Cadillac Escalade

The Cadillac Escalade is a full-size luxury SUV engineered and manufactured by Cadillac. It was Cadillac's first major entry into the SUV market. The Escalade was introduced for the 1999 model year in response to competition from the Mercedes-Benz ML-Class and Lexus LX and to Ford's 1998 release of the Lincoln Navigator. The Escalade project went into production only ten months after it was approved. The Escalade is built in Arlington, Texas. The word "escalade" refers to a siege warfare tactic of scaling defensive walls or ramparts with the aid of ladders or siege towers.

Cadillac Escalade
ManufacturerGeneral Motors
2002–present (ESV)
2001–2013 (EXT)
2008–2013 (Hybrid)
Model years1999–2000
Body and chassis
ClassFull-size luxury SUV
RelatedChevrolet Suburban
Chevrolet Tahoe
GMC Yukon
GMC Yukon XL

The 1999 Escalade was nearly identical to the 1999 GMC Yukon Denali, but was redesigned for the 2002 model year to make its appearance fall more in line with Cadillac's "art and science" design theme. Escalade production was skipped for the 2001 model year. The Escalade ESV (based on the Chevrolet Suburban) and its former sibling the Escalade EXT (based on the Avalanche sport utility truck) were made in Silao, Mexico, before the 2007 redesign; the new Escalade ESV is sourced from Arlington, Texas.

As of 2015, the Cadillac Escalade is available in every country that Cadillac is available in. The Escalade ESV version is available in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Russia and the Middle East. It is Cadillac's largest luxury oriented, passenger- and load-carrying vehicle, which was a niche previously filled by the Cadillac Commercial Chassis.

First generation (1999–2000)

GMT 400
ProductionAugust 1998–2000
Model years1999–2000
AssemblyUnited States: Arlington, Texas (Arlington Assembly)
DesignerWayne Cherry (1997)
Body and chassis
Body style5-door SUV
LayoutF4 (Front-engine, four-wheel drive)
RelatedChevrolet Suburban
Chevrolet Tahoe
GMC Yukon
Transmission4-speed 4L60-E automatic
Wheelbase117.5 in (2,984 mm)
Length201.2 in (5,110 mm)
Width77.0 in (1,956 mm)
Height74.3 in (1,887 mm)

The introduction of the Lincoln Navigator in the 1998 model year necessitated that General Motors be able to compete in the burgeoning American market for full-size luxury-type trucks. This generation was only a five-seat SUV. Fearing the growing hegemony of the Lincoln Navigator, the Escalade was rushed through the design process to reach dealers quickly. Essentially little more than a badge-engineered GMC Yukon Denali, the SUV's aesthetics were similar to the Denali and the final vehicle was smaller than the Navigator. The Escalade's underpinnings were borrowed from the Yukon Denali line, with the GMC logos on the center caps replaced with Cadillac's crest. The Escalade also used the same 5.7 L Vortec 5700 V8 at 255 hp (190 kW), which was underpowered compared to the Navigator's 300 hp (224 kW) and 365 lb⋅ft (495 N⋅m) 5.4 Liter InTech V8. All first-generation Escalades featured Auto-Trac selectable 4x4. The 1999-2000 Escalade achieves 11 mpgUS (21 L/100 km) city and 15 mpgUS (16 L/100 km) highway based on U.S. EPA test protocols.[1][2]

