2021 Escalade New Car Test Drive
Ever since the first Escalade debuted in the late 1990s, it's been known for its brawny V-8 engines, abundant space, plush cabin, and glitzy bodies. The 2020 Cadillac Escalade carries this large luxury SUV ethos forward, while sharing its foundation and many of its body components with the related Chevrolet Suburban.
Not much has changed for the 2020 model year outside of minor feature shuffling, since a redesigned Escalade is ready for introduction as a 2021 model.
Escalades come in standard and extended-length ESV configurations. The regular Escalade measures 204 inches in length, while the ESV checks in at 224 inches. Either way, the Escalade is an enormous bruiser.
Borrowed from other GM trucks, the Escalade's 6.2-liter V-8 generates 420 horsepower and 460 pound-feet of torque, mated with a 10-speed automatic transmission. Rear-wheel drive is standard, with four-wheel drive a $3,000 option.
With its blocky profile and powerful V-8, the Escalade is the opposite of thrifty. It earns an EPA-estimated 14 mpg city, 23 highway, and 17 combined with RWD, or 14/21/17 mpg with 4WD. Premium gasoline is required ? the rival Lincoln Navigator runs on regular.
The Escalade hasn't been fully tested by the NHTSA, but it does carry a four-star rollover rating and a five-star side crash rating from the agency. The IIHS hasn't tested any of these big GM SUVs.
Active safety features are included with plenty of lower-priced vehicles nowadays, but the Escalade only comes with a surround-view camera as standard. The rest of the available technologies are only found on upper trim levels.
The Luxury trim includes automatic emergency braking, forward-collision warnings, blind-spot monitors, rear cross-traffic alert, and active lane control. The top two trims also add adaptive cruise control and reverse automatic emergency braking.
The Cadillac Escalade is available in four trims: Escalade, Luxury, Premium Luxury, and Platinum. ESV models cost an additional $3,000 than their standard counterparts.
The base Escalade starts at $76,490 and comes with leather seating surfaces, a Bose 16-speaker audio system, heated and cooled front seats, heated outboard second-row seats, a power-folding third-row bench, active noise cancellation, a heated steering wheel, tri-zone climate control, a 12-inch driver information center, a hands-free power liftgate, and 20-inch alloy wheels. The infotainment system includes an 8.0-inch touchscreen, navigation, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility.
The $82,090 Luxury trim adds a sunroof, power second-row bucket seats, 22-inch wheels, automatic high-beam headlights, and the aforementioned active safety features.
The Escalade Premium Luxury is priced from $86,490, bringing a rear 9-inch screen and DVD player, lighted door handles, cornering headlights adaptive cruise control, reverse automatic emergency braking, and automatic seat belt tightening.
The $93,590 Escalade Platinum is equipped with softer semi-aniline leather seating surfaces, genuine wood trim, a unique grille, a suede headliner, an 18-way power driver's seat with massaging, a leather-wrapped instrument panel, a center console cooler, and power-retractable running boards.