- Luxury look and feel – Platinum Edition Tehama Aniline and Nuance luxury leather seating treatment
- Entertainment – four DVD screens accompany the three row interior making this a road tripper’s dream car
- Sheer size – if you’re looking for a luxury utility vehicle that can carry the entire family and more, then the size of the Escalade ESV will work for you
- Underwhelming power – rated at 403hp and 417 foot pounds of torque, the motor still comes up short considering that this is a 7400 pound SUV
- Dated interior feel – the interior was a major disappointment, especially given that this was the Platinum Edition, and the look and feel is more appropriate for a $45,000 Suburban
- Dated styling – the Escalade suffers from a design that was more relevant five years ago, and just looks bland and inconsistent compared to more current automotive designs
“This SUV takes on big missions — Beautifully.”
There is always a certain amount of intrigue and excitement that comes along with testing an $88,000 vehicle. That price point puts this SUV in the company of some of the newest offerings from Porsche, BMW, and Audi. Granted, the sheer size of the Escalade puts it in its own category, but given the close to six figure price tag, the expectations were high.
No doubt about it, the Escalade is full on “bling”. A big motor, lots of chrome, lots of leather, and lots of video screens. It would also seem to be the ideal family vehicle, as it can carry 7 people comfortably, and has a Magnetic Ride Control suspension lending to a smooth ride that would make road trip miles fly by. The interior is built for comfort, but the third row is easily folded to increase the already roomy cargo area.
When I was a kid, my neighbors had a late 70’s Cadillac Seville. It was dark blue with a white leather interior and had a plush, smooth, and quiet ride. The Seville became Cadillac’s smallest, yet priciest car in their line at the time. Some thirty years later, Cadillac has definitely remained a luxury brand, but in the case of the Escalade, they have re-emphasized that size does matter.
This SUV commands a presence. The Carbon Flash Metallic ESV Platinum example that we had for a week measured just about 223 inches, or almost 19 feet in length. That’s about three feet longer than the length of two MINI Coopers placed bumper to bumper. The shape and profile are signature GM, as it carries the same general lines of the Chevrolet Suburban and GMC Denali. Both are considered full sized SUV’s, but the flashiness and feature level of the Escalade are definitely a few steps above. Walking around the vehicle, there is a generous usage of chrome trim and Cadillac badging.
Inside, the Platinum Edition boasts a luxurious leather interior, accented with a rich Olive Ash and Burl wood trim. It has the standard bevy of features that you would expect from a car at this price, but the first issue is the ergonomics and layout of the interior. It is very old fashioned looking, using a very small climate control screen that is positioned low, making it hard to read. The buttons seem to be the same buttons pulled from the Suburban line, and some buttons are oddly placed. For example, the traction control button is placed far away on the passenger side of the center console, and the column mounted shifter obscures a few of the information screen toggle buttons when the transmission was in Drive mode.
The seats, while covered in a rich Tehama Aniline leather, proved to be comfortable, but I would have preferred a softer touch leather on the seating surfaces, and a bit more support and contouring in the side bolsters. They aren’t bad, but they’re a little flat for my own preferences.
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