New for 2015
The Cadillac Escalade receives a significant update for 2015, including a new exterior with lots of LEDs, more power from the 6.2-liter V-8, a quieter and more luxurious cabin, and the latest technology.
The Cadillac Escalade is a full-size luxury SUV that offers seating for eight passengers, towing capability, and lots of style. Luxury touches help to distinguish the Escalade/Escalade ESV from the Chevrolet Tahoe/Suburban and GMC Yukon/Yukon XL to which the Cadillac is mechanically related. The Escalade sits above the two-row SRX crossover as the biggest vehicle in the Cadillac lineup.
The 2015 Cadillac Escalade is powered by a 6.2-liter V-8 that produces 420 hp and 460 lb-ft of torque, and is paired with an eight-speed automatic that drives the rear wheels, but can be combined with an all-wheel-drive system to power all four. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 15/22 mpg city/highway with RWD, and 15/21 mpg with 4WD. Luxury is brought up to a higher level with the addition of a standard power-folding third row, heated/cooled front seats, a heated second row, tri-zone climate control, 4G LTE Wi-Fi, wireless charging (inductive system requires a device specific case), and a 16-speaker Bose premium audio system.
Driver focused features include a full-color head-up display, 4-way reconfigurable gauge display, CUE infotainment system, multi-camera panoramic parking aid, hands-free keyless access with push button start, intelligent headlights (high beams switch off when other headlights or taillights are detected), and GM’s Safety Alert Seat. Cadillac explained that the seat, a segment exclusive, “sends pulses through the seat cushion on the left or right or simultaneously, alerting you to a variety of potential hazards as well as the direction they’re coming from.” Topping out the range, starting above $80,000, is the Platinum line that takes opulence to a new level, with features such as semi-Aniline Nappa leather, a massaging driver’s seat, three rear monitors (dual 7-inch screens in the headrests and a 9-inch overhead screen) for the rear-seat entertainment system, an 8.3-liter cooled center console, a sueded microfiber headliner, and unique two wood accent options for the interior.
The 2015 Cadillac Escalade has not been comprehensively evaluated, but received five stars in the side crash category and three stars for rollover safety in NHSTA testing (out of a possible five stars). The IIHS has not crash tested a 2015 Cadillac Escalade yet.
What We Think
The newly redesigned 2015 Cadillac Escalade gains more polish and a bunch more LEDs. In a Driven review of a 2015 Escalade we said, “The new styling not only harmonizes better with the rest of the Cadillac line, it also makes the Escalade look even more imposing.” We praised the interior as much improved over the previous generation, noting it “is impressively decked out in leather and synthetic suede, with metal accents and different wood trim for each of the three color schemes. The dash architecture is unique to Cadillac and incorporates virtual gauges in a TFT screen in place of the instrument cluster and, of course, the CUE touch-panel interface, which remains impressively modern looking but distressingly distracting to use.”
Inside we couldn’t help but criticize the third row seat, saying “For such a big vehicle, the Escalade’s space utilization is wanting. The cargo floor now steps up, which was necessary to allow the second- and third-row seats to fold flat (via a pushbutton just inside the tailgate) … The near-total lack of a foot well makes the third row unusable for kids much past elementary school. As before, to get a truly usable third row, you need to upgrade to the ESV, which also offers very good cargo capacity even with all three rows in use.” The problem lies with the rear suspension, which necessitates the higher floor.
In a Driven review of the redesigned 2015 Escalade we said, “If you liked the previous Escalade, you’ll like this one. It’s sharper looking outside, more luxurious inside, and somewhat better to drive. But as SUVs become more global and more brands enter the upper end of the spectrum, the luxury SUV market is shifting away from vehicles like the Escalade. (Already, the Mercedes-Benz GL is the bestselling large, luxury SUV.) At some point, Cadillac is going to have to redefine the Escalade and move this concept forward to a more modern layout that can provide similar accommodations and capabilities in a more efficient package.”
- More powerful V-8 is more efficient, too
- Opulent Platinum trim level
- Smooth eight-speed automatic
You Won’t Like
- Sitting in the regular model’s third row
- Using the CUE infotainment system
- Not much cargo room with the third row in place
- Mercedes Benz GL-Class
- Land Rover Range Rover
- Infiniti QX80
- Lexus LX 570
- Lincoln Navigator