2011 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid Platinum 2011 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid Platinum 2011 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid Platinum 2011 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid Platinum 2011 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid Platinum 2011 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid Platinum 2011 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid Platinum 2011 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid Platinum 2011 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid Platinum 2011 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid Platinum 2011 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid Platinum 2011 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid Platinum 2011 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid Platinum 2011 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid Platinum 2011 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid Platinum 2011 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid Platinum 2011 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid Platinum 2011 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid Platinum 2011 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid Platinum 2011 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid Platinum 2011 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid Platinum 2011 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid Platinum 2011 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid Platinum 2011 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid Platinum 2011 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid Platinum 2011 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid Platinum 2011 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid Platinum 2011 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid Platinum 2011 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid Platinum 2011 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid Platinum 2011 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid Platinum 2011 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid Platinum 2011 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid Platinum 2011 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid Platinum 2011 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid Platinum 2011 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid Platinum 2011 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid Platinum 2011 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid Platinum 2011 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid Platinum 2011 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid Platinum 2011 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid Platinum 2011 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid Platinum 2011 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid Platinum 2011 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid Platinum 2011 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid Platinum 2011 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid Platinum 2011 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid Platinum 2011 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid Platinum 2011 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid Platinum 2011 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid Platinum 2011 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid Platinum 2011 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid Platinum 2011 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid Platinum 2011 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid Platinum 2011 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid Platinum 2011 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid Platinum 2011 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid Platinum 2011 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid Platinum 2011 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid Platinum

Vital Stats

Engine:
6.0L eight-cylinder w/two 60 kW motors
Power:
332 HP / 367 LB-FT
Transmission:
4-speed automatic
0-60 Time:
7.9 seconds
Drivetrain:
All-Wheel Drive
Curb Weight:
6,120 LBS
Seating:
Eight Passenger
Cargo:
16.9 CU-FT
MPG:
20 CITY / 23 HWY
Revisiting A Green-Tinged Guilty Pleasure


2011 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid Platinum - Click above for high-res image gallery

Your smug neighbors clean their clothes with Method laundry detergent, they've laid down cork flooring on their first floor and they have organic cotton shower curtains hanging in all four of their bathrooms. Driveways around the country are filled with neighbors swapping prideful mile-per-gallon figures instead of Junior's latest little league stats. Yet we fear that the term "green" gets tossed around far too easily these days. We see hybrids and electrics all around us, but most aren't designed to compete against the green yardstick that is the Toyota Prius.

The 2011 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid, for example, relies on similar tech, yet it's effectively the Toyota's polar opposite. Possessing the elegant style of a fashionable fat kid, the Escalade Hybrid manages to produce brutish noises and surprising bursts of speed. An expensive eight-passenger luxury barge, this full-size hybrid SUV could easily be dismissed as an overpriced dinosaur - especially as it has been getting a bit long-in-the-tooth while the competition has continued to evolve. GM knows this, and it's recently committed to investing a bundle into the Arlington, Texas plant that churns out the cash cow GMT900 platform this Caddy rides upon.

A replacement may be on the way for 2014, but we still couldn't help but feel that there's something compelling about this generation's sharp fenders, large rolling stock and singular swagger that's worth revisiting. Not wanting to mess about with anything less than full kingpin spec, we requested a week with the hybrid Platinum model seen here. Click past the jump to see if this baller still has game.


2011 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid Platinum 2011 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid Platinum 2011 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid Platinum 2011 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid Platinum 2011 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid Platinum 2011 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid Platinum 2011 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid Platinum 2011 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid Platinum 2011 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid Platinum 2011 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid Platinum 2011 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid Platinum 2011 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid Platinum 2011 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid Platinum 2011 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid Platinum 2011 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid Platinum 2011 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid Platinum 2011 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid Platinum 2011 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid Platinum 2011 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid Platinum 2011 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid Platinum 2011 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid Platinum 2011 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid Platinum 2011 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid Platinum 2011 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid Platinum 2011 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid Platinum 2011 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid Platinum 2011 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid Platinum 2011 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid Platinum 2011 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid Platinum 2011 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid Platinum 2011 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid Platinum 2011 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid Platinum 2011 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid Platinum 2011 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid Platinum 2011 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid Platinum 2011 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid Platinum 2011 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid Platinum 2011 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid Platinum 2011 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid Platinum 2011 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid Platinum 2011 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid Platinum 2011 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid Platinum 2011 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid Platinum 2011 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid Platinum 2011 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid Platinum 2011 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid Platinum 2011 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid Platinum 2011 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid Platinum 2011 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid Platinum 2011 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid Platinum 2011 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid Platinum 2011 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid Platinum 2011 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid Platinum 2011 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid Platinum 2011 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid Platinum 2011 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid Platinum 2011 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid Platinum 2011 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid Platinum 2011 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid Platinum

Photos Copyright 2011 Jeff Glucker / AOL

Cadillac has been making automobiles since 1902, but the company truly blossomed during a post-war era filled with iconically styled, hulking masses of metal. Fast-forward to 2011, and the brand's Art and Science ethos has taken hold. The Escalade integrates touches of the Wreath and Crest's design language with a giant mass of Art Deco futurism that harkens back to Caddy's bygone classics. Can you say, "222-inch-long 1957 Eldorado?"