The first-generation Escalade (as well as its mechanically identical twin, the GMC Yukon Denali, was available in a single configuration (one "base" trim level with one four-wheel-drive (4X4) drive train option), and included a generous amount of standard equipment, with few options available. Standard equipment included sixteen-inch chrome-clad aluminum-alloy wheels, color-keyed front and rear bumpers and side cladding panels, an OnStar in-vehicle telematics and communications system, a top-of-the-line premium GM-Delco A/M-F/M cassette stereo with remote-mounted CD changer, automatic tone control (ATC), clock, and six-speaker Bose premium amplified audio system, luxury leather-trimmed seating surfaces with embossed logos in both front bucket seats, power-adjustable front bucket seats with driver's memory system, full power equipment (windows, door locks, and heated side mirrors), a security alarm, keyless entry, full instrumentation, tri-zone climate controls for the front and rear seats, rear climate control vents, rear audio system and climate controls, a full overhead console with storage, an auto-dimming rearview mirror with compass and temperature gauge, wood interior trim, a leather-and-wood-wrapped steering wheel with cruise controls and embossed logo, automatic front head and fog lamps, roof rails with preparation for an optional roof rack, among other standard equipment. While base MSRP of the 2000 GMC Yukon Denali increased to $43,535 (up $460 from $43,075 in 1999), the Cadillac Escalade retained a base MSRP of $46,225 in both 1999 and 2000. The GMC Yukon Denali included a unique front fascia and front and rear bumpers to differentiate it from its non-luxury cousin, the GMC Suburban. The only other physical differences between the first-generation Cadillac Escalade and GMC Yukon Denali were the emblems on the front grilles, front doors, rear tailgates, steering wheels, and front seat embroidery. General Motors retains the first Cadillac Escalade produced at Arlington Assembly in 1998, a 1999 Aspen White model, in its Heritage Collection, VIN # 400001. [3]

GMT400 GMC Yukon Denali (left), showing similarities to the Escalade (right).

Second generation (2002–2006)

GMT 800
ProductionJanuary 2001–2006 (regular Escalade)
September 2001–2006 (EXT)
December 2002–2006 (ESV)
Model years2002–2006
2003–2006 (ESV)
DesignerWayne Cherry (1998)
Body and chassis
Body style5-door SUV
4-door sport utility truck
GMT830 (Escalade ESV)
GMT806 (Escalade EXT)
RelatedChevrolet Avalanche
Chevrolet Suburban
Chevrolet Tahoe
GMC Yukon
Hummer H2
Wheelbase116.0 in (2,946 mm)
130.0 in (3,302 mm) (ESV/EXT)
Length198.9 in (5,052 mm)
221.4 in (5,624 mm) (ESV/EXT)
Width78.9 in (2,004 mm)
79.5 in (2,019 mm) (ESV/EXT)
Height76.5 in (1,943 mm)
75.7 in (1,923 mm) (ESV/EXT)
75.0 in (1,905 mm) (ESV Platinum)
Curb weight5,800 lb (2,600 kg)

Unlike its Chevrolet and GMC siblings, which launched for the 2000 model year, Cadillac delayed the Escalade's switch to the GMT820 chassis until February 2001 as a 2002 model, the last of the three General Motors full-size truck and SUV brands to switch to the new chassis; Cadillac unveiled the 2002 model year Escalade in August 2000 at Pebble Beach, while continuing to sell the 2000 model year trucks. Rear-wheel drive was standard, as was a 5.3 L V8. All-wheel drive was standard on the ESV and EXT, and was optional on the short wheelbase Escalade. The special high-output Vortec 6.0 L V8 engine was the sole engine choice on all-wheel drive models whether it was the short wheel base, ESV, or EXT until 2005 when the 5.3L was dropped altogether. In 2005 all rear-wheel drive and all-wheel drive Escalades came with the high output 6.0L Vortec V8. All models (except for the EXT) offered seating up to eight people.

The "StabiliTrak" electronic stability control system was upgraded to a four-wheel version, High Intensity Discharge (HID) low beam headlights, power-adjustable pedals and signal outside mirrors were added as a standard feature in 2003, along with a Bulgari-branded clock.[5] For 2004, XM Satellite Radio, second-row bucket seats, and a tire pressure monitoring system were made standard on all Escalades except the EXT. Also in 2004, the Platinum edition Escalade ESV was introduced at a base price of $71,025; it featured the luxury utility segment's first factory-installed 20-inch chrome wheels, a slightly lowered suspension, heated and cooled seats (front and back), heated and cooled cup holders, moon roof, second and third row monitors, an interior that included an ebony and shale dashboard, shale leather upholstery and pleated door panel bolsters, a chrome grille, and a standard 6.0 liter V8 producing 345 hp (257 kW). The OnStar system was upgraded for the 2005 model year and had become a digital system instead of the analog system that had been in use.


