The 2012 Cadillac Escalade isn’t exactly a big seller nowadays, but what it lacks in volume it more than makes up for in terms of satisfaction. Even during a time when fuel economy has become the No. 1 concern among today’s new-vehicle shoppers, who are downsizing accordingly, it was the big body-on-frame Escalade that garnered the top spot overall in the 2012 Autobytel/AutoPacific Vehicle Satisfaction Awards (VSAs).
The full-size luxury SUV tallied 775 points in the annual survey, giving it a narrow 2-point victory over the Mercedes-Benz S-Class. To put those numbers in context, the industry average was 650 points, and while two other M-B products—the Mercedes-Benz ML and Mercedes-Benz GL—scored 747 and 745 points, no other vehicle scored more than 716 points.
(This year’s VSAs were based on data collected from more than 75,000 new-vehicle owners and 48 unique measures of vehicle satisfaction.)
Coincidentally, the VSAs were revealed just prior to Cadillac’s announcement that it would build an all-new Escalade when the next generation of GM’s full-size body-on-frame trucks comes online. Timing is vague at this point, but those vehicles should start arriving next year, with the fresh Caddy probably seeing the light of day in 2014.
2012 Cadillac Escalade: Satisfaction Overview
As mentioned, the Escalade’s core audience may be small, but no other vehicle on the road today offers its unique combination of in-your-face style, creature comforts and true truck capabilities. In the mix here are features like Magnetic Ride Control technology (also found on cars like the Cadillac CTS-V and Chevy Corvette), massive 22-inch wheels, LED headlamps and taillamps, power-retractable assist steps, power-adjustable pedals, a rear-seat entertainment system, climate-controlled front seats, and touchscreen navigation with an integrated rearview camera system—but despite all those lux touches, the Escalade also can tow up to 8,300 lbs. and boasts a payload capacity of up to 1,577 lbs.
It’s also available in four different configurations that all deliver their own particular benefits. In addition to the iconic original, Cadillac sells the extended-length Escalade ESV, with up to 137.4 cubic feet of cargo space and a dedicated flip-down video screen for the third row; the open-bed Escalade EXT, which also features the GM-only Midgate for added cargo-carrying versatility; and the Escalade Hybrid, highlighted by EPA marks of 20 mpg city/23 mpg highway/21 mpg combined.
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