2021 Cadillac Escalade

MSRP range: $76,195 - $102,995
Edmunds suggests you pay$78,909

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2021 Cadillac Escalade Review

  • Cool-looking digital cockpit interface
  • One of the roomiest cabins in the class
  • Huge rear cargo space and excellent in-cabin storage
  • Climate controls are difficult to use at night
  • Rear cabin lags class leaders in interior quality
  • Poor fuel economy from standard V8 engine
  • Fully redesigned for 2021
  • More interior space, especially for rear passengers
  • Part of the fifth Escalade generation introduced for 2021

The 2021 Cadillac Escalade is fully redesigned with an array of changes. For one, it's longer than the previous Escalade and has more passenger room (particularly for the second- and third-row occupants) and cargo space. It also gets new technology features, including Cadillac's Super Cruise, which is one of the best semi-automated driving systems around, and a sharp-looking display that spans most of the dashboard.

Underneath, there's a new independent rear suspension that provides a smoother ride than the previous solid-axle design. The Escalade's standard 6.2-liter V8 is pretty much a carryover, but there is a newly available turbocharged diesel V6 engine, which could be of benefit if you're planning on doing a lot of towing with your Escalade.

Overall, we're pleased with the new Escalade. It's worth checking out alongside rival large SUVs such as the Lincoln Navigator and Mercedes-Benz GLS. Check out our Expert Rating for more of our in-depth analysis on the 2021 Escalade.

EdmundsEdmunds' Expert Rating
Rated for you by America’s best test team
The new Cadillac Escalade is a step up from its dated predecessor in just about every way without straying too far from its formula. The exterior design is still sharp and attention-grabbing, and the interior offers plenty of cargo space. Some of the tech features fall short of those found in some rival SUVs, but overall the new Escalade is a solid pick.
Cadillac has done a fine job hiding just how big and heavy the Escalade really is. The Escalade's 6.2-liter V8 might not send it to 60 mph (6.7 seconds) as quickly as some rival SUVs, but it's potent enough. On-ramps and highway passing are no issue, and the V8 sounds pretty good too. The transmission occasionally has some abrupt shifts, and we wish the shift paddles worked in Drive and not just Low, but it's mostly smooth and smart enough to be in the right gear most of the time.

We wouldn't call the Escalade sporty, but it's smooth and composed enough around turns. The steering is light and direct, so parking or driving down winding roads doesn't feel like a chore.
We don't think the Escalade's ride is quite as refined as that of class leaders such as the Mercedes GLS, but it's certainly comfortable enough most of the time. The seats, too, aren't quite as relaxing as those of the class leaders, but you won't be complaining after hundreds of miles behind the wheel. It's generally pretty quiet too.

The climate control system keeps the temperature even, but overall it falls short of the best of the best. There isn't enough adjustment in the vents, and we had to adjust the automatic temperature frequently. Heated seats allow finer control of the zones, which is great.
As you might expect, the Escalade's interior is vast and spacious. All three rows are large enough for adults, and the wide doors and accessible grab handles make getting in and out simple if a bit of a climb. The seating position is high and truck-like, which is either good or bad depending on your preference. Outward visibility isn't great, but the exterior camera system makes parking relatively easy.

Most of the controls are easy to understand, but some are ill placed and hard to see. The climate control settings are difficult to see at night because the toggles that control things aren't illuminated, and we frequently hit the wrong button trying to adjust the temperature.
The Escalade offers some of the latest and greatest tech General Motors has to offer. Unfortunately, a lot of it is optional. The adaptive cruise and lane-keeping assist systems make driving such a large SUV easier, but some things, such as the night-vision camera, seem more like a novelty.

The Escalade features a sleek-looking digital instrument cluster and infotainment screen. There's a decent level of customization, and the Escalade's standard wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto mean you can easily run music or podcasts straight from native apps on your phone. There's one wireless charging pad as well as USB-C ports for every row, so everyone has charging options.
The Escalade's cargo area is massive. The space is wide and open, and while the liftover is on the high side, the adaptive air suspension can lower when the Escalade is parked to help get stuff inside. Storage for small items is good, too, with plenty of pockets and bins for things such as sunglasses and hand sanitizer bottles. There's an optional chilled center console. The Escalade's tow rating is 8,200 pounds in the right configuration and when properly equipped — that's certainly sufficient for a small or medium-size trailer.

Installing a child seat in the rear should be relatively simple. The doors open wide, the anchors are reasonably accessible, and there's plenty of space for a rear-facing seat. The high seats may make getting in a bit of a climb.
EPA-estimated fuel economy stands at 16 mpg combined with the 6.2-liter V8 and 4WD. That's not so great even for a large SUV. We saw 17.5 mpg during our time testing an Escalade with the V8 and 4WD, so at least you can expect to get the EPA's numbers or a little better. Choose the diesel if you want better fuel economy — it tops out at 23 mpg combined.
The Escalade looks and feels pretty nice up front, though we don't think the interior feels quite as premium as the cabins of the best luxury SUVs, especially in the back two rows. The design is clean, and the leather feels great. The dash-spanning digital display looks impressive too. Some of the trim and buttons look a little cheap, but overall it's a fairly nice place to spend your commute if you're the one driving.