Like the coupes and sedans before it, this Escalade features larger-than-life styling. A big, downward sweeping grille intersects massive LED headlamps. That grille, in turn, is broken up with V-cut sills and honeycomb latticework, and the chrome matches the shine from the brightly-polished 22-inch wheels.

An abundance of hybrid badging is notably absent from the exterior. Earlier model years slathered the word "HYBRID" across its flanks like neon dots on a Vegas-strip casino. For 2011, the Escalade uses much more discrete hybrid logos on each fender vent and one on its rear.

2011 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid Platinum side view2011 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid Platinum front view2011 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid Platinum rear view

While it's no longer the Look-At-Me Escalade, this is the Platinum Series we're talking about. The interior is plush enough to make the cast of Jersey Shore jealous. They drive Escalades, too, but their rides might as well be rental-fleet Sebrings when compared to the Platinum. The Platinum's first and second rows are heated, plus the driver and co-pilot get a cooling function. Hell, the front cupholders even get into the hold-cold game. With a mount like this, it's easy for our supple journalists' hands to find comfort in the heated steering wheel, our feet avoiding puddles thanks to the power-retractable side steps. In fact, the Escalade has power everything, right down to its adjustable pedals.

Besides the variety of temperature controls, audio/visual options abound in the Escalade's cabin. A Bose 5.1 surround sound audio system pumps music through 10 speakers. Second- and third-row passengers have multiple video viewing options via a pair of headrest-mounted screens or a centrally-mounted eight-inch flip-down monitor. If the Escalade is in Park, the driver and front passenger can even watch DVDs thanks to the eight-inch touchscreen mounted in the center stack.

2011 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid Platinum interior2011 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid Platinum gauges2011 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid Platinum hybrid system info2011 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid Platinum cup holders

Interacting with the Escalade's various controls and switchgear is where this Caddy begins to show its age. This SUV isn't part of the "New GM." Playing with the switches reveals a downmarket feel that clashes with the high-class sheen of the cabin. The center console storage bin's lid feels particularly flimsy.

From the front-left captain's chair, the view is excellent off the bow and better than expected to the stern. Not bad for a vehicle spanning 202.5-inches from nose to tail. Rather remarkably, compared to its rivals, the Cadillac Escalade is actually on the shorter side. The 2011 Infiniti QX56 spans 208.3-inches and a 2011 Lincoln Navigator is 206.5-inches from grille to liftgate. Only the 2011 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class is stubbier, at 200.6-inches in length. Despite all this, the Escalade still manages to supply 172 cubic-feet of passenger volume. By comparison, only the QX56's 174 cubes offers more space, while the Benz boasts 143 and the Lincoln has just 158 cubic-feet in which passengers can get comfortable. The horror.

2011 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid Platinum rear seats2011 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid Platinum rear seats2011 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid Platinum rear cargo area2011 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid Platinum rear cargo area

Once everyone settles in, you can fire up the powertrain... and hear nothing. There's definitely a 6.0-liter V8 under the hood, but when you're not moving, the engine shuts itself off. What's more, if you're light on the throttle, you can keep it dormant when cruising through the neighborhood. In fact, the gas engine can stay off at speeds up to 40 miles per hour, but getting it to do so requires the discipline of Buddha himself to pull off.

Why? When you reacquaint the throttle with the plush carpeting, the eight-cylinder engine produces a noise that we're certain haunts the dreams of Ed Begley, Jr. The 6.0-liter unit produces 332 horsepower at 5,100 rpm and 367 pound-feet of torque at 4,100 rpm. The engine may not have the slugging power of the 403-hp 6.2-liter V8 found in the non-hybrid Escalade, but this engine and motor combination still throws a punch, and puts its body into it, too.

The 300-volt nickel-metal hydride battery powering the pair of transmission-mounted 60 kilowatt motors offers a quiet contrast to the Escalade's sonorous V8. With their powers combined, they are Captain Planet! comprise the heart of the two-mode hybrid system. Working in concert, the pair can dole out a 5,600-pound towing capacity or a silent ride through the city. If you're in the mood to really burn some fuel, the run from 0-60 will take place in the upper seven-second range.

