by Tony West
Cadillac reinvents its Escalade bigger, tougher, and smarter. The Cadillac Escalade- the former prince of baller SUVs will always have one of the best powertrains in a premium full-size sport utility vehicle. Now the 2015 Escalade offers a more efficient design and a premium interior for its return to the throne.[divider]
Design Brings Big Sexy Back
Available models include the 2015 Escalade and the 2015 Escalade ESV that’s 20 inches longer. Both models have an available 2WD and 4WD companion. Those like me, who haven’t been in a new Escalade in a while, are impressed at how seamlessly Cadillac designers updated the Escalade with the most successful features of the XTS and the CTS.
The 2015 Escalade is made with swag and efficiency as its motivation. Both the Escalade and the Escalade ESV are made with a box frame 75% high strength steel. And both Escalade models have a wider rear track with stiffer sheer-style body mounts. The 2015 Escalade is also 17% more efficient due in part to weight saving components like the new aluminum hood and aluminum lift gate panels.
LED high beams along with LED tail lamps have crystal lenses that make a very cool light pattern. And the tail lamps have the Cadillac signature and reach nearly to the hood. The result is a sexy new light design that uses less energy. Chrome accented side assist steps, chrome aluminum door handles, and programmable power liftgate are some other cool new features. The 2015 Cadillac Escalade and Escalade ESV come standard with 20 inch chrome aluminum wheels. Twenty-two inch wheels are also available.[divider]
Premium Powertrain More Efficient
The 2015 Cadillac Escalade features a 6.7 liter V8 engine with 420 horsepower and 460 lb-ft of torque. The V8 engine is more powerful and more efficient due mostly to Active Fuel Management, direct injection, and continuously variable valve timing. Improvements to the combustion also increase power delivery and efficiency. Active Fuel Management saves fuel by running the Escalade on less cylinders when cruising. The Escalade has an estimated EPA of about 18 mpg for both models.
The V8 is matched to a 6 speed Hydramatic 6L80 automatic transmission. The 4WD system has selectable modes including “Auto” and a Hi mode for rough terrain. Magnetic Ride Control is one of the reasons the Escalade handles all road conditions very well. The new version of Magnetic Ride Control has two selectable modes. The 2015 Escalade and the Escalade ESV has independent front suspension and five-link rear suspension. Four wheel disc brakes are standard.[divider]
Interior Typical Cadillac Rawness
The interior of the 2015 Escalade was easily updated with luxury, safety and infotainment technologies. The huge cabin of the Escalade and the Escalade ESV is trimmed in fine leather, wood and suede accents with ample room in all three rows.
The driver and passenger have 45 inches of legroom and the reclining second row has 39 inches of legroom. The third row has an impressive 36 inches of legroom in the Escalade ESV and 24 inches in the Escalade. The Escalade interior has three available colors, jet black, shale/cocoa, and kono jet black.
The leather trimmed interior also has heated and ventilated front and 2nd row seats, a heated steering wheel, and 3-zone climate control. Noise reduction innovations are welcomed in this big-body truck. Triple sealed inlaid doors, sculpted side mirrors, and the acoustic laminate windshield maintain a tranquil ride in the Escalade. Bose Active Noise Cancelation technology ensures the driver won’t be annoyed by engine noise or by loud scenarios outside the car.
The interior also features an 8 inch touchscreen with navigation, Bluetooth, and infotainment as part of the very successful Cadillac User Experience (CUE) system. The driver’s dash is a 12.3 inch configurable driver information system that can display the driver’s preference of information in different styles. A full color Heads Up Display is optional with the Luxury and Premium packages. The 2015 Escalade also adds text-to-voice technology for androids and Siri eyes free for iPhones. The Escalade is known for having premium sound systems. For 2015 Cadillac adds a Bose Centerpoint audio system with sixteen speakers and Advanced Staging Technology and Surround Stage.
A rear entertainment system is also available – maybe an effort to “trick out” the Escalade so the mod shops don’t need to. The BluRay DVD system features a 9 inch screen in the Escalade and two 9 inch screens in the Escalade ESV. Both models have a remote control, USB and RCA ports. Other cool features inside the 2015 Escalade include a Wi-Fi hotspot and a cool hidden compartment in the center stack. Storage space in the Escalade and the Escalade ESV is abundant.[divider]
Safety Features Enhance Driver Confidence
Safety Features include a Driver Awareness package that includes a Lane Departure Warning, Forward Collision Alert and the infamous Safety Alert Seat- a Cadillac feature Correspondent Bill Payne said felt like a gentle massage. The Driver Assistance Package includes Front and Rear Automatic Braking, Automatic Collision Preparation, and Adaptive Cruise Control. Side Blind Zone Alert and Rear Cross Traffic Alert are standard with the Luxury and Premium models.
I’m impressed at the 2015 Cadillac Escalade’s new hater deterrent. A self-leveling inclination sensor will activate an alarm if the SUV is lifted on a tow truck or if someone attempts to steal the wheels. The Escalade also has glass breakage sensors, motion detectors, and a steering column lock.
With an MSRP of $71,695, the Escalade plans to roll over the Lexus LX 570 and the Infiniti QX80. The 80k premium model should be worthwhile competitor to the Land Rover Range Rover.