Roadshow

The Platinum-trim Escalade seen right here comes with a whopping 36-speaker AKG sound system. Of all of the vehicles I’ve examined over time, I’ve by no means been so fast to dial down the bass as I used to be on this one. Suffice to say this technique has loads of energy to fill that huge cabin.

Given the amount of that cabin it ought to come as no shock that there are some low-cost feeling plastics to be discovered if you happen to look exhausting sufficient, however the general impact of the Escalade’s new inside is undeniably refined from stem to stern. I’ll say the white — sorry, whisper beige — carpeting outfitted on this ESV is maybe not the only option for a automotive that can see winter obligation, and the loud Zebra wooden sample does not win excessive marks among the many Roadshow crew, however there are six totally different woods and plenty of inside configurations from which to decide on.

It’s all illuminated by an enormous, panoramic glass roof the dimensions of a small pool that makes even the best way again really feel much less claustrophobic. And, for the reason that rear of this automotive is certainly means again there, the digital rear-view mirror is a welcome addition, which makes use of the digital camera on the again to provide you a transparent, crisp view of what is behind. Trying to depend on the normal mirror is a bit of like utilizing a compact to look over your shoulder down a subway automotive.

Tim Stevens/Roadshow

On the outgoing Escalade, among the huge styling particulars made it look a bit of like a practice on the skin, too. The new one is extra modest in almost each respect. Though the grille continues to be large enough to provide an X7 envy, the chrome has been toned down a bit. The stacked headlights have been changed by subtler, extra slender models that squint out from on prime of Cadillac’s vertical signature illumination.

The huge, 22-inch polished wheels are precisely the best scale to go along with the ESV’s proportions whereas the sturdy shoulder crease working the size of the SUV provides some a lot wanted character to the facet profile. About the one styling element I do not like listed here are the garish LEDs on the ($1,750 elective) energy retractable running-boards, however they’re actually efficient at making certain these steps do not catch you within the shin after they come out.

Usually at this level in a assessment of a automotive that prices in extra of $100,000 I’d have talked about many extra choices than I’ve right here, and that is as a result of the Platinum trim on the Escalade consists of nearly every thing you may need. As it ought to, contemplating the beginning value of $107,290 (together with a $1,295 vacation spot cost) for the all-wheel drive mannequin. The Escalade you see right here has an extra $5,210 in choices (like $700 for a decidedly highly effective armrest cooler), bringing the whole value to $112,500.

2021 Cadillac Escalade ESV

Best measure fastidiously earlier than bringing this large boy house.

Tim Stevens/Roadshow

A base, RWD Escalade ESV Luxury begins at $80,490 together with vacation spot, and for that you’re going to be giving up niceties like Magnetic Ride Control suspension, lane-keep help and rear cross-traffic alert with computerized braking. The latter is elective on the $87,290 Premium Luxury and customary on the Platinum and above. Otherwise, nearly all of the Escalade’s complete security suite is customary on even the bottom trim, however if you would like the perfect hands-off driver help system in the marketplace, Super Cruise, you will should pony up an extra $2,500.

So that is lots for positive, however then it is a lot of SUV and, this yr greater than ever, it feels effectively value it. It’s miles forward of sister SUVs just like the GMC Yukon by way of luxurious and, although the Escalade just isn’t as posh as a Mercedes-Benz GLS nor energetic as a BMW X7 nor cosseting as a Lincoln Navigator, it has a novel taste of luxurious that’s all its personal.

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