2017 Escalade New Car Test Drive
The Escalade's profile is identical to the Tahoe, and the Escalade ESV's profile is identical to the Suburban.
Vertical LED headlamps and taillamps look sophisticated and crisp, and illuminate the Cadillac logo on the grille.
The cabin is warmly sculpted, unlike the sharply creased exterior. Even the base model drips with leather, its plastic and padded surfaces a cut above the Tahoe and Yukon. The Escalade Premium model is downright decadent, with more aromatic leather (Kona brown is beautiful) and wood than we've seen this side of a Rolls Royce.
The standard heated and cooled seats are nicely padded, with available suede trim, and it's quieter than it used to be, thanks to pounds of sound deadening and Bose active noise cancellation.
The dashboard is dominated by Cadillac's tablet-like CUE infotainment system, with a 12.3-inch touchscreen moved by voice, capacitive touch or swipe gestures. CUE includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, as well as a Bose Centerpoint 2.0 audio system. Its digital gauges can be configured in four themes.
OnStar 4G LTE connectivity is standard, with a WiFi antenna for hotspot capability. A head-up display is available, as is rear seat entertainment with one or two screens.
The second- and third-row seats fold flat at the touch of a button, although the second row has to be raised by hand. The second row's heated individual bucket seats are narrow and the padding is thin.
The cargo floor is high, because of that solid rear axle, but sometimes that's easier on the back when you're loading heavy things. There's 15.2 cubic feet of cargo space behind the third row, 39.3 cubic feet with the ESV, having a wheelbase that's longer by 14 inches. With the third row folded it's 51.6 and 76.7 cubic feet, and with both rows down it's a vast 94.2 and 120.9 cubic feet.
There's also stellar storage for small things. The center console bin can hold a laptop, and there are many cubbies.