  • 2002–2003 5.3L LM7 Vortec V8, 285 hp (213 kW)
  • 2004–2006 5.3L LM7 Vortec V8, 295 hp (220 kW)
  • 2002–2003 6.0L LQ4 (Not Used In Escalade, 8th Digit in Vin = U) Vortec V8, 310 hp (231 kW)
  • 2004–2006 6.0L LQ9 (8th Digit = N) HO Vortec V8, 345 hp (257 kW)

Third generation (2007–2014)

GMT 900
ProductionJanuary 2006–2014
2006-2013 (EXT)
Model years2007–2014
2007-2013 (EXT)
AssemblyMexico: Silao (Silao Assembly)
Russia: Kaliningrad (Avtotor)[4][6]
United States: Arlington, Texas (Arlington Assembly)
Body and chassis
Body style5-door SUV
4-door sport utility truck
GMT936 (Escalade ESV)
GMT946 (Escalade EXT, 2006-2013 MY)
RelatedChevrolet Avalanche
Chevrolet Suburban
Chevrolet Tahoe
GMC Yukon
GMC Yukon XL
Chevrolet Silverado/GMC Sierra
Hummer H2
Wheelbase116.0 in (2,946 mm)
130.0 in (3,302 mm) (ESV/EXT)
Length202.5 in (5,144 mm)
222.9 in (5,662 mm) (ESV)
222.0 in (5,639 mm) (EXT)
Width79.0 in (2,007 mm)
79.1 in (2,009 mm) (EXT only)
Height74.7 in (1,897 mm) (2007–09 2WD)
74.5 in (1,892 mm) (EXT & 2007–09 ESV)
74.3 in (1,887 mm) (2007–09 4WD)
2010–11 SWB: 75.9 in (1,928 mm)
2010–2013 ESV: 73.1 in (1,857 mm)
2012-2013 SWB: 75.9 in (1,928 mm)
2012-2013 EXT: 74.5 in (1,892 mm)

The Escalade moved to the new GMT900 platform for the 2007 model year, as the GMT900 platforms together (Silverado/Sierra/Avalanche/Escalade EXT, Tahoe/Suburban/Yukon/Yukon XL/Yukon Denali/Escalade) were launched together for that year. The regular Escalade was again joined by a stretched ESV version as well as a new EXT sport utility truck. The 2006 Escalade was the official vehicle of Super Bowl XL, with MVP Hines Ward being awarded one of the first Escalades produced.

Production of the redesigned Escalade began at Arlington Assembly in January 2006. It is priced from US$57,280, though the rear-wheel drive version at this price was not produced until August. The more expensive all-wheel drive version was produced first, followed by the long wheelbase ESV and EXT pickup (the latter sourced from the Silao, Mexico, plant) in June.

The Escalade uses an all-aluminum 6.2 L Vortec V8. This pushrod engine includes variable valve timing, a first in a mass-produced non-overhead cam engine. The system adjusts both intake and exhaust timing between two settings. The engine produces 403 hp (301 kW) (23 hp more than its sister competitor, the GMC Yukon Denali) and 417 lb·ft (565 N·m) of torque. A new six-speed 6L80 automatic transmission is used. The new body completes a 0.363 drag coefficient. In 2010, the Cadillac Escalade's base price was $62,500 for a RWD model, and $65,200 for an AWD model. The northeast accounts for 60 percent of Escalade sales. 2013 model(Cadillac Escalade 2WD 8 cyl, 6.2 L, Automatic 6-spd,) have official government measured fuel economy of 14 mpgUS (17 L/100 km), combined 16 mpgUS (15 L/100 km) and highway 18 mpgUS (13 L/100 km).[7]


2006–2014 — 6.2 L Vortec 6200 V8, 403 hp (301 kW)


A Hybrid version of the luxury vehicle debuted at the 2008 South Florida International Auto Show in Miami, and went on sale in 2008 as a 2009 model at a starting price of $74,085[8] for a two-wheel drive model. In August, 20% of Cadillac Escalade sales were hybrids.

The Escalade Hybrid takes 8.2 seconds to accelerate from 0 to 60 mph (97 km/h). The Hybrid is powered by a 6.0-liter V8. It's joined by two 60-kilowatt electric motors supplied by a nickel-metal hydride battery pack under the rear seat. On its own, the V8 is rated at 332 hp (248 kW) at 5,100 rpm and 367 lb⋅ft (498 N⋅m) at 4,100 rpm. GM engineers say that combined output with the electric motors is 379 hp. The unique transmission houses the electric motors along with three different planetary gear sets and four traditional clutches.

