2021 Cadillac Escalade

#9
in Suvs
2021 MODEL
$76,195 - $102,995
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6.8

Overall Rating

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2021 Cadillac Escalade Complete In-depth Review & Buying Guide

Updated on: July 20, 2020

John Bedrow's image
John Bedrow

Automotive Journalist


The Escalade has been redefining the standards of full-size SUVs inAmerica in the Cadillac family since 1999. It has been the go-to luxury SUV for the brand and by deviating from its traditional body-on-frame construction for independent rear suspensions, the 2021 Cadillac Escalade just set the standard again.

See detailed review »

Pros

An impressive list of standard and optional driver assistances

A class-exclusive optional diesel engine

The roomier interior space with a new design scheme

Cons

Isn’t a very capable off-roader

Poor maneuverability

What's New?

The new redesign for 2021

Increased interior space for rear passengers

Cadillac's latest driver aid - Super Cruise

Introduced as part of the fifth Escalade generation for 2021


Pictures & Videos

exterior
interior
Videos
2021 Cadillac Escalade Detailed Review video
2021 Cadillac Escalade Interior video
2021 Cadillac Escalade Exterior video

Styles

2021 Cadillac Escalade in Black Raven color 2021 Cadillac Escalade in Crystal White color 2021 Cadillac Escalade in Dark Adriatic Blue Metallic color
Black Raven

Vehicle images are guides only and may not reflect the model's exact specifications/features– exact specifications/features should be confirmed with the seller.

Ratings

Features

5.0

Safety

6.0

Competition

8.0

6.8

OVERALL RATING

Trims and Configurations

MSRP


2021 Cadillac Escalade Luxury

Luxury

power
420 hp @ 5600 rpm
fuel
Premium unleaded (recommended)
mpg
17 combined

$76,195 - $79,195


Style Prices MPG Engine Transmission Drivetrain Seats Colors
Luxury 4dr SUV (6.2L 8cyl 10A) Starting at $76,195 MSRP (14/17/21) 420 hp @ 5600 rpm, 6.2 L, V-8, premium unleaded (recommended)
10-speed automatic electronically controlled w/overdrive rear wheel drive 7
Luxury 4dr SUV 4WD (6.2L 8cyl 10A) Starting at $79,195 MSRP (14/17/21) 420 hp @ 5600 rpm, 6.2 L, V-8, premium unleaded (recommended)
10-speed automatic electronically controlled w/overdrive four wheel drive 7

2021 Cadillac Escalade Premium Luxury

Premium Luxury

power
420 hp @ 5600 rpm
fuel
Premium unleaded (recommended)
mpg
17 combined

$82,995 - $85,995


Style Prices MPG Engine Transmission Drivetrain Seats Colors
Premium Luxury 4dr SUV (6.2L 8cyl 10A) Starting at $82,995 MSRP (14/17/21) 420 hp @ 5600 rpm, 6.2 L, V-8, premium unleaded (recommended)
10-speed automatic electronically controlled w/overdrive rear wheel drive 7
Premium Luxury 4dr SUV 4WD (6.2L 8cyl 10A) Starting at $85,995 MSRP (14/17/21) 420 hp @ 5600 rpm, 6.2 L, V-8, premium unleaded (recommended)
10-speed automatic electronically controlled w/overdrive four wheel drive 7

2021 Cadillac Escalade Sport

Sport

power
TBD
fuel
TBD
mpg
TBD

$85,595 - $88,595


Style Prices MPG Engine Transmission Drivetrain Seats Colors
Sport 4dr SUV (6.2L 8cyl 10A) Starting at $85,595 MSRP TBD 2 L,
TBD TBD TBD
Sport 4dr SUV 4WD (6.2L 8cyl 10A) Starting at $88,595 MSRP TBD 2 L,
TBD four wheel drive TBD

2021 Cadillac Escalade Premium Luxury Platinum

Premium Luxury Platinum

power
TBD
fuel
TBD
mpg
TBD

$102,995 - $99,995


Style Prices MPG Engine Transmission Drivetrain Seats Colors
Premium Luxury Platinum 4dr SUV (6.2L 8cyl 10A) Starting at $99,995 MSRP TBD 2 L,
TBD TBD TBD
Premium Luxury Platinum 4dr SUV 4WD (6.2L 8cyl 10A) Starting at $102,995 MSRP TBD 2 L,
TBD four wheel drive TBD

