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.