Not an excessive amount of has modified for the mighty Cadillac Escalade because it rolled by way of the Roadshow storage final 12 months. The 2019 mannequin sees a couple of former choices grow to be normal options as this titan elbows for no matter edge it may possibly discover within the massive luxurious SUV house. With stiff competitors from Lincoln’s Navigator, the Mercedes-Benz GLS and BMW’s new X7, the Escalade actually has its work minimize out for it.Can a couple of new options preserve the Caddy related amongst these more energizing fashions? I grabbed the keys to a loaded-up 2019 Cadillac Escalade Platinum ESV to search out out.New for 2019For the 2019 mannequin 12 months, the Escalade’s hands-free energy tailgate turns into an ordinary characteristic throughout the road. Simply stroll as much as the rear finish with the important thing in your pocket and kick beneath the bumper, and the rear hatch will mechanically open. The similar kicking movement can be utilized to shut the hatch, which is helpful when your palms are full whereas loading or unloading the SUV.
2019 fashions additionally characteristic an ordinary rear projector that casts the model’s protect brand onto the bottom close to the rear finish of the SUV at evening. It’s a bit of gimmicky and does not add a lot in the best way of performance, but it surely’s additionally a cool little bit of showy aptitude. Also new for 2019 is an out there $2,700 Sport Edition look package deal that replaces a lot of the outside chrome trim with shiny black bits and swaps 22-inch darkish Midnight Silver alloy wheels into the Escalade’s arches. My traditional black and chrome instance was not so-equipped.This gimmicky little Cadillac brand is considered one of three new options for 2019. Yay?
King of capaciousnessOne benefit that the Escalade continues to wave within the face of its competitors is its outright dimension. The 2019 Escalade Platinum stretches 203.9 inches from bumper to bumper with a 116-inch wheelbase. Maximum cargo house is said at an ample 94.2 cubic toes with the second and third rows folded, which falls wanting the Navigator’s 103.4 cubic toes, however bests the X7’s 90.4 and edges out the GLS’ 93.8 cubic toes.
My even-larger ESV mannequin stretches its midsection by 14 inches, using on a 130-inch wheelbase and standing 224 inches lengthy general. The additional size frees up a powerful 120.9 cubic toes of cargo house with its second and third rows flattened. Lincoln’s Navigator L presents an analogous long-wheelbase remedy, however falls behind the Escalade by 0.7 cubic toes of house behind the primary row. Talk about shut competitors.
6.2-liter V8 engineA lad this large wants a correct engine, so the ‘Lade is rocking the identical 6.2-liter V8 engine it is used for the reason that 2015 mannequin 12 months. Output is regular on at 420 peak horsepower and 460 pound-feet of torque. Last 12 months, the powertrain was up to date with a brand new normal 10-speed computerized transmission that improved smoothness and efficiency, and I am glad to report that this 2019 mannequin feels as strong as ever, with sturdy acceleration and a cloud-like trip on its normal Magnetic Ride Control adaptive suspension.A drive mode selector permits the driving force to decide on between Sport and comfort-oriented Touring settings, however other than firming up the trip to a degree pointless for a car as huge as this, and making the engine breathe a bit extra loudly, I did not really feel a lot distinction within the efficiency between the modes. It’s greatest to simply depart it in Touring and revel in how the massive Caddy soaks up mile after easy mile of freeway.The 10-speed gearbox additionally helps effectivity, complementing the usual cylinder deactivation expertise to bump the EPA’s economic system estimates for my rear-wheel-drive mannequin to 14 miles per gallon metropolis and 23 mpg freeway. The cylinder deactivation is pretty aggressive, shifting to four-cylinder operation ceaselessly when coasting, cruising or throughout deceleration, however you would not discover save for a “V4” icon that periodically seems within the instrument cluster to point the gasoline saver was lively. The mode change is fast and imperceptible.
