Review 2009 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid: is it the Ferrari or Prius of SUVs?


What do you get when you cross a hippie with a rapper?

The Cadillac Escalade Hybrid of course.

I remember when my dad, after emigrating to Chicago from Europe and after countless hours of toil, finally made it in America.

The first thing he did was reward himself by buying a massive Cadillac Eldorado.


Thirty some years later and somethings are still the same. Just like that Eldorado that my dad bought in 1978, the 2009 Caddy Cadillac Escalade Hybrid has that almost magic America quality of being bigger on the outside than on the inside.

After driving the Escalade for a week I finally get why my dad bought that Eldorado. Just like the Eldorado, the Escalade is big shouldered, brash, very American (or is it Texan) in your face sort of a ride. For instance I could drive a Prius from Denver to Nebraska tailgating "that" car doing 55 mph in the fast lane and it would never budge an inch. On short trip down the local highway, the Escalade parted the slow moving traffic in front of me like Moses on a righteous tear.

And let's face facts, while the Escalade may not be the most expensive Luxury SUV on the streets, when sitting behind the wheel of this 7000 pound guerrilla it is all too easy to feel, and sometimes act, like you own the road. You look down, no I mean it you literally look down, on drivers in their itty bitty Porsche Cheyenne Turbos and Land Rovers. It can be easy to feel sorry for these "poor" folks who could not afford a SUV with 22 inch wheels, and both an electric and gas engine.

The Escalde Hybrid says (in no uncertain terms) to everyone within crushing distance that you've made it, and as a bonus you even care enough to do your small part for the environment.

So let's say that you are a successful hippie or rapper or just in the market for the current American king of SUV's. Now we get to one of those is the glass half full or half empty dilemmas? During my week with the Escalade Hybrid I averaged 17.8 mpg in mostly city driving.

Some of you might think that 17.8 mpg is pretty miserable from a hybrid—the glass is half empty.


The new Prius will easily get 50 mpg all day long, and probably much more should you care to drive a bit more judiciously.

Others may point to the fact that he non-Hybrid Escalade is rated at closer to 12 mpg in city driving which means that the hybrid version get's substantially better gas millage. And those some readers will point out that over the life of the big Caddy the hybrid version will save hundreds, if not thousands, of gallons of gas and CO2—the glass is half full.

I will only point out that hybrid Escalade is almost 10K more expensive than the non hybrid 2WD version of the SUV.  I would also be remiss is my job if I did not mention that I've recently driven two cars, the Aston Martin Vantage and the Chrysler 300C SRT8, which both get substantially worse gas millage and are nowhere as near practical and useful as the seven seat, seven thousand pound, seventeen mile to the gallon Cadillac.

Which, also happens to be a very long winded introduction to the basic question at hand: is the Cadillac Escalade Hybrid a good ride?

Caddy3 To find out I thought I'd take the Caddy out of it's natural element and put it up against something completely different—a remote control Traxxas T-Maxx monster truck to be exact.

challenge was a simple one; to see which car would do better tackling
the rough and tough mountains and dirt roads of Colorado.

find out just watch the video below to see which car won the challenge.
And as a bonus take a look at the new off road sport that was created in
the process:

2009 Caddilac Escalade Hybrid

Price as Tested: $72,865.00

Engine, Transmission: Vortec 6.0L V8 SFI with 2-Mode Hybrid propulsion w/300v energy storage system

Horsepower: 332

Towing capacity: 5800 pounds

PocketDyno Test Data

1/4 Mile: 17.61 second at 81.55 mph

0-60 mph: 9.81

Max Acceleration: 0.43 g's

EPA Fuel Economy Estimates

City: 20 mpg

Highway: 21 mpg

Combined: 20 mpg

As tested: 17.8 mpg

CO2 per year: 11,738 lbs

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