This week we take a look at the 2018 Cadillac Escalade ESV, the flagship SUV in the Cadillac lineup. Escalade debuted in 1999 and this is the 4th generation of this large, bold, SUV and not a lot has changed since we reviewed this SUV back in 2015.
2018 Cadillac Escalade ESV
Under the hood, you get the 6.2-liter V8 that is putting out 420-horses and will tow 8100 pounds. New for 2018 is a 10-speed automatic transmission. My review vehicle is 4-wheel drive, but 2-wheel is available.
As you walk around the Escalade, you see an abundance of LED lighting, the signature bold in-your-face grill, the 22-inch aluminum wheels, the hidden rear wiper-which is a nice touch and bumper-to-roof taillights.
The real story with Escalade continues to be the fantastic interior and the luxury amenities. Starting with the hand-sewn Maple Sugar seats with black accents that massage you, you feel like you are in the lobby of a luxury hotel.
Everything within your touch is soft and supple; the new for 2018 center console is large and has a built-in phone charger on top, and an electric cooler box inside that will hold six bottles of water. The cup holders are also cooled.
Once seated, you will see a HUGE 12-inch digital gauge cluster that is fully configurable. If you look up, you will see a color heads-up display that even shows you the speed limit where you are.
In the center of the dash, you find Cadillac’s CUE system, which stands for Cadillac User Experience. It gives you Bluetooth, a suite of apps for real-time information, navigation system, and you can operate the 16-speaker Bose stereo. You can also enable a 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot. You can get real-time traffic & weather, hook up Apple Car Play or Android Auto. My only complaint from behind the wheel is the antiquated gear shifter on the steering column. It just doesn’t fit with the rest of the luxurious, upscale interior.
This vehicle is the top-of-the-line Platinum package that features almost everything as standard equipment, including the 22” wheels, deployable running boards, power moon roof, and DVD player with four screens.
You also get a heated steering wheel, pushbutton start and remote start, power adjustable pedals, heated and cooled front seats, second-row captain chairs, and power hands-free liftgate that you can activate with your foot. I like that you can open the tailgate or just the rear glass from the key fob.
Both the second-row captain chairs and the third-row bench can be lowered with the push of a button.
I also like the cylinder deactivation system that lets the big V8 engine run on 4- cylinders when at cruising speeds. I also really like the Driver’s Safety Assist seat that vibrates when you drift out of your lane and vibrates urgently if an accident is imminent. This Escalade has GM’s back seat reminder also, a terrific feature.
On the safety front, it has blind spot monitoring, forward collision alert, lane departure warning, adaptive cruise control, and rear cross-traffic alert. It also has the streaming rearview mirror that turns into a wide-angle camera, a nice touch when you can’t see out the back window due to people in the third-row seat. The Escalade will also parallel park itself.
The only option on my review vehicle is the $2795 performance front brakes, which will help you stop this 5800-pound beast.
The Escalade handles and drives really well thanks to Cadillac’s exclusive Magnetic Ride Control, and it is really quiet inside, but not so quiet you can’t hear the rumble of the engine that has become a trademark of the 6.2-liter.
With the new 10-speed transmission and cylinder deactivation, it’s rated at 21- highway and 14-city for a combined 17 miles per gallon.
This level of luxury comes at a price. Base price is $99,085 and equipped like this one total MSRP is $103,185 with destination charges.
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