Everything apart from the Escalade's 420-hp 6.2-liter
V8 engine is new for 2021. Underpinning the Escalade is a new ladder frame that sports independent rear suspension for improved ride characteristics. The new rear suspension also allowed the rear section of the new Escalade to be reconfigured for dramatically better legroom in each of the back rows. The 277-hp diesel engine -- a no-cost option available on every
2021 Cadillac Escalade -- is also new. Both engines, interestingly, put out 460 lb-ft of torque, but the diesel's peak torque arrives at only 1,500 rpm, versus 4,600 rpm for the gasoline V8. Like the 6.2-liter gasoline V8, the turbodiesel inline-six is matched with a 10-speed automatic transmission. Everything inside the 2021 Escalade is new as well, highlighted by the huge OLED information screen, which boasts more than 38 diagonal inches of display area. In its three digital panels, the curved OLED display has a driver information center, an instrument cluster and a much larger screen to the right for audio, navigation and phone info.
Which Escalade ESV is the Best?
Thanks to its all-new chassis with an independent rear suspension, the Cadillac Escalade has been significantly improved for 2021. It's much roomier in back, it's now available with an efficient diesel engine, it's more luxurious and it abounds with neat technology such as the huge OLED information screen and the optional Super Cruise feature, the next step toward an autonomous future. If you can opt for the AKG sound system. With either the 6.2-liter V8 or the 3.0-liter turbodiesel 6-cylinder, the Escalade has become an even better version of itself: a luxurious and safe family hauler that blends the stigma-free people-carrying utility of a minivan with a truck's ability to work.
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How Much Does a 2022 Cadillac Escalade ESV Cost?
There's nothing basic about the base Escalade, now called the
Escalade Luxury. The Luxury has 12-way power-adjustable leatherette seats, heated front and rear seats, a heated steering wheel, 3-zone climate control, a power lift gate, the OLED information panel and a 19-speaker audio system. What's more, it has seven USB ports, wireless smartphone charging, a standard trailering package and a good safety suite that includes automatic emergency braking. You can order it with the 6.2-liter gasoline V8 engine or the no-added-cost turbodiesel 3.0-liter inline-six. The
Escalade Premium Luxury model ups the luxury quotient with a genuine leather interior, a panoramic sunroof, a head-up display and a rear camera mirror. This model also features lane-keeping assist and a blind spot monitoring system. The
Escalade Platinum Luxury is even more opulent. In addition to a rich semi-aniline interior leather and massaging seats, this model has a 36-speaker sound system, soft-close doors, adaptive cruise control, automatic reverse braking and a package that makes hooking up a trailer a lot easier. The Escalade Platinum Luxury and
Escalade Platinum Sport are the only two models that come standard with Magnetic Ride Control and Air Suspension. Both of those highly desirable systems are optional on the
Escalade Sport, which is distinguished by a different type of interior leather and a black mesh grille. The diesel engine, again, is available as a no-cost option on the 2021 Escalade. 4WD, available on all new Escalades, adds an extra $3,000, as does ordering the Suburban-length Escalade ESV model. The Escalade Luxury, the Platinum Luxury and the Platinum Sport trims are available with a power second-row bench seat, and the latter two can be ordered with Night Vision, which provides drivers with an infrared image of the area beyond the range of the Escalade's headlights. Pedestrians and large animals show up clearly with Night Vision. A 36-speaker AKG audio system is optional on the Escalade Premium Luxury, as are soft-close doors and an electronic limited-slip differential. Other options on the Premium Luxury include Magnetic Ride Control, Air Suspension, Night Vision, reverse automatic braking and a more advanced level of adaptive cruise control. A few packages are available on the 2021 Cadillac Escalade -- such as a Driver Assist and Tech Package, a Z66 Performance Package and a Heavy-Duty Trailering Package -- but many options are available as standalone extras. Notable among them: Super Cruise ($2,500), power-assist side steps ($1,750), the 36-speaker AKG stereo ($4,300), Night Vision ($2,000), a console cooler ($2,000), a rear-seat entertainment system ($1,995) and 22-in multispoke alloy wheels ($1,995).
The 2021 Cadillac Escalade is a big 7- or 8-seat vehicle that hasn't been tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. While we wish all 2021 Escalades were equipped with a standard blind spot monitoring system, they all have automatic emergency braking, a potential lifesaver. This technology applies the brakes automatically if a collision with a vehicle or a pedestrian appears likely. Even if the system doesn't prevent the accident, it will likely lessen the severity of the impact. Of note: Automatic braking also works in reverse. A lane-keeping assist system is also standard on the big new Caddy SUV. If the Escalade drifts out of its lane, it will let the driver know and make subtle steering corrections when needed to bring the vehicle back into its lane. Also enhancing safety is the rear camera mirror, which comes standard on all but the base Escalade Luxury. This tech projects a video image through the lens of the rearview mirror to provide the driver with a view of what's behind the Escalade, even if three tall teenage kids are sitting across the back bench. Once you get used to the wide-angle view of the rear camera mirror, you won't want to go back to a conventional mirror.
2022 Cadillac Escalade ESV vs the competition
2020 Lincoln Navigator -- A bit shorter than the equivalent Escalades but with slightly more total interior volume. A refined vehicle with independent rear suspension. No V8, but a twin-turbo 3.5-liter V6 puts out great power.
2021 GMC Yukon -- The Escalade's cousin is built in the same Texas factory, and the luxurious Denali comes close to matching Cadillac opulence. The
Yukon, though, doesn't get Super Cruise.
2020 Ford Expedition -- Like the Escalade, the big
Ford is available in two lengths and with RWD or 4WD. It also has an independent rear suspension. It's not as luxurious as the Cadillac, but it's more refined than you might expect. A fully loaded Expedition can reach $85,000.
2020 Land Rover Range Rover -- This is only a 2-row SUV, but it's sumptuous inside and remarkably capable off the pavement. Several powertrains are available, including a diesel. But it's pricey.
2020 BMX X7 -- Big and roomy, but the third row of this large
BMW pales in comparison to the Escalade's. Available with an inline six or a V8 and a huge BMW twin-kidney grille.
Used Mercedes-Benz GLS 450 -- Outstanding powertrains, either a smooth inline-6 (GLS 450) or a rumbly 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 (GLS 580). This
Mercedes is capable and luxurious, but it lacks the cargo capacity of the Escalade ESV -- though you can save tens of thousands of dollars.
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