Cadillac Escalade review — American luxury SUV driven

October 21, 2021 by

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The Cadillac Escalade is the SUV that every soccer mom in the USA aspires to, but does it make sense on this side of the pond? Mat climbs into the driver’s seat to find out.


6.2-litre naturally aspirated V8 petrol
Power: 420hp
Torque: 623Nm
0-60mph: 7.8 seconds
Price: From £146,500

Cadillac Escalade design

There’s no escaping the fact that the Cadillac Escalade is rather large. At nearly 6 metres long, it’s nearly the same length as your average giraffe.

This, along with its boxy shape and imposing grille, gives it quite the presence on UK roads. The version we tested has plenty of chrome detailing, just in case you thought it wasn’t quite ostentatious enough.

Here in the Premium Luxury spec you get 22-inch alloy wheels, sleek LED headlights, tinted windows and, when you open the doors, an assistance step to help you get into this mammoth of a car.

If you prefer something a bit more subtle, there is a sport model available which blacks out a lot of the chrome around the car.

Cadillac Escalade interior

If you’re looking for a car to host a small tennis open in, then look no further than the Cadillac Escalade.

There is certainly plenty of space for you and all your passengers. Those in the back will have masses of leg room, and you can specify either seven or eight seats.

Cadillac hasn’t cut corners on tech either, with a curved infotainment screen sitting alongside a digital driver display. A 36-speaker audio system is also fitted, including a tannoy-like setup to people in the back seats so you can talk to them – as they’re a fair way behind you in this. The Escalade also gets Apple Carplay and Android Auto as standard.

Material quality is decent, with plenty of leather and soft-touch materials. That said it’s still no match for a BMW X7.

Cadillac Escalade driving

You get the choice of a 277hp 3.0-litre turbo-diesel or the more powerful – and only real engine you should choose – 6.2-litre petrol V8 developing 420hp. Considering some hot hatchbacks have more power than that from smaller engines, Cadillac could and should have made the engine a bit more punchy.

When you put that power down, it can struggle to get the hefty Escalade up to speed and the 10-speed automatic gearbox is pretty sluggish – especially when you need to overtake or get out of a junction.

But where this car excels is in ride comfort. With air suspension and adaptive dampers, the car also has a camera at the front to see the road ahead and set up the suspension accordingly. That makes it surprisingly capable around corners and very comfortable on a motorway.

It’s not as balanced or silky smooth as European luxury SUVs, especially around corners – where you can feel the SUV’s weight. But Cadillac ensures you can cruise along nicely with assistance systems like adaptive cruise control and lane-keep assist fitted on this Luxury Premium version.

But what you will always have to be wary of is the size. It’s so wide and long that you’ll always be conscious of what’s around you, and even though the visibility is great thanks to the big windows, you will have to be weary you’re not inadvertently trampling over dinky hatchbacks.

Cadillac Escalade verdict

If what you want is a very large, comfortable and — in the UK at least — exclusive SUV, the Escalade should certainly make your shortlist.

Just be aware that if you want one on our shores, you’ll have to pay import tax and registration fees, which can push the price north of £145,000.

For that money, you could have a Range Rover SVAutobiography or an Audi RS Q8. Take a look at our configurator to find your ideal car.

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