2021 Cadillac Escalade Sport Platinum

Sport Platinum

power
TBD
fuel
TBD
mpg
TBD

$102,995 - $99,995


Style Prices MPG Engine Transmission Drivetrain Seats Colors
Sport Platinum 4dr SUV (6.2L 8cyl 10A) Starting at $99,995 MSRP TBD 2 L,
TBD TBD TBD
Sport Platinum 4dr SUV 4WD (6.2L 8cyl 10A) Starting at $102,995 MSRP TBD 2 L,
TBD four wheel drive TBD

Expert Review

6.8

Overall Rating


The new Escalade will be hosting a mammoth 6.2-liter V8 engine paired to a 10-speed automatic transmission that throws 420 horses to the rear wheels of the car. It’ll be priced from $76,195 for the base trim and will go all the way up to $102,995 for the top of the line Premium Luxury Platinum trim.

With a completely new redesign, the 2021 Cadillac Escalade SUV marks its fifth generation that follows on the heels of theGMC Yukon andChevrolet Tahoe. Though all three SUVs have received similar changes to the exterior, the Escalade is a totally different affair especially on the inside. Greater refinement, new technologies, and increased passenger and cargo space make up the important bits on the inside with a bolder than ever stance on the outside.


5.0/10
Features

6.0/10
Safety

8.0/10
Competition


2021 Cadillac Escalade Features

5.0/10

The 2021 Cadillac Escalade looks and feels new from every angle. With new independent rear suspension, the third row is more spacious than ever. And withglimpses of the Escala concept from 2016, throughout the exterior, General Motors has finally found a true contender against the German giants. 

Keeping in tandem with such a strong representative potential, Cadillac haskept the nomenclature of their trims slyly executive too. The 2021 Cadillac Escalade is available in five principle trims: Starting with the base Luxury trim that starts at $76,195. The upscale Premium Luxury Platinum costs almost close to one mil. But the Sport trim at $85,595, covers most of the exclusive features which include Cadillac’s state of the art Super Cruise - which is probably the best semi-autonomous driving system available in the market at the moment.

Trim

Luxury

Premium Luxury

Sport

Premium Luxury Platinum

Sport Platinum

MSRP

$76,195

$82,995

$85,595

$99,995

$99,995

Key Features

HD Radio

Add On to the Luxury Trim

Add on to the Premium Luxury Trim

Add on to the Sport Trim

Add on to the Premium Luxury Platinum Trim

 

Satellite Radio

Jet Black, Leather seating surfaces with precision perforated inserts; Whisper Beige with Jet Black accents, Leather seating surfaces with precision perforated inserts

Premium Sound System

Dark Auburn with Jet Black accents, Full leather seats with semi-aniline leather seating surfaces with Mondrian quilting

Standard Power Passenger and Driver Seat

 

Smart Device Integration

Entertainment System

WiFi Hotspot; Auxiliary Audio Input; Entertainment System

Standard Seat Memory

Standard Power Lift Gate

 

Cruise Control

Optional Adaptive Cruise Control

Standard Cruise Control and Adaptive Cruise Control

Optional Night Vision

Standard Night Vision

 

Heated Front Seat(s), Heated Rear Seat(s), Heated Steering Wheel

Cooled Front Seat(s)

Multi-Zone A/C; Standard Power Driver Seat

Multi-Zone A/C

Standard Climate Control

 

Universal Garage Door Opener

Automatic Parking

Standard Telematics

 

Standard Lane Departure Warning

None of the trims falls short of luxury andCadillac’s long feature list is a testament to that. Even safety standards are pretty high on the 2021 Escalade. Perhaps the most outstanding feature in the 2021 model is its augmented reality navigation system.

The 2021 Cadillac Escalade with its impressive technological features is futuristic at best and rightly deserves the price tag that starts from $75K.

How much is a fully loaded 2021 Cadillac Escalade?

The 2021 Cadillac Escalade has similar pricing as its competition. But when compared to its competitors, it has more technological perks and a better evolutionary presence than the likes ofthe controversial broad-grilled BMW X7. At $78,195, for the long-wheelbase 2021 Cadillac Escalade, it is a very reasonable and splendid way to splurge on.

2021 Cadillac Escalade Engine and Performance

The 2021 Escalade will be available with two engine options: A 420 horsepower 6.2-liter- V-8 that makes 420 hp and a 3.0-liter turbodiesel inline-6 engine that makes 277 hp. Both of these engines push out the same torque figures of 460 lb.-ft.. Power is put through to the wheels by a 10-speed automatic for both the engines, that share similar efficiency figures and towing capability.

