The Cadillac Escalade is enormous and opulent. Its sheer size and aggressive looks make it stand out, and the posh and roomy cabin is loaded with premium materials, features and tech. There’s a new V-Series trim that ups the performance. The downside is poor fuel economy.
Base Price: $149,195
As Tested: $154,765
Mileage: 11 mpg city/16 mpg highway/13 mpg combined
The Escalade is in its fifth generation. It was fully redesigned for 2021. For 2022, standard and available features were shuffled among trims. For 2023, the new performance-oriented Escalade V joins the line-up.
The 2023 Escalade comes in six trims: Luxury, Premium Luxury, Sport, Sport Platinum, Premium Luxury Platinum and Escalade-V. Starting prices range from $79,295 to $149,195. All trims are available with the long-wheelbase ESV model for an additional $3,000.
Rear-wheel-drive is standard on all trims except Escalade-V which comes standard with four-wheel drive. 4WD is available on all the other trims for $3,000.
There’s room for seven people with the standard captain’s chairs in the second row, or eight people with the optional bench seat in the second row.
Three engines are available. a 6.2-liter V8 that makes 420 horsepower and 460 pound-feet of torque; a turbodiesel liter 3.0-V6 that produces 277 hp and 460 pound-feet; and a supercharged 6.2-liter V8 that cranks out a whopping 682 horses and 653 pound-feet. All are paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission.
My tester has the larger V8 and it effortlessly propels the ginormous Escalade down the road. In fact, Cadillac says the Escalade-V can go from zero to 60 mpg in just 4.4 seconds! Merging and passing at freeway speeds are a breeze. The 10-speed shifts quickly and seamlessly. The ride is smooth with the suspension impervious to bumps and rough roads. There is some body lean when cornering. Yes, the Escalade is huge but it’s easy to drive and handles like a smaller vehicle, until you try to squeeze into a tight parking spot. Visibility is good all the way around.
When properly equipped, the Escalade can tow up to 8,200 pounds. Available towing features include a trailer camera, trailer blind-spot monitoring, and trailer tire-pressure monitoring.
Fuel economy is below average for a large luxury SUV. EPA ratings for my 4WD tester are 11 mpg city and 16 mpg highway with a combined rating of 13. I got 13 mpg during my week with a mix of city and highway driving. The RWD diesel gets the best mileage at 21 mpg city and 27 mpg highway with a combined rating of 23 mpg.
The cavernous cabin is filled with high-end materials, features and tech. Passengers enjoy good leg- and headroom, even in the third row where adults can ride comfortably. Seats are supportive, even on long drives. A large infotainment system dominates the dash.
Standard features include remote start, rearview camera, surround-view camera system, tri-zone automatic climate control, synthetic leather upholstery, 12-way power-adjustable front seats, heated front seats, heated steering wheel, heated second-row seats, power-folding second- and third-row seats, 7.2-inch digital control panel, a 14.2-inch digital gauge cluster, infotainment system with 16.9-inch touchscreen, navigation, 19-speaker AKG audio system, HD Radio, satellite radio, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, wireless device charging, several USB ports, and a Wi-Fi hot spot.
Available features include a head-up display, rear-camera mirror, real leather upholstery, 16-way power-adjustable front seats, ventilated front seats, massaging front seats, center-console refrigerator, 36-speaker AKG Studio Reference audio system, rear-seat entertainment system with two 12.6-inch touchscreens, and a panoramic sunroof.
Standard driver assistance technologies include forward collision warning, forward automatic emergency braking, lane-departure warning, lane-keep assist, front and rear pedestrian detection, front and rear parking sensors, safety alert seat (the driver’s seat vibrates to warn of possible hazards), and Teen Driver, which lets you set speed and audio limits for your young drivers.
Available driver assistance technologies include adaptive cruise control, lane-change assist, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, reverse automatic emergency braking, park assist and night-vision assist.
The infotainment system extends across the dashboard, made up of three curved OLED displays that stretch 38 inches. This includes a 16.9-inch touchscreen. The system is user-friendly, with logically arranged menus, crisp graphics and snappy response times.
The huge cabin allows for lots of cargo space. There are 25.5 cubic feet with all three rows of seating in place, 72.9 cubes with the third row folded and 121 cubes with the second and third rows folded. There’s even more space in the long-wheelbase Escalade ESV. A hands-free power liftgate is standard.
Easy to handle for such a large SUV
Posh, cavernous cabin
Oodles of room for passengers and cargo
Third row is comfortable for adults
Many standard features and tech
User-friendly infotainment system
Standard wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay
Below average fuel economy for the class
My tester starts at $149,195. Super Cruise and its active subscription are $2,500. Center console refrigerator with freezer is $700. Argent Silver Metallic paint is $625. There’s a $50 credit on this vehicle because it’s not equipped with the second row express-up window control. Destination charge is $1,795 bringing the grand total to $154,765.
The Cadillac Escalade is known for its massive size, aggressive looks, and opulence – it’s definitely an attention getter. The new V-Series adds impressive performance. The 2023 Escalade is loaded with features and tech, has tons of room for passengers and cargo, and is easy to handle for such a behemoth. The drawback is below average fuel economy. Still, anyone shopping for a large luxury SUV with a big personality should check it out.