Not an excessive amount of has modified for the mighty Cadillac Escalade because it rolled by means of the Roadshow storage final 12 months. The 2019 mannequin sees just a few former choices turn into normal options as this titan elbows for no matter edge it will possibly discover within the massive luxurious SUV area. With stiff competitors from Lincoln’s Navigator, the Mercedes-Benz GLS and BMW’s new X7, the Escalade actually has its work minimize out for it.
Can just a few new options preserve the Caddy related amongst these brisker fashions? I grabbed the keys to a loaded-up 2019 Cadillac Escalade Platinum ESV to seek out out.
New for 2019
For the 2019 mannequin 12 months, the Escalade’s hands-free energy tailgate turns into a typical characteristic throughout the road. Merely stroll as much as the rear finish with the important thing in your pocket and kick below the bumper, and the rear hatch will routinely open. The identical kicking movement can be utilized to shut the hatch, which is beneficial when your arms are full whereas loading or unloading the SUV.
2019 fashions additionally characteristic a typical rear projector that casts the model’s protect brand onto the bottom close to the rear finish of the SUV at night time. It is just a little gimmicky and does not add a lot in the way in which of performance, however it’s additionally a cool little bit of showy aptitude. Additionally new for 2019 is an out there $2,700 Sport Version look bundle that replaces a lot of the outside chrome trim with shiny black bits and swaps 22-inch darkish Midnight Silver alloy wheels into the Escalade’s arches. My basic black and chrome instance was not so-equipped.
King of capaciousness
One benefit that the Escalade continues to wave within the face of its competitors is its outright measurement. The 2019 Escalade Platinum stretches 203.9 inches from bumper to bumper with a 116-inch wheelbase. Most cargo area is acknowledged at an ample 94.2 cubic ft with the second and third rows folded, which falls wanting the Navigator’s 103.four cubic ft, however bests the X7’s 90.four and edges out the GLS’ 93.Eight cubic ft.
My even-larger ESV mannequin stretches its midsection by 14 inches, using on a 130-inch wheelbase Ã‚Â and standing 224 inches lengthy total. The additional size frees up a formidable 120.9 cubic ft of cargo area with its second and third rows flattened. Lincoln’s Navigator L presents an identical long-wheelbase remedy, however falls behind the Escalade by 0.7 cubic ft of area behind the primary row. Discuss shut competitors.
6.2-liter V8 engine
A lad this huge wants a correct engine, so the ‘Lade is rocking the identical 6.2-liter V8 engine it is used because the 2015 mannequin 12 months. Output is regular on at 420 peak horsepower and 460 pound-feet of torque. Final 12 months, the powertrain was up to date with a brand new normal 10-speed computerized transmission that improved smoothness and efficiency, and I am glad to report that this 2019 mannequin feels as strong as ever, with robust acceleration and a cloud-like experience on its normal Magnetic Trip Management adaptive suspension.
A drive mode selector permits the driving force to decide on between Sport and comfort-oriented Touring settings, however except for firming up the experience to a degree pointless for a automobile as huge as this, and making the engine breathe a bit extra loudly, I did not really feel a lot distinction within the efficiency between the modes. It is best to simply go away it in Touring and revel in how the large Caddy soaks up mile after easy mile of freeway.
The 10-speed gearbox additionally helps effectivity, complementing the usual cylinder deactivation expertise to bump the EPA’s economic system estimates for my rear-wheel-drive mannequin to 14 miles per gallon metropolis and 23 mpg freeway. The cylinder deactivation is pretty aggressive, shifting to four-cylinder operation incessantly when coasting, cruising or throughout deceleration, however you would not discover save for a “V4” icon that periodically seems within the instrument cluster to point the gas saver was energetic. The mode change is fast and imperceptible.
