There’s no denying that the auto industry has been taken over by SUVs and crossovers the over last couple of decades, which means there’s a crazy amount of different models out there. Within such an arguably overloaded landscape, it’s difficult for any particular SUV to stand out and make a name for itself, yet the Cadillac Escalade has done precisely that. If you look at a new or used Cadillac dealer in your area, you’ll find an impressive selection of cars and SUVs, but even at a casual glance the Escalade is immediately distinguishable from everything else.
The most obvious reason, of course, is that it’s a massive beast of a machine. Not only is the Escalade a full-size SUV and the largest option in the Cadillac lineup, but with the ESV model it has only grown even larger. Beyond this simple reason why it stands out, however, the Escalade also has a combination of features and options that help place it beyond any and all competition out there to let it make a name for itself. One good look is all it takes to start to get a sense of what the Escalade has to offer, but another look unveils even more impressive details. The further you investigate, the more it reveals itself. Let’s take a look at the Escalade and some of the things it has to offer that keep bringing drivers back year after year.
Size and Interior Space
Although there are plenty of details that help make the Cadillac Escalade stand out among its SUV rivals, it would be silly to start with anything other than its size. To simply refer to this as a “full-size SUV” does a disservice to it, because it is truly a beast. This is a large SUV that gives drivers a tremendous amount of space inside. How much exactly? For a point of comparison, let’s first look at the Cadillac XT6, a midsize model and the next-largest Cadillac SUV. The XT6 measures about 198 inches in length, 77 inches in width, stands nearly 70 inches tall, and has a 112-inch wheelbase.
The standard Cadillac Escalade is more than 211 inches long, measures over 81 inches wide, and stands more than 76 inches tall, with a wheelbase of nearly 121 inches. This is more than a foot longer than the XT6, and quite a bit wider and taller, with a wheelbase that’s almost a foot longer. This isn’t a slight difference, and it really comes through when you look at how much room there is inside for passengers and cargo. While the XT6 has 78.7 cu.ft. of total cargo volume inside, the Escalade has more than 25 cu.ft. of rear cargo space, nearly 73 cu.ft. of cargo volume behind the second row of seats, and 121 cu.ft. of total cargo space behind the front seats, far surpassing the midsize XT6.
Things get even more spacious if you take a look at the Escalade ESV, the extended big sibling to the standard Escalade. The ESV measures 227 inches in overall length, well over a foot longer than the Escalade, but is the same width and height as the standard model. With a 134-inch wheelbase, a lot of this increased length comes through inside. Rear row passengers have more legroom to enjoy with the ESV as a result. Cargo space inside is also bumped up, with more than 41 cu.ft. of rear cargo space, more than 94 cu.ft. of cargo volume behind the second row, and nearly 143 cu.ft. of total cargo space behind the front seats. There’s no denying this thing is a monster, and having all that space inside is incredibly convenient for a lot of drivers.
Powerful Engine Options
A large, full-size SUV needs a powerful engine. That should go without saying, yet you can find plenty of big vehicles out there with surprisingly underwhelming power in them. The Escalade is not one of those models, since it has two engines available designed to make driving it a lot of fun. Not only are there two impressive engines, but both rear-wheel and four-wheel drive are offered on the Escalade. Such a large vehicle definitely benefits from going with a four-wheel drive setup rather than rear-wheel drive.
The standard engine on the Escalade is a 6.2L V8 that delivers 420 hp and 460 lb-ft of torque. If you’re any sort of GM fan then you’ve seen this engine before. You can find it on other models like the Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra full-size trucks, and it’s built a reputation for excellent power and performance. Along with this standard option, there’s an available 3.0L Duramax Turbo Diesel engine that offers 277 hp and 460 lb-ft of torque. On top of that, there’s also the Escalade-V, but we’ll get into that in a moment.
What’s great about this setup is that there are two bold engines here, and that’s it. There is no base model engine that’s underwhelming, forcing you to pay more to get what you really need, which is all too common these days. The Escalade comes out swinging, and there’s something for any kind of driver.
Innovation and Advanced Technology
GM has been pushing the envelope lately with advanced technology for their vehicles, and few models showcase that as well as the Cadillac Escalade. There are six different trim levels available for this SUV, giving drivers a lot of options to choose from, and high trim levels really show off what Cadillac (and GM) has to offer.
Inside the Sport Platimum trim, you’ll find a 16.9-inch OLED infotainment display that’s absolutely stunning, joined by a 14.2-inch cluster display and a 7.2-inch control panel screen. Plus, there’s a pair of 12.6-inch rear-seat-mounted touch-LCD screens to keep your back seat passengers entertained. Meanwhile, you get to enjoy an AKG Studio Reference 36-speaker (you read that right) sound system that includes three amplifiers, with both front and rear subwoofers and 3D Surround sound that blows away anything you’ve ever heard before. Altogether, this creates a driving experience you won’t find anywhere else. Combine all of that with a head-up display, augmented reality functionality on the cluster display, and the available Super Cruise tech from GM, and you have something truly special.
Special Attention: The Escalade-V Trim
Any Escalade model is impressive, but the Escalade-V deserves special recognition for a number of reasons, first of which is its engine. Rather than either of the two engines I already mentioned, this model comes with a 6.2L Supercharged V8 engine that delivers an astounding 682 hp and 653 lb-ft of torque for incredible performance. This model comes with four-wheel-drive and front six-piston Brembo performance brakes to make sure you remain in control even with all of this power at your disposal. Inside, you’ll find the same remarkable tech features as the Sport Platinum, creating the ultimate Escalade experience.
Impossible to Ignore
One of the biggest challenges that manufacturers face when creating an SUV or crossover model is finding a way to make sure it isn’t overlooked by potential customers. The market is so crowded with such an abundance of options that it’s easy for everything to start blurring together when looking at vehicles at a dealership. To me, the pinnacle achievement of the Cadillac is that it’s impossible to overlook and immediately demands your attention, whether you’re shopping for an SUV or simply have it roll up next to you at a red light. This is one of its greatest strengths, and a major reason that so many people have come back for an Escalade when shopping for their next vehicle. With all of the power and tech that Cadillac has packed into this thing, it’s easy to see that the Escalade offers much more than just its large size.