In the more than two decades since its controversial debut, the Escalade has evolved from a tarted-up GMC Yukon to Cadillac’s most recognizable nameplate. The current-generation Escalade enters its third model year, and although it’s still related to the Yukon and the Chevrolet Tahoe/Suburban it undeniably has the luxury chops to take on high-dollar competitors such as the Lincoln Navigator, the Jeep Grand Wagoneer, and the Lexus LX600—in fact, it vanquished those three rivals in a comparison test last year. Credit the Escalade’s plush ride and secure handling; its powerful 6.2-liter V-8 (a torque-rich turbo-diesel inline-six is also available); and a high-tech interior that features a curved OLED digital display. As before, the Escalade is offered in a standard-length body style or in the longer ESV configuration that has significantly more cargo space behind the third-row seat. And last year, a potent new V-series model joined the lineup as the high-performance flagship, its supercharged V-8 churning out 682 horsepower.
What’s New for 2024?
The Escalade steams into 2024 with no major changes. And no minor changes, either. Presumably, Cadillac is concentrating its efforts on the already announced electric version, the Escalade iQ, which is slated to arrive sometime this year.
Pricing and Which One to Buy
If you’re shopping the Escalade, there’s little point in trying to save a few nickels by getting anything less than the full monty, so go for the Premium Luxury Platinum. That nets you semi-aniline leather, 16-way power-adjustable front seats with massage, soft-close doors, and an AKG audio system with 36 speakers. It also comes standard with Super Cruise, a head-up display, and a self-parking feature. The Sport Platinum is essentially the same thing but with dark exterior trim. Of course, if you’re seeking absolute max performance, the only choice is to go V-Series.
Engine, Transmission, and Performance
Cadillac’s biggest SUV is powered by a standard 6.2-liter V-8 engine that makes 420 horsepower and can deactivate half of its cylinders when cruising to save fuel; a 3.0-liter diesel inline-six is also available. A 10-speed automatic transmission is standard with both engines, and buyers can choose from rear- or all-wheel-drive setups. As with its siblings, the current-generation Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban and GMC Yukon, the Escalade rides on an independent rear suspension that provides additional third-row legroom, which was compromised in the previous model due to it solid rear axle. Higher-end trims also offer air springs with adaptive dampers. At our test track, the long-wheelbase Escalade ESV with the V-8 engine sprinted to 60 mph in just 5.9 seconds. The 277-hp diesel engine doesn’t deliver nearly the straight-line performance of the standard V-8, but for some buyers that compromise is worth the improved fuel economy and punchy 460 lb-ft of low-end torque. For those Escalade fans with a need for speed, only the V will do. It’s powered by a beastly supercharged 6.2-liter V-8 making 682 horsepower, which proved to be enough power to blast the humongous SUV to 60 mph in just 4.3 seconds at our test track. We were also impressed with the V-8’s power and its baritone burble. The modifications to the SUV’s suspension make it handle better than the standard SUV, but the Escalade-V still doesn’t feel as nimble as rivals such as the Mercedes-AMG GLS63 or the BMW Alpina XB7.
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
Rear-wheel-drive gas V-8 Escalades are rated at 14 mpg city, 19 mpg highway, and 16 mpg combined; adding all-wheel drive drops the highway number by 1 mpg. The performance-oriented V model is far less efficient, earning EPA ratings of 11 mpg city and 16 mpg highway. Opting for the turbo-diesel engine makes a big difference, with EPA estimates as high as 21 mpg city and 27 mpg highway. On our 75-mph highway fuel-economy test route, an all-wheel-drive Escalade with the optional diesel engine returned 26 mpg. For more information about the Escalade’s fuel economy, visit the EPA’s website.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
As the flagship of the Cadillac lineup, the Escalade ups the ante on in-cabin luxury. Faux leather is used in the base Luxury trim, but all other trims receive the real deal, with Platinum models getting extra-soft semi-aniline hides. Leather-covered dash and door panels, aluminum speaker grilles, and adjustable interior ambient lighting provide an upscale appearance, although some switchgear is shared with lesser GM models. Both a standard and long-wheelbase ESV model are offered, the latter of which yields more legroom for third-row riders and additional cargo space.
