2015 Cadillac Escalade First Impressions

Bluffton, SC. Cadillac’s top-of-the-line SUV doesn’t sell in any huge numbers in Canada, roughly 1000 or so a year. However, it is a product that makes a rather important statement for the company. Often seen with Hollywood stars behind the wheel, it is the epitome of luxury in the American SUV world.

Yet it’s not all about the “L” word. For those with larger families and/or with boats/trailers to haul, this is a classy workhorse of the finest order. In many ways, it’s the tuxedo-clad tough guy of the SUV world. It is big, strong and powerful, with impeccable manners.

2015 Cadillac Escalade Prices & Specs
Pricing for the 2015 Cadillac Escalade 4WD starts at $79,900 for the well-equipped entry level. A luxury model comes next at $85,500, with a Premium model topping the range at $90,500 (Destination/freight is an additional $1700).

Power for the Escalade comes from an all-new EcoTec3 6.2L V8 engine rated at 420 hp and 460 lb-ft of torque, which is close to a 5% increase in hp and 10% more torque over the outgoing model. This stump-pulling oomph is then mated to a Hydra-Matic 6L80 six-speed automatic transmission.

The lineup includes the standard Escalade and the extended-length ESV edition, which offers a 14” longer (355mm) wheelbase and approximately 20” (508 mm) more in overall length, maximizing space for third-row passengers and nearly doubles the cargo space behind the third-row seat.

Canadian fuel economy numbers have yet to be announced but the U.S. media site quotes 14/21 MPGs (highway/city), which works out to approximately 16.8L/11.2L/100km. Premium fuel is recommended but not required.

The new Escalade is not featherweight with a base curb weight of 2,651 kg (5,845 lbs.). For those expecting to haul, know that the Big Caddy will tow up to 3 628 kg (8,000 lbs.) If the trailer can’t hold all the gear, the Escalade will hold a maximum volume with the second row stowed of 2,667L (94.2 cu.ft). The Escalade ESV does better at 3,412L or 120.5 cu.ft.

Driving the 2015 Cadillac Escalade
GM calls this the quietest Escalade it’s ever produced and I simply cannot argue with them on this. It is impressively quiet for such a large vehicle. It is also impressively large for such a quiet vehicle, yet this bulk tends to somewhat disappear once you’re behind the wheel.

The new EcoTec3 6.2L V8 (L86) offers up power in abundance (0-100 km/h in just over six seconds!) and its Magnetic Ride Control suspension (standard) takes full advantage of this performance. For a sizable vehicle, the new Escalade positively carves twists and turns like a vehicle half its size, and floats over rough surfaces with little or no fuss or drama.

However, the big news here is the comfort level of its interior. Not only one of the quietest large SUVs I’ve ever experienced, but the whole redesigned interior simply oozes opulence. My only complaint concerns the rather old-fashioned pickup-style gear selector. Yes, I know it works well, but in a vehicle as luxurious as this, it now simply looks and feels out of place.

Inside and out of the 2015 Cadillac Escalade
Cadillac certainly went to town dressing up its new 2015 Escalade. This fourth-generation Escalade offers a bold new exterior design, yet is still instantly recognizable as an Escalade.

The full LED forward lighting units are simply drop-dead-gorgeous and, together with the rear vertical LEDs, make a huge impact on the vehicle. The rear has also been given a fresh clean new look by the rear wiper mechanism now being hidden from view, and the 2015 Escalade also features a standard hands-free, power-programmable liftgate; 20” rims (22” optional) finish off the look, and I’ll vouch for the vehicle being a proper attention grabber.

The exterior of the new Escalade is only bettered by the interior of the vehicle, which features hand-stitched and hand-wrapped leather, and includes genuine wood and metal trim materials throughout.

The quality leather seats are not only stylish in design but also extremely comfortable. With both second and third row seating being electronically controlled by buttons in the rear, it is now possible to fold down all seats for access to full cargo space with ease.

Comparing the 2015 Cadillac Escalade
With its new dressy exterior and its stunning redesigned interior, Cadillac has seriously raised the bar in the full-size luxury SUV market. The company lists the Mercedes-Benz GL-Class, Range Rover, Infiniti QX80, Lexus LX 570, and Lincoln Navigator as its competitors. However, the Range Rover’s lack of a third row places it totally out of the equation, and the others either lack the presence of the Escalade or its interior space.

In my opinion, if someone needs a sizeable family/boat/trailer hauler with more than a touch of class, then Cadillac has the market sewn up as neatly as its new interior leatherwork.

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