Cadillac’s flagship SUV, the Escalade, landed in our driveway at the perfect time, as it was just a day before we had to make a trip up to Weber County for the annual Ogden-Weber Chamber of Commerce awards gala at Peery’s Egyptian Theater, where Craig’s sisters Marci and Christi were going to be part of receiving the Chamber Impact Award.
The large SUV is built to be a luxurious people-hauler, so what better opportunity than to take six adults dressed for a formal night out to the gala in complete and perfect style? After the trip, we were sure that the Escalade was in fact designed for just such a night.
With air shocks that will actually lower the vehicle closer to the ground it was perfect for getting the ladies in and out with dresses on. This system actually activates at highway speeds to lower the large SUV to try to eke out every extra mpg it can.
With a history such as the Escalade has, becoming one of the frontrunners in the large luxury SUV market, it was not surprising that it came with the large 6.2-liter gas engine as a power plant that would produce a very nice 420 horsepower and 460 foot-pounds of torque. New this year is a diesel engine to power the flagship Cadillac, a Duramax I6 engine with only 277 horsepower but the same amount or torque!
This may turn out to be a great way to go with the larger SUV, as it would not have been a great leap to get better mileage than the 13.9 mpg we averaged for the week. It would be interesting to see if the diesel would do any better. However, we always have to imagine when a vehicle’s price is north of $100,000, the cost of fuel is most likely not a concern.
The new Escalade is loaded with all kinds of luxury and amenities to keep not only the driver but all of the passengers engaged and completely comfortable, which is pretty much where the sisters and spouses landed after our night out in Ogden.
Having twin captain’s chairs in the second row proved to be a real help in getting our third couple into the rear-most seat. Once they did, however, they were in complete comfort with plenty of leg room to enjoy the ride, a testament to the cavernous interior of the SUV that has over 170 cubic feet of inside space — really more like a small hotel room on wheels!
New this year are twin screens for the two in the captain’s chairs that would hook up to any device via an HDMI or USB cable or even allowed screen mirroring from smart phones. These screens were 12.6 inches of LED wonder, were controlled by touch, played games and would display navigation from the SUV.
No more “Are we there yet?” comments from the kids, as they could keep track of any location on their own screens, somewhat like on an airplane as you watch its path to your destination. The best — or perhaps the worst — part was each rear seat occupant could suggest new or different destinations that the driver could accept or reject form the front seat.
If accepted, the Escalade would load the navigation information onto the front screen and all would be ready for a new adventure.
Speaking of the screen up front, Cadillac has come up with an industry first curved, high-definition OLED screen set up for the driver. The way that this has been integrated into the design of the SUV was more a work of art than just an infotainment screen.
It was the complete focal point for the front seat and took up a dramatic 38 inches of total viewing space as it quite literally wrapped itself around the driver. It was really three screens in one, starting at the driver’s left with a 7.2-inch touch control panel for driving information, moving right into a 14.2-inch driver display with all the vital vehicle functions displayed and ending with a 16.9-inch infotainment touchscreen/display.
It was an outstanding design and curved perfectly for optimal viewing by the driver, yet still allowing the front passenger to manipulate the infotainment functions. Add to this an included heads-up display and what more could we have asked for on the long ride to Ogden?
We have driven luxury vehicles before that have had plenty of LED screen up front. But in our humble opinion, Cadillac has done it the best so far, making it fit so nicely into the interior and adding to the flow of luxury we would have expected from a new design.
Other great touches to the interior included the high-gloss, hand-inlaid wood accents, massaging seats up front and an incredible, all-new 36-speaker — yes, that is the right number — AKG sound system. AKG is known worldwide for its state-of-the-art microphones and headphones that are used by many professionals. This is the first time they have come into a new vehicle with their sound equipment; it was fantastic!
Safety? Yes, everything we could have thought of was included with the Escalade, and even some things we didn’t like trailer blind spot monitor and a brake pad monitor. In fact, the Cadillac would pull up to 8,000 pounds of weight if heading out for a family adventure for the weekend. It would just be a very comfortable way to get there, and the kids may even opt to sleep in the car!
The all-new 2021 Cadillac Escalade is a huge statement of luxury and sets the standard for others to reach in the coming years. What a great time for a night out in the perfect SUV!
Base Price: $102,995
Price as Driven: $109,500