By KBB.com Editors
Called the luxury king of SUVs, Cadillac's three-row Escalade ESV offers more horsepower and nine more cubic feet of cargo space than Lincoln's long-wheelbase Navigator L. Though the Navigator L offers a few competitive advantages, including its fold-flat third seat, more towing capacity and a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of nearly $9,000 less, the 2010 Cadillac Escalade ESV dominates the image arena. The full-size Escalade ESV has become the status symbol of choice for country clubbers and the urban cool affluent, and this 21-inch longer version offers even more than the previous generation.
If you want or need and can afford a truck this size with these levels of luxury and capability, along with the fast-rising Cadillac brand image, there is no better choice.
If want or need Escalade ESV capabilities without the Cadillac price, GM's three-row Chevy Suburban or GMC Yukon XL are available with nearly as much power for much less money. Lincoln's Navigator L is an excellent domestic alternative, while import-brand luxury SUV competitors are available from the likes of Land Rover, Mercedes-Benz and Lexus.
For 2010, Cadillac adds Active Fuel Management (cylinder deactivation) to its 6.2-liter V8 engine. Other new features include a console mounted USB port, a locking steering column and seat-mounted front side thorax airbags.
Driving Impressions This heavy full-frame truck-based SUV drives like a very large car. It's no sport sedan, but it is more agile, sure-footed and Cadillac-comfortable than most any other full-size...truck you'll encounter. Rival Lincoln's new Navigator is very good as well, and has the advantage of independent rear suspension, but we judge the Escalade ESV as better overall in ride and handling. Most of this is due to its fully-boxed frame, redesigned suspension, wide track and improved rack-and-pinion steering. The 6.2-liter V8 idles aggressively at rest and roars impressively at full throttle as it surges the big Caddy forward with eye-opening authority.
Remote Vehicle Start
This is one of those features that you may not want to live without once you've become used to it, especially in hot summer or cold winter weather. At the touch of a key-fob button from afar, it can start the engine and begin cooling or heating the cabin before you're even inside.
Heated Windshield Washer Fluid
Forget frozen washer fluid with this long-overdue feature. What could be better than warming it before you need it to melt annoying and dangerous windshield ice?
The 2010 Cadillac Escalade's interior is luxury-car plush and surprisingly quiet, and raises the luxury and refinement bars another couple of notches. The instrument panel is set low and far forward to improve real and perceived room. It houses quad round gauges with white needles, blue-light inlays and white LED backlighting. "Nuance" leather covers the seats, doors, steering wheel and center console, while the interior pillars wear rich-looking fabric.Exterior
The 2010 Escalade ESV looks powerful, purposeful and streamlined, not unlike a 1950s diesel locomotive. The largest and heaviest Escalade to date, Cadillac's stylist have clever created a vehicle that appears somewhat smaller thanks to its sleek, tightly-wrapped new body. Stepping in requires the use of the side step rails for all but the tallest passengers, and reaching the roof-mounted luggage rack is best left to those with the longest arms. The swept-back 57-degree windshield contributes to a segment-best aerodynamic drag coefficient of 0.36, which helps improve fuel economy and reduce wind noise, and careful detailing shows in its large, finely-crafted Cadillac signature grille, front fender vent ports and tasteful chrome accents.
The 2010 Cadillac Escalade ESV's comprehensive standard equipment begins with all-wheel drive, road-sensing suspension, automatic rear leveling, ultrasonic rear park assist, power liftgate and remote vehicle starting. Inside are leather-covered 14-way power heated front seats, heated fold-and-tumble second-row seats, three-passenger third-row seating, tri-zone automatic climate system, steering wheel radio controls, rear audio controls, power adjustable pedals, DVD navigation with MP3/CD-changer, rear backup camera, Bose Surround Sound and rear-seat LCD monitor, XM Satellite Radio and OnStar with Turn-by-turn navigation. Safety features include four-wheel anti-lock brakes (ABS), StabiliTrak stability control, advanced front air bags with passenger sensing, head-curtain side air bags for all three rows, rain-sensing wipers and heated washer fluid.