New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning received an Escalade Hybrid for being the 2008 Super Bowl MVP. The Hybrid models were discontinued after the 2013 model year.

Standard features

Standard features of the Cadillac Escalade includes air conditioning with tri-zone climate controls, Nuance leather trimmed seats, wood and leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls, cruise control, heated front seats and heated 2nd-row seats, 14-way power front seats, memory system, remote engine start, premium sound system, 6-disc CD changer, rear radio controls, compass, power lift-gate, and outside-temperature indicator. The Platinum adds on a DVD entertainment system, navigation system, heated and cooled cup holders, rearview camera, cooled front seats, upgraded leather (Tehama front and second-row upholstery), and power-retractable running boards.


According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety 2007-08 Escalade models had the highest fatality rate of their class with a driver death rate of 33 compared to the class average of 15.[9]

NHTSA 2014 Escalade:[10]
Frontal Driver:
Frontal Passenger:
Side Driver:
Side Passenger:
Side Pole Driver:
Rollover RWD: / 24.6%
Rollover AWD: / 22.8%



  • On the automatic trunk button, the "off" signal was changed from the Number "0" (Zero) to the word "off".
  • Seating capacity was increased to 8 passengers.
  • A newly redesigned remote for keyless entry was introduced to further distinguish it from the Chevrolet Tahoe/GMC Denali siblings.
  • Express Up added for the front windows.


  • Bluetooth was made standard.
  • A power tilt steering wheel was made standard.
  • Driver and passenger headrests were updated and no longer able to be tilted.
  • The Satellite Navigation System (optional) now added instant traffic updates and rerouting options.


  • The GM logo is no longer applied to the vehicle's front doors. However, the GM logo is still applied on the early 2010 models.
  • AFM was added(Active Fuel Management)
  • USB Port was added to the center console
  • Revised front airbag and door
  • Shifter interlock and a steering wheel lock was added


  • 2nd row headrests made larger and no longer adjustable.


  • The Escalade Premium had been refreshed and updated to look more like the Escalade Platinum, but the Escalade Premium did have clear see-through taillights.


  • Silver Coast Metallic and Sapphire Blue Metallic were added as new color trims, along with a revised grade braking performance.


  • A new color, Midnight Plum Metallic, was added. This is the first time that the Escalade will only be available in both standard and ESV brands, as the EXT and Hybrid models were discontinued, and last year for this generation Escalades.[11]

Fourth generation (2015–present)

ProductionJanuary 2014–present
Model years2015–present
AssemblyArlington, Texas, U.S. (2014-present)
Minsk, Belarus (2015-present)
DesignerBob Boniface (exterior design director)[12]
Body and chassis
Body style4-door SUV
LayoutFront engine,
rear-wheel drive / four-wheel drive
PlatformGMT K2XX
RelatedChevrolet Suburban
Chevrolet Tahoe
GMC Yukon/Yukon XL/GMC Yukon Denali and Yukon Denali XL (2015)
Engine6.2L EcoTec3 L86 V8
Transmission6-speed GM 6L80 automatic (2015)

8-speed GM 8L90 automatic (2015-2017)

10-Speed Ford-GM 10-speed automatic transmission (2018- )
Wheelbase116.0 in (2,946 mm)
130.0 in (3,302 mm) (ESV)
Length202.5 in (5,144 mm)
224.3 in (5,697 mm) (ESV)
Width80.5 in (2,045 mm)
HeightSWB: 74.4 in (1,890 mm)
ESV:74.0 in (1,880 mm)

On October 7, 2013, Cadillac unveiled the fourth generation Escalade and Escalade ESV at a star-studded event in New York City, just nearly a month after GM unveiled their next-generation SUVs from Chevrolet and GMC. Cadillac began its campaign to promote the Escalade on August 14, 2013,[13] and started posting teasers online on September 23, 2013, with help from photographer Autumn de Wilde, who helped reveal more images ahead of the unveiling.[14] A YouTube page called "Escalade Reveal" was set up to showcase the videos along with the countdown to unveiling. On November 25, 2013, Cadillac began spreading the word of mouth about the 2015 Escalade by placing a front facsimile cutout of the vehicle on display at Saks Fifth Avenue's New York City flagship store during its annual Christmas promotional campaign, which shows the SUV being frozen in wraps.[15]