Pricing lines up right with the competition. Cadillac's four-year/50,000-mile basic and six-year/70,000-mile powertrain warranties are average for the class. You also get six years of roadside assistance, but Cadillac only includes a year of scheduled maintenance.
Nothing this big and heavy can be considered fun to drive in a sporty sort of way, but there's something enjoyable about cruising around in a big, comfy V8-powered SUV. The stylish interior design makes it feel a cut above most other SUVs. The sharp exterior angles and formidable size are sure to attract attention, but that's always been part of the appeal of driving an Escalade.

Which Escalade does Edmunds recommend?

The base Luxury trim comes well equipped, but we suggest going for the midgrade Escalade Premium Luxury model. In addition to a few more standard features, it offers a wider array of optional features than the base Luxury model, including Super Cruise and an adaptive air suspension.

Cadillac Escalade models

The 2021 Escalade is a three-row large luxury SUV that comes in five trim levels: Luxury, Premium Luxury, Sport, Premium Luxury Platinum and Sport Platinum. The Escalade seats up to eight with the second-row bench seat. The optional captain's chairs drop the count to seven.

All Escalades come standard with a 6.2-liter V8 (420 hp, 460 lb-ft) and rear-wheel drive. Four-wheel drive is optional. Also optional is a turbocharged 3.0-liter six-cylinder diesel engine (277 hp, 460 lb-ft). Both engines are paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission.

Standard feature highlights include:

  • Full leather seating
  • A dash-spanning 16.9-inch infotainment screen and a 14.2-inch instrument cluster
  • Keyless and ignition with remote start
  • Heated front and rear outboard seats
  • Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration
  • Tri-zone climate control
  • A 19-speaker AKG Studio audio system
  • Front and rear parking sensors

Premium Luxury
Includes those features and opens up the options list with available features such as:

  • Driver Assist Tech package
    • Adaptive cruise control can speed up and slow down the vehicle with traffic
    • Soft-close doors that catch the doors as they're being closed and gently pull them shut
  • Performance package
    • Revised suspension
    • Trailer hitch assist that helps when lining up a trailer
    • Trailer brake controller that helps control a trailer when on the road
  • A Heavy-Duty Trailering package
  • Rear-seat entertainment system
  • Adaptive air suspension
  • Cadillac's Super Cruise semi-automated driving system

Premium Luxury Platinum
Comes with most options as standard equipment but adds:

  • Massaging front seats
  • Leather-wrapped instrument panel, console and upper door panels

The Sport and Sport Platinum trims' features and options generally mirror those on the Escalade Premium Luxury and Premium Luxury Platinum, respectively, with visual touches such as wheels and gloss-black trim separating the models.

Consumer reviews

There are no consumer reviews for the 2021 Cadillac Escalade.

