The Cadillac Escalade was first introduced in 1999, and quickly set a high standard among luxury SUVs with its blend of a bold expressive design, performance capability, functionality and luxurious attributes. The all-new 2015 Cadillac Escalade and Escalade ESV launch the marque’s fourth generation, taking design elements and technical advancements from Cadillac’s impressive product expansion to new heights, sure to advance the brand’s signature SUV.
|STATS||Starting Retail Price||As Tested Price||HP / Lb-Ft|
|2015 Cadillac Escalade/Escalade ESV||$82,795 Escalade
|420 / 460|
|EPA Rating||As Tested MPG|
|Rating: BUY IT!||14 / 21 Escalade
14 / 20 ESV
The new Cadillac Escalade exterior presents an edgier, sharper, artistic persona all around, while remaining instantly recognizable as a Cadillac. The interior is no less impressive with its custom “cut-and-sewn” materials and wood trim that reflects opulence and elegance for an exceptional level of luxurious appointments.
Both the 2015 Cadillac Escalade and 2015 Escalade ESV add more sophistication, state-of-the-art technological advancements and hand-tailored craftsmanship to their portfolio. The Escalade represents the standard model, while the ESV offers an extended length edition, with a 14-inch longer wheelbase and approximately a 20-inch increase in overall length, which provides added space for third-row passengers and nearly double the cargo space behind the third-row seating.
In terms of trim levels, Luxury and Premium collections or packages are available that offer higher content and technology levels for both Escalade examples to suit individual tastes and requirements.
Power for both Cadillac Escalade versions is provided exclusively by a new 6.2-liter, EcoTec3 OHV, 16-valve, V8 engine with Direct Injection and Active Fuel Management. The powerful V8 delivers 420 horsepower at 5,600 rpm along with a healthy 460 pound feet of torque at 4,100 rpm. Motive energy from the longitudinally mounted front engine is transmitted to either the rear wheels or to all four via a Hydra-Matic 6L80 six-speed automatic transmission with a manual tap up/down shift switch located on the gear selector stalk, which also has a trailer tow/haul mode feature.
The new V-8 is powerful enough to enable 0 to 60 mph performance in less than 6 seconds (5.96 seconds for Escalade 4WD and 5.98 seconds for Escalade ESV 2WD). It also delivers an EPA-estimated 21 mpg on the highway (Escalade 2WD/4WD and Escalade ESV 2WD), which is roughly a 17 percent greater efficiency on the highway than previous models.
Cadillac’s third generation Magnetic Ride Control is the world’s fastest-reacting suspension system, and comes as standard fare, providing precisely controlled driving performance. At its core, Escalades are first a truck (or SUV if you prefer) and second, a Cadillac, with full-size truck capabilities enabling a trailering rating of 8,300 pounds for Escalade and 8,100 pounds for Escalade ESV.
Getting back to Escalade’s visual appeal, the new design form provides a look of quality, elegance and capability, with styling cues combining sculpted surfaces and high technology embellishments that give it a unique standout appearance.
The highly detailed Galvano chrome grille displays an almost brushed appearance, enhancing the dynamic frontal impact. Full LED lighting highlights the front and rear, creating unique, razor-like vertical light signatures. The headlamps incorporate the industry’s first Total Internal Reflection LED high-beam function, which consists of four vertically stacked crystal lenses and LEDs. The low beam consists of five crystal lenses and LEDs that create the light pattern. The Cadillac script is branded in the headlamp bezel. Tall, thin vertical LED taillamps reach to the top of the Escalade and feature the brand’s wreath-and-crest insignia, which illuminates in the dark.
New inlaid doors fit into the body side openings instead of over the top of the body, significantly improving the quietness of the interior and contributing to improved aerodynamics. A lightweight aluminum hood and aluminum liftgate panels aid in reducing weight and overall mass.
