Statement-making SUV that’s quiet on the safety front. The 2020 Cadillac Escalade makes a statement anywhere it arrives, which is why it’s such a popular rig in airport pickup lines across the nation.
Despite its limo-like looks and massive price tag, it has some flaws, particularly in the advanced safety tech department. The base model gets no standard active safety features, meaning buyers have to move up to the $82,090 Luxury trim to get them.
Some of these safety features like automatic emergency braking are standard in the Lincoln Navigator, Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class, and INFINITI QX80.
Can’t-miss-it style. If there's one thing the Cadillac Escalade has always been, it’s bold. And its latest redesign pushed that appearance to a new level with an even more upright stance, hard body lines, a massive chrome grille, tons of other chrome goodies, big and flashy wheel options, and sweptback LED headlights.
This look attracts some buyers and repels others, so make sure to look long and hard before making your buying decision. If you prefer a softer look, the recently redesigned Lincoln Navigator is still a bold SUV, but it has softer lines and a more approachable overall design. If the bold Escalade is too subtle for you, the INFINITI QX80 and its wild styling is likely the best ride for you.
Premium cabin with some serious limitations The Cadillac Escalade essentially created the luxury full-size SUV segment, so it’s no shock it remains a leader in in-cabin luxury. In terms of features, the base Escalade comes standard with leather upholstery, an 8-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, heated second-row seats, and more.
Slipping into the front seats is a treat that everyone should try at least once in their lives, as the front thrones boast all the room you’ll ever need, the perfect amount of padding, tons of adjustability, and much more. Want even more comfort? Move into the Platinum trim for softer leather, a suede headliner, and real wood trim on the dash and other areas.
The second row, on the other hand, isn't nearly the treat the first row is. Gaining access to these seats is tighter with inexplicably small rear doors for such a large SUV. Once you’re in the second row, you have just 39 inches of leg room. Yes, that's plenty for the average adult, but add to that a higher floor, and your knees can feel crowded. If you need more second-row leg room, the Navigator offers 42.6 inches and the QX80 has 41 inches.
In normal length models, the Escalade’s third row if laughable with 24.9 inches of leg room, but the ginormous ESV model bumps this to a more human-friendly 34.5 inches. In both cases, though, the Escalade’s third row falls way short of the Navigator’s 40.9 inches of leg room.
Cargo room, while plentiful at 15.2 cubes with the third row up, 51.6 with it folded, and 94.2 cubes with all the rear seats folded, is significantly tighter than the Navigator. Moving into the ESV model pushes it to a cavernous 39.3 cubes with the third row up, 76.7 cubes with the third row folded, and 120.9 cubic feet with all the rear rows down.
Big power but a matching thirst. The Cadillac Escalade is no stranger to power with its 6.2-liter V8 churning out 420 horsepower, which helps propel this rolling New-York-City-sized apartment to 60 mph in about six seconds. It also allows its to tow anywhere from 7,900 to 8,300 pounds.
The big problem is this massive V8 powerplant guzzles premium fuel at a clip of 14 miles per gallon city, 23 highway, and 17 combined, according to the EPA.
The Navigator and its 450-hp twin-turbocharged V6 beats the Escalade in power by 30 ponies and gets up to an extra two mpg city and two mpg combined. It also has a tiny towing advantage of 300 pounds on the top end.
Final thoughts. The 2020 Cadillac Escalade is a hulking, V8-powered beast that's in your face in every way imaginable. If you’re shopping this class, though, this is likely right up your alley.
While the Escalade checks many boxes for luxury SUV shoppers and is a legend in the class, families will find it lacking the interior room in its standard length and the standard tech needed to have peace of mind on the road.
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