2021 Cadillac Escalade videos

[MUSIC PLAYING] CARLOS LAGO: The Escalade is one of the most iconic SUVs on the road today, and I'm really eager to get in this one because of all the stuff that's happening inside and underneath. Well, it's obviously bigger, and more capable, and more powerful, but it has a thoroughly modern suspension, and this really cool-looking entertainment display that's OLED. It also supports true hands-free driving, although this one doesn't. And we're going to see how it all comes together. But before we do, make sure to visit Edmunds.com/sellmycar to get an instant cash offer for your car. Also make sure to like, comment, and subscribe because, well, to make sure we get to keep making these videos. Let's start off by talking about design, albeit briefly, because it's very subjective. I think this looks really cool. It manages to be bold but also somewhat kind of subtle. I know that's contradictory, but hey, it's an Escalade, so let's just run with it. Now, under the hood of this one is a 6.2-liter V8. That'll be the engine powering most Escalades. Its 420 horse, 460 pound feet of torque. You can also opt for a 3-liter turbo diesel 6 cylinder that also makes 460 pound feet of torque. That's a no-cost option, which will be available later. That's nice. But as for the V8, that power figure and the fuel economy are a bit lower than what you'll find in the Lincoln Navigator, so you can only just brag about having two extra cylinders. Yeah. Anyway, trim levels. The base price is $77,500 or thereabouts. Adding four-wheel drive is another $3,000. Adding the long wheelbase ESV variant is another $3,000. This is a top-of-the-line platinum trim level with a price above $100,000. But let's stop talking about trim levels really quick because I want to point out this little sticker here. Most Chevy, GMC, Cadillac SUVs or trucks made for towing are going to have a sticker right here that shows you the towing figures for your specific vehicle, for the VIN on this actual vehicle. That's a neat little thing to have. Saves you from having to do the math with your trailer. Getting further back, you'll notice that these wheels are massive. They're 22-inch wheels. That's the standard wheel size on the Escalade. And I point that out because it's all about what's connected behind here. I mentioned Chevy SUVs and trucks. I mentioned GMCs. This is the same underpinning as the Tahoe, Suburban, and Yukon. That means it benefits from independent rear suspension, which should make for a smoother ride, but also makes for a more compact rear suspension that should make for more space back here. You also get air springs and adaptive shocks, optionally. Now, this Cadillac Escalade has the trailer tow package, and a lot of those capabilities manifest into a hitch and connectors underneath this plastic piece which is removable. I did it off camera but it took me so long to reinstall it that I figured we shouldn't do it now because I value and respect your time. Let's pop the rear hatch. Now, if you've watched our Chevy Tahoe or Chevy Suburban reviews, this is going to sound very similar. In terms of connectivity, you have a 110-volt power outlet right here. And then dropping the seats is just as easy as hitting these buttons. Now you get a ton of space whether you have the short wheelbase or long wheelbase Escalade, in fact, more cargo space per row that what you get in the equivalent Navigator. So plenty of space for cargo of all kinds. [MUSIC PLAYING] As we hop into the interior of this Escalade, let's talk about what stands out first. Obviously these screens. We're going to cover those in a bit more detail later. First, let's talk about interior fit, finish, feel, quality, the stuff that you would expect to be really nice when you're paying $110,000, which is what this is as equipped. Now, in terms of materials, it's fairly nice. Generally, light-colored tones of leathers aren't really my thing, but fortunately there's a wide variety of configurations that you can get your Escalade interior, and that also goes for the wood paneling too. This pattern is interesting, though it's a little too glossy for my tastes. But again, a lot of options that you can get in this car. Generally, everything is covered with leather and that feels nice. The thing that is not are these fabric inserts on the sides of the tunnels and on the door panels, which look really neat. It's something that I would expect from like a Volvo or a Polestar. It's a nice little design touch. I'm curious how it's going to wear over time. But you could say the same thing about white leather too. Let's talk about storage and connectivity. Under this panel right here you've got your cup holders, a little cubby right here, power ports. There's two USB, one USB C and one traditional USB. Further back behind that, underneath the arm rest, is you have a deeper cubby right here. And actually in this car it's been optioned to work like a refrigerator. It's got two different cooling modes. And ahead of that you have two more USB C power ports as well. There's a lot of connectivity right here, including wireless phone charging, wireless Apple CarPlay, and wireless Android Auto. In fact, if I pull out Arnie right here, where does he live? Well, a lot of cars that have wireless charging, they just kind of have a pad somewhere on the dash. Sometimes it's texturized so your phone does move around too much. But what I like about Cadillac's solution here is that the phone slides into this slot and starts charging. And what's nice about that is it's held in place, and it encourages you to use the vehicle's phone projection systems, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, instead of referring to your phone while you're driving, and that's a really nice touch. In terms of overall space, this thing is massive. There's a ton of room in any direction. You feel tall. We'll talk about the driving position when we're actually driving the car, but surely up here there is no shortage of place for you to exist, and also your passenger too. Now, let's talk about the screens ahead of me in a little bit more detail. When you hop in this car and turn it on for the first time, these screens seem really impressive. And I say screens because there's actually three. There's the center infotainment display, or center touchscreen, or entertainment screen, whatever you want to call it. There's an all-digital gauge cluster, and then there's this little display off to the far left. The two outboard ones are touch sensitive, and then you can actually control the entertainment display with this rotary dial here like you can on some Audis. It comes to mind the way you control is actually kind of similar. Now, it's really impressive, clean, and so far it's responded really quickly to my inputs, and has adjusted everything just the way I would expect. The voice controls respond to natural language, and there's a depth of configuration within the screens that'll take some time to get used to, but it gives you a lot of power over how you control the vehicle. You can do things like make sure that you use the microphones and speakers in each of the seats to communicate more clearly to the people in the third row, for example. Yeah, there's a setting for that. Now, one of the things that I've noticed, as someone who really likes using phone projection systems like Android Auto and Apple CarPlay is the layout of the screen just doesn't look that great when you're in the Apple CarPlay mode. That's OK. I mean, you can live with that. If you want to get the most from the systems that will work with the navigation, you're going to want to use the onboard system. And you want to do things like that, because it gives you more options as we move to the center display, where they gauge cluster is at. I can have the map take up the full width the screen, if I would choose, so I could have the map and the gauge cluster, and I could have the stereo here, or whatever displays you want there. I can also use what Cadillac calls an augmented reality camera. Now, that's displaying what the Cadillac sees looking forward. There's a camera on the nose of the car that appears to be a pretty high refresh rate. It works well. I mean, I was driving at 70 miles an hour. I had this camera up and it was pretty easy to spot. You also have night vision, which I actually can't use right now because it's day, and night vision system is only available when it's dark. And also I can switch it back to the standard gauge cluster. You can control what appears in both the left and right panels of the gauge cluster, and that's nice because it gives you some additional configuration. Overall, this appears to be a really clean, modern, and sufficiently high-tech system for a modern car, especially for an American large luxury SUV. Just on initial impressions, this is right up there with what you see from the best of Germany. Now, in the second row of the Escalade, if it looks like I'm close to the front seat, it's because I am. Watch this. I've got plenty of space back here. In fact, in terms of interior measurements for front, second, and third rows, this is generally slightly more spacious, in terms of specs, than the Lincoln Navigator in either the standard wheelbase or the long wheelbase ESV variants. That's worth pointing out back here. Tons of space, again, in every direction. I'm average height and weight, generally, and there's so much room back here it's actually kind of hard just to specify how much space there is. Now, I don't have seat ventilation like the front seats, but I do have seat heating. In terms of power ports and outlets, I've got two HDMI ports at