2015 Cadillac Escalade Premium at a glance?
BODY STYLE: Full-size, body-on-frame SUV
DRIVE METHOD: front-engine, four-wheel-drive? with six-speed automatic transmission
ENGINE: 6.2-litre direct injection overhead valve V8 (420 hp, 460 lb/ft)
FUEL CONSUMPTION: (Regular) standard wheelbase (SWB) 16.2/11.4L/100 km city/highway as tested; long wheelbase (LWB) 16.8/11.7L/100 km
CARGO CAPACITY: SWB, 2,667 kg; LWB, 3,424 kg
PRICE: $88,500, $94,825 as tested
What?s Best: Bling at its best
What?s Worst: Finicky controls on the CUE infotainment system
What?s Interesting: How many people are attracted to it
I drove the Escalade at the Canadian press launch last summer and again over the Christmas holidays and the response from the public on both occasions was enthusiastic.
Readers may remember that during the press launch a woman whose farm I stopped at for photos said she had been trying to pin down her dealer as to when she could get the 2015.
Over Christmas, everywhere I stopped, people would come up and want to look inside. A cab driver friend of mine was knocked out by the amenities and a neighbour said he would be more than glad to have the Escalade parked on his driveway.
The version tested here is the topline Premium in short wheelbase (2,946 mm) form and it is also available in a long wheelbase (3,302 mm) version.
Of course being a Premium, you?d expect to pay (get ready for it) a premium and you do at $90,500 for the SWB and $93,500 for the LWB. With the optional ($1,920) retractable steps, 22-inch ?ultra bright finish? aluminum wheels and a $1,700 shipping fee, the as tested price is $94,825.
Is it worth it?
In terms of content, you get just about every goodie Cadillac has in the parts bin, starting with the Driver Assist Package that includes adaptive cruise control, automatic collision preparation, front and rear automatic braking and automatic front seat belt tightening.
And if that wasn?t enough, there is the Driver Awareness Package with forward collision alert, rear cross traffic alert, side blind zone alert, lane change alert, lane departure warning and driver?s safety alert seat.
One of my favourite aspects of the Premium is the Theft Protection Package with incline sensors (in case it is being flatbed loaded by thieves), interior motion sensors, glass break sensors and shields over the door locks. The horn even has its own power source so thieves can no longer just disconnect the battery and make off with your Escalade.
You can be a block away and know this is an Escalade just by the full LED lighting front and rear and all with the signature vertical treatment. The angular character lines and that huge V grille make a statement just by themselves.
Inside, as you might expect, nothing but the finest trim can be found and it is quiet too, with triple sealed doors inlaid into the body to cut air noise and drag. Enhancing this is acoustic glass, aero outside mirrors and sound barrier insulation including an acoustic cover over the fuel pump.
One of the few complaints in the past was about the third row seats. They no longer have to be removed to make the whole cargo area available.
The third row is now powered with buttons on the D-pillar that makes the seats fold flat in three to five seconds and a power liftgate is standard as it should be at this price.
All Escalades are powered by a 6.2-litre direction injection V8 with 420 hp and 460 lb/ft of torque with a six-speed automatic transmission.
Five-cycle fuel consumption for the short wheelbase model is 16.2/11.4L/100 km city/highway and 16.8/11.7L/100 km for the long wheelbase. Tow rating is 3,674 kg and 3,583 kg respectively.
Four-wheel-drive has replaced the all-wheel-drive system used on the out-going model. The 4WD system has three modes: 2Hi for the best fuel economy, 4HI for more challenging terrain and winter/rain and Auto, which is basically set and forget.
When Cadillac engineers set out to design the 2015 Escalade one of the objectives was to make a big truck handle and maneuver like a smaller one.
To that end, the 2015 Escalade is now equipped with GM?s Magnetic Ride first introduced on the Corvette. It is the world?s fastest reacting suspension and monitors road conditions 1,000 times a second and changes every 10-15 milliseconds.
To the driver, it doesn?t make the Escalade feel as heavy as it really is and the amount of driver input is nicely measured and responsive.
Over the holidays I put quite a few kilometres on my tester and the overall experience was good.
Already high off the ground and being perched up on those 22-inch wheels, getting in would have been a chore in the changing weather, so the power retractable running board came in very handy.
With multi adjustable, heating and cooling driver?s seat and power adjustable pedals, the only thing that needs to be adjusted is the very large, 12-inch reconfigurable instrument display. You can play with this thing for hours.
A heated steering wheel is standard and I learned to love them last year. During the holidays with the snow, then rain, then more snow and finally bone-numbing -21 C wind chill the morning I took it back, I was glad for the tri-zone climate control which had the cabin warming up before I left my street.
Most of my driving was in 2Hi I but switched the Auto after rain turned to ice and, really, it felt all the same to me with gobs of grip.
The only problem was Cadillac?s CUE centre stack infotainment system that relies on touch to adjust climate, audio, etc. With gloves on, sometimes I could get to work and sometimes not.
Full-size luxury SUVs like the Escalade are hot right now, partially because of gas prices and great bank and leasing rates, but also its unique stand-alone persona that attracts so many.
Cadillac will have no problem selling every 2015 Escalade it can produce.