The fifth-gen Cadillac Escalade has gone high-tech. In a big way, we must point out. The iconic full-size luxury SUV now is equipped with OLED (organic light-emitting diode) screen technology, which basically is light produced in response to an electric current.
It has three screens: a 14.2-inch instrument display behind the steering wheel; to the left, a 7.2-inch touch screen for driver information center; and a 16.9-inch infotainment screen in the dashboard; all use OLED and boast twice the clarity of a 4K TV. Audiophiles will love the 36-speaker AKG sound miracle, which can be heard via the ceiling, headrests and even the center console. Add the navigation system with augmented reality to the mix and you are in business.
For 2021, the Escalade continues with the previous 6.2-liter V8 Ecotec engine, which cranks out 420 horsepower at 5,600 rpm and 460 pounds-feet of torque at 4,100 rpm. You can’t find a smoother transmission than the 10-speed that Cadillac engineers have installed in the luxury SUV. And the start-stop feature (an automatic engine stop for when the vehicle halts) ensures substantial savings in fuel and weight.
A coil-over-shock front and a new independent rear suspension (replaces the traditional solid axle) work well to absorb unpleasant road bumps or curves. The steering response with the electric power rack-and-pinion is swift and accurate. The Dynamic Fuel Management system deactivates four of the eight cylinders for fuel savings. And if you need to haul a sailboat or another car, the tow capacity is an astonishing 8,000 pounds.
You can recognize an Escalade anywhere thanks to its mammoth presence (5-inch and 8-inch extended wheelbase and length, respectively, than previous), starting up front with the centered and familiar crest emblem in the Galvano chromed grille flanked by new horizontal HID headlights.
The Caddy truly shines in the cabin department with such creature comforts as its tri-zone auto AC, flip-down 12.6-inch DVD screens for rear passengers, panoramic sunroof, hands-free liftgate,16-way power heated/cooled front seats, suede headliner and inviting dark auburn with black accent interior. The stainless-steel speaker grilles throughout are eye-catching.
Ingress and egress into the high-sitting vehicle is convenient thanks to power retractable running boards (optional). The third row seat folds via a power button in the cargo hold while the second row seat moves fore and aft 5.5 inches.
Dual front and side airbags, side curtain airbag for rear rows, stability, hill descent and traction controls, four-wheel anti-lock brakes, rearview camera, rear-cross traffic, forward-collision and side blind zone alerts, lane keep assist with departure warning, front/rear park sensors, tire pressure monitoring system and daytime running lights are standard. Magnetic Ride Control adjusts the four-wheel independent suspension as per road conditions, resulting in a smooth but firm ride. It also keeps body roll to a minimum.
Of course, the indulgence doesn’t come cheap. The Sport Platinum model with all the trimmings topped $112,095. Don’t be misled into believing that the nearly 5,500-pound vehicle lacks power. In fact, the gas pedal unleashes strong acceleration to make this a graceful, smooth and easy-riding companion. Now, all you need is an inflated bank balance to indulge yourself and the family.