2022 Cadillac Escalade ñ still the one to beat
When it comes to luxury SUV’s it’s hard to look past the Cadillac Escalade. For the past
two decades, Cadillac’s flagship vehicle has been a modern-day icon known for its size,
power and luxury. Last year the Escalade was redesigned, and recently I was privileged
to be in one to see just how grand this SUV really is.
If you thought the last generation Escalade was big, wait until you see this current one.
Being larger than its predecessor, this fifth generation Escalade boasts even more
passenger room in its second and third row seats. Its exterior design continues at what the
Escalade has done so well at – provide a brash, in-your-face excess statement. There is no
subtlety here, just a huge grille with plenty of sheet metal behind it. Like Escalades
before it, the current one is clean, simple, huge and easily recognizable for what it is.
Inside, Cadillac has addressed what has been considered a weak point in previous
Escalades – the quality of its interior materials. Now for the first time ever, an Escalade
interior can back up its six-figure price tag. Supple leather, lacquered wood and
aluminum brightwork cover every surface. The dash now uses the latest in screen
technology: OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diode) which provides for a sharper and
more colorful image over the popular LCD screens.
When it comes to interior room, the Escalade can’t be beat. All three rows are large
enough for adults and the wide doors, accessible grab handles and power running boards
make getting in and out of the large SUV simple.
Carrying over from the previous generation is the powertrain, and for good reason. It’s
hard to find fault with the mighty 6.2-liter V-8. Mated to a 10-speed automatic
transmission, it makes a healthy 420 hp and 460 lb-ft of torque and sounds great doing it.
As in the past, the Escalade is offered in rear or four-wheel-drive models.
Underneath all that sheetmetal is an all-new chassis and an independent rear suspension.
While the Escalade continues to be a body-on-frame vehicle, it no longer uses a pickup
truck live axle. Instead, it uses a more compact multilink design. Options are air springs
and adaptive magnetic dampers.
When behind the wheel of the big Cadillac, you never forget how big it is. Thankfully,
the big V8 provides plenty of power to easily get the Escalade up to speed. The ride won’t
disappoint either as it’s soft and smooth. The Escalade doesn’t toss easily into corners due
to its size, but glides into them and the large 22-inch wheels and new suspension makes
for a confident driving experience.
The amount of high-tech that Cadillac has injected into the Escalade is impressive. The
digital instrument cluster and large infotainment screen that uses the above-mentioned
OLED screens are stunning. Then there is the sound system. In the Escalade, Cadillac has
ditched the Bose system, replacing it with an optional 36-speaker AKG Studio Reference
stereo that makes it feel and sound as if the band is in the third-row seat playing live.
Another impressive piece of technology is Cadillacís Super Cruise. This system is the
first true hands-free driving-assistance technology available for select American
highways. With Super Cruise, you set the cruise control as normal, then engage Super
Cruise and let the Escalade do the rest. You can take your hands off the wheel and the
Super Cruise will handle all the turns and curves it comes across. It can even change
lanes for you if you desire (by turning on your blinker). All that is required by you is that
you continue to look down the road. While this isn’t a full autonomous system, it is close
to it, and should free the driver from a lot of stress on long road trips as he no longer has
to continuously steer the vehicle.
As expected, the Escalade doesn’t come cheap. Base price is just under $88,000, but tack
on all the good stuff like the sounds system, Super Cruise, the nice suspension, and you’re
looking at over $100,000, or in the case of the tester, $105,915.00.
After more than 20 years, the Cadillac Escalade has earned in place in the automotive
market. It’s not without its faults, but being big and bold aren’t any of them. Throw in all
the creature comforts and luxury features, and it’s easy to see why the Cadillac Escalade
is one of the best luxury SUVs in the world.
— Christopher A. Randazzo
By The Numbers:
2022 Cadillac Escalade 4WD Premium Luxury
Base Price: $67,895.00
Price as Tested: $105,915.00
Layout: front-engine / four-wheel drive
Engine: 6.2-liter V8
Transmission: 10 ñ speed automatic
Horsepower: 420 hp
Torque: 460 ft-lbs
EPA Fuel Economy: 14 city / 19 highway mpg
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