This Escalade is more than just a rebadged Yukon with some sleek interior accents. The 2021 Cadillac Escalade furthers the story of the luxury large SUV, expanding the SUV’s footprint and loading it with first-in-class tech that should give the automaker a much needed buyer infusion.
There are things about the Escalade that have remained the same. It is still built on the same platform as its General Motors brethren – the GMC Yukon, Chevrolet Suburban, and Chevrolet Tahoe. It also shares a platform with the Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra.
The Escalade rides on the same platform as the Chevrolet Suburban and Tahoe.Photo courtesy of Cadillac
That frame is a solid start and while it defines the dimensions of the vehicle, there are shared body panels with the Suburban, Tahoe, and Yukon, it shows off what General Motors does best and worst with its new vehicles. Product engineers share parts as a cost-cutting procedure. In this case, the frame is okay but the exterior body components hold the chonky Cadillac back, only allowing its uniqueness to shine at the face and tail.
The front of the model is unmistakably Cadillac, projecting forth a fresh take on the grille and headlight hallmarks that were shown on the 2021 Cadillac CT6 when it debuted last year. Twenty-two-inch wheels are standard.
Cadillac has given the Escalade a, independent rear suspension and available Magnetic Ride Control, adaptive air suspension, and electronic limited slip differential.
Its new frame has allowed engineers to give the SUV 40 percent more third-row legroom (up 10 inches) and 68 percent more cargo space than the outgoing model.
The model features design characteristics that are rooted in the brand’s modern heritage.Photo courtesy of Cadillac
The Escalade is powered by a standard 6.2-liter V8 that achieves 420 horsepower. A 3.0-liter turbo-diesel power plan is available. These are some of the same engines available in other GM products. Both engines are paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission.
The Escalade’s interior was influenced by the Cadillac Escala concept, which debuted at the 2016 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. It features eight color and trim choices, which include unique seat designs, with custom perforation and quilting patterns.
Cadillac is also touting its soft-close doors, which feature two electric motors.
Front and center in the 2021 Escalade’s dashboard is a first-to-market curved Organic Light Emitting Diode (OLED) screen. It offers over 38 aches of display area with twice the pixel density of a 4K television. The one large screen is home to three smaller screens: a 7.2-inch-diagonal touch control panel driver information center to the driver’s left, a 14.2-inch-diagonal cluster display behind the steering wheel and a 16.9-inch-diagonal Infotainment screen to the driver’s right.
A single large screen fills the dashboard and contains three smaller screens.Photo courtesy of Cadillac
Because of the color saturation of the screen and its curved quality, Cadillac says that there is no need for the typical screen hood design found in most cars with an infotainment or driver’s information screen.
There’s also an available AKG Studio Reference system. The AKG brand has long been used to provide premium audio quality for musicians in the studio and the company is bringing that high-quality engineering to the Escalade. The system consists of 36 speakers powered by three amplifiers that deliver 28 channels. The Escalade’s standard AKG Studio system includes 19 speakers and a large enclosed subwoofer, powered by a 14-channel amplifier.
Cadillac has also worked with sound engineers to provide microphones throughout the cabin of the Escalade that work to amplify the sound of passengers so that no shouting is required to talk amongst each other in the cabin.
Front passengers get control of their own sound system volume knob in models equipped with the Reference system.
Buyers can get up to 36 speakers in the cabin of their Escalade.Photo courtesy of Cadillac
The technology list doesn’t end there. Drivers will be able to order their Escalade with augmented reality-enabled navigation, which uses live street views with directional overlays to enhance the system’s driving directions. Surround Vision allows for a 2 megapixel bird’s-eye view of the vehicle’s surroundings.
Buyers can opt for the Trailering Integration Package, which offers up to nine camera views including hitch guidance. The package also offers an integrated trailer controller, tire pressure and temperature monitoring, and an Extended Side Blind Zone Alert.
The Escalade can be purchased with Super Cruise driver assistance technology, the only hands-free system in the segment. The technology has been upgraded for the 2021 model year.
Super Cruise is the country’s only hands-free driving technology available in a mass market vehicle.Photo courtesy of Cadillac
Escalade is also available with a rear camera mirror, night vision (infrared technology that spies pedestrians and large animals in the path of the vehicle at night), and dual-12.6-inch rear entertainment screens that can mirror Android smartphones.
Cadillac will offer the Escalade in five trim levels. Sport and Luxury models will have unique appearances. Escalade Sport models get a black mesh grille and black trim across the exterior. Escalade Luxury models have a bright Galvano finish.
The 2021 Cadillac Escalade will launch in the third quarter of 2020. Pricing will be announced closer to its on-sale date.