Reviews

2016 Cadillac Escalade Walk Around


Ever since its 1999 debut, the Escalade has been the converse of subtlety. Big, bold, upright, and slathered with generally tasteful trim, GM’s prime SUV has been making an intense statement at every step.

Evolution through two generations has brought refinement, turning the Escalade into a more mature, sophisticated example of crisp SUV styling, augmenting Cadillac’s heritage. Stacked LED front lighting, in particular, suggests the dramatic appeal of classic Cadillac fins of the 1950s and 1960s. From nose to tail, the ultimate effect is crisp and sophisticated. Huge LED light-blade taillamps frame the tailgate and illuminate the Cadillac crest.

Interior

The sculpted, welcoming cabin counters the elegant SUV’s sharply creased body. Cut-and-sewn upholstery comes in leather and suede, and wood trim choices include an exquisite open-pore selection.

Front seats are heated and cooled. The focal point is Cadillac’s tablet-like CUE touchscreen, which may be activated by voice, touch, or swiping gestures. The system now features 4G LTE connectivity and Apple CarPlay compatibility. Clustered around the 12.3-inch display are digital gauges, configurable in four themes.

An optional head-up display projects information into the driver’s view. The quiet cabin results from abundant sound deadening and Bose active noise cancellation.

The seven- or eight-passenger cabin is vast, elegant, and handsomely upholstered. Space has improved in the current generation, especially up front. Seats are soft yet supportive, with multiple adjustments, including lumbar. Door panels have pads that cushion elbows.

Second-row legroom and head space are better than ever, but the standard heated bucket seats feel a bit narrow. A three-seat bench is optional.

While adults will fit in the standard third-row seat, and legroom space is good, seat cushions are near the floor. Second- and third-row seats fold by touching a button, and the cargo floor is waist-height. Space behind the third row totals 15.2 cubic feet, growing to 94.2 with both rear seats folded (120.9 in the mammoth Escalade ESV).

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