Infotainment and Connectivity
Cadillac has tricked out the Escalade in the electronics department. The main showpiece is the digital dashboard, which is comprised of three curved OLED displays that layer on top of one another to create a cool 38-inches of combined digital real estate, some of which serve as the driver’s gauge cluster while the rest projects the CUE infotainment system for the driver and passenger. The collection of displays is reminiscent of the Mercedes-Benz GLS-class’s giant monolithic infotainment setup, but the Escalade’s stacked setup creates depth and looks better integrated than the Benz’s. Other tech features include an augmented-reality navigation system and an available rear-seat entertainment package that includes two 12.6-inch displays with streaming capability. Apple CarPlay/Android Auto integration and a Wi-Fi hotspot are also standard. Audiophiles will be in for a treat no matter which Escalade model they choose. Cadillac has partnered with Grammy-award-winning audio and acoustics company AKG to develop the Escalade’s standard and optional sound systems. A 19-speaker Studio Sound system is standard on the Luxury, Sport, and Premium Luxury models, but Platinum trims get the AKG Studio Reference system with a whopping 36 speakers.
Safety and Driver-Assistance Features
Cadillac is set on making its flagship SUV a showcase for driver-assistance technology, and in addition to making many of the most popular active-safety features standard, Cadillac also offers its excellent Super Cruise adaptive-cruise system, which enables hands-free driving. For more information about the Escalade’s crash-test results, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) websites. Key safety features include:
- Standard automated emergency braking with front and rear pedestrian detection
- Standard lane-departure warning with lane-keeping assist
- Available adaptive cruise control with hands-free driving mode
Warranty and Maintenance Coverage
The 2024 Escalade offers the same standard warranty package as the rest of the Cadillac lineup. Its powertrain warranty stretches for longer than rivals such as the GLS-class and the BMW X7, but the BMW’s complimentary scheduled maintenance plan is far better than the Caddy’s.
- Limited warranty covers 4 years or 50,000 miles
- Powertrain warranty covers 6 years or 70,000 miles
- Complimentary maintenance is covered for the first visit
2023 Cadillac Escalade-V
Vehicle Type: front-engine, all-wheel-drive, 7-passenger, 4-door wagon
Base/As Tested: $151,490/$155,215
Options: Super Cruise, $2500; Crystal White Tricoat paint, $1225
supercharged and intercooled pushrod 16-valve V-8, aluminum block and heads, direct fuel injection
Displacement: 376 in3, 6162 cm3
Power: 682 hp @ 6000 rpm
Torque: 653 lb-ft @ 4400 rpm
Suspension, F/R: control arms/trailing arms
Brakes, F/R: 16.1-in vented disc/13.6-in vented disc
Tires: Bridgestone Alenza A/S 02
275/50R-22 111H M+S TPC Spec 3156MS
Wheelbase: 120.9 in
Length: 211.9 in
Width: 81.1 in
Height: 76.7 in
Passenger Volume: 177 ft3
Cargo Volume: 26 ft3
Curb Weight: 6290 lb
C/D TEST RESULTS
60 mph: 4.3 sec
100 mph: 10.3 sec
1/4-Mile: 12.7 sec @ 111 mph
Results above omit 1-ft rollout of 0.3 sec.
Rolling Start, 5–60 mph: 4.7 sec
Top Gear, 30–50 mph: 2.5 sec
Top Gear, 50–70 mph: 3.1 sec
Top Speed (gov ltd): 125 mph
Braking, 70–0 mph: 178 ft
Braking, 100–0 mph: 353 ft
Roadholding, 300-ft Skidpad: 0.69 g
C/D FUEL ECONOMY
Observed: 11 mpg
EPA FUEL ECONOMY
Combined/City/Highway: 13/11/16 mpg
2021 Cadillac Escalade ESV 4WD
front-engine, rear/4-wheel-drive, 7-passenger, 4-door wagon
PRICE AS TESTED
$112,965 (base price: $83,490)
pushrod 16-valve V-8, aluminum block and heads, direct fuel injection
376 in3, 6162 cm3
420 hp @ 5600 rpm
460 lb-ft @ 4100 rpm
Suspension (F/R): control arms/trailing arm; Brakes (F/R): 13.5-in vented disc/13.6-in vented disc; Tires: Bridgestone Alenza A/S 02, 275/50R-22 111H M+S TPC Spec 3156MS
Wheelbase: 134.1 in; Length: 227.0; Width: 81.1; Height: 76.5 in; Passenger volume: 180 ft3 ; Cargo volume: 43 ft3 ; Curb Weight: 6270
C/D TEST RESULTS
60 mph: 5.9 sec
100 mph: 15.4 sec
Rolling start, 5–60 mph: 6.3 sec
Top gear, 30–50 mph: 3.3 sec
Top gear, 50–70 mph: 4.2 sec
1/4 mile: 14.5 sec @ 97 mph
Braking, 70-0 mph: 176 ft
Roadholding, 300-ft dia skidpad: 0.71 g
Standing-start accel times omit 1-ft rollout of 0.3 sec.
C/D FUEL ECONOMY
Observed: 14 mpg
EPA FUEL ECONOMY
Combined/city/highway: 16/14/19 mpg
C/D TESTING EXPLAINED
More Features and Specs