the bottom of the center console there, and then two USB C ports as well. Same thing with the cup holders and climate control happening there as well. Now, you may be wondering what's going on with these screens. Well, if you've watched the Chevy Suburban or Chevy Tahoe reviews that we had on the channel previously, it's the same setup. So that means these screens can reference what the front entertainment screen has going on. Like, if they go and hit navigation on that screen, because I think you could probably see it more clearly, I can see the navigation that's happening on the entertainment display. I can also plug in my own HDMI accessory and power. So if I have got a Chromecast, for example, or Nintendo Switch, I can have those projected on these displays separately. So I can have one thing going on this screen and a completely separate thing going on on that screen. That's really huge for rear-seat entertainment. Now, let's take a look at the third row. For climbing into the third row, we're going to start by showing what it's like to lower the second row, and it's actually really easy. There's a lever here that you lift once to drop it flat and you lift again for it to slide up. That gives you a ton of space, as you can see, for me to sort of climb my way back in here. Now that I'm back here, I'm going to lower this seat, lift it up, and ask our lovely assistant to slide the seat back towards me so you can see how much legroom I have when the seat is slid back as far as it will go. And my knees are touching the seat back. That's probably what you should expect for three-row seating in an SUV this size, for a full-size adult. This is certainly tolerable in terms of space, especially because the pass-through between the second row is so wide I can extend a leg there like I would if I was on a plane. But for children this will be totally adequate. Now, back here you have basically got a cup holder on each side, USB C ports on each side, and then a vent that'll blow air conditioning right in your face, which is helpful. These aren't going to be the most comfortable seats to exist in, but certainly more spacious than they ever have been in the history of the Escalade. [MUSIC PLAYING] Let's get the obvious out of the way with the Escalade first. This thing's enormous. This is a massive vehicle, even though it isn't the even longer ESV long-wheelbase version. This thing is enormous, and it's heavy, and it's on 22s. If you believe the door sticker, this vehicle weighs just over 6,100 pounds. So there's a lot of stuff happening here with the driving experience, or you'd expect a lot of stuff to be happening with the driving experience, and it's actually kind of pleasurable that it's not. In spite of the weight and size, this thing goes down the road really smoothly with kind of the luxury ride quality you would expect from a luxury SUV. Credit goes to the new underpinnings and new suspension on this vehicle, much like the Suburban, Tahoe, and GMC Yukon. You have an independent rear suspension. That not only gives you the greater rear storage space, it also smooths the ride, especially from the rear. Most Escalades will have magnetic RideControl, which is a fancy term for quick-reacting, adaptive shocks. And then we're also riding on air suspension, so air springs, that can soften out and adjust to the driving experience. Aside from making it easier to load items into the vehicle when you're in the access height, the air springs can also lower the vehicle to make the driving experience more aerodynamic on the freeway, and also can raise the vehicle for additional clearance if you ever take one of these off road. You could take it off road because you've got four-wheel drive. It actually has an all-wheel drive mode too, and auto mode. You've also got two high, four high, and four low. So the capability is there should you desire to do it though. The seating position, you are certainly upright and have a commanding view over the road. The dash seems particularly tall for me right now. And in spite of that, my driving position still feels very car-like. The elbow rests, for example, have an equal height so that makes it really comfortable to grab the steering wheel. I have a traditional car-like shifter, which, thankfully, is a much better version than what you would get in the Suburban with that funky lever solution and button solution on the dash. This is much easier to manipulate. And it all works, especially when you pair it with a 6.2-liter V8 like this one has with a 10-speed automatic transmission. The smoothness of the acceleration is quite nice. This thing changes gears really quickly. Sometimes you can't even perceive that the gear change has happened. It's a very quiet drive train as well. And the overall experience gives you the power that you want when you need it, but doesn't really need to be in your face about it. That's important because the things at a power deficit versus the Lincoln Navigator. Now, overall, you're never going to get around the size of this thing but there are things that help, like a pretty sophisticated exterior camera system that gives you multiple views from all angles around and outside the vehicle. That helps a lot in tight parking lots, or like your garage at home, assuming you could fit this thing in there. You also have a automatic parking system that works in both parallel and perpendicular spots. I haven't been able to evaluate that yet, but it's a nice thing to have, assuming the technology works. What I like too about driving the Escalade is, you've got a lot of advanced stuff happening on the gauge cluster. I've got a head-up display as well. The steering wheel is positioned in a way where I get a clear view of that gauge cluster. And when I use the various driving modes, like if I put it in the map mode and have the map just take over the entire screen, I can clearly see in my direction of travel, where I want to be turning, and all the guidance on that. I can also put it in the AR camera, the augmented-reality camera, so-called, and get that forward-facing view with nav prompts on there. And I'll leave that up because I've got the navigation set, and you'll see when those appear, and how they work. I'm a little mixed on whether I'd actually use this. But for some shoppers who might like this in areas that feel congested and difficult to navigate, this might help. The other thing that will help a lot on the freeways, though this vehicle doesn't actually have, is Super Cruise. It's available on the Escalade, though we didn't get it on this particular test vehicle. Now, Super Cruise is a true hands-free driving experience on select freeways. You can see those freeways on Cadillac's website. There's a fairly exhaustive list of them. And the way it works is, there's a camera on models equipped with that option on the steering column that looks at your face, and it will know if you are paying attention to the road or not. Once you satisfy those criteria, and you're on that pre-approved freeway, you turn it on, set your speed, and you can take your hands off the wheel, and it will do the speed management for you and the steering for you. Now, modern versions of that system will do lane changes when you turn on the turn signal, but it's not going to navigate you to a destination like Tesla's autopilot system says it can do. Whether it actually does or not is a different story. So a potentially nice feature that we look forward to evaluating more in-depth when we can get a test vehicle in that has it. You should know that it's a $2,500 option on top-level Escalades. But if you're getting a lower trim level you have to get like another $3,500 option in order to get that $2,500 option, so closer to $5,000 or $6,000. When you pay for it, it's good for a three-year subscription, but after that it's up to $25 a month to maintain the service. Now, generally what I like about the 6.2-liter V8 is it's quiet when you're cruising and when you step on it, it sounds good. Let's see if we can reproduce that experience right now. [ENGINE ROARING] I like that. That's good. It may not be as powerful as the V6 in the Lincoln Navigator, but it makes all the right sounds, makes me feel happy. I like that. Overall, the driving experience of the Escalade is fairly nice for what it is, a vehicle with this kind of towing capability, with this kind of size, weight, comfort. It behaves on the road, from a driving experience, in a much more car-like fashion, excepting, again, this is rather tall. Visibility can seem slightly compromised, especially because the hood line is so tall. When you have the rear head rests up that impacts your rear view. But fortunately you can rely on a lot of the safety systems, blind spot monitoring, and so on, to alleviate a lot of the visibility concerns. Also practicing proper placement helps a lot too. And the system is telling me to turn left, if you can see that. The little arrow appears on the screen in a way that's subtle, but also easy to catch. I've got the turn-by-turn disabled for the purposes of talking to the camera right now, but this works. This really works. [MUSIC PLAYING] The Escalade will be at dealers this fall. And I think overall the 2021 version packs some really impressive technology, and really nice styling, in a package that's overall a really complete luxury SUV that you would hope the Escalade to be. We certainly look forward to evaluating it further and putting it into comparison against the Lincoln Navigator. But until then, make sure to visit Edmunds.com/SUV for the top-ranked SUV in each category. And that's going to do it for this video. Thanks for watching. [MUSIC PLAYING]

