Cadillac’s redesigned Escalade SUV doubles down on its identity as an imposing status symbol while making major improvements in ride quality, infotainment usability, and passenger comfort. But its fuel economy is dismal, and handling remains clumsy.
Just like the Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban SUVs that it’s based upon, the new Escalade benefits from an independent rear suspension that modernizes the driving experience. Aided by our test model’s optional adaptive dampers, the Escalade soaks up bumps remarkably well and the body stays steady and composed—overall, a much more fitting experience for a flagship vehicle than the previous model. Handling remains cumbersome, with noticeable body lean through corners, which isn’t surprising for such a large and heavy vehicle. But it still proved secure when pushed to its limits around our test track.
The standard 420-hp, 6.2-liter V8 engine delivers abundant and effortless power through a responsive and smooth-shifting 10-speed automatic transmission. However, our all-wheel-drive (rear-wheel drive comes standard) test vehicle only managed 16 mpg overall. A more fuel-efficient 277-hp, 3.0-liter six-cylinder diesel engine is also available, which garners an EPA-rated 22 mpg combined for the all-wheel-drive model.