Premium SUV Review: 2023 Cadillac Escalade-V

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Feb 202023

Driver’s side view of the 2023 Cadillac Escalade-V under the arch at Arcosanti in Arizona.

By Andy Stonehouse

Can a car change you? And if so, do you want to take on the personality of a 682-horsepower, fire-breathing, $150,000 box of Texas-built Cadillac, an end-of-an-era monster that makes Corvette noises and conforms to almost no standard societal norms?

Close up of the 2023 Cadillac Escalade-V’s supercharged 6.2L V-8 engine.

Well, sure. For the price of two Hellcat Widebodies, two Camaro ZL1s, or a pile of Ford GT-somethings, Cadillac has produced the complete antithesis to its upcoming family of electric vehicles.

The 2023 Escalade-V is a striking and rather conspicuously over-the-top automobile designed to outdo other brash statements such as the 577-horsepower Mercedes AMG G63 (though the Benz is still $30,000 more expensive), yet still haul seven passengers.

If you’d yearned for a full-size American SUV that’s capable of 4.4-second runs to 60 mph, exhaust noises that  scream and crackle, and parked on 22-inch wheels, this is it.

Semi-aniline leather, and heated/ventilated and massaging front seats of the 2023 Cadillac Escalade-V.

Yes, a lot of questions come along with such a vehicle. Is it truly and unbelievably different than the base Chevy Suburban you can get for approximately $90,000 less—a vehicle of the same size and general capacity? Well, yes and no.

For this price point, I’d kind of expected Escalade-V to at least come with the new Super Cruise semi-autonomous driving system, or maybe a hot tub or controls covered in Swarovski crystals. Even a refrigerated console box would have been cool. Sadly, none of those were present.

Interior finishes are indeed premium, with lots of polished wood, an Alcantara headliner, and a beautifully perforated dash top. The Escalade-V’s extra-chiseled looks do set it apart from its Suburban/Yukon/standard Escalade siblings, but it’s still basically the same tallish box as they are.

As mentioned in previous reviews of the newer General Motors full-sized SUV platform, the benefit is rear-seat access and head room that will allow adults to perhaps more than temporarily be seated in the third row. The captains’ chair second-row seats sort of drop and squat out of the way; you just have to navigate around slightly oversized TV monitors attached to the back of the front seats.

Scale is gigantic up front, too, with a super-broad and tall console that’s so large you simply cannot reach over and try to pick up something on the passenger seat. You also get power running boards, helpful for access, as well as blacked-out, bugle-styled exhaust tips, ultra-bright vertical brake lamps and lighting in the rear, and very nice 18-spoke alloy wheels.

But none of that is quite as important (or, costly) as the hand-assembled 6.2-liter supercharged V8, with 682 actual horsepower and 653 pound-feet of torque. It is quite the technological achievement, and when noisy acceleration is required, the Escalade-V delivers.

As I found on my first outing, it’ll (happily) hit a rev limiter at about double the standard U.S. highway speed limit, which will help you from destroying the vehicle, maybe, as high-speed handling was strictly a straight-line kind of deal.

I did appreciate the fact that the Escalade-V handled in a relatively civil and even large-sporty fashion when driven more slowly, capably taking curves and riding along firmly on its adaptive air-ride suspension—which seemed to readjust itself at every stop sign.

Like the Corvette, almost every aspect of the Escalade-V’s driving can be adjusted—braking, shifting, chassis control, even exhaust noises – and hitting the somewhat hidden V switch ahead of the oversized 10-speed auto shifter puts everything into max mode.

That results in somewhat stabby braking, but those banquet dish-sized front discs and red Brembo calipers up front are fully capable of bringing Escalade-V out of orbit, so that’s reassuring.

Fuel consumption is as expected, ranging between about 11 miles per gallon (mpg) and an unlikely 28 mpg I got coming back into Denver; the EPA sticker suggests you will spend $13,000 more on gas over a five-year period than an average car, and get 16 highway mpg.

Sí: The Escalade-V delivers on its promise of unmatched performance in its segment.

No: For the price, the Escalade-V doesn’t set itself apart from its more affordable full-size siblings offered by GM.

Andy Stonehouse is a guest contributor to Latino Traffic Report and a freelance automotive journalist based in Lakewood, Colorado. All photos are stock, not as-tested, and feature European models.








Review: 2015 Cadillac Escalade 4WD Premium

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Sep 182015

2015-03-17 escal.front

No luxury brand adds bling to a vehicle like Cadillac, at least not for less than six figures.

Introduced in 1999, the Cadillac Escalade took the full-size sport utility vehicle (SUV) to a new level. A weeklong test drive of the all-new 2015 Escalade 4WD Premium for Latino Traffic Report left me fairly dazzled by all the stuff.

The evolution of the Cadillac design has been fun to watch, remember those iconic tailfins? The latest design DNA, with the upswept headlamps and sharp edged tail lamps, distinguishes a Cadillac from others on the road. The fourth-generation Escalade now looks a bit more like its siblings.

2015-03-17 escaladedashIts powerful 6.2-liter V8 mated to an eight-speed transmission can propel the Escalade from zero–60 miles per hour in less than six seconds.

While it can tow 8,100 pounds (8,300 with two-wheel drive), it’ll get you there with a suspension assisted by Magnetic Ride Control, which is standard.

What most impressed me about the Escalade was the safety technology that was included rather than packaged separately on all but the base model. I’ve driven luxury models that considered a parking sensor and rearview camera optional. Not so on the Escalade and in a big SUV like this, these features really matter.

Beginning with the Luxury trim level (second from the bottom) the Escalade comes with side blind zone alert, rear cross traffic alert, and the driver awareness package with forward collision alert and lane change warning systems. The best part is that these features engage the driver via my favorite innovation, the Safety Alert seat, that buzzes you on the upper left or right thigh (depending on what side of the vehicle is most at risk) to get your attention. My second favorite was the heads up display, also included, that shows the speed limit.

2015-03-17 escaladeseatsLuxury features abound on the Escalade as well. The front seats were heated and cooled and the second row bench and leather wrapped steering wheel were heated. An entertainment system with a nine-inch screen for the back seats, a power sun roof, adjustable pedals for shorter folks like me, a split third row bench with power fold, standard built-in Wi-Fi hotspot with 3GB/three-month data trial, and a power programmable liftgate with hands free capability, were included.

This list is just the tip of the iceberg.

The CUE infotainment system had nice features, like haptic touch, but the scrolling required to operate it can be distracting.

Cadillac was slow to include real wood in its vehicles but those days are gone. Real wood combined with premium cut-and-sewn materials and suede accents, along with ambient lighting, accentuate the interior.

2015-03-17 Escal.rear.smExtremely well appointed, the Escalade Premium test model did include some optional features, like a retractable running board, that added $4,295 to the price.

We pay up for luxury vehicles because we want a vehicle that’s a cut above the rest, but the modern luxury car market is filled with brands that expect you to pay-up for features that less expensive models are offering as standard. Not so with the Cadillac Escalade. Yes, you’ll pay a pretty price, but you’ll be blinged out!

Pricing for the Escalade Luxury starts at $77,965—I’m not starting with the base (Standard) model since it excludes important safety features whereas the next step up, the Luxury, includes them as standard. The as-tested price came to $89,360.


: Cadillac packages the Escalade in a manner befitting a luxury vehicle.

No: The base model is excluded from several features like a blind spot monitor or heads up display.