2012 Cadillac Escalade

Base 2WD 4-Dr Sport Utility V8 auto trans

2012 cadillac escalade Reviews and News

2012 Cadillac Escalade Front Left View
The heyday of the full-size luxury SUV may well have passed, but no vehicle born of that era has become more ingrained in the popular culture than the Cadillac Escalade. (A quick aside: Do we think this would have been the case if the Escalade had been named the ULX or some other nonsense amalgam of letters and numbers? No.) Even though the Escalade's biggest-volume sales years may be behind it, this vehicle still looms large in the public consciousness, and the general perception of Cadillac.
Cadillac bosses might prefer that their brand be defined by newer models like the CTS, the CTS-V, or maybe the SRX. But the fact is that as the biggest and most expensive model in the lineup, the Escalade remains the flagship -- it's the mack-daddy Caddy.

3 Body Styles

Of the three Escalade body styles, the standard (Chevy Tahoe-based) version accounts for a majority of sales, while the Suburban-sized Escalade ESV is about half as popular, and the Avalanche-based Escalade EXT is a true niche product, a glamour pickup for rich people in Texas.
It was fitting, then, that my test car was the regular Escalade. Nor was it surprising that my test example was done up in diamond white -- which seems to be the color of every Escalade you see that isn't black. And yes, at 22 inches, the wheels did not disappoint. (The 22s are standard on all but the base model.)

4 Tiers of Fabulousness

The trim levels are base, Luxury, Premium, and, you guessed it, Platinum. Leather, heated and cooled front seats, navigation, and a back-up camera are standard on all. As the penultimate version, my Escalade Premium also came with a rear-seat entertainment system; automatic, power-retractable running boards; a heated steering wheel; blind zone alert; and magnetic ride control, among other niceties.
Despite the raft of luxury equipment, however, the Escalade interior was somewhat of a letdown. The door panels and center console aren't nearly as richly padded as those in an Infiniti QX56. The dash trim is little different that what you'd see in a top-spec Suburban, and the rear captain's chairs have no center console between them. The overall interior design is surprisingly plain.
Although this wasn't the ESV, the Escalade is still a big vehicle, but the aforementioned second-row captains' chairs make for an effective adult seating capacity of four. There is a standard third row but it's strictly for kids, who will sit with their knees at chin level thanks to a seat cushion that's just inches off the floor. Ford's Expedition/Lincoln Navigator twins are better in this regard, as their independent rear suspension allows for a lower rear floor. Additionally, with the third row in place, the Escalade has precious little cargo room; to make space for more cargo, the third-row seats fold and tumble but do not drop down into the floor. Basically, you need to upgrade to the Suburban-sized Escalade ESV if you want to bring along more than four adults. In all, this Escalade, like the Chevy Tahoe on which it's based, is hardly a paragon of space efficiency.

'Slade on a Roll

And of course, the Escalade is not a paragon of fuel efficiency, but you knew that. Still, 13 mpg city and 20 mpg highway is pretty grim. Much better mileage is available, however, in the form of the Escalade Hybrid. It's easy to view that car as a cynical bit of greenwashing (sort of like putting bamboo floors in your McMansion), but the Hybrid's EPA ratings of 20/23 mpg put it on a par with much smaller vehicles -- the city rating particularly.
The standard Escalade may be a guzzler, but at least the big, 6.2-liter V-8 delivers healthy performance. Its 403 hp and 417 pound-feet of torque are enough to launch this Caddy with authority. Even from a standing start, it roars down on-ramps and into fast-moving expressway traffic with no problem.
Once you're out on the freeway, the Escalade towers above most other cars, which made it easy to plot a course through traffic on the busy Cross Island Parkway. On this older expressway, storm drains line the inside edge of the fast lane, and every time we hit one it sent a shudder resonating through the body. Magnetic ride control is adept at controlling body motions but it can't add structural rigidity that isn't there. And the steering, as you might expect, prizes light efforts and provides no real feel.
Certainly, Cadillac has had other priorities in recent years, as well it should. But the Escalade is still a high-profile product, and five years after its last redesign, there are areas here that need to be addressed: interior quality, structural rigidity, space efficiency, and (to the extent that it's possible) fuel economy. Cadillac should not let the Escalade become all style and size and no substance -- if it does, the Escalade could go the way of yesterday's mack-daddy Caddy, the Eldorado.

