Once upon a time, the only cars that could hit 100 km/h in anything close to six seconds were high-revving exotics and burly muscle cars, but the Cadillac Escalade does it in less than that very brief period of time. It's just one of this SUV's many performance metrics that see a slight improvement in 2018 thanks to a new 10-speed automatic transmission.
That's the big news for this biggest Cadillac, which carries on with a 6.2L V8 that makes 420 hp and 460 lb-ft of torque but also promises reduced fuel consumption. With the new transmission, the Escalade's city estimate actually increases to 16.6 L/100 km (up 0.5) but the highway estimate improves to 10.9 (down 0.8), and the combined rating falls 0.1 L/100 km to 14.0.
Cadillac says the 10-speed boasts a wider ratio spread than its eight-speed predecessor and a compact design the automaker says helps to minimize the weight increase compared to the old transmission.
Also new are maple sugar and jet black interior accents to go with the carry-over shale interior theme.
The Escalade is easy to hate, but it also happens to be a guilty pleasure of ours for its combination of a spacious, comfortable interior and healthy performance. This truck has also never looked better: Cadillac's current design language translates surprisingly well from sleek sedans like the CT6 to the Escalade's boxy flanks.
Cadillac fits GM's magnetic ride control to all Escalade models as standard, along with two selectable performance modes, and does a good job quelling body motions in this 2,600-kg SUV.
Like its competitors from Land Rover, the Escalade is actually made to go off-road and is standard with 4WD with low-range gearing and a locking rear differential. Just watch you don't rip off that low front valence on a rock or fallen tree.
Other performance-oriented options include a Brembo brake system that brings red calipers adorned with the Cadillac wreath-and-crest logo.
New tech options include Cadillac's rear camera mirror, which uses a rear-mounted camera to broadcast an image to the rearview mirror that's free of visibility obstructions like headrests, pillars and passengers' heads.
For all the Escalade is loaded with technology like passive keyless entry and wireless smartphone charging, it still uses a column-mounted transmission shift lever that gives away this truck's relationship to the lower-rent Chevrolet Tahoe and GMC Yukon. And despite a base price north of $80,000, the Escalade does not come standard with advanced safety features like blind spot monitoring and forward collision alert with automatic emergency braking.