2015 Cadillac Escalade

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Brash and bold

Date Posted: January 29, 2015
By Zack Spencer

General Motors has a lock on the full-size truck market and the top version they make is the Escalade. Similar to the Chevy Tahoe or GMC Yukon but with a distinctive Cadillac swagger.

The Cadillac Escalade has always been the top of the heap in terms of Generals Motors pure luxury. It represents the face of Cadillac, the big, brash and all-American nameplate that still resonates with modern buyers. In fact, Cadillac sales have been expanding in Canada and General Motors expects that this new Escalade will represent a full twenty percent of its sales. The Escalade is sold in two configurations, a short wheelbase, that accounts for roughly 70 percent of buyers and the long wheelbase model that is perfect for large families or limo service. One might expect that a vehicle of this size doesn’t really have a place any longer, but nothing could be further from the truth. A big, truck-based SUV is essential for large families that need to tow a trailer and the Escalade does in in true style.

What Cadillac has done with the exterior styling of this latest Escalade is to refine the look. The sheet metal is much crisper, with a smart looking accent line running the length of the truck. In addition, there is now a family face to the brand including a new Cadillac crest in the oversized grille. The most striking element is the gorgeous lighting package that accompanies each Cadillac. In a world filled with LED lighting treatments, the vertical design used by Cadillac stands alone. The LED accent lights run from the headlamps, then into the lower spoiler, making an already menacing vehicle rather intimidating. As I mentioned, big and bold and American still has a huge market.

What hasn’t grown bigger is the price. Buyers of high-end vehicles look for value too, even though they might splash out on other luxurious items like expensive hotels, meals and cloths With a $6000 price drop and very competitive packages, GM hope even wealthy shoppers will see the value in this SUV. Starting at $79,900 the Escalade is for the well healed but Cadillac representatives told me that most buyers shoot for the moon and buy the top Premium model for $90,500. In the past, many Escalades’ were imported from the United States but with this new aggressive pricing strategy GM is confident that the majority will be purchased here in Canada.

The Escalade has always made and impact when it arrives at any destination, the sheer size and attitude it projects says a lot about the person driving it. It was inside that needed to be refreshed the most and the attention to detail Cadillac infused in its new truck should pay dividends. Any luxury buyer expects leather, wood and smart infotainment and Cadillac delivers on all of these. The dash and doors are covered with hand cut leather. The open-grain wood and contrasting interior materials like faux suede, all make it look as rich as the buyer expects. Front and centre is Cadillac’s CUE entertainment system that I find easy to operate and interact with. The buttons below the centre sceen are touch sensitive, there are no knobs or switches, the front passengers just swipe over the surface to change the volume and heat controls. Cadillac is making a bet that young buyers will like this, I suspect that older traditional Cadillac buyers might find it tricky at first.

One of the reasons to buy a big truck-based SUV like this Escalade is to move a lot of people or tow a trailer to say a cabin or cottage. For moving a large family around in comfort the Escalade is wonderful as there is plenty of room to stretch out and when the long wheelbase (ESV) model is chosen, the room behind the third row of seats is impressive. The shorter wheelbase looks less imposing and some might not need the interior vastness. Under the hood is GM’s premium 6.2L V8 with a whopping 420hp and 460 lb.-ft. of torque. This might seem like overkill but this larger engine can switch off to just four cylinders under light load, more often, impacting fuel economy. The power goes to just the rear wheels, all four wheels or automatically controlled, all by a switch on the dash. My experience driving for the day returned about 12L/100km in mostly highway driving, not bad for a big truck.

The new Escalade adds about $10,000 worth of new equipment like standard magnetic ride control for a more nimble ride. The cabin is much quieter, for doing big business deals on the phone, and the ride overall is much more refined than before. The new Cadillac is fresh and much more refined, with features never offered before. Do young wealthy buyers like the Cadillac brand and where it is going? The short answer is yes, GM clams this is the fastest growing luxury brand in Canada and BC is a hot spot for the Escalade. It has been seven years since we’ve had an all-new Escalade… the wait was worth it.

The Lowdown

Power: 6.2L V8 with 420hp

Fill-up: 16.2L/11.4L/100km (city/highway) 

Sticker price: $79,900-$90,500

 

It has been seven years since we’ve had an all-new Escalade… the wait was worth it.
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