Cadillac has been building vehicles for 120 years, since 1902 when founder Henry Leland introduced his first one-cylinder auto. The make is the oldest continuing auto maker in the US, beating out David Buick’s start in 1903 as well as Henry Ford’s Model A also of 1903.
When Cadillac was purchased by General Motors in 1909 it became the prestige car of the five divisions, and over the decades was a leader in technology with the self-starter of 1912, the first mass-produced V8 of 1914, the grand V16 of 1930, and the modern OHV V8 of 1949.
Leyland, who went on to build another prestige auto, the Lincoln, named the Cadillac after the founder of the city of Detroit.
Okay, enough of the history lesson.
Known as “The Standard of the World,” Cadillac was also the leader in style, providing sculptured and flowing lines from the custom body builders of Fisher and Fleetwood as well as its technological innovations. Today Cadillac offers the CT4 and CT5 lineup of sedans, plus the XT4, XT5, and XT6 crossovers for the driving public of the 21st century.
But the Escalade, introduced in 1998, continues the Caddy tradition more than its other present namesakes. It is the only model in the lineup that has a real name, harking back to the DeVille, the Eldorado, and the Seville. It is the flagship of the lineup, and while it is perceived in some areas as old-school, the men and women of Cadillac have certainly kept in step with the times in presenting a luxurious example of SUV driving.
The vehicle is assembled in Arlington, Texas, and the V8 engine is produced at GM’s Saint Catharines engine facility.
This is the big, bold SUV that does it all with superior fit and finish. While the boxy exterior inherent to the breed is designed to be as edgy and modern as possible, the interior shines with its excellent materials, leather seats, and plethora of technology. The two info screens, one 14.2 inches and the other 7.2 inches give the Escalade’s occupants a grasp all everything both inside and out.
For 2022, several models of the Escalade come standard with lane-keeping assist and lane-departure warning as well as Cadillac’s Super Cruise semi-autonomous driving feature and front and rear automated emergency braking.
GM refined the rear suspension in the Escalade to a four-link setup and while it offers a taut ride, the Escalade now rides like a large car. The 6.2-liter V8 (a 3.0-liter diesel in-line six is optional) provides lots of power and grunt and towing a horse trailer or Airstream would be no issue.
Aside from the sumptuous interior and loads of tech, the sight lines of the Escalade are good, the graphics on the screen are tasteful, and the rear window wiper operates from the top of the tailgate and is hidden when not in use.
The sheer bulk of the Escalade may be daunting to some at first, but it is no different driving than a full-size pickup in terms of size. With what is considered a large engine these days and a hefty weight, the Escalade is no mileage champion, but it was conceived and built to haul in style and comfort.
On the tailgate, there is badge which reads “600.” This signifies the engine torque output in Newton-meters and represents available power whether gasoline, hybrid, or electric, throughout the line of Cadillac vehicles. This figure is displayed in metric to show Cadillac is a global brand.
Globally the Escalade has no peer. For someone in luxury SUV market and needs a vehicle this size, the Escalade checks off all the boxes.
Cadillac Escalade 4WD SUV, Platinum edition
Price: Standard base price, $119, 298. As tested with 1SG package $131, 173.
Engine: 6.2-liter V8
Power/Torque: 420 hp, 460-lb-ft
Fuel Mileage: 13-15 L/100kms overall
Drivetrain: front-mounted engine, 10-speed automatic, 3.23:1 axle ratio, control arms F/R with trailing arm, magnetic ride control, limited slip differential, adaptive air ride, 13.5 vented disc brakes F/R, 22-inch rims/tires.
Wheelbase: 3070.9 mm (120.9 inches), (3460.1 mm, 134.1-inch wheelbase version available)
Weight: 2844 kg, 6270 pounds
Fuel tank capacity: 91.1 liters
Passenger volume: 5097 liters, 180 cubic feet
Cargo volume: 1217.62 liters 43 cubic feet
Trailer towing: 8000 pounds, 3629 kg.