• Aug 10, 2008
Cadillac recently provided some Detroit-area media an opportunity to drive the new Cadillac Escalade hybrid. From a driving perspective the Escalade is indistinguishable from the Tahoe and Yukon hybrids, which should come as no surprise since it is mechanically identical. That's not necessarily a bad thing, as these big SUVs are the most fuel-efficient of their type. One area where we had hoped to see a difference, however, was in the hybrid signage. When the Tahoe and Yukon launched, their flanks were emblazoned with huge hybrid stickers. They've apparently done little to stimulate sales. Unfortunately, the Escalades on hand for the drive were similarly marked, though the lettering was a bit more subdued. Nonetheless, we asked Cadillac officials, "Will it be possible for customers to order a hybrid without the rocker panel and window graphics?" The response was that all hybrids would be shipped from the factory with the decals. However, at customer request, the dealers can easily remove the lettering with a heat gun. We also learned that some states actually prohibit any stickers on the glass, so vehicles shipped to those states will go without the windshield and tailgate decals from the factory. Even without the sticker package, the Escalade still has prominent hybrid badges on the fender vents, the C-pillar and tailgate, so no one is likely to miss what it is.


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  • 46 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      look at me, look at me! I have a friggin 2 ton Hybrid, see it says so right on the side in 6" letters.
      Some people will want to leave these on you know. It's that important to them that everyone knows they are being "green" It's probably former Hummer H2 owners. They are over compensating again. They are like born-again SUV owners.
        • 6 Years Ago
        You are so right. I was going to say the same thing, and then read yours. I wonder if they can re-spell it "High-Bred" to further inflate the biggest a-holes.
        • 6 Years Ago
        It's a 3-ton hybrid. The LS600h is the 2-ton hybrid. 2.5-ton actually.
      • 6 Years Ago
      How about building an Escalade light. Take a ton off the weight and put an "Escalade Light" decal on the side. Offer a hybrid on top of that and the luxury SUV might be a good citizen (sic) to the world.
      • 6 Years Ago
      They don't get it. Even now, when they're looking bankruptcy in the face, they don't get it.

      It's important, when designing a vehicle, to think about whether or not there are customers who will buy it. GM has a perennial problem designing cars that people want to buy en masse. On one hand, you have some very interesting, well-designed niche vehicles, of which the Corvette is the most successful; on the other hand, you have a lot of mass-market cars that are, essentially, also-rans. They're not bad, per se, but they're not good enough to swing buyers.

      And this is GM's problem: other than the Malibu, Lambdas and GMT900s, they have not one class-topping mainstream product. And the market for the Lambdas and GMT900 just collapsed.

      Sure, the Corvette and CTS are good cars, but they're not going to carry a company GM's size. And even now, GM doesn't seem to get that. A decent small car is more than two years away, the Malibu has to fight against internal competitors and their green efforts are thrown at a segment that's probably the least green in the market.

      GM's engineers are some of the world's best. Their product planners, and by inference, their upper management, is useless.
        • 6 Years Ago
        @LS2/LS7

        You're omitting a key point:

        GM bet the farm on the GMT900. Toyota didn't do so with the Tundra. GM is burning cash at a faster rate than they're making it; Toyota is still turning profits. That's the difference, and it's a key part of why GM cannot afford to do expensive, low-volume Hail-Mary's like the Escalade hybrid.

        The point is one of strategy: GM (and Ford, and Chrysler) did not diversify their product development and marketing portfolios sufficiently to survive a change in the market. The mistake was twofold: they wagered that sales of high-priced, fat-margined trucks would continue at a level sufficient to offset their costs elsewhere, while at the same time failing to use the profits from those truck sales to bolster the competitiveness of their entry- and mid-level bread-and-butter products; the products that would see them through a downturn.

        People like to pick on Toyota for the Tundra (and to a lesser degree, Honda for Pilot, Nissan for Titan, and so forth) but the key difference is that those companies didn't make those products the keystone of their solvency.