2012 Cadillac Escalade AWD Premium

Base price (with destination): $75,220
Price as tested: $76,215
Standard Equipment:
403-hp, 6.2-liter V-8 engine
6-speed automatic transmission
All-wheel drive w/transfer case and automatic locking rear differential
Trailering equipment
Magnetic ride control
Air-conditioning w/tri-zone automatic climate control
Power windows
Power door locks w/remote
Remote start
Power moonroof
Power seats
Leather upholstery
Heated front and rear seats
Navigation system
Rear back up camera
Bose 5.1 surround sound AM/FM/XM/CD/MP3 audio system
USB and aux inputs
Steering-wheel-mounted audio controls
Bluetooth
Rear-seat entertainment system
Tilt & telescoping steering column
Adjustable pedals
Heated steering wheel
Body-color power folding mirrors w/turn signals
Fog lights
HID headlamps
2nd-row captains chairs
3rd-row seats
Cruise control
22-inch polished, painted wheels
Luggage rack
Power liftgate
Rear park assist
Automatic power-retractable running boards
Side blind zone alert
Options on this vehicle:
White diamond premium paint - $995
Key options not on vehicle:
LED headlamps - $1500
Fuel economy:
(city/hwy/combined)
13 / 18 / 15 mpg
Engine:
6.2L V-6
Horsepower: 403 hp @ 5700 rpm
Torque: 417 lb-ft @ 4300 rpm
Drive:
Four-wheel
Transmission:
6-speed automatic
Curb weight: 5723 lb
Wheels/tires:
9 x 22-inch aluminum-alloy wheels
285/45 R22 Bridgestone Dueler H/L Alenza tires
Competitors:
Infiniti QX56
Lexus LX560
Lincoln Navigator
Mercedes-Benz GL-class
Range Rover
2012 Cadillac Escalade/Escalade ESV
2012 Cadillac Escalade/Escalade ESV
Even though sales of traditional SUVs have tanked, the Escalade isn't about to go anywhere. Since its debut, the Escalade has been a visible social marker that signifies success and affluence and is characterized by its all-American opulence, from an oversize chrome grille and large chrome portholes and wheels to vertical LED taillights. The buyer's first decision is which version to choose: the standard Escalade or the twenty-inch-longer ESV (think of the ESV as a Chevrolet Suburban in Cadillac clothes). Although the ESV is larger and weighs a bit more, opting for it doesn't result in a fuel-economy penalty, at least according to the EPA scale. Both the short- and long-wheelbase models use GM's 6.2-liter V-8, whose 403 hp is more than enough to motivate the Escalade, which can be configured to hold six, seven, or eight passengers. There is an extensive list of infotainment options for all those passengers, and they won't lack for comfort, as heated and cooled seats and cupholders are also available. For those who want to keep their eco credentials intact, Cadillac offers the Escalade in a Hybrid version. (But really, what could be more incongruous than a giant SUV with a hybrid badge?) Using GM's patented two-mode hybrid system paired with a 6.0-liter V-8, the Escalade achieves a respectable 21 mpg in the EPA combined cycle. No matter which version you pick, the Escalade's ride is plush and somewhat bouncy -- shades of Cadillac land yachts of yore -- thanks to the Escalade's pickup platform and body-on-frame design.
Becker Cadillac Escalade ESV Bike 2
Most tuners would rather give a car "look-at-me" bodywork and tire-smoking power than actually modify the vehicle to improve it. This Becker Auto Design Cadillac Escalade appears to be a rare exception to that rule, though it does seem to have some questionable modifications including an available exercise bike for rear-seat passengers.
2012 Cadillac Escalade ESV Platinum Front Left Side View
One of my favorite things about the Cadillac Escalade is that it is incredibly relaxing and easy to drive. The leather seats are as wide and cushioned as a couch, very little sound permeates the cabin, and the steering has enough power assistance to make changing course a breeze. The soft suspension and lazy engine create a serious sense of disconnection from the road. You don't drive an Escalade, per se, you just sort of sit around and occasionally offer suggestions as to the SUV's direction.
2012 Cadillac Escalade ESV Platinum
2012 Cadillac Escalade Premium Front View
We have little idea what a new Cadillac Escalade, GMC Yukon, or Chevrolet Tahoe/Suburban will look like, but we now know this: the new SUVs will have some components stamped at a new, $200 million facility in Arlington, Texas.
2009 Cadillac Escalad EXT Front Three Quarters
There’s one Top 10 list that the Cadillac Escalade continually owns year-after-year: the Highway Loss Data Institute’s list of the most stolen vehicles in the United States. In an effort to wean its way off the most stolen list, Cadillac will be incorporating a host of security improvements into the 2012 Escalade to help deter -- if not prevent -- vehicle theft.

