Small sport utility vehicles remain the popular choice for most drivers. However, that doesn’t mean large behemoths like the Cadillac Escalade aren’t still residing in driveways throughout this country.
Despite the increasing popularity of subcompact and compact SUVs, the Escalade has demonstrated fairly steady sales over the past six years, never dipping below 21,000 with a high of 24,815 in 2018. The top sales year was 39,017 in 2006.
Even though sales are solid, the 2021 Cadillac Escalade arrives with improvements following a full redesign. The fifth-generation Escalade provides more interior and cargo space than ever before. And that’s saying something for a vehicle already known for its spacious interior.
This is one large SUV. Its measurements are 17 feet, 6 inches in length, 6-7½ wide and 6-4 in height. Depending on the trim model (Luxury, Premium Luxury, Sport, Premium Luxury Platinum, Sport Platinum), the Escalade weights between 5,635 and 5,823 pounds.
Also for 2021, Cadillac has installed a new independent rear suspension that it hypes as adding to what was already a smooth ride. Another addition is offering a diesel engine option.
A standard Escalade isn’t cheap, starting at roughly $76,000. Add on all the available bells and whistles, and the price tag can expand to approximately $116,000.
Let’s not forget large SUVs are major gas guzzlers, too. Cadillac’s flagship SUV has improved historically in this area, yet the latest version with its V8 engine still gets only around 15-20 mpg under normal driving circumstances.
A visually appealing SUV from an exterior standpoint, the 2021 Escalade is even more engaging inside, where it can seat up to eight passengers. That number is reduced to seven with the comfy second row Captain’s Chairs.
In any format, there’s not a bad seat in the house. Up front, passengers get standard 12-way power adjustments and heated and ventilated seats. The second-row bench seating will accommodate three adults and deliver sizable leg and head room.
The third row is where this year’s Escalade has stepped up its game, adding 10 inches of additional leg room, making it even more suitable for adults. The interior has one wireless charging pad and USB-C ports for every row, giving each passenger charging options.
The cargo area has grown in space, maxing out at 121 cubic feet with both rows folded down. There are 25.5 cubes behind the third-row seats and folding it down increases the space to 72.9 cubes.
The Escalade offers upscale technology via its three-screen digital display that combines for 38 inches. That includes a 16.9-inch main infotainment screen and a 14.2-inch instrument cluster. Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration are standard and so is a 19-speaker audio system.
Performance is another Escalade strength, thanks to a 6.2-liter, V8, that generates 420 horsepower and 460 pound-feet of torque. The new diesel engine is a turbocharged 3.0-liter, six-cylinder that produces 277 horsepower and 460 pound-feet of torque.
The standard rear-wheel drive engine is paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission, goes 0-60 mph in 6.7 seconds, and towing capacity is up to 7,700 pounds. We feel four-wheel drive is an option that should be included in the standard package of a luxury SUV.
AT A GLANCE – 2021 CADILLAC ESCALADE
- Performance: 6.2-liter, V8, 420 horsepower; turbocharged 3.0-liter, six-cylinder diesel, 277 horsepower
- Mileage estimate: 15-20 mpg; 20-26 mpg
- Price estimate: $76,300 to $116,100
- Warranty: 4 years/50,000 miles; Drivetrain: 6 years/70,000 miles; Roadside assistance: 6 years/70,000; Corrosion: 6 years/unlimited
Standard safety features include front and rear parking sensors, forward automatic emergency braking, front and rear pedestrian detection, automatic high beams, forward collision warning, rain-sensing wipers, safety alert seat, and teen driver settings (for speed and audio volume limits).
A full redesign gives the 2021 Cadillac Escalade additional roomy seating and cargo space, making it even more luxurious. Overall, it remains an appealing buy, assuming the sticker price isn’t an issue.
Weidel on Wheels is featured regularly on www.tahoeskiworld.com. Auto writer Jeffrey Weidel can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @jeffweidel.