        About the only member of the Japanese trifecta that can be faulted for a weak portfolio is Honda, and their weakness is in trucks and luxury markets. At worst, Honda isn't able to take advantage of a rich market--but can still turn a profit; GM, by comparison, was riding the razor's edge in said market and is in real trouble now.
        • 6 Years Ago
        The reason why I think you don't get it psarhjinian is because while GM is acting all "GREEN" and wonderful in front of the dumb American public, their even bigger market which they are now selling like crazy in is China.

        So much for a moral company that really give's a rat's a** about its own people and the environment.

        Screw GM....the sooner they go out of business...the better for us, this planet, and everything else on it.
        • 6 Years Ago
        why not the LS2LS7?:

        So what are you saying? Two stupid people make it right? Is that what you mean? If people keep throwing themselves of a cliff, we should continue because we came "all the way?"

        Your apologist view of GM is pointless. Thd difference between GM and other manufacturers (actually Ford and Chrysler too) is that GM has been making absolutely garbage products for years. Garbage. The SUVs are just one side of their pathetic lineup.

        The other difference between GM, Ford, Dodge and the REST is that while everyone made stupid SUV's, some others realized they'd need to stop sooner than later. GM hasn't figured it out yet. As bad as a Pilot may be, it's still no comparison to a ludicrous vehicle like an Escalade.

        And no...a company that states one thing here and sells something else in the back door morally bankrupt. That's the same as a drug dealer stating he's not dealing drugs but simply went to another neighborhood to do so....charming company.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Yeah. GM are complete boneheads. Their lack of planning was so bad that it even resulted in the Sequoia, Tundra, Titan, Pathfinder Armada and GL.

        Oh wait, no it didn't. All the companies have been taken by surprise by the changes in fuel prices. You just try to make it look like GM is the only one. Honda just redid the Pilot and it's selling like crap. Doesn't that indicate something to you about how the whole industry has been caught off guard?

        GM invested their money in designing this vehicle. Tehy'd be idiots to not try to sell some to get their money back. No, it's not ideal for the market, but that's the way the ball bounces. When Mercedes introduces their hybrid SUV in a couple months, I'm sure you'll explain how their high ups can't figure out the direction the industry is going also.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Escalade is tasteless ghetto junk, and when you see these things in a rollover they have usually folded up like a beer can. Just another disposable car. There is no such thing as a $70,000 Cadillac.
        • 6 Years Ago
        What?

        The Escalade is ridiculous, I'll grant you that. It is not prone to folding up though. Like all SUVs, in general it can be defined as being too strong (and thus heavy) for almost any use it ever is tasked with.
      • 6 Years Ago
      But you need those Hybrid stickers so everyone knows you are driving such an environmentally friendly car that gets 20 mpg.
      • 6 Years Ago
      "The response was that all hybrids would be shipped from the factory with the decals."

      Yeah, because luxury buyers are so into decals. This is stupid.The Hybrid badges on the fender vents, etc. are plenty big enough without having to further browbeat the point home with the ridiculous stickers.
        • 6 Years Ago
        To put it in LA terms, Escalades are very South Central, while Range Rovers are more Bel-Air.

        Or in NY terms, 'Slades are very Bronx, while Range Rovers are very Westchester.

        Same price, yes. Very different class.
        • 6 Years Ago
        @clarence: brilliant LOL
        • 6 Years Ago
        Oh yes, that's correct. All those Esclades you see running around in LA were bought by people who live in South Central.

        How ridiculous.

