Big, Powerful, American, V8: Cadillac Escalade

When it comes to American cars, what comes to mind? V8-powered muscle cars, massive pickup trucks, and large SUV models based on these enormous pickups. In the USA, everything can be bigger, more powerful, and louder, reflecting the essence of the “Land of the Free.” Cadillac, the most well-known premium car manufacturer in the “Land of the Free,” is a brand that produces luxury sedans and luxury SUV models. At one point, Cadillac even produced a pickup, the Escalade EXT, but quickly withdrew it from the market when it realized that luxury pickups were not in high demand among users. The German manufacturer Mercedes-Benz made a similar mistake with the X-Class, but that’s not the focus of this article. Today, we will discuss the 5th generation of the Cadillac Escalade and Escalade ESV, the world’s longest mass-produced car and the most powerful full-size SUV model.

The Escalade and its extended version, the Escalade ESV, welcomed the year 2020 with their 5th generation model. The massive American vehicle bids farewell to its vertical headlights and stands out with horizontally positioned IntelliBeam matrix headlights and daytime running lights vertically located on the edges of the front bumper. Besides the enormous front grille and headlights, the Escalade’s front end exhibits a simple American elegance with minimal details. The chrome-laden front grilles, with the help of active shutters, contribute to improving the vehicle’s aerodynamics. The hood’s height, akin to a rectangular prism sculpted into angular design, cleverly conceals the car’s dimensions. The standard version measures 5.38 meters in length, while the ESV version slightly surpasses this at 5.76 meters, making the Escalade ESV the world’s longest mass-produced car. To put it in perspective, considering that the length of the Mercedes-Maybach S-Class is 5.47 meters (Maybach, being 30 cm longer than the standard S-Class, which can be considered large in its European class), one can grasp the immense size of the Escalade. The design features straight lines, and the 22-inch wheels seem small under the body. The massive side windows, a roofline that doesn’t slope towards the rear, substantial mirrors, thick exterior door handles, and vertically arranged taillights are details that further enhance the vehicle’s robust appearance. In short, the Escalade boasts a boxy vehicle design.

Under the hood of the 5th generation Escalade, three different engines can be found. The least powerful option is the 3.0 Duramax, delivering 277 horsepower and marking the first diesel engine offered in the Escalade lineup. The Duramax generates 623 Nm of torque and is paired with the 6.2-liter V8 atmospheric petrol engine known as GM’s “Small Block”. This engine is the same as the one used in the Chevrolet Corvette Stingray. The turbocharged version of the same engine is featured in the sportier Escalade variant, the Escalade-V. This sporty version boasts 682 horsepower and 885 Nm of torque, accelerating from 0 to 100 kilometers per hour in 4.4 seconds—an impressive feat for a machine that can reach a weight of 2820 kilograms. The Escalade offers only one transmission option, which is the 10-speed automatic transmission jointly developed by Ford and GM. The weight of the Escalade became famous in the 4th generation for bursting the bags of the air suspension.

The Escalade boasts a display panel and multimedia system screen area with twice the pixel density of a total of 38-inch 4K televisions, making it the largest screen in its class until the introduction of the Mercedes-Benz Hyperscreen. The interior of the Escalade is appropriately high-tech, featuring a 3-spoke steering wheel with a nice design and SuperCruise indicators on top of the steering wheel (not shown in the visual). The SuperCruise technology allows for fully autonomous driving on a road network of more than 320,000 kilometers in North America. GM’s SuperCruise technology is based on memorizing road networks to reduce the investment in autonomous driving in vehicles. While it’s a cost-effective approach, the limitation of this technology to the United States and Canada is a drawback. The Escalade provides access to a thermal camera from the digital gauge cluster, ensuring there are no blind spots due to the high front hood. Additionally, you can view the commands of the augmented reality navigation through this camera, which also supports full-time and high-resolution viewing. With features like a 360-degree camera, a rearview mirror that serves as a camera, and advanced driver assistance systems, the Escalade is a technologically advanced SUV.

The Escalade features a well-crafted interior made from high-quality materials and adopts a 2+2+2 seating arrangement. The available AKG audio systems with 19 or 36 speakers utilize the vehicle’s ample size to facilitate sound transmission between the rear and front rows. This way, passengers in the rearmost row don’t need to shout to communicate with the driver; instead, their voices are captured by a microphone and transmitted to the driver through the speakers, and vice versa. The inclusion of speakers in the headrests is a unique feature. The seats come with heating and cooling functions, and there’s a large cooling compartment in the center console, which can also function as a freezer. The center console with physical shortcut buttons contributes to user convenience. The massive sunroof provides a sense of openness for rear passengers, and both the Escalade and ESV offer substantial cargo space, with 722 liters in the Escalade and 1214 liters in the ESV, making them capable of accommodating the belongings of all six passengers. What are your thoughts about the Cadillac Escalade?


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