Written by: Calvin Chan
Photography by: Don Cheng
If I had a dollar for every time someone gave me a dirty look while driving this Escalade, I could probably afford one. Not all GM SUVs and trucks particularly look “badass” but when its got this much chrome, certain stereotypes of the driver do tend to follow: drug money, gangsters, rappers, celebrities, sugar daddies, the list goes on and on.
But I’ve grown a deep affinity towards this juggernaut of an SUV. There’s something about its road presence and the fact that it looks like a blinged out firetruck that draws my appeal. Though I’d prefer my Escalade to sport an all-black look with darkened 22-inch wheels and smoked out headlights, the Crystal Red paint that adorns our tester looks mature and graceful.
New for the 2015.5 model is Cadillac’s newly unwreathed logo, 4G LTE data hotspot capability, an 8-speed automatic transmission that trumps the old 6-speed in fuel consumption, and a top-of-the-line Platinum trim which you see here on our tester. Loaded up with a stout V8 and enough room to fit a soccer team, the Escalade is indulgence on a grandiose scale.
For an extra $8,840 over the Premium trim, the Platinum trim offers buyers unique 22-inch wheels with chrome inserts, Nappa semi-aniline leather seating, 18-way adjustable front seats with massage, dual DVD screens on the backside of the front row headrests, a center console cooler box, a microfiber suede headliner, platinum embossed sill plates and a liberal use of wood throughout the cabin. And just so that your extra cash doesn’t go unnoticed, Cadillac sticks a subtle “P” badge on the tailgate of the vehicle, which is frankly the most understated part of this $100k bling machine.
Towering rear lights are the main spectacle of the exterior – a massive streak of LEDs brighter than your last game of Candy Crush. The theme runs rampant to the front too with a monumental chin of chrome and sparkles. And don’t underestimate the size of this lofty SUV; it’s one tall mothertrucker. Luckily our tester was equipped with the optional Power Retractable Assist Steps ($1,920) that automatically ejected out when we approached the door for easy entry and exit.
Underneath the leather wrapped center console lies an enormous cooler box exclusive to the Platinum trim. The sheer size of it makes the Range Rover’s look dinky and miniature. It doesn’t cool very fast though, so I’d suggest putting in a bag of ice in there before setting off on your journey.
One of the more attractive elements to the Escalade’s size is its commanding composure on the streets. You sit higher than most SUVs and sedans, allowing for an unobstructed view of the road ahead – it’s also easier to peek into people’s windows. Not only is the Escalade easy to park with all the loaded tech: rear view camera, 360-degree views, seats that vibrate as a form of alert when you’re approaching an object, blind spot monitoring, and cross traffic alert, but you’d have to actively be trying to dent your prized possession.
Speaking of technology, the Escalade is overflowing with it. New for the 2015.5 model is the ability to use your car as a hotspot for 4G LTE data. The Escalade has the capability to produce its own Wi-Fi signal, meaning you can pair your phone or laptop devices and leach off of it for Internet. Unfortunately, our press car’s data plan expired so we weren’t able to test it out.
On the bright side, there’s a slotted pocket on top of the center console that acts as a storage area for your phone and doubles as a wireless phone charger. However you’ll need the accompanying adapter for your specific phone, which wasn’t available to us either. CUE – Cadillac’s infotainment system – continues to be aggravating with it’s sliding controls and convoluted menus, however the more we use it, the easier it gets over time. Be warned, the learning curve is steep. I should point out though that the screen’s quality and resolution is really, really good.
A big truck wouldn’t feel right without a big V8 under the hood. Gracing our presence is GM’s 6.2-litre EcoTec3 V8 that delivers 17 hp and 43 lb-ft. more than the 2014 model. The numbers now total at 420 hp and 460 lb-ft. Power comes on smoothly and makes a hell of a riot at wide-open throttle. Body roll is also surprisingly minimal for a car of this size and magnitude.
All new is an 8-speed automatic transmission that is also shared with performance cars like the ATS-V and the CTS-V. It’s one slick unit. Cadillac’s V8 engine also makes use of Active Fuel Management that cuts down half of the cylinders under light load, meaning the Escalade can operate with only four cylinders if needed, heavily decreasing the amount of fuel used. Combined with the more efficient transmission, we achieved better numbers than our last 2015 Escalade tester that had the 6-speed transmission. This time around we averaged 14.8 L/100km – it’s no longer stuck in 1990’s fuel consumption numbers.
The Escalade provided a ride that wasn’t heavily taxing even with those massive 22-inch wheels. Awkwardly, those wheels look small on the car, so I can’t imagine what 20-inch wheels would look like – perhaps a sumo wrestler with small shoes? The ride isn’t as comfortable as a Range Rover but the Escalade still manages to absorb bumps and potholes easily with its Magnetic Ride Control suspension system.
The brakes on the Escalade are a little scary. They’re mushy, lack bite, and fairly disappointing when you need to stop 2,649 kg of rolling mass in a short distance. You really need to plan your stopping distance and push the brake ahead of time and earlier than normal. A quick remedy on the highway is to make use of the excellent Adaptive Cruise Control where the systems automatically tail the vehicle in front of you, slowing down and speeding up accordingly.
Another issue is the amount of dead weight and resistance on the gas pedal. It makes it a tough ride to drive smoothly. The brake and gas pedal are also positioned incredibly far apart, and the brake is annoyingly higher than the gas pedal, making for awkward heel placements and strain on your ankles. The pedals are adjustable fore and aft but they move in unison.
Hitting up just a tick over $100,000, it’s hard to go wrong with this fully loaded Escalade Platinum. It’s giving Range Rover a run for its money with a high-class interior and tasteful choice of materials. It’s actually better than the Range Rover in many ways: it has optional power assisting steps, a third row of seats to fit a total of 7-8 passengers, a bigger cooler box, more chrome, a cheaper price tag, and though it’s not as good looking or does it carry as much off-roading history, the Escalade is still one SUV that offers all the bling you need, coupled with a fuel-conscious transmission and one hell of an engine.
型号 Model: 2015 Cadillac Escalade Platinum 4WD
顏色 Paint Type: Crystal Red
廠方建議售價 Base Price: $100,785
試車售價 Price as Tested: $102,860
軸距 Wheelbase(mm): 2,946
長闊 Length/Width/Height (mm): 5,197 / 2,045 / 1,890
車重 Curb weight (kg): 2,649
引擎 Engine: 6.2L DI V8 engine, VVT, AFM
最大馬力 Horsepower: 420 hp @ 5,600 rpm
最高扭力 Torque: 460 lb-ft @ 4,100 rpm
波箱 Transmission: 8-speed automatic
擺佈 Engine & Drive Configuration: Front engine, AWD
前懸 Suspension-Front: SLA independent, Magnetic Ride Control, stabilizer bar
後懸 Suspension-Rear: 5-link, solid axle, coil spring, Magnetic Ride Control, stabilizer bar
油耗 Fuel Consumption (City/Highway/Combined)- L/100 km: 15.9 / 11.1 / 13.8
輪胎尺碼 Tires: P285/45R22