Models

2021 Cadillac Escalade SUV

2020 BMW X7

2020 Mercedes-Benz GLS 450

2020 Lincoln Navigator

Base MSRP

$79,195

$73,900

$75,200

$79,385

Engine

6.2L V8

3.0L I6

3.0L I6

3.5L V6

Transmission

10-Speed Automatic

8-speed shiftable automatic

8-Speed Automatic

10-Speed Automatic

Horsepower

420hp@ 5600

335@5500

362 @ 5500

450 @ 5500

Torque

460@4100

330@1500

369 @ 1600

510@ 3000

TheBMW X7 generates its peak torque at a just 1500RPMs and that makes the beemer agile among its competition. Both the Lincoln and the Cadillac with their V- engines generate 400+ hp. The 2021 Cadillac Escalade has the bigger engine of the lot and that will cause a problem in efficiency numbers. The V8 is responsive and longer distance speeds are held up very respectfully in the new Escalade.

2021 Cadillac Escalade Acceleration

The acceleration figures of the Cadillac Escalade are not officially out yet. Since the 2021 Escalade features an updated version of the outgoing 6.5l-V8, it is sure to break the previously 0-60 time of 6.1 seconds. But that never stopped some folks with putting a Chevrolet LT4 engine that halved the 0-60 mph time to 3.4 seconds.

The Escalade weighs 5785 lbs and for a stock vehicle of this sheer magnitude, 2021 Cadillac Escalade is expected to be faster and anywhere near five seconds will be a pretty respectable number.

Models

2021 Cadillac Escalade

2020 BMW X7

2020 Mercedes-Benz GLS 450

2020 Lincoln Navigator

0-60 MPH

6 secs(est)

5.8 secs

6.1 secs

5.9 secs

Quarter mile

14.3 seconds

14.4 secs

15.9 secs

14.5 secs

Top Speed

-

155 mph

130 mph (limited)

157 mph

The Lincoln is the fastest of the lot for the Raptor engine it hides under the hood. But when it comes to 0-6- figures, it’s almost similar to smaller inline-6 engines that are present in both the German cars.

TheCadillac Escalade showcases decent acceleration figures and it is definitely not the slowest in its segment. By managing to reach the quarter-mile speed in just 14.3 seconds, it is easily the quickest among its competitors. .

How well does the 2021 XYZ brake?

With a curb weight of more than 5000 lbs, the Escalade is a pretty heavy car. And such a heavy car that runs with a V8 will need good brakes. Previously, the Escalade would feature 13”*13.6 front and rear rotor brakes.

They are aided anti-lock breakage system. However, the dimensions of the vehicle make swaying obvious in certain situations. A problem that should have been solved by now.

Models

2021 Cadillac Escalade SUV

2020 BMW X7

2020 Mercedes-Benz GLS 450

2020 Lincoln Navigator

Brake Front (in)

13”

NA

14.8 

NA

Brake Rear (in)

13.6”`

NA

13.6 

NA

Curb Weight (lbs)

5785

5617

5701

5926

60-0 MPH (ft.)

133

105

110 (est)

132

The 2020 BMW X7 is the clear winner of the lot when it comes to stopping power. Though the dimensions are as of yet unavailable, we can say it will be similar to theMercedes Benz, which also stops at nearby the BMW. The Escalade’s 133 ft might be a bit sluggish, but not in the unsafe periphery.

How well does the 2021 Cadillac Escalade handle?

For a car that is as tall as an inflatable playhouse, the 2021 Escalade rides pretty well. Because similar to the inflatable house, this large SUV occasionally sways, especially when it comes to driving in between traffics on the highway. But it doesn’t get that dangerous, thanks to those anti-roll bars.

The ride quality of the 2021 Cadillac Escalade has really improved from last year and coupled with Cadillac’s state of the art Super Cruise system, this luxury SUV becomes more capable with its semi-autonomous behavior. But what stands out the most its rear independent suspension set up. This new installment has altered the Escalades’ riding quality on a whole new level. And this is how the Escalade has delivered an improved ride quality.

2021 Cadillac Escalade Fuel Economy

The fuel efficiency figures are similar for both engines. With an updated engine the numbers have improved as well. Having said that, the 6.5-liter engine will consume a lot of fuel by default. It’s already there on the sheet. This is where the Germans have excelled by going with 3.0liter inline engines.

