Unlike other websites and magazines, our ratings are not based solely on a singular road test, but rather a more encompassing batch of criteria: quality, safety, comfort, performance, fuel economy, reliability history and value. When comparing vehicles using our Rating System, it's important to note that the rating earned by each vehicle correlates only to the models within its class. For example, a compact car cannot be compared to a SUV—They are different vehicles altogether.
You can interpret our ratings in the following way:
5-Star: Outstanding vehicle. Only the most exceptional vehicles achieve this rating.
4-Star: Very Good vehicle. Very good and close to being the best vehicle in its class.
3-Star: Good vehicle. Decent, but not quite the best. Often affordable, but lacking key features found in vehicles of the same class.
2-Star: Below average vehicle. Not recommended, and lacking attributes a car buyer would come to expect for the price.
1-Star: Poor vehicle. Simply does not deserve to be on the road.
2018 Cadillac Escalade OVERVIEW
The 2018 Cadillac Escalade is nearly as luxurious as SUVs get, providing drivers with a dynamic road presence, an upmarket cabin with three-row seating, formidable technology, and a lovely V8 engine. Competition includes the Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class, Lexus LX570, and of course, the inimitable Land Rover Range Rover. But while consumers might cross-shop the Escalade with these brutes, there isn't one that can match the Caddy's panache or reputation in popular culture.
What's New for 2018
Cadillac has made several changes to the Cadillac for 2018. There are new exterior and interior color combinations, a 10-speed automatic transmission instead of last year's eight-speed unit, and more technology, such as an updated adaptive cruise control system.
Choosing Your Cadillac Escalade
The Escalade gets one engine option only – a 6.2-liter V8 that develops 420 horsepower and 460 pound-feet of torque. Power is sent to the rear wheels via the new 10-speed auto transmission. All-wheel drive is available for an extra $3,000.
Rear-drive Escalades return 14 miles per gallon in city, 23 highway and 17 mpg combined, while all-wheel drive drops those numbers to 14/21/17 mpg.
Despite being a luxury-oriented SUV, the Cadillac still gives owners an impressive towing capacity of 8,300 pounds.
There are four trim levels – Base, Luxury, Luxury Premium, and Platinum. The only notable optional package is the Radiant Package, which adds seven-spoke 22-inch wheels, a restyled grille, and a chrome exhaust tip. It's available on the base trim for $3,905 and on the Luxury and Luxury Premium trims for $2,130. Among the individual items, we recommend $1,720 rear-seat entertainment system, which is standard on the Luxury Premium and above. The other major standalone option are a $1,750 set of power-retractable side steps (standard on the range-topping model).
The entry-level Escalade is well-equipped but the Luxury trim provides the best value for money thanks to its range of driver-assistance features. The Luxury Premium is a bit underwhelming, while the Platinum’s price-tag may not be appealing to most buyers.