This luxury SUV is poised to be the best Escalade ever.
The all-new, 2021 Cadillac Escalade has arrived in style, and it is a big deal!
Unlike its predecessors, the fifth-generation Escalade rises far above and beyond its Chevrolet Tahoe and GMC Yukon mechanical twins in tech and opulence. Cadillac didn’t hold back this time around, and people will certainly take notice.
We can talk extensively about everything this full-size luxury SUV does right, but for the sake of your attention span, let’s focus on the things that stand out the most.
With that said, here are 10 things I like about the new Cadillac Escalade.
1. Exquisite Interior Design
The interior is what pops out the most. The design is inspired by the stunning Cadillac Escala concept, and it looks, feels and probably smells opulent because of it.
The Tri-screen layout provides a high-tech vibe without making the interior too minimalist or too cold.
Designers elevated the Escalade’s fit and finish to bring it inline with luxury competitors like Mercedes-Benz and BMW, swathing the cabin in real wood trim and leather with intricate quilting and piping.
The different layers, colors and textures work cohesively together to deliver a warm, cozy, and rich ambiance and an inviting environment to spend some quality time in.
2. Curved OLED Display
The centerpiece of the exquisite interior is a massive curved OLED display — a first for the Escalade — that offers over 38 inches of total diagonal display area, with twice the pixel density of a 4K television.
The display is divided into three screens that extend from the left of the dash to nearly in front of the passenger. A 7.2-inch touchscreen left of the steering wheel and a 14.2-inch digital instrument cluster provide key driver information, while a massive 16.9-inch touchscreen serves as the main infotainment center for the driver and front passenger.
You will be happy to know that all three OLED screens come standard on every Escalade model.
3. 36-Speaker AKG Sound System
Ever heard of AKG? If not, just know that the three letters have long been synonymous with professional recording equipment.
The 2021 Escalade is the Austrian-based, Samsung-owned audio company’s first foray into the automotive world, and it brought along two impressive audio systems.
A 19-speaker audio system with a 14-channel amplifier comes standard, but you can upgrade it to an even more impressive AKG 36-speaker system that sources power from three amplifiers to create sound in 28 channels.
The latter has sound emitters throughout the cabin, including in the ceiling, headrests and even the center console.
Given AKG’s solid reputation for delivering world-class sound, the new Escalade will likely not leave you wanting in the way of audio quality. The company is an exclusive partner of Cadillac for the time being.
4. Augmented Reality Navigation
The 2021 Escalade introduces a new turn-by-turn navigation capability that projects onto the centre display a live street view in front of the vehicle, overlaying the scene with turn indicators and other directional information.
It also provides advanced direction-based audio prompts via the AKG audio system. For example, a “turn left” audio prompt emits through the left speakers to further emphasize the navigation instruction, with the volume increasing as you get closer to the turn.
5. Air Ride Adaptive Suspension
Three suspensions are available: A standard steel suspension, the fourth-generation of GM’s lauded magnetic ride control system, and an Escalade-first air-ride suspension.
The air-ride-suspension has 4-inches of travel and utilizes Magnetic Ride Control to deliver automatic load-leveling and ride-height adjustments continuously.
For example, it automatically lowers ride height to improve aerodynamics when driving on the highway, while driver-selectable settings lower the suspension to make it easier for passengers to enter and exit the vehicle when it’s parked or load cargo.
Need to drive off-road? Simply raise the body for more ground clearance.
6. Independent Rear Suspension
The Escalade has finally done away with its antiquated solid rear axle setup for an independent rear suspension.
This setup gives the large SUV better ride quality on all road conditions, especially when coupled with the available Air Ride adaptive suspension, as well as improve its handling characteristics.
It also frees up room in the interior for more passenger space, especially in the third-row.
7. More Interior Room
The 2021 CadillaC Escalades has a much roomier than previous Escalades, not only because the space-saving independent rear suspension but also because the regular-length Escalade has grown an extra 4.9 inches in wheelbases and 6.7 inches in overall length.
The end result is 10 more inches of legroom for third row passengers and a full 66 percent increase in cargo space when all seats are up, which means full grown adults can finally sit comfortably in the third-row.
Need even more room? The long-wheelbase Escalade ESV has you covered, especially in the cargo department. Like the Chevy Suburban and GMC Yukon XL, this behamouth is the very definition of a land yacht, and might very well be the roomiest full-size SUV you can buy.
8. Electronic Limited-Slip Differential
An electronic limited-slip differential (eLSD) is available for the first time ever on an Escalade, and it provides more precise traction and power engagement for the rear wheels.
The eLSD’s infinitely variable clutch engagement delivers torque to the wheel with the most traction in all driving conditions, including while cornering and driving in wet weather.
Yet more reason to feel safer and more confident behind the wheel of the new Escalade.
9. Diesel Power
The 2021 Escalade’s go-to engine will be GM’s tried-and-tested 6.2-liter V8, which with its 420 horsepower and 460 lb-ft. of torque, provides enough muscle to haul the gargantuan SUV.
But as capable as the 6.2-liter V8 is, the real highlight is the smaller 3.0-liter inline-six turbodiesel that debuted in GM’s latest pickup trucks. Phenomenally smooth and oozing with torque, it delivers 277 hp and 460 lb-ft of twist.
All engines are mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission with electronic shift control.
In the GMC Sierra, on which the Escalade is based, the Duramax diesel engine achieves an EPA estimated fuel economy of 23 mpg city and 30 mpg highway, which seems too good to be true for a vehicle that big until you realize that some drivers get even better numbers.
Needless to say, expect the diesel Escalade to deliver segment-leading fuel economy
10. Super Cruise Hands-Free Driving
And then there is Super Cruise, General Motors’ industry-leading semi-autonomous driving tech and the only truly hands-free driving system currently on the market.
The 2021 Escalade is the first full-size SUV to come with Super Cruise, allowing it to drive itself on more than 200,000 miles (320,000 km) of compatible highways in the United States and Canada.
In fact, the Super Cruise in the Escalade is an enhanced version with several new features, notably an automated lane change capability that lets you execute a hands-free lane change by simply using the turn signal to indicate the desired lane.
What Do You Think?
With the new, 2021 Cadillac Escalade, it looks like GM let Cadillac be Cadillac. We think it has the interior, luxury and tech features, and presence to do battle with cross-town rival, the Lincoln Navigator, and the best Europe has to offer, but what do you think?
Do you agree with our assessment, and are there any other features or improvements you would add to the list?
Share your thoughts in the comments below, and as always, stay tuned to Too Manly for the latest on everything men love.