Other exterior features include: Signature LED lighting extending full-height from the fascia to the roof; standard chrome-accented side assist steps, with power-retractable assist steps with light-pipe technology available on the Premium Collection; Illuminated door handles with the Premium Collection; standard heated, power-adjustable and power-folding outside mirrors; standard hands-free, power-programmable liftgate; a standard rear spoiler on the liftgate that houses a rear window wiper hidden when not in use; and capless fueling. There’s also a trailer hitch receptacle cover in body color when not towing. Twenty-inch dual seven-spoke chrome aluminum wheels are standard and 22-inch aluminum wheels are available.
Moving to the inside, there are three rich interior color choices: Jet Black, Shale/Cocoa and Kona/Jet Black, and the interior ambience showcases real wood combined with premium cut-and-sewn materials and sueded accents, along with ambient lighting, all designed to add elegance to the interior’s stylish appeal. Seats have been designed to be more comfortable and are sculpted in appearance with a reclining second row. The design incorporates dual-firmness foam that ensures long-trip comfort and helps retain appearance over time.
Added interior features include: standard keyless entry and push-button start; standard electric telescoping/tilting steering column; standard heated, leather-wrapped steering wheel with wood accents; concealed center-stack storage with motorized door; standard tri-zone climate control; new fold-flat second- and third-row seats with standard power-folding third row; standard heated and cooled seats in front and second-row bucket seats with standard heat.
Escalade also now presents a quieter environment, thanks to a stronger body structure, enhanced use of noise-attenuating materials and processes, including triple-sealed doors and acoustic-laminate glass and Bose® Active Noise Cancellation technology. Even the exterior mirrors have been carefully shaped in the wind tunnel to achieve a reduction in wind noise.
The new Cadillac Escalade total driving experience is enhanced by new, enhanced infotainment and connectivity through CUE (Cadillac User Experience) – an advanced system for connectivity and control, that features state-of-the-art voice recognition with touch controls sharing a commonality with most popular tablets and mobile devices. An eight-inch center screen utilizes capacitive touch technology and gesture recognition, enabling tapping and swiping familiar to smartphones and tablets.
The instrument cluster features a reconfigurable, high-resolution 12.3-inch digital driver information center display paired with Cadillac’s CUE infotainment system, with data also shown on an available, full-color head-up display with Luxury and Premium Collection packages. Enhanced connectivity includes a new Text-to-Voice feature for smartphone users with Bluetooth profile (M.A.P.), which reads incoming texts through the vehicle’s speakers, and Siri Eyes Free for iPhone iOS 6 and iOS 7 users to enhance connectivity and convenience. Each enables voice-controlled connectivity to help keep hands on the wheel.
During an international media drive of the 2015 Cadillac Escalade, I was able to spend time behind the wheel of both an Escalade Premium 4WD model and an Escalade ESV Premium 4WD version. The first sported an exterior finished in Silver Coast metallic, with a Shale interior featuring Cocoa accents. Its base price was set at $82,795. with the final sticker totaling $86,085 after factoring in options and Delivery charges.
My test ESV model was finished outside in Dark Granite metallic, while the interior was executed in Kona with Jet Black accents. The MSRP was $85,795, which rose to a final tally of $89,085 after adding extras and delivery. The overall pricing structure including Destination and Handling fees is: $77,690 for the base model; $76,6790 for Luxury trim; and $81,190 for Premium models. Add $3,000 for ESV models and $2,600 for 4WD.
SUMMARY: The 2015 Cadillac and 2015 Cadillac ESV both loom large – very large in fact, but they handle and perform more on the order of a smaller luxury sedan. Handling characteristics are surprisingly nimble and athletic for a vehicle of such mass, courtesy of a new electric variable assist power steering system, and the ride quality is quite comfortable – plush, but not mushy, and firm, but without any harshness. Body roll is minimal during more spirited maneuvers, thanks to a wider track that results in a more planted stance.
The big V8 certainly delivers more than ample doses of power on demand, while also delivering relatively satisfactory fuel economy. The Active Fuel Management system is capable of cutting cylinder operation in half, even when cruising at highway speeds up to 80 mph.
Both the Cadillac Escalade and Escalade ESV provide overall comfort, convenience, functionality and versatility at optimum levels. The power second and third row seats allow for easily reconfiguring passenger and cargo accommodations at the touch of a switch.
