All of the aforementioned technology is clothed under a shape that was completely redesigned in 2007. The 2009 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid offers a crisp exterior style that commands attention with plenty of chrome. If you've seen a new Escalade, then with the exception of the big Hybrid badges, you know the style. From the front or rear, the look is unmistakably Cadillac.
Inside, there's standard seating for eight, although legroom for the third-row seats is compromised because batteries for the hybrid powertrain are located under the second-row seats. The batteries also present an extra obstacle for climbing back to the third row. Front chairs are heated and cooled. Interior build quality and fit/finish on the examples we drove were excellent. Controls inside are similar to the standard 2009 Escalade, and work competently without requiring extensive training or frequent trips to the owner's manual. The Cadillac's touch-screen center stacks earn kudos for being one of the easiest and most logical to operate. The system's ability to save favorite tuning presets regardless of frequency (AM, FM, or XM Satellite Radio) makes perfect sense with the way people use the radio.
To help with eco-driving, there is a gauge at the left of the IP that encourages drivers to stay within a "green" zone. Too much acceleration is wasteful, as is too much braking (the EVT's regenerative capabilities can't capture the maximum amount of energy during quick stops). The gauge helps drivers realize that long coast downs and extended soft braking maximize mileage.
Beyond these specifics, the balance of the Escalade Hybrid experience is what you'd find in any Escalade. Cadillac expected 20-percent of 2009 Escalade sales to be hybrid models, but as of this posting, sales are actually running a full 25-percent of the mix. Given that the 2009 Escalade Hybrid costs only $3,600 more than a comparably-equipped non-hybrid, the question potential drivers should ask is not "If I'm going to drive an Escalade, why should it be a Hybrid?" but "If I'm going to drive an Escalade, why would it not be the Hybrid?"