With so much standard equipment, the ESV's option list is not long, and includes 22-inch tires on chromed aluminum wheels, power retractable running boards, a power sliding sunroof, a Luxury Package (Blind-spot Alert, IntelliBeam headlamps, power center seat release, heated and cooled front seats and a heated steering wheel) and the Platinum Package which includes the Luxury Package plus Aniline leather seating surfaces, a power moonroof, power retractable side running boards, Magnetic Ride Control suspension and rear seat entertainment system.
Powering every 2010 Cadillac Escalade is a 6.2-liter V8 with Active Fuel Management, which deactivates half of the cylinders under light load. Variable valve timing (VVT), optimizes camshaft timing to improve low-rpm torque and high-rpm power, along with emissions and fuel economy.
403 horsepower @ 5700 rpm
417 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4300 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 12/19 (2WD, gas), 10/14 (2WD, E85), N/A (AWD)
By Escalade (not Cadillac) on Tuesday, March 24, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 8,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Powerful, Stylish, Tons of Torque, Sophisticated"
Cons: "No spare tire, rigged exhaust."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"I always keep an SUV in the driveway to pull our family ski boat. Traditionally, I've been a Navigator person because of the value and overall cost. Cadillac cut me a great deal on a Platinum loaded and it's been a real gem. My wife owns a Range Rover HSE and we attempted to pull the boat a few times with it. That was not a good idea! It was too much of a chore for it. The HP and torque is perfect and the seats are comfortable. Granted we use premium fuel and get about 17 MPG on the highway but, that's with the boat behind us. It does have the 4 cylinder disable option so, I'm sure we would get much better mileage if we weren't pulling anything and driving 65 MPH. On the negative side. There isn't a SPARE TIRE! Because of GM (and their infinite wisdom to incorporate a dual exhaust. They removed the spare and rigged the exhaust to accommodate the two tips. In summary. I believe Cadillac makes substandard cars (I owned a poor quality (CTS-V) but, they make a great SUV."
1 person out of 1 found this review helpful
By Tinaslilies on Friday, February 20, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 53,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Awesome drive, and beautiful vehicle"
Cons: "Don't keep value"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"II love Cadillac and their service is amazing. I feel so happy when I go into my local dealership knowing I'm completely taken care of. love my Escalade. It's my 3rd Cadillac and my 2nd Escalade. I've been very satisfied with all of my Cadillac vehicles except that they unfortunately don't keep their value. This is a huge issue for me and honestly may keep me from investing in another Cadillac. As much as I love the vehicle I'm leaning more towards the Lexus luxury SUV that keeps it's value much better long term."
7 people out of 9 found this review helpful
By Stacey on Sunday, February 15, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 108,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Smooth comfort, easy to handle, safe family car"
Cons: "Bad gas mileage and expensive to repair."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"The only downside to owning this car is the bad gas mileage and if it breaks down the price to get it fixed."
6 people out of 9 found this review helpful
By Knicky on Saturday, January 03, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 60,000overall rating 7 of 10rating details
Pros: "very quiet and truly comfy ride"
Cons: "cosmetic issues were toooo many, back seats do not"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 2
"The appliqué literally fell off the back side of the vehicle. The passenger door handle came very loose. The leather in the passenger row is worn with not much use at all, had to have been inferior quality. too many issues to mention. Never again will I buy American. Back to Lexus!!…Pretty SUV but not nearly worth my $85K… Cadillac emblem faded in less than a year of ownership (vehicle is not left in the sun for any extended period). They replaced it and It faded again just as quickly. HORRIBLE QUALITY in the cosmetic details. Back seats do no recline,really Cadillac??"
27 people out of 53 found this review helpful
By Charlie705 on Saturday, December 27, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 132,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great deal used, looks great, super comfortable,"
Cons: "Gas mileage, 3rd row seats dont flatten"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"We love this truck. My wife prefers it to our 2007 Mercedes S550 and our 2007 Maserati QP. Its like driving a comfortable couch. Everything is easy. The 6.2 liter engine is silky smooth. Great for taking kids around. Just feels strong, hard to describe. Only downside is the gas mileage."
14 people out of 29 found this review helpful
By Chuck on Sunday, October 05, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 74,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Easy transition to multiple uses, no need for a 2nd car; good for towing, carrying loads, cleans up nice for formal occasions"
37 people out of 66 found this review helpful