The 2018 Cadillac Escalade ESV Platinum is an imposing automobile. It is over 6 toes tall, greater than 18 toes lengthy and weighs in at 6,088 kilos when geared up with all-wheel drive. If it was a prize fighter, the body-on-frame luxurious SUV would undoubtedly be a heavyweight and have the persona of Mr. T, its huge grille, LED lights and 22-inch wheels with chrome pitying the idiot that dare mess with it.
Not like most heavyweights, the Escalade is way from gradual. Not with a 6.2-liter V8 with 420 horsepower and 460 pound-feet of torque on faucet, able to hustling the massive Caddy to 60 mph in round 6 seconds. The engine is a peach, with thrust out there all over the place all through the rev band, and works with a new-for-2018 10-speed computerized transmission that is superbly tuned, all the time delivering easy shifts.
With the brand new gearbox and seamless Energetic Gasoline Administration cylinder deactivation system permitting the engine to function in eight- or four-cylinder modes, the drivetrain combo is estimated to return 14 mpg within the metropolis and 21 mpg on the freeway. If not for the “V4” icon on the gauge cluster, it could be troublesome to inform when the engine is working on half or all of its cylinders. In combined driving, I averaged 17.1 mpg, matching the EPA mixed score.
In contrast with different mondo, four-wheel-drive luxurious utilities, the Escalade ESV’s gas rankings are aggressive with the likes of the Infiniti QX80 (13 mpg metropolis and 19 mpg freeway), Lexus LX 570 (13 mpg metropolis and 18 mpg freeway), new Lincoln Navigator L (16 mpg metropolis and 21 mpg freeway) and Mercedes-Benz GLS550 (14 mpg metropolis and 19 mpg freeway).
Additionally serving to disguise the Escalade’s mass are normal Magnetic Trip Management dampers, decidedly tight steering and 22-inch Bridgestone Dueler tires that present respectable grip and dealing with reflexes. All issues thought of, turn-in is sharp and cornering composed with physique motions all the time staying in verify. For even tighter dynamics over the usual Touring setting, Sport mode corporations up the suspension for marginally higher dealing with via bends, however on the expense of trip high quality. I discovered it greatest to not even trouble with the Sport detent.
Beneath braking, nevertheless, the Escalade’s mass cannot be masked, requiring a agency press of the left pedal to get issues slowed. That is to not say that the entrance six-piston Brembo calipers aren’t as much as the snuff, however deep dives into braking zones aren’t suggested.
In relation to cruising, the trip is elegant throughout a 360-mile day journey to northern Michigan and again. In Touring mode, bumps are swallowed up, the cabin is effectively remoted from wind and tire noise and the adaptive cruise management system flawlessly adjusts speeds to maintain up with the stream of visitors.
Being a full-zoot Platinum model, cabin environment are comfortable with a mix of soppy leather-based and microfiber suede overlaying main surfaces and wooden trim providing interesting distinction. Elevating consolation additional is a message perform for the entrance heated and cooled seats to assist the in any other case boring miles fly by.
There’s additionally a rear Blu-ray DVD leisure system with 4 screens, wi-fi digital headphones together with an HDMI and USB inputs to maintain passengers within the again busy and out of bother watching films or enjoying video video games on highway journeys.
If that wasn’t sufficient, a cooler is positioned within the middle armrest for drinks. And whereas it does eat into the Escalade’s storage choices, there are nonetheless loads of nooks and crannies to stash issues within the middle console and door panels. Actually, house isn’t a problem with numerous passenger room — even within the third row.
As for cargo, with all seven seats occupied, 39.three cubic toes of house is on the market method out again. Storing the power-folding second- and third-row downs opens up 120.9 cubic toes that turns out to be useful on quite a few journeys to dwelling enchancment shops and whereas safely shifting an oversize mirror.
Plenty of tech
Cadillac’s Cue system units up store within the middle stack to deal with infotainment features with an Eight-inch touchscreen controlling navigation, Bluetooth, 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot and crisp 16-speaker Bose encompass sound system. Cue has actually come a great distance because it first launched, being conscious of inputs, shortly paging between menus and simpler to work via. The one hiccup I encountered was lengthy preliminary navigation system load occasions on quite a few events when first firing the automobile. As soon as booted up, the system performs high quality.
Cue does provide the power handy infotainment controls to your cellphone with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capabilities. To juice up good gadgets, there are 5 USB ports scattered all through the cabin and a wi-fi charging pad on the highest of the middle armrest that might typically have my Samsung Galaxy S8 perched on it.
On the security entrance, along with the adaptive cruise management, the Platinum options normal ahead collision warning with computerized braking, lane-keeping help, blind-spot monitoring and head-up show. Nevertheless, the Escalade’s most helpful belongings are the parking sensors, 360-degree digicam and rear cross-traffic alert with auto braking to get the brute out and in of parking areas with out hitting something or anybody.
How I would spec it
As a lot as I might love all of the bells and whistles that come on the Platinum model, the $103,185 as-tested value, together with $1,295 vacation spot, is method too wealthy for my blood. In an try and preserve the price of entry semi-reasonable, my Escalade ESV would have four-wheel drive to sort out Midwest winters and be a Luxurious trim that features actually essential options to me like blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert.
With all that, my massive Cadillac would ring in at $87,590 to undercut my Platinum tester by $15,595 — or roughly the price of a brand new Toyota Yaris. Whereas I might miss computerized emergency braking, adaptive cruise management and the cushier cabin, I might be high quality giving them up for the sizable price financial savings.
A harmful new challenger
For the previous few years, the Cadillac has been the standout within the heavyweight luxurious SUV division with entries just like the QX80, LX 570 and GLS550 not evolving a lot and displaying their age. That modified this yr with the arrival of the all-new Lincoln Navigator boasting recent styling with an equal quantity of visible bling, tech and outmuscling the Escalade with 450-horsepower and 510-pound-feet of torque from a twin-turbocharged V6.
Which ute now sits on the head of the category? It is troublesome to say for certain, however with this yr’s drivetrain upgrades, stellar chassis tuning and feature-rich inside, the Caddy actually is not going to surrender the highest spot to the Lincoln with out placing up one heck of a battle.