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3/4 Front Glamour 2013 Cadillac Escalade

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Expert's Rating


MPG 14 City / 18 Highway
  • Plenty of power
  • Spacious cabin
  • Luxurious and refined interior
  • Many standard safety features
  • Poor fuel economy
  • Feels like driving a tank
, Automotive Editor -
In 1999, Cadillac took the leap into the SUV realm when it followed up the Lincoln Navigator with its own Escalade, which was based on the GMC Yukon and Chevy Tahoe twins. Throughout the years, the Escalade managed to separate itself from its GMC and Chevy counterparts, making it one of the premier luxury SUVs on the market.


Entering the 2013 model year, Cadillac is carrying over the Escalade with very limited changes. The list of changes includes the addition of five new exterior colors – Silver Coast Metallic, Xenon Blue, Midnight Plum Metallic, Sapphire Blue Metallic and Midnight Green Metallic – and a slight revision to the grade braking system.

The 2013 Cadillac Escalade comes in four trim levels and they are: Base, Luxury, Premium and Platinum Edition. All four trim levels boast the same powerful driveline, which includes a 6.2-liter V-8 engine with 403 horsepower and a six-speed automatic transmission. All four trims also come standard with rear-wheel drive and an 8,300-pound towing capacity. The Base trim level is unlike your typical base-model SUV, as it features high-end features like: power windows, 14-way power seats, leather interior, 10-speaker sound system and more. The Luxury trim level tosses in a smoother ride and larger rims. The Premium trim level comes in to add a blacked-out exterior look and some rear-seat entertainment for the kiddies. The Platinum Edition trim brings a total of three LCD screens to curtail any arguing over what to watch along with other premium features only found in the best luxury vehicles.

See our picks for best SUVs in the CarsDirect 2013 SUV Buying Guide.

The Luxury SUV realm is a competitive one, with automakers constantly trying to one up one another. The first competitor on the Escalade’s list is the 2013 Lincoln Navigator, which has a 310-horsepower, 5.4-liter V-8, a six-speed automatic transmission, leather seating for eight and a 9,000-pound towing capacity. The 2013 Lexus LX 570 comes in with leather seating for eight, a 5.7-liter V-8 engine with 383 horsepower, a six-speed automatic transmission and a 7,000-pound towing capacity. The next competitor would be the 2013 Mercedes-Benz GL450 4MATIC, which has standard all-wheel drive, a 4.7-liter V-8 engine with 362 horsepower, leatherette seating for seven and a 7,500-pound towing capacity. The final competitor is the 2013 Infiniti QX56, which includes a 5.6-liter V-8 engine with 400 horsepower, a seven-speed transmission, an 8,500-pound towing capacity and leather seating for seven people.

The Luxury SUV competition is fierce, but the Cadillac Escalade has been at it for a long time. This aging luxury SUV needs to bring something special to the table to prevent

Which Style To Buy?

2013 Cadillac Escalade
Starting price

2013 Cadillac Escalade Base

Recommended for: Buyers that require a premium SUV that can tow its fair share

On the outside, the 2013 Cadillac Escalade Base includes: independent front suspension and five-link rear suspension, StabiliTrak, road-sensing, electronically controlled shocks, seven-wire trailer wiring harness, auxiliary transmission cooler, four-wheel disc brakes with ABS, assist steps, power rear hatch, daytime running lights, fog lamps, automatic HID headlights, LED taillights, luggage rack, heated power mirrors, rear park assist, 18-by-8-inch aluminum wheels with P265/65R18 tires, and intermittent front and rear wipers. Inside the Escalade base, it comes with: Bose 5.1 surround-sound stereo with 10 speakers, navigation, AM/FM/CD/MP3/CD/DVD/SiriusXM capabilities, rear controls and headphone jacks, Bluetooth integration, three-zone climate control, heated and cooled front seats, cruise control, power locks and windows, driver information center, OnStar, adjustable pedals, back-up camera, keyless entry, remote start, leather seats with 14-way power driver and passenger seats, steering-wheel-mounted audio and DIC controls, and Universal Home Remote.

2013 Cadillac Escalade
Starting price

2013 Cadillac Escalade Luxury

Recommended for: Buyers that like the look of big chrome wheels, but don't need a ton of extra interior features

The Luxury trim level builds upon the wide range of standard features that the Base model comes with. On the outside, the Luxury trim level adds in: magnetic ride control, IntelliBeam headlights, blind-zone alert and 22-by-9-inch chrome wheels with P285/45R22 tires. Inside the cabin, the Luxury trim level adds in: second-row tumble-and-fold seating, heated steering wheel, and sunroof.

2013 Cadillac Escalade
Starting price

2013 Cadillac Escalade Platinum Edition

Recommended for: Buyers that want one of the most luxurious SUVs available today

The Platinum Edition trim level sits atop the 2013 Escalade lineup. It takes the standard features from the Premium trim level and adds even more to it. On the outside, the Platinum edition adds in: LED headlights, 22-by-9-inch chrome wheels, full-chrome upper and lower grilles, and chrome body moldings and side vents. Inside the Escalade, the Platinum Edition adds in: heated and cooled cup holders, entertainment systems on the rear of each front-row headrest with three LCD screens, leather-coated instrument panel, Aniline leather seating in the first and second rows, and Olive Ash and burled wood trim.

2013 Cadillac Escalade
Starting price

2013 Cadillac Escalade Premium

Recommended for: Buyers not too find of chrome or need a rear entertainment system

The premium trim level takes what the Luxury trim level comes standard with and continues to add to it, making the Escalade more luxurious. On the outside, the Premium trim level adds in: dual exhaust, blacked-out front grilles and side vents, body-color body moldings and door handles, clear taillights with tint, 22-inch ultra-bright aluminum wheels with accents, power assist steps, and tire inflation kit. In the cabin, the Premium trim level adds in a rear seat entertainment system with two wireless headphones and an overhead display.

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