2011 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid Platinum engine

As you might expect, this Escalade Hybrid also utilizes a different cogswapper than its gas-only counterpart. The six-speed has been replaced with a four-speed automatic. This transmission, along with the hybrid powerplant, helps the Escalade sip gas at an EPA-estimated rate of 20 miles per gallon in the city and 23 mpg on the highway. While those figures don't impress in isolation, that's an improvement of seven mpg in the city and three on the highway over the standard Escalade, which is quite something in a vehicle this size.

Better still, the gas-electric Caddy remains a pleasure to drive or be driven in. It goes down the road like the pavement was finished 30 minutes prior to one's arrival. The 13-inch front and 13.5-inch rear brakes slow the titanic vehicle down like... well, like a wayward iceberg wandering into the path of steamship. Light yet responsive, the steering makes maneuvering far easier than we thought possible. We were expecting a dolled-up Chevrolet Tahoe, and we got, well, a Cadillac.

2011 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid Platinum grille2011 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid Platinum headlight2011 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid Platinum wheel2011 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid Platinum badge

This is a modern Caddy after all, and the Escalade surprises by driving smaller that we expected. Be it changing lanes on the highway or hunting for a parking spot at the mall, the Caddy communicates clearly, and builds confidence. Body roll is kept to a comfortable minimum and the passengers in all three rows will seldom realize you're taking turns faster than you should. Punch the gas, forget about being green and watch other motorists make way.

But here's the fly in this green(ish) SUV's hemp ointment. The all-wheel drive Platinum Hybrid seen here - an admittedly loaded to the headliner example - rings up at an eye-watering $89,090. That's beyond a princely sum. Of course, a base rear-drive hybrid Slade can be had for just over $74k, or a gas-only Platinum can be had for $82.5k if that's more your bag. But none of this changes the fact that this Caddy's value equation begins to fall apart when lined up against the Infiniti and Mercedes, both of which offer far more up-to-date interiors for less money. A comparably loaded QX56 4WD, for the sake of argument, swigs fuel to the tune of 14/20, but it's much less costly at around $75,000. A kitted-out, diesel-drinking Mercedes-Benz GL350 Bluetec comes closest on the economy front, registering 17/20 ratings in exchange for your hard-earned $77,000. Our thoughts? All that extra coin spent on the Caddy could buy you a whole mess of dead dino juice.

2011 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid Platinum rear 3/4 view