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Certified Pre-Owned 2012 Cadillac Escalade Pricing

Certified Pre Owned Price
$40,900

Used 2012 Cadillac Escalade Values / Pricing

Suggested Retail Price
$63,170

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13
2012 Cadillac Escalade
2012 Cadillac Escalade
Base 2WD 4-Dr Sport Utility V8
14 MPG City | 18 MPG Hwy
Top Ranking Vehicles - MPG
rank
4
rank
29
2012 Cadillac Escalade
2012 Cadillac Escalade
Base 2WD 4-Dr Sport Utility V8
$63,170
Top Ranking Vehicles - Price
rank
2
2012 Cadillac Escalade
2012 Cadillac Escalade
Base 2WD 4-Dr Sport Utility V8
403hp
Top Ranking Vehicles - Horsepower
rank
2
2012 Cadillac Escalade
2012 Cadillac Escalade
Base 2WD 4-Dr Sport Utility V8
403hp

2012 Cadillac Escalade Specifications

Quick Glance:
Engine
6.2L V8Engine
Fuel economy City:
14 MPG
Fuel economy Highway:
18 MPG
Horsepower:
403 hp @ 5700rpm
Torque:
417 ft lb of torque @ 4300rpm
  • Air Conditioning
  • Power Windows
  • Power Locks
  • Power Seats
  • Steering Wheel Tilt
  • Cruise Control
  • Sunroof (optional)
  • ABS
  • Stabilizer Front
  • Stabilizer RearABS
  • Electronic Traction Control
  • Electronic Stability Control
  • Locking Differential (optional)
  • Limited Slip Differential
  • Airbag Driver
  • Airbag Passenger
  • Airbag Side Front
  • Airbag Side Rear (optional)
  • Radio
  • CD Player
  • CD Changer (optional)
  • DVD
  • Navigation
Vehicle
50,000 miles / 48 months
Powertrain
100,000 miles / 60 months
Corrosion
Unlimited miles / 72 months
Roadside
100,000 miles / 60 months
Recall Date
12-31-1969:21:35:41
Component
ELECTRICAL SYSTEM:IGNITION
Summary
General Motors LLC (GM) is recalling certain model year 2011-2012 Cadillac Escalade, Escalade ESV, Escalade EXT, Chevrolet Avalanche, Silverado HD, Silverado LD, Suburban, Tahoe, GMC Sierra LD, Sierra HD, Yukon, and Yukon XL vehicles. In the affected vehicles, the ignition lock actuator may bind, making turning the key difficult or causing the ignition to get stuck in the "Start" position.
Consequences
If stuck in the "Start" position, the ignition may suddenly snap back into the "Accessory" position, causing a loss of engine, steering, and braking power, increasing the risk of a vehicle crash. If the vehicle is in a crash, the air bags may not deploy, increasing the risk of occupant injury.
Remedy
GM will notify owners, and dealers will inspect and replace the ignition lock housing, as necessary, free of charge. The recall began on February 12, 2015. Owners may contact GM customer service at 1-800-458-8006 (Cadillac), 1-800-222-1020 (Chevrolet), or 1-800-462-8782 (GMC). GM's number for this recall is 14696 for the original equipment, and 14912 for the service replacement parts.
Potential Units Affected
84,192
Notes
General Motors LLC


Recall Date
12-31-1969:21:35:41
Component
ELECTRICAL SYSTEM:IGNITION
Summary
General Motors LLC (GM) is recalling certain model year 2011-2012 Cadillac Escalade, Escalade ESV, Escalade EXT, Chevrolet Avalanche, Silverado HD, Silverado LD, Suburban, Tahoe, GMC Sierra LD, Sierra HD, Yukon, and Yukon XL vehicles. In the affected vehicles, the ignition lock actuator may bind, making turning the key difficult or causing the ignition to get stuck in the "Start" position.
Consequences
If stuck in the "Start" position, the ignition may suddenly snap back into the "Accessory" position, causing a loss of engine, steering, and braking power, increasing the risk of a vehicle crash. If the vehicle is in a crash, the air bags may not deploy, increasing the risk of occupant injury.
Remedy
GM will notify owners, and dealers will inspect and replace the ignition lock housing, as necessary, free of charge. The recall began on February 12, 2015. Owners may contact GM customer service at 1-800-458-8006 (Cadillac), 1-800-222-1020 (Chevrolet), or 1-800-462-8782 (GMC). GM's number for this recall is 14696 for the original equipment, and 14912 for the service replacement parts.
Potential Units Affected
84,192
Notes
General Motors LLC


NHTSA Rating Front Driver
5
NHTSA Rating Front Passenger
4
NHTSA Rating Front Side
5
NHTSA Rating Rear Side
5
NHTSA Rating Overall
4
NHTSA Rating Rollover
3
IIHS Front Moderate Overlap
N/R
IIHS Overall Side Crash
N/R
IIHS Best Pick
N/R
IIHS Rear Crash
N/R
IIHS Roof Strength
N/R

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5-Year Total Cost to Own For The 2012 Cadillac Escalade

Depreciation
34.9%
Loss in Value + Expenses
= 5 Year Cost to Own
Depreciation
$19,270
34.9%
Insurance
$8,070
14.6%
Fuel Cost
$16,153
29.3%
Financing
$4,910
8.9%
Maintenance
$4,180
7.6%
Repair Costs
$2,060
3.7%
State Fees
$531
1%
Five Year Cost of Ownership: $55,174 What's This?
Value Rating: Excellent