        BTW they aren't even the same price, the RR runs $80K and even the Hybrid Escalade is only $71K.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I don't understand why this is such a big deal to anyone who has ever bought a car. If U have ever done so... and had PINSTRIPES on your car when it was delivered, it was EASY to remove them with a Hair Blower....
        • 6 Years Ago
        Think about the typical buyer of an Escalade (and how they're customized) and then read your statement about "luxury-buyers" again. I don't think decals are outside the realm of acceptable decorations when you're most likely going to see obscenely large chrome rims and who knows what other tacky add-ons adorning these new SUV's. The folks who buy Escalade's aren't the same folks who buy Range Rovers.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I'd say Escalade and Range Rover buyers have significant overlap. Where are you getting that from?
        • 6 Years Ago
        Well, I respect the fact that there is even a such thing as a full size SUV hybrid. If the SUV works, (and by Tahoe and Yukon Hybrid's reviews, it does) I wouldn't give a damn if HYBRID was sprawled across the bottom of my Esaclade. Plus, It can be easily removed, so it's no big deal.
      • 6 Years Ago
      "The folks who buy Escalade's aren't the same folks who buy Range Rovers"

      That is probably the most ignorant comment I've ever heard.

      Hey buddy... I'm in the demographic for both. currently own a Tahoe LTZ, Z51 Vette, STS 4.6L, and Pontiac G6 v6 to "get around in" Annual income exceeds the combined original purchase price of all 4 of my current cars plus the Range... and know plenty of people who cross-shop the RR with the Escalade. Ironically the Escalade wins more often than not in that cross-shop because of it's power and reliability. My friends with Range Rovers constantly complain as their vehicles are sitting the shop getting work done... "again."

      OH... and get used to larger wheels on vehicles. They normally make the cars look better and more "finished."

      U wanna see TACKY??? Go look at a Rolls Royce Phantom from the front... Can U say BLING?

      U wanna continue this discussion, Come over to Motor Trend Forum... Ask for me by name
        • 6 Years Ago
        I completely disagree. Range Rovers and Escalades are over-large vehicles for people who want to show off. They have essentially the same customer base.

        Range Rovers are also goofy vehicles that no one can say they need.

        They're both luxury body-on-frame large SUVs. How different do you think they can be?
        • 6 Years Ago
        @G wayne

        Non anglos?

        Shouldn't you be in a '39 Merc?
        • 6 Years Ago
        As a Rolls Royce Phantom owner, I resent ignorant statements by Pontiac G6 owners. Ask for me by name when you come for an American Idol audition.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I'm pretty sure it can be said in general that people who buy Range Rovers aren't the same one's who buy Escalades, they are very different vehicles for different demographics with different draws each. Maybe your friends are an exception but on a larger scale I think I'll agree that they are for different people. Escalades are goofy and a vehicle that I don't see how anyone can say they "need". We understand that everything you own is made by GM but just because someone's opinion about "blingy" Escalades somehow offends you doesn't mean you need to ever....ever....compare styling on "Trucks" to a RR Phantom.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Hmmmm...what are they going to put in place of HYBRID?

      SUPPORT THE TROOPS like so many douchebags I see in SUV's?
      • 6 Years Ago
      I keep wondering when the focus will switch from trying to make huge behemoths such as these fuel efficient to going back to building lightweight, cheap vehicles that don't need hybrid technology to get over 20mpg. I mean, hybrid technology is good, and the bump in city mpg can't be ignored but if we're gonna be serious about using less fuel overall, the focus should be on making vehicles lighter instead of just on engine tech.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Cry all you want guys, but it doesn't change facts. GM is bleeding right now, and buyers aren't exactly queuing up to buy these or any other guzzler in their lineup for that matter. Every manufacturer is losing money right now with fuel prices being what they are, and lack of efficient vehicles in their lineup. The fact is, companies like Honda don't have enough Civics to meet demand. You guys can say anything about what Americans want, but this years sales figures so far have shown that Americans want Honda Civics & Minis, not 3 ton hybrids. GM builds good cars, so if they had more fuel efficient vehicles available, it stands to reason that they would be selling just as well.
        Let's not try to deflect the issue. Notice I actually had good things to say about the technology in general, and the increase in fuel economy. But right now everyone is screaming about gas prices and I think more emphasis should be placed on weight savings rather than hybrid tech to make these huge-ass vehicles get compact car mileage.
        And yes, why not the LS2LS7?. I do have a pic of the lard-ass GT-R but it's a performance car... it's never been about economy. I've complained about it's weight before but not from an economic point of view. If I wanted a fuel efficient Nissan, you'd see a Versa or Sentra up there... matter of fact, if Nissan came out tomorrow and announced a hybrid GT-R, I'd be laughing so hard I'd probably choke. Just like an Escalade is a 3 ton luxo SUV with a 6.2 liter motor. It ain't gonna be very fuel efficient no matter what they do to it. So I think it's kind of a waste. Bring on the goddamn Volt! It's just my opinion though.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Some of us actually still need these - although the Escalade in general is silly. A base Tahoe or Durango Hybrid is more desireable in my eyes.
        • 6 Years Ago
        "and that's what they still want..."

