Reviews cadillac escalade 2021

02:20  25 september  2021
02:20  25 september  2021 Source:   motortrend.com

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  • The most Escalade-y Escalade ever
  • Eye-popping infotainment setup
  • Semi-autonomous driving capability


  • Disappointing V-8 fuel economy
  • A few cheap-feeling details
  • Ride quality could be improved

The Escalade is the big, luxurious SUV that has become synonymous with baller status in popular culture, despite its crosstown rival the Lincoln Navigator beating it to market by a full year. Cadillac's flagship is the epitome of American full-size luxury SUVs, boasting braggadocious styling and plush interior trimmings. The Escalade has been around since 1999, when it was little more than a rebadged GMC Yukon. Over time it's evolved into its own distinctive machine, never more evident than in the current fifth-generation Escalade, which is newly redesigned for the 2021 model year. It still shares its underpinnings with the Yukon and Chevrolet Tahoe, but it's more baller than ever before.

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What's New

The Escalade is fully redesigned for 2021, with standout features including:

  • All-new exterior styling
  • Incredible tech-forward cabin
  • Fully independent suspension
  • Available turbodiesel six-cylinder engine
  • Super Cruise semi-autonomous driving capability
  • Optional 36-speaker audio system

What We Think

Finally—the Escalade is a proper luxury SUV. Whereas in earlier generations it could feel like a Chevy Tahoe with some bling glued on, the redesigned 2021 Escalade is truly distinctive and ready to take on Europe's best. The new Escalade's strengths earned it a second-place finish in our four-car three-row luxury SUV comparison, besting the efforts from Mercedes-Benz and BMW.

The elevated luxury is evident as soon as you look inside. Materials are exceptional, looking and feeling suitable for an even more expensive vehicle. Impossible to miss is the 38-inch curved infotainment display, which not only looks extravagant but is highly functional, too. The optional 36-speaker audio system is among the best in the industry.

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Passengers riding in the second or third row will be nearly as comfortable as those in the first. The third row in particular is surprisingly spacious, accessible and usable even by adults. Cargo space is abundant in any Escalade and downright massive in the extended-length ESV model.

Switching from a live axle to independent rear suspension much improved the Escalade's handling, but ride quality could still use some polish. A few pieces of parts-bin switchgear are reminders of what the Escalade shares with its lesser SUV platform-mates from Chevy and GMC. Nevertheless, it's a huge improvement from before and doubtless the best Escalade ever. The Escalade also showcases GM's best tech: the Super Cruise semi-autonomous system. Now, Cadillac, make all your cars like this.

Performance and Fuel Economy

Regardless of engine choice, the Escalade uses a 10-speed automatic transmission, with RWD standard and 4WD available.

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The Escalade's standard engine is a 6.2-liter V-8 producing 420 hp and 460 lb-ft of torque. In MotorTrend testing, this engine enabled a 6.1-second 0-60 mph time. EPA-rated fuel economy is 15/20 mpg city/highway with RWD and 14/19 mpg with 4WD.

For the first time in the Escalade's history, a turbodiesel engine is offered. The 2021 Cadillac Escalade can be had with a 3.0-liter I-6, churning out 277 hp and 460 lb-ft of torque. We estimate a diesel-equipped Escalade will do 0-60 mph in about 8.5 seconds. Fuel economy is rated by the EPA at 21/27 mpg for RWD models, and you can expect Escalade diesel models with 4WD to get slightly lower numbers.


Standard driver-assist and active safety tech includes front automatic emergency braking, rear pedestrian alert, and front and rear parking sensors. Standard or optional features, depending on trim, include rear cross-traffic alert, rear automatic braking, blind-spot monitoring, lane-keep assist, and adaptive cruise control. Cadillac's Super Cruise semi-autonomous driving system is also available. All Escalade models have seven airbags.

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Cargo Space and Interior Room

Behind the Escalade's third-row seats, cargo space measures 25.5 cubic feet. Folding that last row of seats increases cargo space to 72.9 cubic feet. With the second and third rows folded, maximum cargo capacity measures 121.0 cubic feet.

In the Escalade ESV, there is 41.5 cubic feet of cargo space behind the third row. With the rearmost bench folded, capacity expands to 94.1 cubic feet. Maximum cargo volume with the second and third rows folded stands at a cavernous 142.8 cubic feet.

Front-row headroom measures 42.3 inches in the Escalade, which compares to 41.8 inches in the Lincoln Navigator. Second-row headroom is 38.9 inches in the Escalade and 40.0 inches in the Navigator. Third-row headroom is 38.2 inches in the Cadillac, more than the Lincoln's 37.3 inches. Front-row legroom is 44.5 inches in the Escalade, better than the Navigator's 43.9 inches. Second-row legroom is also greater, at 41.7 inches against 41.1 inches. Third-row legroom is 34.9 inches in the Escalade (36.6 inches in ESV); the Navigator offers 36.1 inches.


Fun fact: The Escalade has more inches of screen in its front row than it does inches of legroom in its third row. That's due to the massive 38-inch curved OLED display, which is made up of three smaller screens: a 7.2-inch unit to the left of the steering wheel, a 14.2-inch digital gauge display, and 16.9-inch main infotainment screen on the right. An augmented reality function overlays navigation directions on a live view of what's ahead of the vehicle. If that isn't enough, a head-up display is also available. Wireless Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and device charging are included, as is built-in navigation. All trims are equipped with a 360-degree parking camera, and a digital rearview mirror is included on higher-end models. A 19-speaker audio system is standard, and a premium setup with 36 speakers is available.

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  The Chip Shortage Has Claimed Super Cruise On The Cadillac Escalade Super Cruise has hit a snag. The semi-autonomous driving functionality launched in the now-discontinued Cadillac CT6 and due to appear in other General Motors models in the near future has been temporarily pulled from the 2022 Escalade, marking yet another casualty of the chip shortage. © Image: General Motors With the CT6 gone, the Escalade has been the only vehicle to include the feature. Super Cruise was also supposed to reach the CT4 and CT5 with “limited availability” beginning in July.

What Is the Difference Between Escalade Luxury and Premium Luxury Trims?

In case you needed a reminder that the Escalade is a luxury SUV, that's what Cadillac calls its base trim level: Luxury. It is indeed; it's equipped with 22-inch wheels, heated first- and second-row seats, power-folding third-row seats, and that massive touchscreen setup, among other features. However, the Premium Luxury trim takes things further, adding upgraded leather upholstery, ventilated front seats, a sunroof, a head-up display, a digital rearview mirror, and more driver-assist features. Then, taking things even further is the Premium Luxury Platinum trim, which has laser-etched 22-inch wheels, extended leather upholstery, massaging front seats, rear-seat entertainment displays, and a 36-speaker sound system. Whichever level of luxury you demand in your Escalade, Cadillac has an option to suit your needs.

What Is the Escalade Sport Trim?

The Escalade Sport trim is mostly a styling package, distinguished by a black mesh grille, black body cladding, and dark-finished 22-inch wheels. However, it also includes the Performance package, which adds an electronic limited-slip differential and magnetic suspension dampers. Choosing the available Performance Upgrade package enhances the sporty feel with an upgraded air intake and performance exhaust system.

Key Competitors:

  • Lincoln Navigator
  • Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class
  • BMW X7
  • Lexus LX
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