Written by: Stephen Spyropoulos
Photography by: Stephen Spyropoulos
Sixteen years, four generations, and one word — epic. The Cadillac Escalade has always been the epitome of what it means to be baller. Synonymous with rap music videos and VIP escorts, the Escalade is a staple of luxury on four wheels. When you see one on the road you inadvertently shift your gaze towards the overly large 22-inch rims wrapped in rubber, and the Dark Granite Metallic exterior paint that glitters just right during a sunset. I found myself looking back every time I parked it - only a handful of cars are able to register this kind of reaction. I thought to myself throughout the week, this Escalade is like an addiction.
For many years, the Escalade has sometimes fallen a bit short of expectations. Aside from the looks, the Escalades of yesteryear were pretty slow, had cheap interiors, and carried sloppy brakes that felt like you were pushing on two SOS pads trying to slow down a freight train at full tilt. Stated simply, they were better when they were motionless and serving as stationary objects in music videos.
Thankfully, the new Escalade has done away with the boring driving dynamics in favour of refinement, power, and for once, I’d actually call it fun to drive. Pressing your foot down and hearing the 6.2-litre V-8 roar to life is a sound that even Mozart could agree with. Everyone on this green Earth needs a V-8 in his or her life, even if it makes you feel dirty on the inside for all that pollutant being spilt into the air.
The Escalade is an imposing presence on the road. The sharp lines and the sheer size of the vehicle make pedestrians turn their heads just to appreciate the architecture on four wheels. The large rear taillights look like they have been ripped straight from a modern art exhibit, the door handles light up with LEDs to guide your hand, and the massive front grille looks like it was borrowed from the front end of a semi.
There is not one aspect of the exterior that does not shout beauty. The Escalade stands out among the rest of the primordial ooze on the road. It may be brash and vulgar but this SUV represents so much more than just the brand behind it. The car celebrates what it means to consume and be conspicuous. The level of attention to detail is unparalleled; the exterior highlights on the Escalade make it a true luxury product. Buyers looking to drop some hard earned cash on an SUV will not be disappointed, even if it was just based on looks alone.
Once the reverie wears off, you can have the opportunity to open the door and step on the $1,920 power retractable running boards, and hop into a revelation. The interior of the Platinum trim Escalade had more leather, suede, and wood than a 7-Series BMW. Unfortunately, Cadillacs of Christmas past have been known to have some panel gaps, loose parts, and creaky interiors. This was a hallmark that persisted throughout the 2000s and much of the Escalade’s lifespan.
Finally, this generation of Escalade solves all of that and more. The premium feeling nappa leather extends from the first row into the second rows, giving passengers in the rear the opportunity to feel the opulence. This leather is so comfortable that I found myself wanting to find the button where I could have a television pop-out of the dash, extend a foot rest, and relax in pure bliss.
Just when you thought the interior couldn’t get any better, Billy Mays’ trope comes to mind; “But wait, there’s more!” Both front seats have massaging features that knead and press on your back to release any strain you have accumulated from your adventures—in my case, a long bout of traffic in Toronto’s downtown core after a Maple Leafs game. Best part is, I don’t have to put a quarter in any time I want a massage.
The interior features of this Escalade go on and on, from having one of the industry’s best heads-up display unit, a 12-inch fully reconfigurable digital gauge cluster, dual DVD screens that are on the back of the front seat headrests, 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot capability, a cooling compartment similar to the ones you find in Range Rovers, dual-paned side windows to keep out unnecessary noise, a booming Bose sound system that would make the Rolling Stones proud, to even power adjustable foot pedals — I mean come on, who thinks of that?
Like I mentioned before, the 2016 Escalade is a dream to drive. Power from the 420 horsepower 6.2-litre V-8 is fed to either the rear wheels or all four if you so choose. Press the sport mode button and the 8-speed automatic transmission will let you take the V-8 higher on the tachometer, but play with fire for too long and you’ll find yourself approaching airport runway speeds.
If you have ever heard someone say that their Cadillac drives like it is on a cloud, chances are they have GM’s Magnetic Ride Control. This suspension setup has been proven to be extremely smooth without compromising driving dynamics, nor does it come close to being called too soft. Carrying the Escalade’s 2,648 kg curb weight, Magnetic Ride Control must be up to the task of handling even the toughest of roads—and it did it, flawlessly.
Throughout the week I averaged a very sad 15.5 L/100km with a mix of 50/50 city and highway. This is a bit off the 13.9 L/100km rated average, but I blame the cold weather and winter gas. Luckily, with the price of oil being where it is right now, I did not feel completely empty after filling it up with 91-octane fuel (it’s recommended but not required on the Cadillac). Given the right conditions, and thanks to cylinder deactivation (from 8 to 4 cylinders), I know the Escalade would be able to reach its rated average.
However, I would have liked to see the implementation of an auto start/stop feature. Oddly enough, this feature is found on cars with much smaller powerplants, like the V-6 CTS, so I was bewildered that this car did not feature it. Another gripe I found was that although the interior was fantastic, little things would come up and bug me and make me wonder why more attention was not applied to it: the petite sunroof, parts of the interior carpet that look incredibly fragile, as well as the odd third row that never quite folds down 100% flat.
When it comes to pricing, the Escalade is not a cheap car. For the money you would have to spend on this “land-yacht”, you might feel inclined to have it christened with your name along the backside. Ringing in at over $100,000, the Escalade plays hardball in a market saturated with overpriced goods and brand name items.
However, unlike some brands that demand top-dollar and offer little to no ROI (return on investment) the Escalade delivers, and it delivers every time you start the motor. It makes the perfect all-year-round SUV. One you can bring to the beach in the morning and then take to a black-tie event in the evening, all while looking like somebody important.
Throughout my test week, whenever I asked someone if they wanted a ride, I would ask them if they wanted a ride in ‘the beast’, or ‘the tank’. Heck, every time I drove it I felt like I was in a music video. I had come to love the Escalade, so when it came time to return the keys at the end, I had wondered if I’d start to feel symptoms of withdrawal. It’s been a week since, and I’m missing those massaging seats already.
型号 Model: 2016 Cadillac Escalade Platinum 4WD
顏色 Paint Type: Dark Granite Metallic
廠方建議售價 Base Price: $101,720
試車售價 Price as Tested: $103,740
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: 16.0 / 11.2 / 13.9
輪胎尺碼 Tires: P285/45R22