Stepping as much as 4WD drops the freeway estimate to 21 mpg. But it provides a two-speed switch case and the flexibility to toggle between rear-wheel-drive and 4×4 operation with the twist of a knob — or you’ll be able to simply let the Cadillac’s laptop deal with the change mechanically. While the 4WD system improves the SUV’s traction potential, its towing capability of 8,100 kilos is 200 kilos lower than the 2WD mannequin. (Stretching to the ESV mannequin additional reduces that capability by one other 200 kilos.)Behind the large chrome grill, the Escalade options the identical 6.2-liter V8 as earlier than.
The extra issues keep the identicalFor higher or worse, the remainder of the Escalade’s security tech, cabin tech and comfort options are unchanged for 2019. Before checking a single additional field, my line-topping Platinum mannequin rolled in with the overwhelming majority of the bells and whistles in Cadillac’s repertoire, together with a refrigerated field for bevs within the middle console, massaging entrance seats — although nowhere close to as good as Benz’s massaging buckets — normal wi-fi telephone charging and a three-screen rear seat leisure system with a Blu-Ray participant.
Safety expertise highlights embody adaptive cruise management, computerized excessive beams, ahead collision warning with computerized braking help, semi-automatic parking help, blind-spot monitoring and extra. I am not an enormous fan of Cadillac’s older-generation lane protecting help; it felt obscure, solely so little help so late that I used to be usually not sure if the characteristic was even lively. Overall, the Escalade’s driver help tech checks most of the proper bins, however feels a era behind the competitors from Lincoln and BMW. Still, a bit of tech assist is best than none in any respect, I suppose. All of those options are normal on the Platinum trim degree, however many are additionally out there optionally at decrease trims.The facet of the Escalade that is growing old the worst is the Cue infotainment system.
Cadillac’s Cue dashboard tech suite can also be beginning to really feel a bit dated. The system makes use of an 8-inch diagonal show with haptic suggestions that buzzes barely whenever you contact it. That display screen appeared massive just some years in the past however now that we have been spoiled by footlong shows within the BMW X5 and X7, it feels a bit small and low-resolution, mounted so distant from the driving place within the Escalade’s broad dashboard. And I am nonetheless not a fan of the capacitive buttons and awkward quantity slider that encompass the Escalade’s dashboard show.The Cue software program that powers Cadillac’s infotainment is properly organized and straightforward sufficient to make use of whereas driving. I discovered the menus a bit gradual to reply to inputs at occasions, however I by no means acquired misplaced or confused navigating the interface. An out there 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot ought to assist preserve passengers related, and normal Android Auto and Apple CarPlay do rather a lot to stretch the performance and fill in a few of the gaps in Cue’s characteristic set. However, Cadillac’s dashboard tech is in determined want of an overhaul if it expects to stay aggressive.Tailing the competitorsThe 2019 Cadillac Escalade begins at $76,490 for the bottom 2WD mannequin with the usual wheelbase, or $79,490 for the long-wheelbase ESV 2WD. However, my Platinum ESV 2WD is shut to completely loaded at $98,840 as-tested. Stepping as much as 4WD would add $3,000 to the underside line. There’s a candy spot only one step down within the lineup on the Premium Luxury trim degree, however at $86,490 for the usual wheelbase, it is nonetheless a dear proposition. For extra affected person Cadillac devotees, it ought to be well worth the await the next-generation 2020 Escalade.
Drivers searching for the newest and biggest in large-scale luxurious will possible discover extra to like within the new Lincoln Navigator, the upcoming 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLS or — should you do not want the largest three-row SUV on the block — BMW’s new X7. Cadillac’s deep reductions — with incentives at present sitting at about $7,500 — assist preserve the 2019 Escalade afloat competitively, however I might additionally think about trying to find 2018 fashions that will nonetheless be kicking round your native dealership. There’s virtually no distinction in any respect this 12 months, so scoring a candy deal on an older mannequin is a win-win.I might additionally suggest that you just preserve a watch out for the next-generation 2020 Cadillac Escalade, which ought to be simply across the nook. Based on what we have seen from General Motors’ most up-to-date pickup vans, the following Esky ought to pack a brand new platform, new suspension and, hopefully, an overhauled and way more aggressive cabin and security tech suite. For extra affected person Cadillac devotees, it ought to undoubtedly be well worth the wait.