I have always had a thing for Cadillac Escalades, and own one myself. So this week when I got the new 2009 Cadillac Escalade hybrid, there was no learning curve with the features and accessories of the vehicle. It was equally wonderful, but other than the engine there was no noticeable difference.
I have often said hybrids don’t make a lot of sense for most people, but I think this one may be the exception. Like the Tahoe and Yukon hybrids, the Escalade is powered by the 6.0 V8 with GM’s two-mode system. Here is how it works: when you take off gingerly, you run on straight battery power and can get up to 30 miles per hour before the engine kicks in. If still accelerating, you go right into V8 mode, then when you get to cruising speed the engine will go down to 6 cylinders, and eventually 4. The transition is seamless.
Another gas saving feature of this system is when stopped for any reason, the gasoline engine shuts off and converts to full battery. It is pretty amazing technology actually, especially how you cannot tell without looking at the hybrid gauge what you are running on. My test vehicle was Diamond White with tan interior and fully appointed. MSRP was just a little over $72,000 with hybrid option accounting for a little under $11,000 of that.
The Escalade hybrid carries EPA ratings of 20 in town and 21 on the road. I actually averaged 21 in town and I am here to tell you that on the road at 65 miles per hour, I consistently got over 30 miles per gallon. That is just slightly over twice the mileage my pure gas Escalade gets.
The ONLY knock on this vehicle is it is over-badged big time. There is a hybrid emblem on the engine vents on both sides, another one on outside between the 2nd and 3rd row seats, across the windshield, on the rear glass and the worst ones are 9″ letters running between the wheels, low on the vehicle. I did check and those could be easily removed, as could the windshield and rear glass ones. GM REALLY wants you to know it is a hybrid.
I called Wayne Massey at Massey Cadillac and told him I thought he had a real winner here and if you’ll drive one, I think you will agree!
Oh, I also had the new Mitsubishi Galant. What a simply horrible car. I think I prefer the Saab.