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Posh interior, new 10-sp transmission get Cadillac Escalade onto short list


There are lots of vehicles on the market that may claim to seat seven passengers and, if you take out the minivans, one SUV that does it really well, and with plenty of interior comfort, is the 2018 Cadillac Escalade. An optional bench seat can increase seating capacity to eight.

Part of why the Escalade is good is that Cadillac puts their focus on the things that Cadillac owners really want, a sophisticated package of leather, high-tech goodies and creature comforts that rolls on a highly capable platform and an all-new 10-speed automatic transmission.

The Escalade was fully redesigned for the 2015 model year and has seen only minor updates since then. Escalade owners are known for towing things behind them and the Escalade towing capacity is an impressive 8,100-8,300 pounds. That will handle most wave runner trailers, snowmobiles, four-wheelers and a decent-size boat.

Inside the Cabin

The Escalade offers the level of refinement expected from a luxury brand. It is a large SUV with comfortable, easily adjusted seating that provides plenty of support, heat/air and firm cushioning.

My tester featured upscale materials like leather and wood scattered beautifully throughout the cabin. This is a modern, contemporary style that is visually appealing and technically savvy.

Sightlines for the driver are excellent, seating position is tall and above most things on the road. Glass surround makes it easy to maneuver and cameras provide immediate feedback when in reverse. It is big – but you can see everything from your perch.

The dash is a vast field of gauges and optics that reassure you there’s nothing you cannot find out about driving this SUV. Night visibility was excellent during my test period. The center screen offers immediate feedback and easy reach.


The CUE infotainment system is interfaced with an 8-inch touch screen, featuring seamless Bluetooth, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration. I found the menus to lack a bit of intuitive design, though I usually figured everything out within minutes. Controls are touch sensitive, though they were a bit slow to respond on several occasions.

Trim Out Extras

Leather seats, heated and ventilated front seats, heated second-row seats, and a heated steering wheel are standards for base Escalades.
Third-Row Seats

Honestly, the third-row seating in the Escalade is a bit cramped, nowhere close to the comfort of a minivan’s third row, but then again, this is not meant to be a minivan (more likely the complete opposite).

The Escalade’s last row is not especially easy to get to, but once you are there, and you are less than 5’9” tall, you won’t have any real issues for short rides around town. Kids will be just fine – but the long-wheelbase ESV offers a more spacious third row accommodating adults.

While the Escalade offers 15.2 cubic feet of cargo space behind the third-row seats in standard-wheelbase models, and a maximum of 94.2 cubic feet in different configurations, it is in the middle for the class offering.

Big V8 Power

The Escalade does not suffer from a lack of power. Its 6.2-liter V8 engine provides plenty of potential to get up and go. The all-new 10-speed automatic transmission is quick to accelerate, even when loaded down with Rear-wheel-drive models get
14 mpg city/23 highway.

Prices for the 2018 Escalade start at $74,695, with the top-of-the-line Platinum trim starting at $96,795.