2021 Cadillac Escalade Review — All-New SUV | Interior, Price, & More

Features & Specs

MPG & Fuel
15 City / 20 Hwy / 17 Combined
Fuel Tank Capacity: 24.0 gal. capacity
7 seats
Type: rear wheel drive
Transmission: 10-speed shiftable automatic
V8 cylinder
Horsepower: 420 hp @ 5600 rpm
Torque: 460 lb-ft @ 4100 rpm
Basic Warranty
4 yr./ 50000 mi.
Length: 211.9 in. / Height: 76.7 in. / Width: 81.1 in.
Curb Weight: 5635 lbs.
Cargo Capacity, All Seats In Place: 25.5 cu.ft.

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Our experts’ favorite Escalade safety features:

Enhanced Automatic Emergency Braking
Automatically applies the brakes when the vehicle determines a collision is imminent.
Automatic Seat-Belt Tightening
Secures passengers by automatically tightening their seat belts during emergency braking.
Side Blind Zone Alert
Illuminates a light in the sideview mirrors when sensors see a vehicle in the Escalade's blind spots.

Cadillac Escalade vs. the competition

2021 Cadillac Escalade

2021 Cadillac Escalade

2020 Lincoln Navigator

2020 Lincoln Navigator

Cadillac Escalade vs. Lincoln Navigator

After years of middling products, Lincoln's recent lineup is a revelation. It all started with the Navigator, a traditional truck-based SUV that shocked just about everyone with a comfortable and composed ride, a powerful turbocharged engine, and an interior that's right there with the best of them. It's not as fuel-efficient as some other large SUVs, but it's still well worth a look.

