Cadillac Escalade 2022.

Cadillac Escalade 2022.

Cadillac Escalade 2022.

At the beginning of 2021, a new flagship Cadillac SUV is expected on the Russian market — the fifth generation Escalade. The novelty retained the frame structure, but received a rear independent suspension and a very progressive interior with a bunch of gadgets.

Our colleagues from the American edition of RoadShow have already tested the new product. Drome publishes a translation of the article, to which we have added our comments on what is left behind the scenes and on the alternatives that Russian dealers now have — BMW X7, Lexus LX, Mercedes GLS and Infiniti QX80.

This all-new SUV is the Cadillac we’ve been promised for years. A rival to truly luxury models, with surprisingly advanced technical stuffing.

This is the Cadillac we’ve been waiting for. The Escalade has transformed from something almost ordinary to something truly outstanding. Of course, the latest crop of new products from this brand is also OK, including the delectable CT4-V sedan and the solid XT6 crossover.

But these models did not quite hit the mark: they are let down by the controversial choice of power units and not so «space» interiors. The new Escalade is nothing like that. No, it doesn’t handle like a sports sedan, although it still rides well for its size.

Cadillac Escalade 2022.

This imposing SUV is utterly gorgeous and doesn’t come across as boring or old-fashioned transport. It offers the best tech gadgets in the segment, but there’s nothing tricky or difficult to use. In short: Cadillac has finally created a truly luxury model. Without any but and if — this is truly a flagship of the brand, which you can be proud of.

The Cadillac car unceremoniously pushes its rivals into a niche ruled by competitors from Germany, Japan and America to compete with them on an equal footing, although you might not think so at first glance.

The exterior of the new Escalade is certainly recognizable (and beautiful), but overall it is rather sedate and somewhat unexpectedly restrained, even if we are talking about the monumental long wheelbase version of the ESV that you see in the photo. At the same time, inside is a completely different story.

It seems like the designers at GM have spent most of their budget on this interior design. The choice of nine interior trims with different colors, wood inserts and perforated leather, depending on the equipment, speaks of how much creative energy has been invested in it.

At the pinnacle of the Cadillac range, the Platinum trims feature featherbed-soft semi-aniline cow leather on all three rows of seats, and a wealth of standard equipment. The quality of other materials is also excellent. When you feel the different trim panels and décor pieces, none of it feels cheap or flimsy, all the pieces have nice surfaces and look well assembled.

Cadillac Escalade 2022.

Almost the only thing I didn’t like was the stupid electronic automatic transmission selector, which looks like an old brick-like cell phone. We have yet to assess how premium the other trim levels will be, but looking at this top-end version, we can assume that others will be quite interesting.

The new Escalade’s road performance is commendable. Like its sister SUVs from Chevrolet and GMC, the addition of independent rear suspension provided, among other things, a significant increase in comfort in the second and third rows of seats. Adult passengers are unlikely to complain about anything, even if they are seated in «economy class» seats.

Chances are, the first thing you’ll notice in the 2021 Escalade is not the seat upholstery or door handles, but the displays. On the front panel are three separate OLED-screens, with a total diagonal of 38 inches.

These slightly curved panels, visually layering on top of each other, are nicely integrated into the overall design and do not look like alien elements belatedly attached to the interior. They perfectly display deep blacks, have little glare and, according to Cadillacs, have the widest color range in the auto industry.

Seriously, these unprecedented screen real estate is an impressive solution for stock equipment. And it’s not just about the fact that it looks impressive. Like the rest of GM’s latest multimedia, the novelty is great, it loads quickly, responds instantly to driver input, never slows down or freezes.

Cadillac Escalade 2022.

For example, when you zoom the map with two fingers, the system is as responsive as the one on the smartphone in your pocket or purse. For added convenience, the database already includes support for wireless connection via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto protocols, as well as a place for wireless charging in the center console.

To further appease today’s gadget-obsessed drivers, the Escalade is packed with some of the most advanced tech features. Augmented Reality Navigation is arguably the coolest of them all, and this equipment is included with all of the machine’s trim levels.

As you drive along the route, the system displays arrows and other directions right on top of live video, which is broadcast from the front camera to the center screen as you move. The closer you get to a bend, the larger and «livelier» the animated arrows become, so it’s almost impossible to miss the navigation prompts.

You can also get a night vision system for a surcharge. It is not particularly needed in most situations, but it can help you see animals and pedestrians in areas where speed limits apply.

