Those of us who were part of the MTV generation will no doubt recognise the nameplate, but the new 2015 Cadillac Escalade, although still an imposing leviathan, has left its backwards-facing cap and baggy trousers at home to hit the town in a more presentable suit and tie – still with a little bit of bling, of course.
For all its 20- or 22-inch alloys, LED head and tail lamps and mammoth chromed grille, Cadillac is keen to highlight the new Escalade’s interior. Cut-and-sewn and wrapped materials, along with expensive-looking wood trim, are sprinkled amidst a waterfall-design centre console that cradles a eight-inch CUE infotainment system. There’s also a 12.3-inch digital instrument panel (configurable with four themes), a head-up display and ambient lighting.
The seats have been redesigned to offer more comfort, and noise levels are kept more at bay by a stronger body structure, enhanced acoustic material and Bose Active Noise Cancellation technology. Heated and cooled seats are standard in front and second-row individual seats now feature heating as standard.
The front seats have more than 44 mm of extra headroom and more than 101 mm of additional legroom compared to previous models. Second and third rows fold flat, and there’s a power tailgate with programmable height settings.
Buyers can choose from the standard Escalade or the extended-length ESV version, which offers a 355-mm longer wheelbase and around 508 mm more in overall length, yielding more space in the third row and 60% more cargo space behind it. The normal Escalade gets a nine-inch roof-mounted screen while the ESV gets two of those.
Under that massive hood is an equally-massive 6.2 litre EcoTec3 V8 that develops 420 bhp and 624 Nm of torque. Transmission is taken care of by a six-speed auto and four-wheel drive is optional. Magnetic Ride Control, which the company claims is the world’s fastest-reacting suspension system, is now standard. There’s also electric variable-assist power steering and an automatic locking rear diff.
Safety kit includes StabiliTrak electronic stability control, Front and Rear Automatic Braking and a new Front Seat Centre-Mounted airbag, which provides additional protection to drivers and front passengers in far-side impact crashes, where the affected occupant is on the opposite, non-struck side of the vehicle.
A Driver Awareness package includes Forward Collision Alert, Lane Departure Warning, and the patented Safety Alert Seat, which offers directional vibrations to alert the driver about potential crash threats. A Driver Assist package adds Full Speed Range Adaptive Cruise Control, Front and Rear Automatic Braking and Automatic Safety Belt Tightening. Additionally, Side Blind Zone Alert, Rear Cross Traffic Alert and Lane Change Alert are standard on Luxury and Premium models.
Production of the 2015 Cadillac Escalade is set to begin in Arlington, Texas next spring.