        LOL. judging by the PITIFUL sales of the current hybrid behemoths, this is exactly what they *don't* want. yes, the people who need them will still buy them, just like they always have (buying land rovers, grand wagoneers, etc before SUVs were "cool"), it's just that the other 99% of the population that was buying them as status symbols aren't now.

        I say good riddance, a battery pack doesn't mean it's any less of a rolling blind-spot, or that the douchebag driving it isn't going to be tailgating a smaller vehicle that can stop MUCH faster than he can. the faster these things can be put out to pasture, the better.
        • 6 Years Ago
        GM has the highest fuel economy full-sized SUV.
        The highest fuel economy car in the smallest class (Aveo).
        The highest fuel economy car in the compact class (Cobalt XFE).
        The highest fuel economy car (non-hybrid) in the most popular segment with the Malibu 4-cyl 6-speed auto.
        And when it comes to sports cars, they do pretty well too.

        How exactly are you saying GM is suffering because they are making vehicles with poor fuel economy?

        As to the GT-R:
        Funny how the Corvette has gotten lighter, faster and more fuel-efficient over the last 15 years while the GT-R has gotten heavier, faster and less fuel-efficient. Plainly put, Nissan is taking the wasteful route to performance.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Absofreakinlutely.
        • 6 Years Ago
        @ why not the LS2LS7?

        It's typical of you to start quoting the accolades of the GM lineup to make your point. It's also typical of you to twist my words. Paying closer attention before trying to refute my post might make a little more sense: I never said GM is suffering because they make vehicles with poor economy. They're suffering because the don't have enough fuel efficient vehicles available. (Case in point, Honda is suffering because they don't have enough Civics available. Does it mean they make only vehicles with poor economy?)
        Highest fuel economy full size SUV? How many of those are they selling today? Then when you talk about the Aveo (rebadged Daewoo) ... that's going up against the likes of Honda Fit. Enough said I think. Cobalt & Malibu are good sellers (Malibu especially) but that's two models. Do you start to see the trouble GM is in yet, & why they're in it?
        Alright, consider this as well. Prior to this year, GM had no trouble moving huge numbers of Silverado/Sierras, Tahoe/Yukon/Escalades, Trailblazers and such the like. Those models aren't selling very well today. Now when they need more Cobalts & Malibus, they're busy peddling 70K hybrid Escalades? Do the math dude.
        And I know you probably get off on knocking the GT-R, but I really fail to see the relevance of bringing it up in this conversation based on the fact that I have a picture of it for my Avatar. Keep it relevant to the topic we're discussing... or should I go off on a tangent and start talking about tents because you have one in your picture?
        • 6 Years Ago
        You say this and yet you have a picture of a car that grew about 30% in size with the most recent model and crested 3800lbs. And gets awful gas mileage too.
      • 6 Years Ago
      The author is completely mistaken when saying "these big SUVs are the most fuel-efficient of their type." You can purchase a 7-passenger Mercedes GL320 CDI diesel that gets well past 25MPG if driven sensibly (pay no attention to the 2008 EPA standards unless you live in gridlocked Los Angeles). And driving sensibly means 1) a couple ticks over the posted speed limit and 2) don't rush towards red lights (duh) or accelerate violently when the signals turn green.

