Full-size, Full-luxury SUV Debuts in New York
At a time when premium crossovers and SUVs from the likes of Land Rover, Mercedes-Benz and Audi are all racking up impressive sales results, Cadillac has now introduced its own unique contender for the segment: the 2015 Cadillac Escalade. Built from the same basic underpinnings that lay beneath the skin of GM's next-gen full-size trucks, the new Escalade will continue to offer the capabilities of a body-on-frame sport-utility vehicle, but also features amenities like a CUE connectivity/media system, Magnetic Ride Control, hands-free programmable rear liftgate, Blu-Ray/DVD rear-seat entertainment system, cut-and-sewn interior upholstery, and plenty of advanced driver-safety measures.
And there's no need to worry that the 2015 Cadillac Escalade will be any less imposing than its forebears. It's been up-sized in nearly all dimensions save height, and wears a chiselled new exterior with the kind of advanced front lighting one expects from a brand that wants to be a premium pace-setter for the rest of the industry. Now, it must be said that the new 2015 Cadillac Escalade has put on some weight, however. Even with an aluminum hood and liftgate panels, the lightest 2015 Escalade is listed at 5,603 lbs.—an increase of 76 lbs. over the 2014 model year—and the extended-length all-wheel-drive 2015 Cadillac Escalade ESV has broken the three-ton mark, with a curb weight of 6,086 lbs. (FYI: The open-bed Cadillac Escalade EXT has been discontinued.)
On the other hand, the 2015 Cadillac Escalade also is projected to be more fuel-efficient for the new model year anyway, and that's even with a bigger, more powerful engine. But while a few less pounds would have been nice, Bob Ferguson, senior vice president of "Global Cadillac," notes that: “Cadillac’s growth provides the ideal stage for the all-new Escalade to take a major leap forward. The 2015 Escalade is completely new and elevated in design and technology, inside and out. The clear objective is to once again assume the leadership position among luxury SUVs.”
Despite starting from the same roots, the 2015 Cadillac Escalade is well-distinguished from the new Chevy Tahoe and GMC Yukon, thanks to a more sculpted, high-precision exterior that's set off by some eye-popping light hardware. Up front, LEDs are set into stacked crystal lenses to create a striking, vertically oriented design that, in profile, recalls the appearance of the stunning Cadillac Ciel concept— but while also introducing a new evolution in LED high-beam functionality. The rear lighting treatment again relies on LED technology, showcasing narrow light strips that run nearly the entire height of the liftgate. The result is another nice example of how Cadillac updated one of its hallmark design cues—thin, vertical brake lights—for the latest generation of the 2015 Cadillac Escalade.
In the cabin, according to Eric Clough, director of design for Cadillac Interiors: “An exceptional level of craftsmanship has gone into the redesign of the 2015 Cadillac Escalade, and it all centers on the premium materials and extensive use of cut-and-sew live stitching—the way fine furniture is produced. We designed Escalade with what we call the beauty of contrast. It offers a distinctive combination of bold, truck-like character, but also the refinement of the Cadillac form vocabulary and technology.”
But for today's lux customers, technology is just as important as creature comforts, so the 2015 Cadillac Escalade is equipped with a standard CUE infotainment/connectivity system that can be operated via voice commands, tablet-style touchscreen gestures and traditional switchgear, and its 8-inch color screen is complemented by a standard 12.3-inch driver information screen and available head-up display. Then, while all that tech leaves the driver firmly in command of the 2015 Cadillac Escalade, rear-seat passengers can enjoy their own Blu-Ray DVD entertain system to pass the time. And regardless of what’s going on in the cabin, irritating sounds from the exterior will stay on the outside, courtesy of Active Noise Cancellation from Bose.
A hands-free liftgate is available for the 2015 Cadillac Escalade as well, and can be programmed to open to meet the owner’s pre-set preferences.
From the safety department, the 2015 Cadillac Escalade can provide:
Motivating the 2015 Cadillac Escalade will be the biggest (current) member of the Ecotec3 engine family, a 6.2-liter V8 that makes 420 hp and 460 lb.-ft. of torque. Those outputs represent a 5 percent increase in horsepower and a 10 percent jump in torque, and while EPA fuel-economy ratings are still to come, the General does say the new engine is “more efficient” than the unit in the 2014 Escalade. Just keep in mind that any gains in fuel economy will come from the starting point of the current Escalade, now graded at 14 mpg city/18 mpg highway/16 mpg combined.
Regardless of the ratings it gets while doing so, the 2015 Cadillac Escalade should deliver the kind of upgraded driving manners one would expect from a Magnetic Ride Control suspension, variable-assist electric power steering, automatic locking rear differential, 9.5-inch rear axle, and six-speed automatic transmission with next-gen TapShift capability. To be clear, though, the 2015 Cadillac Escalade is no premium poser. It also offers intelligent all-wheel drive, a max tow rating of up to 8,200 lbs. and a redesigned interior with both more passenger space and increased room for cargo.
More information about the 2015 Cadillac Escalade will be released closer to its on sale date in the spring of 2014.