The Cadillac is distinguished from its platform-mates with a more dramatic, oversized grille and jewel-like headlamps that wrap into the front fenders, much like the ATS and CTS sedans. Styling inside and out separates the Escalade from mainstream-brand SUVs, with increased attention to comfort, conveniences, and upscale trim pieces. In particular, Cadillac cites a quieter cabin enabled by a stiffer structure, enhanced acoustic material, and Bose active noise cancellation.
Interior electronics include the Cue infotainment system, a digital gauge cluster, and available Blu-Ray rear entertainment system. As with many new luxury vehicles, the Escalade will offer a full suite of active safety features, such as blind-spot detection, rear cross traffic, and full-speed adaptive cruise control, as well as a few true innovations. In addition to a forward-collision system with active braking, the Escalade will offer a rear-collision alert that can warn the driver of an impending impact and adjust braking to minimize the trauma. The safety information is communicated to the driver via directional vibrations in the seat, as well as traditional audible and visual cues. The Escalade also boasts a front-row, center-mounted air bag that deploys in a side impact to control front riders’ side-to-side movement.
The powertrain consists of a 420-hp, 6.2-liter V8 engine teamed with a six-speed automatic transmission. Front suspension is independent, with a five-link solid axle at the rear. GM says it didn't bother with an more expensive independent rear suspension because they believe optimal ride and handling can be achieved without it. And, a solution has been created for folding the third row without having to remove it, as with the outgoing Escalade. Motion is kept in check on upper trim versions by a real-time magnetic damping system that has been impressive on other GM vehicles. Twenty-inch wheels are standard, and massive 22-inchers will be optional.
With its long roster of luxurious appointments, the Escalade looks poised to satisfy existing owners and prospective domestic-favoring luxury buyers. But it is worth noting that the mainstream offerings from Chevrolet and GMC will also tout an impressive array of comforts and conveniences.
Escalade production begins next spring in Arlington, Texas. Pricing has not be announced, yet.