There's no way to sugar coat this: the Cadillac Escalade Platinum Hybrid is overpriced, and it's fallen behind the competition. If you need this much space and are dead set on a Caddy, though, we can see a good argument for going with the Hybrid. At a modest premium of around $3,300, if you drive a bunch, you'll probably even earn your money back. And despite not being the latest and greatest in its class, the Escalade Hybrid remains surprisingly enjoyable to drive, and it's loaded with top-shelf features that help make it a comfortable cruiser for trips long and short. The competition may have nothing to worry about at the moment, but for the moment, this King Caddy still offers inimitable style with a green lining.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 41 Comments
      Marco Polo
      • 3 Years Ago
      Since the fashion began to drive luxury SUV's instead of station waggons or sedans, I have found the practise Irritating. I think driving a vehicle the size of small truck, using massive extra weight and road space, and essentially designed for rural use, only in the city, incomprehensible. I understand the fashion, and the motivations of those who want to drive a large comfortable car, but were made to feel guilty in 1990's for owning an opulent vehicle. (The owner could pretend the SUV was for practical use). I can even understand those drivers, mostly female, who think SUV's safer. The original SUV , was either the Range Rover, or the Australian 'ute'. These were vehicle with genuine rural/agricultural use, but could also be driven on Sunday as a car. The Luxury 4WD SUV is still a useful vehicle when used in this manner. A hybrid version is better than an ICE, and an EV version is best of all. However, I agree with LTW, there is far to much ardent moralising about what lifestyle other people should choose. Most of the opposition to EV's and other environmentally beneficial technologies, is created by the sanctimonious, 'I'm greener than Thou' crowd. These humourless enviro-pests, have no real love of the planet, environment or conservation. To them this is just a method of enviously preventing others enjoying, a different lifestyle. “The Puritan hates the cruel sport of bear-baiting, not because it gave pain to the bear, but because it gave pleasure to the spectators.” Thomas Babington Macaulay The above quote still holds true. If every Giant SUV owner adopted hybrid technology, not only would this be a saving in real terms, but slowly a cultural awareness of the benefits of EV transport. I constantly read the indignant posts of those who complain that EV's are too expensive. Why? If those indignant environmentalists were truly concerned, they could find the extra few dollars to buy an EV ? I operate a number of small EV's for my staff. I have even kept my first EV for sentiment. But, I would much rather drive a Fisker, or a Tesla S, or my Lexus Hybrid. My money, my choice! I bought the ultimate SUV EV, an LEVRR, because it's useful in a rural setting, but also for the sheer joy of owning it. What I resent, is some useless, little, half -baked, socialist ****, telling me how to live my life!
      Nick
      • 3 Years Ago
      Poo Poo it as much as you want, the Escalade Hybrid packs some high-tech Hybrid systems that can only move things in the right direction. It's still a wasteful luxo-barge, but its MPG numbers are very impressive considering the weight and proportions of it.
      • 3 Years Ago
      If you are carrying a lot of people around day-to-day, it is great that they have this type of hybrid option. However, if is more likely the case, it is just you in the vehicle 99% of the time, you might find yourself better served by a small more fuel efficient vehicle. You have money, you have choices, make the right choice for you, your needs, and the future needs of your children that will inherent this planet.
      erhcanadian
      • 3 Years Ago
      It may be a "hybrid", but it's not "green".
      tantareanujellob
      • 3 Years Ago
      Green washing.
      Firefly
      • 3 Years Ago
      Somehow, the thought of putting a hybrid system in a 9,000+ lb. SUV makes about as much sense as putting a handlebar moustache on a blind pitbull - even though you could, you'd still be asked 'why'.....
      uncle_sam
      • 3 Years Ago
      I am missing technical data in thuis review. How sad is that no info bout the el. motors. that sucks.... anyways ppl will allways buy unnecessary vehicles. and the hybrid offers a great improvement on the fuel consumtion. (a plug in would be great. just imagine :D)
        letstakeawalk
        • 3 Years Ago
        @uncle_sam
        GM's Two-Mode hybrid system is used in the Escalade. It's also used in the BMW X6 ActiveHybrid and the Mercedes ML450 hybrid. http://www.automobilemag.com/features/awards/0802_gm_two_mode_hybrid_technology_of_the_year/index.html "A special automatic transmission (designated as a 2ML70 by General Motors) incorporates two 82 kW (110 hp peak)three phase permanent magnet motors,[7] three planetary gear sets, and four selectively-engaging friction clutches. This system amplifies the output of the electric motors similarly to the way in which a conventional transmission amplifies the torque of an internal combustion engine. It also, when required, permits transfer of more of the engine's torque to the wheels, making the transmission more efficient even without the electric motors in use. Finally, the whole system fits into the space of, and indeed appears as, a conventional Allison model 1000 automatic transmission. A 300 volt battery pack is housed elsewhere in the vehicle to store energy." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_Hybrid_Cooperation
      WINNER
      • 3 Years Ago
      I have a QX56 and my best friend has a Denali (same as the escalade) and I LOVE his Denali. the ride, the power, the smoothness. Just a GREAT truck all around. Also his is an 07' with over 90K miles and no issues at all. Once I pay this Infinity off im going the Escalde route. Very pretty trucks
      Timo
      • 3 Years Ago
      That's one ugly car. Hideous. Why anybody would buy one is beyond me.
      skierpage
      • 3 Years Ago
      A 50% improvement in city mpg is spectacular! So why do so few people buy GM's big hybrid SUVs and trucks (~2,800 Escalade/Tahoe/Yukon in 2010, ~2,400 Silverado/Sierra)? I don't think it's just conflicted marketing messages leading to tired SUV vs. hybrid tribalism, because Toyota/Lexus sells about 8x as many Highlander and RX hybrids. I think GM just doesn't try very hard to sell them. If you go to the chevy web site, the Tahoe is $38,000 and the Tahoe Hybrid is $51,000. I hope the hybrid has a higher trim level and a lot more standard features, but without a strong marketing push, a lot of people won't even consider it. Meanwhile 2011 Toyota Highlander Hybrid is also $38,000 and an even more impressive 28/28. It's a lot less sheet metal, but I suspect a lot of SUV buyers concerned about mpg think about what they realistically need out of their car and downsize from the behemoth. But for supply problems, I think the Highlander Hybrid would sell like crazy.
        Woody Becker
        • 3 Years Ago
        @skierpage
        The again GM doesn't ship their Hybrids across the ocean in a smoke belching ship. Seems to me that "we" greenies need to look at all lifecycle costs!
      Noz
      • 3 Years Ago
      Just LOOK at that side profile....I can't stop laughing my a$$ off..... Truly made for idiots by idiots.
        Noz
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Noz
        It looks like a complete utter turd dude....I may as well put 4 wheels on my living room sofa and call it a day.
          Nick
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Noz
          lol Ok. It looks somewhat boxy and plain, and has an excess of chrome, but I wouldn't go as far as calling it a turd.
        Nick
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Noz
        What about this SUV's side profile don't you like?
      fairfireman21
      • 3 Years Ago
      Another thief mobile. Escalades are one of the top 5 stolen vehicles. Now it can be stolen easier if the thief stays off the gas because you will not hear it leaving.
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