The Escalade is all-new for 2015, though onlookers wouldn’t notice this without paying attention to some details. The 2015 Cadillac Escalade retains its signature styling and bigger-than-life persona and we like it for that.
Quick Specs & Info
|2015 Cadillac Escalade||Class: Full-size luxury SUV|
|Base Model||As Tested: 4WD Premium|
|Powertrain||6.2L V8, 8spd auto||Powertrain||6.2L V8, 8spd auto|
|Base MSRP||$72,970||MSRP as tested||$89,360|
The Escalade is not for everyone. Many people do not like the big sport utility’s heavy styling and bling-filled personality. Yet it’s often a best-seller in the segment regardless. For this new design, the 2015 Escalade builds on its past with an even blockier look and some in-your-face details.
The 2015 Escalade has straight lines and squares, with occasional angles poking out, as its general theme in exterior styling. The rear taillamps sit on top-to-bottom “fins” running up and down next to the hatch. Squared window frames, a straight roofline, and a truck-ish square front end complete the look. We note that the boat prow grille has been heavily deemphasized, and to good effect.
Inside the 2015 Cadillac Escalade
The interior of the 2015 Cadillac Escalade is all Caddy. No one else can pull off this level of bling with the same high count of materials as Cadillac can. Not without looking way over the top, anyway. We’ve reviewed a few Cadillac models, all with similar boldly luxurious interiors, and it’s very easy to like them.
Comfort is king in the 2015 Escalade, though bling is definitely the queen. Premium, high-quality materials proliferate the spacious cabin of the Escalade. Both the driver and front passenger are treated to very adjustable seats with a lot of room. The second row is almost equally as comfortable, with plenty of legroom and headroom for anyone ranging from small children to NBA players.
The third row is mostly for kids, though, with little legroom and not much headroom. Cargo space is great with plenty to go around whether seats are up or folded. The electric third row controls are a boon and the optional second row folding buttons accessed from the cargo area are also a nice touch. The hatch can be opened with a sweep of the foot and the loading deck is at just about waist height for most people, making it convenient for normal daily use.
One downer is the Cadillac CUE interface, which dominates the center stack. It can be frustrating to use, though we like the simplistic main menu and high-resolution screen. Below the CUE touchscreen are a set of dedicated control buttons for climate and such, making these things much more intuitive. That control panel slides up to reveal a hidden compartment behind which a USB plug and felt-lined box making it perfectly suited for an MP3 player or other device you want hidden away.
Under the 2015 Escalade’s Hood
The 2015 Cadillac Escalade is motivated by a big 6.2-liter V8 and eight-speed automatic transmission. That engine, which we also saw in the GMC Sierra Denali, produces 420 horsepower and 460 pound-feet of torque and the powertrain is capable of towing up to 8,300 pounds.
Rear-wheel drive is standard and four-wheel drive is optional. We drove the 4WD model and averaged 16 mpg over our week’s mixed driving. The EPA rates the 2015 Escalade at 17 mpg combined (15 city, 22 highway) in RWD and at 17 mpg combined (15/21) in 4WD. Note that early editions of the 2015 Escalade had a six-speed automatic which lowered fuel economy by about a point.
Out on the Road in the 2015 Escalade
The big V8 does a solid job of motivating the 2015 Escalade around town and out on the highway. The interior is very quiet and easy to get comfortable in, though the ride is a bit more harsh than in some competitors. The truck-like feel of the Escalade for the driver has both good and bad points – mostly good. A high seating position, good visibility, and great driver aids, such as blind spot warning that vibrates seating, are bonuses.
The Escalade passes, accelerates, and moves about town well. It shines most on the highway, though, where the bumpy suspension is smoother on longer drives.
The large, luxury SUV segment retains a few true body-on-frame contenders and all of them have their high and low points. The Lincoln Navigator is often considered a lower-cost, more efficient option. For those willing to spend, though, a Lexus LX 570 might be even more ostentatious. For pure refinement we like the Infiniti QX80 as well. Choices often come down to style and the Cadillac definitely has its own appeal.
- Bold styling with a strong presence.
- Posh interior.
- Bold style may not fit everyone.
- Ride can be a little rough for a luxury vehicle.
The 2015 Cadillac Escalade will not appeal to everyone, but it’s a strong seller in the luxury SUV market and those who’ve driven one can see why. It has a certain appeal and stand-out nature that others might miss. Although its in-your-face attitude isn’t for everyone, it is a great SUV with more than enough capability to match its ostentatious luxury.
Test Period Length and Limitations
The Escalade was a manufacturer’s press loan for about a week. During that time, various passenger and cargo loads were carried in mixed driving conditions. A total of 141 miles were put on the SUV.