Despite that credits should go where it’s due. A remarkable development in this segment has been the cylinder deactivation system, which intelligently shuts off an alternative cylinder as per driving situations. Say, for instance, if the Escalade is cruising on the highway then all eight cylinders will not be in use. This has bumped up the efficiency figures of the 2021 Escalade by a couple of significant more miles to the gallon.

Models

2021 Cadillac Escalade SUV

2020 BMW X7

2020 Mercedes-Benz GLS 450

2020 Lincoln Navigator

MPG (City)

15

20

19

16

MPG (Highway)

20

25

23

22

MPG (Combined)

17

22

21

18

Fuel Capacity (Gallons)

28.3

21.9

23.8

28.3

Range (City/Highway)

452/566 miles

438/548

452/547

453/623

Despite having the same tank capacity, the 2021Escalade falls short in front of the Lincoln Navigator. Its fellow American peer has more highway miles in this segment. The Germans on the other hand might significantly better efficiency mileage per gallon but in the long run, the shorter tank capacity ends up with no favor.

2021 Cadillac Escalade Interior

The dashboard of the 2021 Escalade shows heavy influence from the Cadillac’s Escala concept. The huge OLED displays that are placed across the dashboard are industry-first curved-screens. It showcases a 14.2-inch cluster display, a 7.2-inch diagonal touchscreen, and a 16.9-inch infotainment screen. The interpretation of the screen is much more attractive and it can also be controlled via a convenient dial controller placed on the center console.

The seats are plush both at the front and at the rear. Rear passenger seats also get an upscale 12.6-inch entertainment screen. These screens also broadcast audio around the cabin, share content between screens, and help even the driver with navigation.

The new rear independent suspension set up has opened a lot of space in the third row of the 2021 Escalade more ergonomic and comfortable. There’s 10 inches more space than the previous outgoing Escalade model.

Models

2021 Cadillac Escalade SUV

2020 BMW X7

2020 Mercedes-Benz GLS 450

2020 Lincoln Navigator

Seating Capacity

7

7

7

7

Front Row (Headroom/Shoulder Room/Leg Room, in inches)

42.8/64.9/45.3

41.9/60.0/39.8

39.4/59.3/40.3

39.5/65.2/43.9

Rear Row (Headroom/Shoulder Room/Leg Room, in inches)

38.7/64.4/39

39.9/58.1/37.6

40.2/58.5/41.9

37.9/65.1/41.1

Both the Americans have bigger dimensions when it comes to interior space. The Lincoln score above all with its front and rear shoulder room, followed by the 2021 Escalade. However, the Escalade has more legroom space compared to its rear, but it is more than its competitors closely followed by the Lincoln Navigator.

2021 Cadillac Escalade Interior Options

The 2021 Escalade has come loaded with a lot of features and that is courtesy the new dashboard set up. Its upscale appeal would be a sham had it not come with a lot of features. Some of the interior features are as follows:

  • HD Radio
  • Smart Device Integration: Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
  • Satellite Radio
  • Adaptive Cruise Control
  • Automatic Parking
  • Heated and Cooled Front and Rear seats
  • Multi-Zone AC
  • Premium AKG Audio system

Infotainment system in the 2021 Cadillac Escalade

Now, what would normally get categorized as infotainment features. The 2021 Escalade offers much more than that. It has to be noted that big luxury vehicles like the Escalade are expected to be more dramatic and tech-savvy. Phone integration and exclusive sound system are a thing of the past. The future is supposed to be more appealing and that’s why features like, Night vision, Augmented Navigation reality is in a way for entertainment in the 2021 Escalade.

19 speakers are a part of the base system including a subwoofer that is powered by a 14-channel amplifier while the optional system has a total of 36 speakers with 3 woofers and 28 channels! These speakers are placed inside some stylish stainless steel grilles. Also, microphones are placed on the first and the third rows for convenient and clear communication.

Studio 3D Surround and Audio Rendering are also a part of the tech package. The navigation has also got a big upgrade, the most notable being voice prompts that come from the directions you have to turn to. Another inclusion is the Cadillac's Super Cruise automated driving system which is a primary upgrade for 2021. This feature works on the highways and is probably the only truly hands-free driving system you would find on the roads.

How much cargo space does the 2021 Cadillac Escalade have?

By opting for new independent rear suspensions, Cadillac has opened up a lot of space behind the third row as well. With 41. 5 cubic meters of space available, Cadillac has also added a few more technology to aid loading and unloading easier. A standard hands-free liftgate along with remote trunk release makes it easier to handle cargo.

