2017 Cadillac Escalade quick take: Long on luxury

What is it: The Escalade full-size luxury SUV is the pinnacle of Cadillac design and excess. The ESV version adds a bit of useful length, but this is the shorter model.

Key Competitors: Mercedes-Benz GLS,Lincoln Navigator, Lexus LX

Base Price: $87,090 As Tested Price:$94,130

Highlights: The only engine choice in the Escalade is the 6.2-liter V8 that makes 420 hp, good for a 0-60-mph time of under six seconds. Updates for 2017 include a rearview mirror camera and automatic parking assist.

The Cadillac CUE infotainment system, with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration, is standard on all Escalade models. The eight-inch center screen uses capacitive touch technology and gesture recognition, enabling tapping and swiping common to smartphones and tablets.

Our Opinion: This monster is amazingly quick off the line. The Escalade’s throttle tip in is probably too much, and it doesn’t have any problems getting up to barely legal speeds. Normal shifts from the eight-speed automatic are fine, though it does hunt for the right gear in downshifts at times.

The steering is a little weightier than I expected — most of these luxo barges are super easy — and in sport mode it firms up even more. Bumps, potholes and lack of pavement are not a problem, even with the low-profile tires. As far as handling at speed, it feels its size and weight, meaning it leans and rolls and dives. It feels like its working the brakes hard too. A few times I had to add more pressure to get stopped in the last 10 feet.

It’s hard to call the Escalade’s styling subdued, but it’s way less extravagant than the last generation. That’s a good thing. There’s still a good bit of chrome — not as much on the grille –- but the head and taillights look great. I won’t complain about the giant wheels either, they go with the package.

 

Inside, the seats aren’t as comfortable as those in the Mercedes GLS, and I suppose it doesn’t quite feel as luxurious overall either. But the Mercedes is almost overkill in this area so we’re not complaining. The Cadillac CUE infotainment system is still a pain to me. Volume, tuning, climate and pretty much everything else is all done with the touch screen and the hard, slider, haptic buttons on the central dash. Volume is actually pretty easy, just slide right, but climate and the rest is hard to do while driving.

Don’t get me wrong, this interior looks great. The colors seem to match and most of the places your hands and elbows hit are soft. I like the captain’s chairs in the second row, but with the third row up, there’s not much room for cargo. A coworker posited that if you had four adults and two kids, you really couldn’t fit a weeks worth of luggage for anyone, considering the kids will be in the back-back. One would have to step up to the Escalade ESV for more room.

So in the three-row, luxe segment we’re looking at the Infinti QX80, Lexus LX570, the GLS, maybe a Range Rover or Discovery. The QX is still a little too weird looking, to me at least. The LX570 is great; the GLS’ throttle tip in is the opposite of this — too sluggish — and I haven’t driven the new Discovery yet. TheLX and the Escalade would probably be my top picks here.

CADILLAC ESCALADE

MSRP

$73,395

Base

 

MPG

15 / 22

City / HWY

Source : autoweek.com

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