Production on The Escalade began in January 2014 at GM's Arlington, Texas assembly plant and went on sale in April 2014 as a 2015 model (with the MSRP starting at around $71,000 for Full Size, $74,000 for ESV), and available in only three trims: Base, Luxury, and Premium.[16][17] International sales are scheduled to start in the Summer of 2014.[18] They are assigned to the GMT K2XX platform as K2XL. “The 2015 Escalade exterior light signature draws inspiration from a variety of sources, beginning with Cadillac’s heritage of vertical exterior lamps and extending into architecture,” said Exterior Lighting Design Manager Martin Davis.[19]

Details and features

On February 13, 2010, according to a report on, GM had reissued a redesign on the GM fullsize SUV lineup, including the Escalade, for a 2014 release due to increased SUV sales, and was working on its fullsize SUV replacements, which would see a possible change in the Escalade's SUV platform.[20] But in July 2013, a series of spy shots revealed that GM will keep the Escalade a body-on-frame SUV.[21] However, GM is looking at expanding the Escalade brand to the large CUV segment, which would see a vehicle using the Escalade badge sharing the same platform as the Chevrolet Traverse and GMC Acadia, which is in the planning stages.[22] According to VP Bob Ferguson, Cadillac's first 3-row Escalade CUV could be introduced in 2016.[23] There is also a possibility that GM might export the Escalade to Australia as a right-hand drive vehicle as part of Cadillac's global expansion, as GM has begun to import its North American vehicles to its Holden division there after discontinuing the latter’s locally-produced models in 2017.[24]

The cargo space was reduced from 109.8 in (2,789 mm) to 94.2 in (2,393 mm) on the standard base and from 137.5 in (3,492 mm) to 120.5 in (3,061 mm) on the ESV in order to allow an additional 1.7 inches of headroom and 45.3 inches of legroom in the front while reducing the third-row legroom space to 24.8 inches from 25.6 inches. GM's 6.2-liter EcoTec3 V8, good for 420 horsepower and 460 pound-feet of torque, mated to a six-speed automatic transmission (2015i models and beyond are 8-Speed Automatics), is the only engine offered, along with a new coil-over front suspension and five-link rear setup, a wider track, variable-assist electric power steering and Cadillac's Magnetic Ride Control system with Tour and Sport modes. The interior now has a hand-crafted design that features cut-and-sewn and wrapped materials, with wood trim options. The dashboard was also updated, and the Cadillac CUE system is added as a standard feature, along with an updated security system.[25]

On December 23, 2013, Cadillac unveiled seven color palettes for the exterior trims on the Escalade: Dark Granite Metallic, Radiant Silver Metallic, Black Raven, White Diamond Tricoat, Silver Coast Metallic, Crystal Red Tintcoat and Majestic Plum Metallic, and three colors for the interior: Jet Black with Jet Black Accents, Kona Brown with Jet Black Accents, and Shale with Cocoa Accents.[26]

On August 11, 2014, Cadillac announced that the Escalade lineup will receive an 8-Speed transmission, Surround View camera, and 4G LTE connectivity as part of a mid-year refreshening, which also sees the wreaths on the grille disappear from the Escalade as part of Cadillac's plans to update the logo to emphasize the crest on all of its models.[27]


MY 2016

For the 2016 model year, Cadillac made upgraded changes to the Escalade and Escalade ESV:[28]