Stepping as much as 4WD drops the freeway estimate to 21 mpg. Nevertheless it provides a two-speed switch case and the power to toggle between rear-wheel-drive and 4×4 operation with the twist of a knob — or you’ll be able to simply let the Cadillac’s pc deal with the change routinely. Whereas the 4WD system improves the SUV’s traction potential, its towing capability of 8,100 kilos is 200 kilos lower than the 2WD mannequin. (Stretching to the ESV mannequin additional reduces that capability by one other 200 kilos.)
The extra issues keep the identical
For higher or worse, the remainder of the Escalade’s security tech, cabin tech and comfort options are unchanged for 2019. Earlier than checking a single additional field, my line-topping Platinum mannequin rolled in with the overwhelming majority of the bells and whistles in Cadillac’s repertoire, together with a refrigerated field for bevs within the middle console, massaging entrance seats — although nowhere close to as good as Benz’s massaging buckets — Ã‚Â normal wi-fi telephone charging and a three-screen rear seat leisure system with a Blu-Ray participant.
Security expertise highlights embody adaptive cruise management, computerized excessive beams, ahead collision warning with computerized braking help, semi-automatic parking help, blind-spot monitoring and extra. I am not an enormous fan of Cadillac’s older-generation lane maintaining help; it felt obscure, solely so little help so late that I used to be usually not sure if the characteristic was even energetic. General, the Escalade’s driver assist tech checks lots of the proper packing containers, however feels a technology behind the competitors from Lincoln and BMW. Nonetheless, just a little tech assist is best than none in any respect, I suppose. All of those options are normal on the Platinum trim degree, however many are additionally out there optionally at decrease trims.
Cadillac’s Cue dashboard tech suite can also be beginning to really feel a bit dated. The system makes use of an 8-inch diagonal show with haptic suggestions that buzzes barely whenever you contact it. That display screen appeared massive just some years in the past however now that we have been spoiled by footlong shows within the BMW X5 and X7, it feels a bit small and low-resolution, mounted so distant from the driving place within the Escalade’s broad dashboard. And I am nonetheless not a fan of the capacitive buttons and awkward quantity slider that encompass the Escalade’s dashboard show.
The Cue software program that powers Cadillac’s infotainment is properly organized and simple sufficient to make use of whereas driving. I discovered the menus a bit gradual to answer inputs at instances, however I by no means acquired misplaced or confused navigating the interface. An out there 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot ought to assist preserve passengers linked, and normal Android Auto and Apple CarPlay do quite a bit to stretch the performance and fill in a number of the gaps in Cue’s characteristic set. Nevertheless, Cadillac’s dashboard tech is in determined want of an overhaul if it expects to stay aggressive.
Tailing the competitors
The 2019 Cadillac Escalade begins at $76,490 for the bottom 2WD mannequin with the usual wheelbase, or $79,490 for the long-wheelbase ESV 2WD. Nevertheless, my Platinum ESV 2WD is shut to completely loaded at $98,840 as-tested. Stepping as much as 4WD would add $3,000 to the underside line. There is a candy spot only one step down within the lineup on the Premium Luxurious trim degree, however at $86,490 for the usual wheelbase, it is nonetheless a dear proposition.
Drivers in search of the newest and biggest in large-scale luxurious will possible discover extra to like within the new Lincoln Navigator, the upcoming 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLS or — should you do not want the most important three-row SUV on the block — BMW’s new X7. Cadillac’s deep reductions — with incentives at the moment sitting at about $7,500 — assist preserve the 2019 Escalade afloat competitively, however I might additionally contemplate looking for 2018 fashions which will nonetheless be kicking round your native dealership. There’s nearly no distinction in any respect this 12 months, so scoring a candy deal on an older mannequin is a win-win.
I might additionally suggest that you just preserve a watch out for the next-generation 2020 Cadillac Escalade, which needs to be simply across the nook. Based mostly on what we have seen from Basic Motors’ most up-to-date pickup vans, the following Esky ought to pack a brand new platform, new suspension and, hopefully, an overhauled and way more aggressive cabin and security tech suite. For extra affected person Cadillac devotees, it ought to undoubtedly be definitely worth the wait.