Safety and security features abound in the 2015 Escalade models, including: the segment’s only front-seat center air bag, designed to inflate between the driver and front-seat passenger for added protection in far-side impact crashes when the affected occupant is on the non-struck side of the vehicle; a Driver Awareness package with Forward Collision Alert, Lane Departure Warning System, and the patented Safety Alert Seat, which pulses the left, right or both seat cushion bolsters to alert the driver of a dangerous situation; a Driver Assist package with Full Speed Range Adaptive Cruise Control, Front and Rear Automatic Braking which relies on short-range radar technology and ultrasonic sensors to help the driver avoid low-speed collisions via a progression of alerts that extend to complete braking, if necessary; Automatic Collision Preparation; and Automatic Safety Belt Tightening. Additionally, Side Blind Zone Alert, Rear Cross Traffic Alert and Lane Change Alert are standard on Luxury and Premium models.
The new Cadillac Escalade also has greater security features to ward off theft attempts, including glass breakage sensors, motion detectors and a self-leveling inclination sensor that sounds an alarm if a thief attempts to steal wheels or tires, or tow or lift the vehicle onto a flatbed truck. The advanced theft protection package also includes door shields in the driver’s door, which help block access to those using a “slim jim”-type unlocking device. Additional anti-theft features include enhanced door security, laminated windshield glass and a steering column lock.
Bottom line, the 2015 Escalade lineup is truly the best ever, and every bit a Cadillac. It delivers everything one could possibly want in a full-size luxury SUV, and it does it in style.
On the TFLcar scale of:
- Buy it!
- Lease it!
- Rent it!
- … or Forget it!
I give the 2015 Cadillac Escalade/ESV a Buy It! for the top in a luxury SUV.
Watch our 2015 Cadillac Escalade 0-60 MPH First Drive Review…
SPECIFICATIONS: 2015 Cadillac 4WD Escalade Premium & ESV Premium
Base Price: $82,795 Escalade / $85,795 Escalade ESV
Price as Tested: $86,085 Escalade / $89,085 Escalade ESV
Engine Type and Size: 6.2-liter EcoTec3 OHV, 16-valve V8 with Direct Injection and Active Fuel Management.
Horsepower (bhp): 420 @ 5,600 rpm
Torque (ft./ lbs.): 460 @ 4,100 rpm Transmission: Hydra-Matic 6L80 six-speed automatic with manual tap up/down shift switch on stalk
Drive Train: Longitudinally-mounted front engine / rear 2WD or 4WD
Suspension: Front – Independent coil-over-shock; 36mm hollow stabilizer bar; and Magnetic Ride Control.
Rear – Solid axle with five-link location and coil springs; 28mm hollow stabilizer bar; and Magnetic Ride Control
Brakes: Power-assisted, four-wheel disc, four-wheel ABS, with Duralife rotors; vented front and rear rotors and All-speed Traction Control.
Tires: Bridgestone Dueler H/L Alenza P285/45 R22 110H M+S mounted on 7-spoke with chrome insert alloy wheels-Escalade / 7 twin (large/small) spoke ESV.
Wheelbase: 116.0 inches-Escalade / 130 Escalade ESV
Length Overall: 203.9 inches-Escalade / 224.3 Escalade ESV
Width: 80.5 inches
Height: 74.4 inches-Escalade / 74.0 Escalade ESV
Curb Weight: 5,840 lbs.-Escalade / 6,040 lbs. Escalade ESV (4WD
on 20″ Wheels).
Turning Circle: 39 ft.- Escalade / 43 ft. Escalade ESV
Fuel Capacity: 26 gallons-Escalade / 31 gallons Escalade ESV
EPA Mileage Estimates: 14 mpg city / 21 mpg hwy Escalade / 14/20-ESV
Drag Coefficient: Not listed.
0 – 60 mph: 5.96 seconds for Escalade 4WD and 5.98 seconds for Escalade ESV 2WD
Review by Arv Voss
Arv Voss is a Northern California based freelance motoring Journalist and member and past officer of several noted Automotive Journalist organizations who contributes regularly to a number of national and international media outlets. He reviews not only cars, trucks and SUVs, but motorcycles as well.