  • Four new colors are featured: Gray Silk Metallic, Red Passion Tintcoat, Crystal White Tricoat, Dark Emerald Metallic; both Crystal Red Tintcoat and White Diamond Tricoat were discontinued
  • Advanced Diagnostics added to the Cadillac Cue System, which also receive upgraded improvements; SD card slot was removed
  • An upgraded Driver Awareness Package that is available on all trims
  • IntelliBeam headlamps (all trims)
  • Lane Keep Assist
  • Rear seat DVD entertainment system, dual independent, LPO
  • Third row comfort guides become a service part
  • A 12.3″ reconfigurable cluster change to the Normal Blue display
  • Cadillac crest loses the wreath design from the logo mid-year into the 2016 model year. Earlier produced 2016 Escalade vehicles feature the wreath design.
  • Platinum trim level reintroduced which is fully loaded with all the Escalade's optional features standard on this trim level plus DVD headrests as part of the rear seat entertainment system besides the overhead DVD player unlike on other trim levels

MY 2017

For the 2017 model year, minor upgraded changes were made to the Cadillac Escalade and Escalade ESV:[29]

  • The PRNDM is modified to PRNDL
  • The 4WD control knob is modified with new lighting indicators
  • Two new colors, Dark Adriatic Blue Metallic and Bronze Dune Metallic, are added, with two (Dark Emerald, Midnight Plum) others deleted.
  • An updated Cadillac Cue system combining both Collection and Teen Driver features
  • Addition of the Live-View rear-vision camera to the rear-view-mirror.
  • The trims base levels were restructured to Standard, Luxury, Premium Luxury, and Platinum.
  • New Radiant Package added
  • Rear seat reminder added
  • Rear Seat Entertainment switched from VGA to HDMI input.
  • Front grille and headlights have been refreshed.

MY 2018

Changes were made to the 2018 Escalade and Escalade ESV:[30]

  • Satin Steel Metallic is added as a new color, replacing both Silver Coast Metallic and Amethyst Metallic
  • Shale/Jet Black (all trims) and Maple Sugar/Jet Black (Platinum only) are the new combined interior options, replacing Shale/Cocoa and Tuscan Brown
  • The entire console center is modified, along with the cup holders and a new seat memory system.
  • A new 10-speed transmission is added, replacing the 8-speed transmission.

MY 2019

Minor changes that were made for the 2019 Escalade/ESV are:[31]

  • Manhatten Noir Metallic and Shadow Metallic colors are introduced, replacing the Midnight Sky Metallic and Dark Granite Metallic colors.
  • Logo Light added to hands free liftgate
  • New Sport Package added as an available option on Luxury, Premium Luxury, and Platinum trim levels

MY 2020

The 2020 Escalade is expected to be the final model year for the fourth generation version, as it will be sold during its shortened period. The only changes made are the deletion of the Manhattan Noir Metallic and Bronze Dune Metallic color pallet and the addition of the Dark Mocha Metallic color. The dealer-ordered Escalade Noir package is also eliminated after being offered for only a year. GM had proposed a facelift for the 2020 model which is going to look like Cadillac XT6, but will not happen due to the next generation Escalade that is expected to debut in late 2019 or early 2020 as a 2021 model.[32]

Hennessey HPE550

On April 23, 2014, Hennessey Performance Engineering announced that will offer a HPE550 supercharger upgrade to fourth generation Escalade customers, which includes a belt-driven supercharger, air-to-water intercooler, recalibrated engine management software and a three-year/36,000 mile powertrain warranty, a 6 psi (0.4 bar) boost that will increase the 6.2L engine's performance to 557 hp (415 kW; 565 PS) and 542 lb⋅ft (735 N⋅m) of torque, and 20-inch lightweight H10 forged monoblock wheels, to further improve performance. The upgrades, once they are ordered by customers, have a set price of $15,950.[33]

On September 8, 2015, Motor Trend reported via a tweet from writer Jonny Lieberman that a Cadillac V engine would be available as a supercharged 6.2-liter LT4 V8 with power in excess of 600 hp (447 kW) and 600 lb⋅ft (813 N⋅m) of torque. The move would allow customers who usually turn to companies like Hennessey a new option for their supercharger fix.[34]

International version

On July 10, 2015, GM announced that it reached a deal with Unison SP ZAO in Minsk, Belarus to build and assemble the Escalade and Escalade ESV for the Russian and CIS markets. This version will be similar to the Russian-built Chevrolet Tahoe, featuring the 6.2L V8 EcoTec3 engine and the Tahoe's semi-CKD assembled designs; the ESV also marked the first time an extended-length base model has been offered in this region. It will be available in 4WD models only and carry a MSRP of 4.34 million Rubles ($76,984 USD) for standard-size and 4.59 million Rubles ($81,383 USD) for ESV.[35]