Compare Cadillac Escalade & Lincoln Navigator features 

Cadillac Escalade vs. Lexus LX 570

Like the Escalade, the Lexus LX is a truck-based SUV that makes no apologies about what it is and what it's trying to do. While we like the Lexus' powerful V8 and well-crafted cabin, it's one of the oldest vehicles on the market and is showing its age. It's not as agile or easy to drive as some competitors, and the in-car tech and driver aids feel a generation behind. It also doesn't help that the V8 gets comically bad fuel economy.

Compare Cadillac Escalade & Lexus LX 570 features 

Cadillac Escalade vs. Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class

The GLS is our top-ranked luxury SUV for a good reason. It's quiet and comfortable on the road, and it features one of the best interiors on the market. On top of that, it's loaded with the latest and greatest tech and driver aids Germany has to offer. It's smaller than the Escalade and can't match the Cadillac's towing figures, but right now there are few vehicles that do things better than the GLS.

Compare Cadillac Escalade & Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class features 

2021 Cadillac Escalade First Impressions

What is it?

For the past two decades, the Cadillac Escalade was the go-to choice if you wanted a full-size luxury SUV. Just recently, however, it's been surpassed by the equally imposing Lincoln Navigator. The balance of power might shift back with the debut of the fully redesigned 2021 Cadillac Escalade.

The fifth-generation Escalade follows the related GMC Yukon and Chevrolet Tahoe to market when it goes on sale this summer and benefits from a lot of the same changes. Most notably, all three of these SUVs get a new independent rear suspension that promises a smoother ride and increased interior space. That's just the tip of a very large iceberg, though.

The 2021 Escalade is larger than its predecessor. We don't have exact measurements yet, but it's a safe bet that it will mimic the new Yukon/Tahoe footprint, which is about 6 inches longer nose to tail, with almost five of those inches going between the front and rear axles. An even larger Escalade ESV — which we expect to be the same size as the GMC Yukon XL and Chevrolet Suburban — will also be available.

Compared to the fourth-generation, this new Escalade adopts a more deliberate and cohesive exterior design. The headlights are now horizontal and better integrated with a more delicate grille. In person, we think it's more attractive than before, but it still has all of the same presence. The sides are more sculpted, making the profile appear visually lighter, while power-deployable running boards tuck neatly into the rocker panels. New this year are optional soft-close doors. The rear of the Escalade is more familiar, with similar vertical taillights that harken back to 1960s-era Caddies.

Under the hood is a 6.2-liter V8 with the same output as before: 420 horsepower and 460 lb-ft of torque. However, it has been updated with a new automatic stop-start system, cylinder deactivation and variable valve timing to improve fuel efficiency. The bigger news is the availability of a 3.0-liter turbodiesel V6 engine, which produces 277 hp but the same torque as the V8. Either will be mounted to a 10-speed automatic transmission, and shoppers can choose between rear- or all-wheel-drive.

Smoothing out the ride are standard magnetic dampers and, for the first time in an Escalade, an optional air suspension. The latter brings 4 inches of suspension travel, allowing the vehicle to lower itself for easier passenger and cargo loading or to increase ride height for off-roading.

2021 Cadillac Escalade - Front 3/4
2021 Cadillac Escalade
What's the interior like?

The new Escalade's interior represents the most significant improvement in this redesign. It's thoroughly modern and more refined than before. The dash is now dominated by a beautifully curved sheet of glass that houses three OLED displays, which is the first use of this technology in a vehicle. In some ways it's similar to Mercedes-Benz's wide rectangular screen, but Cadillac's interpretation is much more attractive. It functions as a touchscreen, but there's also a convenient dial controller on the center console.

Like the Mercedes MBUX infotainment system, Cadillac is including an augmented reality overlay for driving directions. As you approach a turn, a live view of the road ahead appears on the main screen with animated arrows to show where to go. Another Benz-like addition is the availability of night vision cameras and a center console refrigerator with a freezer function.

The Escalade continues to break new ground with its audio system by pairing with AKG, a company more commonly associated with professional studio recording equipment. The base system features 19 speakers, while the premium upgrade ups the count to 36 speakers. Also included are strategically placed microphones to allow for easy communication between the first and third rows. Navigation also gets the tech treatment, with voice prompts simulated to sound as though they're coming from the direction and distance of the next task.

One of the primary upgrades for 2021 is the inclusion of Cadillac's Super Cruise automated driving system. While it only works on highways with center dividers that have been previously mapped by Cadillac, it's also the only truly hands-free driving system available today. At the Escalade's debut, over 200,000 highway miles across the U.S. will support Super Cruise functionality. For 2021, Super Cruise adds a new automatic lane-changing function, much like Tesla's Autopilot system has.

Naturally with an SUV of this size, passengers factor heavily into the Escalade equation. Second-row occupants enjoy seats just as plush as those in front, and the seatbacks can be equipped with entertainment screens. Besides supporting typical media inputs, these screens can also share content between screens, broadcast audio to the rest of the cabin, and beam directions to the driver's navigation system.

