It may be getting a little long in the tooth, but the Cadillac Escalade is still the go-to full-size luxury SUV around here. If you want the biggest, plushest and most luxurious road machine around, the 2019 can Escalade still get the job done.
Believe it or not, the Escalade turns 20 this year. The 2019 model is mostly the same as last year’s Escalade, but it can still get you and yours to grandma’s house in comfort and style.
Available in regular length and ESV extra-long, the 2019 Escalade starts at $76,490. But adding things like 4WD and the extra length can boost the price considerably. The Escalade is offered in Escalade, Luxury, Premium Luxury and Platinum trims, all available with 4WD.
My test Caddy for the week was the ESV 4WD Premium Luxury edition with options and extras that brought the bottom line to more than $97-grand, including freight.
The Escalade’s strongest points are its powerful engine, it’s roomy interior and excellent road manners. When it comes to fuel economy, it gets about what you’d expect: 14 mpg in the city and 23 mpg on the highway (21 highway with 4WD).
The Escalade is offered with one engine: a solid and powerful 6.2-liter V8 that kicks out 420 horsepower and 460 lb.-ft. of torque. If you need the Escalade to get up and go, it will. Its 26-gallon fuel tank gives it an excellent highway range of about 600 miles, even more than that with the 31-gallon tank in the ESV model.
The cabin of the escalade is decidedly upscale with soft leathers, real woods and active noise-cancelling technology. Cadillac offers buyers the Cadillac User Experience (CUE), which offers an 8-inch diagonal color touch screen with navigation and natural voice recognition. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are supported, and the vehicle is a 4G LTE Wi-FI hotspot. There are five USB ports and available wireless device charging.
If you look at the center console in the Escalade, you’ll be hard pressed to find buttons and knobs. That’s because Cadillac has adopted a haptic touch system that provides feedback to your fingers as you touch the spots to select features like climate control and audio. It takes quite a bit of getting used to, but it makes for a clean look on the console.
Coming or going, you’re not going to have any doubt that the Escalade is pure Cadillac. The tall, bold chrome front grille sports a big Caddy shield logo, and the shiny 22-inchers are dominant from the side view. Empire State Building sized LED taillamps make sure that everyone knows when you brake.
Also in back, the dual tailgate is hands-free, programmable and has a cool Cadillac logo light that illuminates the ground. Other features include automatic parking assist, keyless pushbutton start, a power tilt/telescoping and heated steering wheel, heated and ventilated front seats, heated second-row captain’s chairs with a pass-through to Row 3, a 12.3-inch instrument cluster display, Bose Centerpoint audio and a head’s up display that helps keep the driver’s eyes on the road.
When it comes to safety, the 2019 Escalade gets four overall stars in the government’s crash tests, including five stars for the driver in frontal crashes and all passengers in side crashes. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has not yet tested the new Escalade.
The Escalade has a full complement of airbags, all the required stability and traction control systems, surround view cameras, lane change alert with side blind zone alert, a safety alert driver’s seat that vibrates when it wants the driver’s attention, forward collision alert, lane keep assist, adaptive cruise control and forward as well as reverse automatic braking.
My Escalade ESV was a behemoth at 224 inches of overall length and had more than 122 cubic feet of interior volume. Fold down Row 2 and the powered Row 3 and you’ll have more than 94 cubic feet of cargo space.
The Escalade is also able to tow most any of your toys and equipment with its towing capacity of up to 8,300 pounds.
2019 Cadillac Escalade ESV 4WD Premium Luxury
Engine: 6.2-liter V8
Horsepower/Torque: 420/460 lb.-ft.
Transmission: 10-speed automatic
Price: $91,195 ($97,465 with options & freight)
EPA mileage estimates: 14 mpg city/21 mpg highway/17 mpg combined
Estimated Highway Range: 651 miles