Critical reception

The reviews for the fourth generation Escalade's redesign has been met with positive results from automotive critics. USA Today's James R. Healey and Fred Meier noted that "The once-unthinkable big Cadillac SUV has become indispensable."[36] CNET's Antuan Goodwin notes that "Fans of the Escalade will appreciate the automaker's sticking with the original message and not "ruining" its former flagship, but if you already think the giant luxury SUV is a relic of the past, there's nothing in the 2015 Escalade that will convince you that it's anything but an old dog that's learned a few cool new tricks."[37] Carscoops noted that "It may have impressed us more if a) it had shown the Escalade first instead of last, after the Chevrolet and GMC models or b) if the Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban and GMC Yukon and Yukon XL simply did not exist…" and added that Cadillac has won their attention with the redesign.[38] Scott Burgess of Motor Trend summed up the redesign in its headline, saying its "It's bigger, it's bolder and it's more beautiful."[39] Bill Visnic of Edmunds concluded in his review that "With subtle, new sheet metal refreshingly free of styling gimmicks, Cadillac's looking to the 2015 Escalade's all-new and upgraded interior to help it retain its role as the benchmark of bling SUVs."[40] The vehicle received a positive review by Autoblog contributor Michael Hartley, who took a road trip with a standard 4WD full-size trim from Los Angeles to Monterey, California. Although Hartley was skeptical at first, he came away impressed: "A 600-mile trip in the Escalade left me convinced that it has the features, build quality and driving dynamics to strike new fear in the segment."[41] Bloomberg News, in its March 27, 2015 review, cited the Escalade as one of the best American-built SUVs ever made, adding that when comparing it to its foreign competitors, "It's the best we make."[42]

For 2015, Cadillac is rumored to add a twin-turbo V6 package offering, like CTS and XTS (V-sport), the Escalade may receive the same offering, but will keep the V8 engine as an option, unlike the Lincoln Motor Company new 2015 Navigator. GM recently hired Infiniti's Johan de Nysschen to serve as Cadillac president and help revitalize the brand. June (2014) shipments showed Cadillac down a few percent for the year, however the Escalade was among the biggest winners with a 74-percent sales jump, and was one of Cadillac's best sellers the following July. As of March 2015, both standard and ESV Escalades have contributed to massive sales with the full size Escalade seeing a 117% increase and the ESV soaring to 114% overall.[43]

On August 20, 2014, Automotive News and Autoblog began reporting that Cadillac dealers have been waiting three times longer than usual—a month or more—from the time an Escalade leaves the assembly line to when it gets delivered, saying they don't always know where their vehicles are in transit, or when they are set to arrive, upsetting customers who have put down deposits, leading to Cadillac dealerships to reportedly stop taking pre-orders. Even customers who placed orders as far as February 2014 are still waiting for the vehicles according to the dealerships' owners. Cadillac blames the delays on two weeks of "dwell time," citing "a lengthy quality-assurance process on some interior parts" that caused the lag, as well as additional issues with figuring out which vehicles should be delivered first. Despite the setback, Cadillac does plan to correct the issues with adding more employees and speed up production at the Arlington plant.[44]

On March 16, 2016, Consumer Reports named the 2016 Escalade the worst large sized luxury SUV in its annual rankings, with an overall score of 44. Most of the criticism came from its room space, second-row seating, the CUE media system, stopping, stiff road handling, and its redesign, calling it the worst in class.[45][46]

A fictional ad depicted what the Escalade would look like if it was introduced in 1977 made the social media round in October 2019 that was created by Abimelec Design, which photoshopped Cadillac's DeVille front grille and back light feature onto an eighth generation Chevrolet Suburban.[47]


On May 20, 2014, GM announced that it was recalling 1,402 units of the 2015 Escalade and Escalade ESV that were built between January 2014 to May 2014 due to "an insufficiently heated plastic weld that attaches the (front) passenger side air bag to the instrument panel assembly could result in a partial deployment of the air bag in the event of a crash." GM also placed a temporary halt on further sales and informed owners of the affected vehicles to not let passengers sit in the front passenger seat until they are replaced.[48]