Third-row passengers also see huge gains. With 10 inches of added legroom, those rearmost seats can now adequately hold adults. The new independent rear suspension affords a lower floor, which represents an even greater improvement for third-row passengers. It also increases cargo space behind those seats. There's now 25.5 cubic feet of capacity, constituting an improvement of 68%.

2021 Cadillac Escalade - Front Interior
2021 Cadillac Escalade
Why does it matter?

In the absence of a premium luxury minivan, full-size SUVs like the 2021 Cadillac Escalade are the only way to transport as many people and cargo in style. As one of the brand's most important models, it's also critical to keep it up-to-date with the competition.

What does it compete with?

The most direct competitor to the new Escalade is the Lincoln Navigator, which has claimed class-leading status since its 2018 redesign. Judging from our sneak peek of the new Escalade, it may be a very close battle.

There are slightly smaller luxury SUVs that could be considered alongside the Escalade. These include the BMW X7, Audi Q7 and Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class.

2021 Cadillac Escalade - Front Interior
2021 Cadillac Escalade

EdmundsEdmunds says

When the Lincoln Navigator debuted a few years ago, it very quickly demonstrated the previous-generation Escalade's shortcomings. The tables may have turned in favor of the 2021 Cadillac Escalade. The new evocative design and smart packaging have likely addressed previous drawbacks, giving it a chance to reclaim the top spot in our rankings.


Is the Cadillac Escalade a good car?

The Edmunds experts tested the 2021 Escalade both on the road and at the track, giving it a 8.0 out of 10. You probably care about Cadillac Escalade fuel economy, so it's important to know that the Escalade gets an EPA-estimated 16 mpg to 17 mpg, depending on the configuration. What about cargo capacity? When you're thinking about carrying stuff in your new car, keep in mind that the Escalade has 25.5 cubic feet of trunk space. And then there's safety and reliability. Edmunds has all the latest NHTSA and IIHS crash-test scores, plus industry-leading expert and consumer reviews to help you understand what it's like to own and maintain a Cadillac Escalade. Learn more

What's new in the 2021 Cadillac Escalade?

According to Edmunds’ car experts, here’s what’s new for the 2021 Cadillac Escalade:

  • Fully redesigned for 2021
  • More interior space, especially for rear passengers
  • Part of the fifth Escalade generation introduced for 2021
Learn more

Is the Cadillac Escalade reliable?

To determine whether the Cadillac Escalade is reliable, read Edmunds' authentic consumer reviews, which come from real owners and reveal what it's like to live with the Escalade. Look for specific complaints that keep popping up in the reviews, and be sure to compare the Escalade's average consumer rating to that of competing vehicles. Learn more

Is the 2021 Cadillac Escalade a good car?

There's a lot to consider if you're wondering whether the 2021 Cadillac Escalade is a good car. Edmunds' expert testing team reviewed the 2021 Escalade and gave it a 8.0 out of 10. Safety scores, fuel economy, cargo capacity and feature availability should all be factors in determining whether the 2021 Escalade is a good car for you. Learn more

How much should I pay for a 2021 Cadillac Escalade?

The least-expensive 2021 Cadillac Escalade is the 2021 Cadillac Escalade Luxury 4dr SUV (6.2L 8cyl 10A). Including destination charge, it arrives with a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of about $76,195.

Other versions include:

  • Premium Luxury 4dr SUV (6.2L 8cyl 10A) which starts at $82,995
  • Premium Luxury Platinum 4dr SUV 4WD (6.2L 8cyl 10A) which starts at $102,995
  • Premium Luxury 4dr SUV 4WD (6.2L 8cyl 10A) which starts at $85,995
  • Sport 4dr SUV (6.2L 8cyl 10A) which starts at $85,595
  • Sport Platinum 4dr SUV 4WD (6.2L 8cyl 10A) which starts at $102,995
  • Sport 4dr SUV 4WD (6.2L 8cyl 10A) which starts at $88,595
  • Premium Luxury Platinum 4dr SUV (6.2L 8cyl 10A) which starts at $99,995
  • Sport Platinum 4dr SUV (6.2L 8cyl 10A) which starts at $99,995
  • Luxury 4dr SUV (6.2L 8cyl 10A) which starts at $76,195
  • Luxury 4dr SUV 4WD (6.2L 8cyl 10A) which starts at $79,195
Learn more

What are the different models of Cadillac Escalade?

