The Cadillac Escalade has always been the most luxurious SUV you could get from General Motors, but in the past it hasn’t really stood out that much from the other full size SUVs from Chevy and GMC. Now with the introduction of the all-new 2021 Cadillac Escalade, it now earns its luxury title with a first class interior and excellent tech features.
On the outside it’s hard to ignore the Escalade with its big footprint. It stands at 76.7 inches tall and if you choose the ESV model, it measures almost 19 feet long. Even with its big look, the Escalade still tries to look modern with its slim LED headlights and massive grille, but it isn’t a dramatic departure from the previous generation.
Inside the Escalade is packed with luxury and tech features. Once you open the door your eyes are drawn to the massive, curved OLED display, which houses everything from the gauge cluster to the infotainment system. The OLED display gave Cadillac’s designers freedom to add some shape to the screen and of course it has better display than a traditional LED screen. Overall the OLED panels give the Escalade a more premium feel over its predecessor.
The Escalade also comes with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, but if you use the integrated navigation system you can also take advantage of the new augmented-reality navigation. When it’s activated, a forward-facing camera displays what’s going on in front of the Escalade onto the gauge cluster. The system not only looks cool, but it also provides another view when you are navigating small spaces. There’s also the night vision system, which gives you a better view into the darkness on the gauge cluster. The system also warns about pedestrians or wildlife in front of you.
Other tech features include the digital rear-view mirror and an available 35-speaker AKG sound system. With that many speakers, the sound system brings the concert along for the ride. A 19-speaker sound system is standard.There’s also the available rear-seat entertainment package with its dual 12.6-inch displays with streaming capability.
As you would expect, the Escalade offers the driver and passengers a first class experience with its available semi-aniline leather seats and 16-way power front seats with a massaging feature.
Under the hood there are two engine options to choose from, either a 6.2-liter V8 with 420 horsepower or a turbo-diesel 3.0-liter inline-six. Both engines are mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission and you can choose either rear- or all-wheel drive. The V8 in our tester packs a big punch and accelerates the big SUV with ease.
The Escalade definitely drinks gas with its 15 mpg city, 20 mpg highway and 17 mpg combined rating with the V8 and rear-wheel drive. All-wheel drive drops each of those specs by 1 mpg. The more fuel efficient option is the diesel, which is rated at 21 mpg city and 27 mpg highway.
The Escalade and its cousins the Chevy Tahoe and Suburban and GMC Yukon are all based on a new platform with an independent rear suspension to give it a better ride. An air suspension with adaptive dampers is available on higher trim levels.
The base Escalade Luxury model starts at $77,790, but that price can easily top $100k if you choose either the Premium Luxury Platinum or Sport Platinum versions.
With the latest Escalade, Cadillac has upped the ante for what we should expect from an American luxury SUV. Ever since the first Escalade hit the market, it’s always been a status symbol to buyers and that hasn’t changed at all with the 2021 Escalade.