Escalade EXT

The Escalade EXT sport utility truck (released alongside its twin, the Chevrolet Avalanche) was introduced in 2001 (as a 2002 model) from the Cadillac division of General Motors. It features a "Convert-a-Cab" composite pickup bed that can be expanded into the truck's cab through a bottom-hinged door. Like the Avalanche, the EXT has four full-size doors and seating for five. High-intensity discharge headlights were offered for 2003. The Escalade EXT also appears in the movie, The Matrix Reloaded along with the CTS in product placement ads. All Escalade EXTs were built in Mexico.

The Escalade EXT (based on the Cadillac Escalade) was created as a direct competitor to the failed Lincoln Blackwood, a pickup truck based on the Ford F-150. It had competed with the Lincoln Mark LT (now discontinued in the United States and Canada), another F-150-based pickup truck that made its debut in 2005. It now competes with the Ford F-150 Platinum, which is still known as the Lincoln Mark LT in Mexico.

The EXT models were discontinued after the 2013 model year along with the Avalanche. According to, The EXT was ranked tenth among the worst selling vehicles in the United States for 2013, with only 1,972 units sold. The designer of the 2015 model year said that it could be open to the possibility of revisiting the idea to bring the EXT back in the future, but there are no plans to do so at this point in time.[49] The Escalade EXT was available in the United States, Canada, Mexico, and the Middle East (except Israel).


MY04: Cadillac released its first version of the Platinum Escalade. It was only available in the ESV model. It had such features as heated and ventilated Seats (front and back), heated and ventilated cup holders, special 20" wheels, special leathers and interior design, extra labeling and HID headlamps.

MY08: Cadillac offered the Platinum Edition on its redesigned Escalade and Escalade ESV models. It includes such features as a unique front fascia and grille, heated and cooled cup holders, limited edition 22" wheels, additional chrome pieces and accents, 2 additional DVD monitors- located in the headrests of each front seat, special hand stitched leathers, real aluminum interior accents, Advanced Magnetic Ride Control system, genuine olive ash and burled walnut wood interior trim, and LED headlamps.

MY09: An Escalade hybrid model was new for 2009.

MY12: The Escalade had a mid-cycle refresh on Platinum trim with dual exhaust and more color options including White diamond, which was an optional feature on Base, Luxury and Premium, but the color was standard free of charge on Platinum editions Escalade.

MY15: The Platinum Escalade went on sale in fall of 2014 with a base MSRP at $90k, a price jump to $9k more than the 2014 Escalade Platinum price. The all-new 2015 Platinum Escalade features Cadillac's all-new emblem, more innovations with Nappa, semi-aniline massaging front seats, and either a choice of Tuscan (beige) or Black leather seating surfaces, and the Platinum Escalade comes with every available feature that the Premium trim has, plus: a suede microfiber headliner, its own unique grille and 22" wheels, 7-inch LCD screens in the headrests and a 9-inch screen in the center and an icebox in the center console.

U.S. sales

Cadillac discontinued tracking the sales of the Escalade ESV in the United States in 2018, as GM combines the sales of both full size and ESV versions from the 2018 model year onward.[50]

Calendar Year EscaladeEXTESVTotal U.S. sales
1998[51] 3,0893,089
1999 23,89723,897
2000[52] 23,34623,346
2001 31,27054631,816
2002[53] 36,11413,4943649,644
2003 35,62111,25612,86659,743
2004[54] 36,9949,63815,61862,250
2005 29,8767,76613,50251,144
2006[55] 39,0177,01916,17062,206
2007 36,6547,96716,37060,991
2008[56] 23,9474,70911,05439,710
2009[57] 16,8732,4236,58825,884
2010[58] 16,1182,0828,67426,874
2011[59] 15,0792,0368,38825,503
2012[60] 12,6151,9348,08322,632
2013[61] 12,5921,9727,95022,514
2014[62] 19,4825310,98730,522
2015[63] 21,23014,69135,921
2016[64] 23,60415,48839,092
2017[65] 22,99414,70037,694
2018[66] 33,7963,07636,872


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