Cadillac’s Escalade is by now a accepted quantity—that abundance actuality big, slathered in chrome, and with a bluster all its own. General Motors has cashed in on its pop-culture figure over the years, gradually adopting the amount from beneath than $50,000 in 2002 to a beard beneath $74,000 today. At a time aback full-size pickups and SUVs from Chevrolet and GMC—trucks that allotment their basal underpinnings with the Escalade—can be optioned to boundless prices, the Cadillac’s abject amount is appropriate. So what happens aback that amount is jacked to about $100,000?
The Escalade’s range-topping Platinum trim akin does aloof that. A two-wheel-drive archetype starts at $90,345, and the four-wheel-drive archetypal activated actuality starts at $92,945. With alone two options—power-deploying active boards and caster locks—the final account for our analysis rig came to $94,770. Such appraisement drags the Escalade into a tougher band of blaze than its lower-cost siblings, a barrage that includes choice SUVs such as the Mercedes-Benz GLS-class and the Land Rover Range Rover. Those vehicles, in their atomic big-ticket forms, alpha at $67,975 and $85,945. Plug in the Escalade’s capacity to Ancestry.com, and you’ll acquisition aggregate ancestor with the Chevrolet Tahoe, which costs bisected as abundant as this Platinum; dig deeper, and a abiogenetic articulation can be fabricated to the Silverado pickup, which can be had for as little as $28,390.
If it sounds as admitting we’re comparing sticker prices in a vacuum, we’re not. Breeding matters, decidedly at the Platinum’s amount level. One needn’t basis about in the Escalade’s appraisement and ancestral alternation to apprehension the built-down-to-a-price switchgear and high-volume accumulation methods aggregate by its added boilerplate relatives. This aforementioned interior, at its best basic, isn’t absolute but is assuredly adequate in the low $70,000s; it is beneath so in the stratosphere. It brings to apperception addition iconic General Motors product, the Corvette, which admitting its bigger autogenous continues to be outclassed by the berth ambiance of the Porsche 911 for one reason: Chevy is accountable by the Vette’s $56,395 abject amount for 2016, while Porsche’s lowliest 911 runs $85,350.
So, sure, the Platinum boasts Escalade-exclusive appearance such as a cooled center-console cubby, a drop-down 8.5-inch infotainment display, bifold rear-seat DVD screens, aflame “Platinum” doorsill plates, a appropriate chrome grille and 22-inch wheels, nappa covering seats, a leather-wrapped dashboard and aperture panels, and a sueded microfiber headliner. But it’s all additive, a amount of installing added and added being to absolve blame up the price. Aloof as you can’t bung a few cuts of open-pore wood, debris of nappa leather, and a cycle of sueded upholstery into a approved active allowance and acknowledge that allowance a aristocratic castle, the Platinum’s bigger berth abstracts feel like a appearance for humbler scaffolding.
The swaths of stitched covering aloft anniversary aperture panel, for example, attending to accept been created by wrapping a cut of covering with a bond in it about a extra of artificial and gluing the aftereffect assimilate the aperture structure, rather than wrapping the aperture console itself. And again there are the window switches and steering-column stalks adopted from bottom GM products. Mercedes-Benz switchgear, by comparison, tends to crawl bottomward from its best celebrated products; Cadillac still sits after from Chevy in this regard. Happily, the CUE infotainment system—among the Escalade’s alone Cadillac-specific autogenous flourishes—and its accessory capacitive-touch dashboard controls are bigger over beforehand iterations, with snappier responses to inputs.
Beneath the Platinum frippery, the Escalade is still an Escalade. That agency it’s a truck, with old-school body-on-frame architecture and a solid rear axle. The upside to this adjustment is towing; with its 420-hp 6.2-liter V-8, the Escalade can lug up to 8100 pounds—or 8300 after four-wheel drive. The downside is aggregate else, from administration to ride to anatomy rigidity. Unlike the Mercedes GLS or the Range Rover, which affection absolute rear suspensions and alternative air springs, the Cadillac’s sole avant-garde abeyance affection is its magnetorheological electronically adaptive damper setup. Alike those attempt to admit abundant clarification on the ride, which about is inclement and occasionally is absolutely harsh, acknowledgment abundantly to the Platinum’s abundant 22-inch wheels. Sharper alley imperfections will accelerate a convulse through the Escalade’s body, while aciculate turns at acceleration are accessible but best avoided.
The Escalade’s trucky underpinnings additionally force a aerial amount floor, acceptation there isn’t as abundant allowance central as the arty alien ambit would suggest. The Platinum’s accepted second-row captain’s chairs are adequate with affluence of surrounding space, but the third-row bank is tight. Worse, with the third row aloft (a power-operable function), there’s almost amplitude abaft it for four cardboard grocery bags. The 15 cubic anxiety of amplitude aback there, by the way, is on par with the block of today’s Honda Civic sedan. As if it needs to be mentioned, the Escalade’s accumulation is epic, backbreaking our scales to the tune of 5882 pounds. While the V-8 makes mincemeat of the heft, carriage the Platinum to 60 mph in 5.8 seconds, the brakes ache adjoin the mass. We managed a very, actual continued 202-foot stop from 70 mph, and the anchor pedal went bendable during alternating slowdowns. Admitting an ephemeral cylinder-deactivation feature, wherein the V-8 disables four cylinders beneath ablaze load, and the new-for-2015 eight-speed automatic, empiric ammunition abridgement over 1000 afar sat at 15 mpg. All of these abstracts are in band with added Escalades we’ve tested.
While the Platinum’s demerits are aggregate with bottom Escalades, they’re added forgivable—perhaps alike excusable—for $20,000 less. At about $100,000, there’s no accepting about the actuality that the Platinum’s added full-blooded competitors drive better, are added fuel- and space-efficient, and abrasion their baronial apparel with added aplomb. Bathed in pop-culture mystique, the Escalade has its abode in the full-size luxury-SUV market, but accede the high bend of that agreeableness defined.
VEHICLE TYPE: front-engine, 4-wheel-drive, 7-passenger, 4-door hatchback
PRICE AS TESTED: $94,770 (base price: $92,945)
ENGINE TYPE: pushrod 16-valve V-8, aluminum block and heads, absolute ammunition injection
Displacement: 376 cu in, 6162 ccPower: 420 hp @ 5600 rpmTorque: 460 lb-ft @ 4100 rpm
TRANSMISSION: 8-speed automated with chiral alive mode
DIMENSIONS:Wheelbase: 116.0 inLength: 203.9 inWidth: 80.5 in Height: 74.4 inPassenger volume: 156 cu ftCargo volume: 15 cu ftCurb weight: 5882 lb
C/D TEST RESULTS:Zero to 60 mph: 5.8 secZero to 100 mph: 14.8 secZero to 110 mph: 19.0 secRolling start, 5-60 mph: 6.3 secTop gear, 30-50 mph: 3.2 secTop gear, 50-70 mph: 4.1 secStanding ¼-mile: 14.3 sec @ 98 mphTop acceleration (governor limited): 112 mphBraking, 70-0 mph: 202 ftRoadholding, 300-ft-dia skidpad: 0.73 g
FUEL ECONOMY:EPA city/highway driving: 15/21 mpgC/D observed: 15 mpg
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