New Car Reviews

2015 Cadillac Escalade

Model Strengths:

Stylish, iconic look and bold profile; warm, inviting cabin trims; strong V8 truck performance; advanced safety technology throughout; smooth, quiet ride yet responsive handling

Model Overview

The 2015 Escalade model line includes standard-length and extended-length Escalade ESV models, as well as Luxury and Premium versions of each. With any of these models you also have a choice between rear-wheel drive and four-wheel drive. All Escalades have a 6.2L V8 engine. With an aluminum block and heads, direct injection, variable valve timing, this is a big V8, but a thoroughly modern one. The engine makes 420 horsepower and 460 pound-feet of torque, and thanks to an Active Fuel Management system, which will run the engine on four of its cylinders during coasting or some lower-speed cruising conditions, it returns EPA ratings of up to 15 mpg city, 21 highway. Four-wheel-drive models include an Auto mode that allows on-demand 4-wheel drive when the conditions demand it. All models also have an automatic-locking rear differential. The Escalade is built on a fully boxed frame, which allows the toughness for towing and heavier uses and payloads. All versions of the Escalade now also include Magnetic Ride Control, a system that uses special shocks that can change their damping characteristics in just a fraction of a second, allowing the softness to soak up coarse surfaces and road shocks while firming up for quick emergency maneuvers when needed. With variable-assist electric power steering, new-design body mounts, a wider rear track, and a new suspension geometry in back, the Escalade handles well for such a heavy vehicle. Meanwhile, Active Noise Cancellation technology and special acoustic-laminate glass help keep it quiet inside. The Escalade also includes 4-wheel disc brakes--now with Duralife rotors with up to double the normal service life. Cadillac Escalade ESV models are about 20 inches longer overall, with a wheelbase that's 14 inches longer. Both offer an official seating capacity of seven or eight, depending on the layout, and seating space is technically the same; but the key difference is that ESV models offer easier access to the third-row seats, as well as more than double the cargo space behind the third row (39.3 cubic feet for the ESV, versus 15.2 cubic feet for the standard-length Escalade). Throughout the Escalade's interior, the traditional luxury ambiance hasn't been forgotten, and the cabin feels plush and very well detailed, with cut-and-sewn materials and real wood trim. In the instrument panel for all models, a high-resolution, 12.3-inch information cluster replaces conventional analog gauges, instead offering a choice of layouts, as well as a go-to point for trip-computer functions, navigation, and hands-free calling functions; meanwhile, there's also the Cadillac User Experience (CUE), a system that uses sophisticated voice controls combined with a capacitive screen at the center of the instrument panel; it even incorporates proximity sensing--showing different menus depending on how near the user's hand is to the display. The system now also includes Siri Eyes Free compatibility, with the capability to read incoming text. The OnStar 4G LTE data connection is also available, which turns the vehicle into a high-speed mobile hot spot. The entire model line gets a new front-seat center airbags, which are designed to inflate and act as a cushion between the driver and passenger in some kinds of collisions. Luxury and Premium models include Side Blind Zone Alert, Rear Cross Traffic Alert and Lane Change Alert as standard, while separately a Driver Awareness Package includes Forward Collision Alert, Lane Departure Warning and a Safety Alert seat that transmits warnings to the driver with patterned vibrations. There's also a Front and Rear Automatic Braking system that takes it a step further and might help avoid or reduce the severity of an accident. There's also a new Bose Centerpoint sound system in the 2015 Escalade; it includes 16 speakers, including five in the instrument panel and doors, as well as SurroundStage signal processing. A Blu-Ray DVD rear entertainment system that's tied into it, with a 9-inch screen in the Escalade and twin screens on the ESV. It includes a USB port, an SD slot and RCA inputs. The Escalade Luxury models add huge 22-inch Ultra-Bright Finish alloy wheels, a Driver Awareness Package, Side Blind Zone Alert, Lane Change Assist, Rear Cross-Traffic Assist, Intellibeam headlamps, second-row power-folding seats, a sunroof and a head-up display. And top Premium models add the Driver Assist Package with automatic braking and adaptive cruise control, illuminated door handles and rear-seat entertainment.

Model Changes

The Cadillac Escalade is all-new for 2015, offering stronger performance, improved comfort and just as much attitude and lavish luxury as ever--as well as more active-safety technology. The Escalade Hybrid is, gone from the lineup for 2015.

Model Value

The Escalade is a luxury-vehicle icon--both as one of the most luxurious and noteworthy American luxury vehicles and as a capable truck beneath it all. Cadillac says that the Escalade's EPA highway rating of 21 mpg is 17 percent higher than that of the previous model, and significantly better than that of either the Mercedes-Benz GL550 or Lexus LX 570. Yet the Escalade can reach 60 mph in less than six seconds--shockingly quick for a vehicle of its size and weight. The Escalade's trailer-towing rating of up to 8,300 pounds (or 8,100 pounds for the ESV) is better than that of the Land Rover Range Rover or either of those other models. Separately, the new front-seat airbag is unlike anything else in this class, potentially providing an added assurance in some types of accidents, while all the active-safety features might help keep you from ever getting in one.
* EPA mileage estimates and EPA fuel economy methods based on models beginning with the indicated model year. Use for comparison purposes only. Do not compare to models before the indicated model year. Your actual mileage will vary depending on how you drive and maintain your vehicle.