2021 Cadillac Escalade: The New All-American Flagship

The 2021 Cadillac Escalade marks the luxury brand’s rebirth into a new-age competitor packed with lots of tech features and strikingly gorgeous design. Just look at this rig! It has a presence in spades thanks to its new front fascia featuring a massive grille with integrated thin LED headlights, long LED daytime running lights, and enormous LED taillight strips running from top to bottom. 

Even with the Premium Luxury and Premium Luxury Platinum’s chrome-trimmed exterior, the Escalade exudes the aura of a proper flagship full-size luxury SUV. This latest iteration isn’t just another rebadged Chevrolet Tahoe. Despite sharing its underpinnings with the latest Tahoe, Suburban, and GMC Yukon, the Cadillac Escalade is a completely different beast. Like its predecessor, the two variants are available: the standard Escalade and long-wheelbase Escalade ESV, which has more third-row passenger space and additional cargo capacity.

Under the hood is the same 6.2-liter V8 as the previous generation Escalade, making 420 hp and 460 lb-ft of torque. There’s also a new 3.0-liter turbodiesel six-cylinder that’s good for 277 hp and 460 lb-ft. The only transmission offered is a 10-speed automatic routed through the rear or all four wheels. Both engines will let you tow generous amounts of payload but it’ll also be a smoother experience thanks to the Escalade’s body-on-frame underpinnings, isolating the cabin, chassis, and hitch receiver from each other.

Quite possibly the most important change for the 2021 Escalade is that the solid rear axle is gone. In its place is an independent rear setup that pays dividends especially when you consider that it also goes magnetic dampers and air suspension. As a result, the Escalade’s is supremely comfortable even with the 22-inch alloy wheels. Your third-row passengers won’t get tossed around, either, because it’s so much more compliant and handles road imperfections impeccably.

Get inside the Escalade’s cabin and you’ll get supremely comfortable seating for all passengers and an available massaging function for the front row. Extensive customizability means you can easily find your ideal seating position in the driver and front passenger’s seats. Those in the second and third rows will be riding in comfort, too thanks to the Escalade’s and width, especially in the long-wheelbase Escalade ESV. Heck, it can even accommodate adults in the middle position of the third row for a short lunch run. Cargo space benefits, too, because there’s considerably more capacity. One of the highlights of the Escalade is the excellent built quality. The materials used from the leather to the wood trim and soft plastics exude a truly luxurious feel. 

Cadillac loaded up the Escalade with its latest and greatest tech features. The most obvious one is the digital dash that combines to create 36 inches worth of displays stacked together and housed under a curved piece of glass. Unfortunately, if you’re using Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, it doesn’t take up the whole infotainment display like the native interface.

The best part about the Escalade is that it’s now a nearly complete package. No, it doesn’t handle as well as before but you more than make up for it in comfort. It’s also got impressive tech features and it’s about to get more with the addition of Super Cruise to the options list. As a result, the Escalade has grown into a true flagship with its unique character.

0 to 60: 6.0 seconds
60 to 0: 120 feet
Handling: B
Ride: A
Cabin Noise: A; 69.5 dB
Fuel Economy: B-

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