If you're interested in the Cadillac Escalade, the next question is, which Escalade model is right for you? Escalade variants include Premium Luxury 4dr SUV (6.2L 8cyl 10A), Premium Luxury Platinum 4dr SUV 4WD (6.2L 8cyl 10A), Premium Luxury 4dr SUV 4WD (6.2L 8cyl 10A), and Sport 4dr SUV (6.2L 8cyl 10A). For a full list of Escalade models, check out Edmunds’ Features & Specs page. Learn more

More about the 2021 Cadillac Escalade

2021 Cadillac Escalade Overview

The 2021 Cadillac Escalade is offered in the following submodels: Escalade SUV. Available styles include Premium Luxury 4dr SUV (6.2L 8cyl 10A), Premium Luxury Platinum 4dr SUV 4WD (6.2L 8cyl 10A), Premium Luxury 4dr SUV 4WD (6.2L 8cyl 10A), Sport 4dr SUV (6.2L 8cyl 10A), Sport Platinum 4dr SUV 4WD (6.2L 8cyl 10A), Sport 4dr SUV 4WD (6.2L 8cyl 10A), Premium Luxury Platinum 4dr SUV (6.2L 8cyl 10A), Sport Platinum 4dr SUV (6.2L 8cyl 10A), Luxury 4dr SUV (6.2L 8cyl 10A), and Luxury 4dr SUV 4WD (6.2L 8cyl 10A). Cadillac Escalade models are available with a 6.2 L-liter gas engine, with output up to 420 hp, depending on engine type. The 2021 Cadillac Escalade comes with rear wheel drive, and four wheel drive. Available transmissions include: 10-speed shiftable automatic. The 2021 Cadillac Escalade comes with a 4 yr./ 50000 mi. basic warranty, a 6 yr./ 70000 mi. roadside warranty, and a 6 yr./ 70000 mi. powertrain warranty.

What do people think of the 2021 Cadillac Escalade?

Consumer ratings and reviews are also available for the 2021 Cadillac Escalade and all its trim types. Edmunds consumer reviews allow users to sift through aggregated consumer reviews to understand what other drivers are saying about any vehicle in our database. Detailed rating breakdowns (including performance, comfort, value, interior, exterior design, build quality, and reliability) are available as well to provide shoppers with a comprehensive understanding of why customers like the 2021 Escalade.

Edmunds Expert Reviews

Edmunds experts have compiled a robust series of ratings and reviews for the 2021 Cadillac Escalade and all model years in our database. Our rich content includes expert reviews and recommendations for the 2021 Escalade featuring deep dives into trim levels and features, performance, mpg, safety, interior, and driving. Edmunds also offers expert ratings, road test and performance data, long-term road tests, first-drive reviews, video reviews and more.

Our Review Process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.

What's a good price for a New 2021 Cadillac Escalade?

2021 Cadillac Escalade Luxury 4dr SUV (6.2L 8cyl 10A)

2021 Cadillac Escalade Premium Luxury 4dr SUV (6.2L 8cyl 10A)

2021 Cadillac Escalade Sport 4dr SUV (6.2L 8cyl 10A)

2021 Cadillac Escalade Premium Luxury Platinum 4dr SUV 4WD (6.2L 8cyl 10A)

2021 Cadillac Escalade Sport Platinum 4dr SUV 4WD (6.2L 8cyl 10A)

Which 2021 Cadillac Escalades are available in my area?

Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2021 Cadillac Escalade for sale near. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a car from our massive database to find cheap vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the 2021 Cadillac Escalade.

Can't find a new 2021 Cadillac Escalades you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a new Cadillac for sale - 8 great deals out of 24 listings starting at $21,651.

Why trust Edmunds?

Edmunds has deep data on over 6 million new, used, and certified pre-owned vehicles, including rich, trim-level features and specs information like: MSRP, average price paid, warranty information (basic, drivetrain, and maintenance), features (upholstery, bluetooth, navigation, heated seating, cooled seating, cruise control, parking assistance, keyless ignition, satellite radio, folding rears seats ,run flat tires, wheel type, tire size, wheel tire, sunroof, etc.), vehicle specifications (engine cylinder count, drivetrain, engine power, engine torque, engine displacement, transmission), fuel economy (city, highway, combined, fuel capacity, range), vehicle dimensions (length, width, seating capacity, cargo space), car safety, true cost to own. Edmunds also provides tools to allow shopper to compare vehicles to similar models of their choosing by warranty, interior features, exterior features, specifications, fuel economy, vehicle dimensions, consumer rating, edmunds rating, and color.

What is the MPG of a 2021 Cadillac Escalade?

2021 Cadillac Escalade Premium Luxury 4dr SUV (6.2L 8cyl 10A), 10-speed shiftable automatic, premium unleaded (recommended)
17 compined MPG,
15 city MPG/20 highway MPG

2021 Cadillac Escalade Premium Luxury Platinum 4dr SUV 4WD (6.2L 8cyl 10A), 10-speed shiftable automatic, premium unleaded (recommended)
16 compined MPG,
14 city MPG/19 highway MPG

2021 Cadillac Escalade Premium Luxury 4dr SUV 4WD (6.2L 8cyl 10A), 10-speed shiftable automatic, premium unleaded (recommended)
16 compined MPG,
14 city MPG/19 highway MPG

EPA Est. MPG17
Transmission10-speed shiftable automatic
Drive Trainrear wheel drive
Displacement6.2 L
Passenger VolumeN/A
Wheelbase120.9 in.
Length211.9 in.
Width81.1 in.
Height76.7 in.
Curb Weight5635 lbs.

Should I lease or buy a 2021 Cadillac Escalade?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

Check out Cadillac lease specials