Cadillac Escalade 2022.

To make it easier to park this large animal, there are already in the base all-round cameras that provide an unimaginable number of angles, between which it is easy to switch between them with a few clicks of the buttons.

Also, the new Escalade can be equipped with a stunning AKG audio system, which can breathe life into even highly compressed tracks (for example, when listening to satellite radio), which is not very surprising given that there are as many as 36 speakers.

What about GM’s breakthrough Super Cruise autopilot? Well, a new, refined version, capable of self-changing lanes, will hit the Escalade before the end of this year.

Unfortunately, the car I tested was not equipped with this advanced feature, but it did have the usual adaptive cruise control, and I can say that it is better than some competitors in terms of smoothness and reaction speed.

To match the classy interior, there is excellent silence and decent comfort, even when rushing along the highway. On rare occasions, there is a slight, very light shaking characteristic of frame SUVs, but this only happens on really terrible roads.

Cadillac Escalade 2022.

The car steers safely and has good stability in high-speed corners. Although the available system of keeping the car in the lane does not seem to be effective, since it does not really help the car to adhere to the desired trajectory.

The noise from the wind, tires and the powertrain combined is quieter than the chatter of passengers behind you. This corresponds to the smoothness of the course — also excellent. The top-of-the-range Platinum comes with magnetic dampers and adaptive air suspension — the coolest of the Escalade’s three chassis options.

This combination provides the SUV with a gentle handling and at the same time makes it well controlled — much better than the Yukon Denali, which I recently tested. And it has the same suspension design, oddly enough.

All full-size SUVs from GM are huge, but long wheelbase models like the Chevy Suburban and this Escalade ESV are definitely colossal. When cornering, I constantly looked around to make sure once again that I would not hit anything with the board or cut off pedestrians.

If you’re not careful, you can crush an entire elementary school classroom and not even notice. Parking is challenging too, exacerbated by the high bonnet and limited rearward visibility.

Cadillac Escalade 2022.

This luxury barge is pulled smoothly by a growling 6.2L small-block V8 with 426bhp. power and 623 Nm of torque. It provides the Cuddy with a lot of potential, although I still prefer the recoil of the EcoBoost 3.5-liter turbo V6 that powers the Lincoln Navigator a little more.

But only a little more. The latter has a huge amount of mid-range traction, while this naturally aspirated V8 requires a little more twisting to really feel its full potential. The situation will be improved by the 3.0 diesel inline-six, which will appear on the Escalade by the end of the year. She has 623 Nm available from 1500 rpm.

Regardless of the engine you choose, you get a 10-speed automatic transmission already in the base, which has very good settings. During the test, I noticed no jerking, annoying delays or other bad behavior, plus the gearbox is responsive and quickly downshifts if your right leg requires more speed.

The all-wheel drive Escalade ESV on the passport spends 16.8 liters / 100 km in the city, 12.4 liters on the highway and 14.7 liters on the combined cycle. I drove in different modes and got an average of 13.84 L / 100 km, which is not very good, but at least better than the manufacturer’s data from the EPA cycle.

When it comes to slowing down, the Escalade’s brake pedal is a little rubbery, but easy to operate and firm enough to give the impression of a large amount of brake capacity. This is important for a vehicle that is comparable in weight to a tractor towing space shuttles.

In fact, the all-wheel drive Escalade ESV cannot be called light as a feather: no less than 2720 kg! And even so, the car is capable of a lot. The tested version can tow a trailer weighing up to 3,583 kg, and when it comes to luggage space, few people can match the Escalade.

Cadillac Escalade 2022.

Behind the third row, you can fit 1214 liters of luggage, and if you fold the seats of the second and third rows, the maximum volume rises to 3585 liters. This is much more than a Mercedes GLS or BMW X7. Even the long-wheelbase Navigator L is slightly inferior to the Escalade: Lincoln has 3403 hp.

The price of the initial Escalade ESV is expectedly high: from $ 80,500. The short-wheelbase version is $ 3000 cheaper. As you might guess, the Sport Platinum with all-wheel drive is much (much!) More expensive.

The tested copy costs $ 112,965 (including $ 6,000 additional equipment and shipping costs to the dealer). Royal price tag, indeed.

But you know what? It doesn’t bother me at all. Considering the decent ride quality, the rich but easy-to-use set of technical features and the luxurious interior, the price tag looks absolutely fair. The 2021 Escalade is the most successful, deeply thought-out Cadillac in years. This is a truly flagship model.

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