Models

2021 Cadillac Escalade SUV

2020 BMW X7

2020 Mercedes-Benz GLS 450

2020 Lincoln Navigator

Trunk Capacity (cubic feet)

41.5

NA

17.4

34.3

The Escalade offers the most cargo space in this segment. The Mercedes-Benz GLS 450 has surprisingly low cargo capacity.

2021 Cadillac Escalade Exterior

In 2021, the Escalade receives a significant new makeover. This new SUV is now 7.1 inches longer with a wheelbase that can easily fit in 7 people and still have space for 41.5 cubic feet of cargo space. Even with an all-new platform in 2021, the car looks unmistakably like an Escalade. There is now a new vertical lighting scheme out in the front with sleek and horizontal headlamps. A detailed etching has been done to those vertical taillights at the back and it is finished with a three-dimensional layering and it gives off a unique light signature as a result.

The trims add a touch of customization, such as the Sport trim, it adds a black trim across the body and a black mesh grille up front. When you opt for the Luxury and Premium Luxury trims, you get a bright Balvano finish on the car. The top of the line Platinum trim is a range-topper with unique exterior and interior details. 

Models

2021 Cadillac Escalade SUV

2020 BMW X7

2020 Mercedes-Benz GLS 450

2020 Lincoln Navigator

Curb Weight (lbs)

5785

5370

5701

5926

Length (inches)

227

203.3

205.0

221.9

Width (inches)

81.1

78.7

77.0

79.9

Height (inches)

76.4

71.1

71.8

76.2

Ground Clearance (inches)

8.0

8.7

7.9

9.7

Wheelbase (inches)

134.1

122.2

123.4

131.6

On paper, the Cadillac clearly stands out with the longest wheelbase. The German counterparts may appear visibly equally large as its American counterparts but it ain’t enough. All in all, dimensionally, the Cadillac Escalade is a large car.

Aside from that, the Cadillac Escalade has some notable exterior features. Some of them are:

  • The new bold grille
  • Signature Swept-black headlights
  • New 20-inch 7-spoke chrome alloy wheels
  • Tail lights inspired by Eldorado
  • An acoustic windshield and Rear Privacy glass
  • Active Aero Grille Shutters

2021 Cadillac Escalade Safety

6.0/10

Being a big car, the Cadillac Escalade tries its best to be as safe as possible. As of yet, there has been no recall as such. NHTSA and IIHS safety ratings are not out yet. Cadillac has equipped the new Escalade with many safety features. Some of the notables are:

  • Anti-lock brakes
  • Stability control
  • Front-impact airbags
  • Side impact airbags
  • Overhead airbags
  • Pretensioners
  • Security system

2021 Cadillac Escalade Competition

8.0/10

2021 Cadillac Escalade vs 2020 BMW X7

TheBMW X7 is more controversial and that makes up its stature too. The new grilles on the Bavarian have managed to generate a lot of noise, but the Escalade seems to feature a more nicer looking grille.

The Cadillac Escalade also has a larger cabin, so good looks and more utilitarian definitely makes the 2021 Escalade an obvious choice.

2021 Cadillac Escalade vs 2020 Mercedes Benz GLS 450

The standard among German cars is almost similar. The Mercedes Benz features the same inline-engine, delivers better efficiency figures, and has a much more intuitive infotainment system. Luxury is top of the line, there’s plenty of leather throughout the cabin.

Caption

But the Escalade’s Escala influence just simply takes the cake away from the Mercedes. The 2021 Escalades new dashboard is futuristic, and neatly laid-out, which not only looks good on the eyes but will make you feel more upscale too.

2021 Cadillac Escalade vs 2020 Lincoln Navigator

Both Lincoln and Cadillac have a similar outlook towards this segment. They are both big, long, can easily accommodate 7 people, and still have space for cargo at the bag.

Something that is a dream in their German counterparts. However, Lincoln manages to score above the 2021 Escalade with its fuel-efficiency figures and longer per gallon mile range.

2021 Cadillac Escalade Final Verdict

The Escalade had its fair share of shortcomings in the past, and most of them got exposed when the Lincoln Navigator debuted. Therefore, a major overhaul was necessary and with the 2021 updates, there’s been a lot of positive changes to an already iconic product. The smart packaging inside has addressed a lot of the shortcomings mentioned and the design on the outside makes it a fresher package on the whole. The midgrade Premium Luxury trim is recommended as it has a wide array of standard and optional features but the base Luxury trim is also not that far behind.

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