      As a previous hybrid owner (Camry Hybrid) I could never get even the pre 2008 EPA numbers with my driving, which is mostly highway. But in regular vehicles, like the CDI vehicles from Mercedes (and a previous C230 Kompressor) anyone can exceed even the pre-2008 2008 EPA numbers simply by driving like you care about the cost of fuel.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Chris, you're right I completely forgot about the GL320 (along with the ML and R320). I just drove the new 50 state Bluetec models a little over a month ago and the GL averaged around 24mpg. The GL has a greater towing capacity of 7,500 lbs and a base price starting $18K cheaper.
        http://www.autobloggreen.com/2008/06/25/autobloggreen-first-drive-2009-mercedes-benz-bluetec-suvs/
        • 6 Years Ago
        Sorry, the only way to compare the vehicles is to have a neutral testing scheme. And on this test, the Hybrid Tahoe outdoes the M-B. Of course, your mileage may vary.

        Also note that when you take into account the additional 15-18% energy in Diesel fuel, even the optimistic 25mpg you list is the same efficiency (energy-in to work-out) as these vehicles.
        • 6 Years Ago
        fueleconomy.gov reports GL fuel cost for a year at 16% more ($3500 vs $3000) despite an identical combined presumably because of the cost of Diesel. Although note that in this case the Escalade is 2WD and the GL320 is 4WD
      • 6 Years Ago
      Hi Sam, thanks for noting the discrepancy. I currently own an ML320 CDI (08) and I *was* averaging 27MPG in it with my aforementioned driving techniques. Then I chipped the vehicle (after reading an AutoBlogGreen article http://www.autobloggreen.com/2008/06/26/paramount-tuners-get-more-for-their-diesel-16-more-they-say/) and now I'm averaging over 30MPG. The chip increases the torque from the engine, which in turn allows gear shifts to occur later - that is when you are easy on the pedal. The vehicle has been at the dealer twice and on their computer both times - and they were unaware of the chip's presence. This same chip can be used in the GL, and so equipped 28MPG is not unrealistic from the larger Benz. I forgot to mention tires kept at 38PSI should also give you an extra 1/2 - 1 MPG.

      I tell you what, part of the benefits of taking it easy in any vehicle (not necessarily hypermiling, but just remaining calm and relaxed) is the inner peace you achieve once you let go of the testosterone-based need to "compete" (LOL) with the moron next to you on the road. And with a vehicle like the ML or GL, my what a nice place it is to just enjoy the ride.....and for quite a bit less that what the crass looking Escalade goes for.

      Regarding the statement about the energy content of diesel, yes - diesel does have more carbon atoms per unit volume (i.e. it's denser than gasoline) but guess what? Diesel is what sits there in the barrel of oil after the gasoline has been extracted. In other words, it takes less energy to get that gallon of diesel when the bigger picture is considered. Plus diesel engines are heavier duty because of the higher compression ratios needed to ignite the fuel.

      Finally, you can brew your own biodiesel....so when the crap hits the fan from our beloved leaders ever so wise foreign policy and energy policy decisions, it's going to be middle-eastern fuel that will be costing more, not plant-derived biofuels.....Hurry up and get the 08 CDI's while you can, the 09's have the Urea injection, which shaves off a couple horsepower, adds a tiny bit of weight, and an extra level of complexity to vehicle ownership.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Totally believable. I mean, of course some dude in his garage can make a car more fuel efficient with a simple chip. It's not like the car companies make their business off fuel economy or have to pay direct penalties based upon their corporate averages.

        Diesel is no longer just a "skim" from the barrel. That's why it costs so much now. It must be refined a lot more than before and the sulfur removed.
      • 6 Years Ago
      This is highly unusual for GM to push what THEY want rather than what the customer wants. Right.
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