For 2021, Cadillac has redesigned its Escalade SUV into an all-new fifth generation. It’s the latest in a line of luxury full-size utilities that was introduced in 1999.
What’s New/Key Changes From Last Year
Beyond the obvious styling changes that link the new Escalade to its smaller crossover siblings, the 2021 model gets a diesel engine option and an independent rear suspension. Both are firsts for the Escalade.
Cadillac makes the 2021 Escalade available in Luxury, Premium Luxury, Sport, Premium Luxury Platinum and Sport Platinum trims. All come standard with a 6.2L V8 gas engine and a 10-speed automatic transmission. The 3.0L diesel is an inline six-cylinder shared with GM’s full-size pickup trucks. All Escalade models are standard with 4WD.
Luxury trim’s exterior comes wearing 22-inch wheels, LED headlights with automatic leveling, power-folding/auto-dimming/heated side mirrors, chrome trim and roof rails, a mechanical limited slip differential, a hands-free power tailgate, lighted door handles, LED taillights, and passive keyless entry.
Inside, there’s a 110-volt power outlet, a 19-speaker stereo, a heated steering wheel, heated front and second-row seats, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, push-button engine start, a 16.9-inch infotainment display with navigation, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, wireless smartphone charging, power-folding third-row seats, electric steering column adjustments, power-release second-row bucket seats, leatherette seating, three-zone automatic climate control, and a garage door remote.
Safety equipment includes automatic high beams, rain-sensing wipers, forward collision alert with pedestrian braking, front and rear park assist, surround vision exterior cameras, rear pedestrian alert, and tire pressure monitoring.
Premium Luxury trim adds an electronic limited slip differential, magnetic ride control suspension, an integrated trailer brake controller with hitch guidance, a trailering app, trailer blind spot monitoring, a panoramic sunroof, a rear camera mirror, cabin air ionizer, automatic parking assist, a head-up display, ventilated front seats, lane keep assist with lane departure warning, rear cross traffic alert, and leather upholstery.
Sport trim also builds on the Luxury model, bringing the same trailering enhancements as Premium Luxury, but with gloss black exterior trim, body-colour door handles with no chrome, enhanced park assist, ventilated front seats, lane keep assist/lane departure warning, rear cross traffic alert, and blind spot monitoring.
Premium Luxury Platinum and Sport Platinum build on Premium Luxury and Sport, respectively, and add air suspension, all-speed automatic emergency braking, reverse automatic braking, adaptive cruise control, automatic seatbelt tightening, soft-close doors, lighted sill plates, power-retractable side steps with LED lighting, a 36-speaker stereo, and a rear-seat entertainment system.
Lower-end trims can be had with a driver assist tech package of soft-close doors, seatbelt tightening, air suspension, and lighted sill plates.
There’s also a heavy-duty trailering package with a trailer camera and tire pressure monitoring, a two-speed transfer case, and upgraded cooling system.
Cadillac also offers its Super Cruise highway driving assist suite in the new Escalade.
The diesel engine is an option in all trim levels.
As of this writing, Cadillac had only published fuel consumption figures for the Escalade’s standard 6.2L gas V8, whose estimates are 16.8/12.4 L/100 km (city/highway). Expect diesel consumption of around 11.5/8.5 L/100 km (city/highway).
The Cadillac Escalade’s most obvious competitor is the Lincoln Navigator, an equally posh large domestic SUV. Other competition comes from the Infiniti QX80, Lexus’s LX 570, the Land Rover Range Rover, the BMW X7, and Mercedes-Benz’s GLS-Class.