Advertisement

Why ads?
Popular at KBB.com
  • 10 Best Luxury Cars Under $40,000
  • 2014 Small Luxury Sedan Buyer's Guide
  • Class of 2015: New Vehicles Ready to Roll
  • 10 Best Midsize SUVs
Go

2012 Cadillac Escalade ESV

Overview
Share this page
Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

Buying this car?

2012 Cadillac Escalade ESV Review

By

KBB Expert Rating: 7.2

While the automotive landscape continues to shift towards smaller, lighter and more-efficient vehicles, the full-size luxury SUV segment remains relatively unscathed by this recent market shift. The Escalade nameplate remains as popular as ever, and the 2012 lineup satisfies America's appetite for excessively large vehicles with four capacious offerings, including the classic Escalade and its more efficient Hybrid accomplice, a long-wheelbase ESV variant, and the versatile, yet stately, EXT open-bed truck. Despite its inherent impracticality, the 2012 Cadillac Escalade makes a case for itself by offering one of the most spacious, extravagant and comfortable rides available.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you are looking for a capable, full-size luxury SUV that isn't shy about attracting attention, the 2012 Cadillac Escalade belongs in your driveway - since it probably won't fit in your garage.

You May Not Like This Car If...

If exorbitant cabin space and impressive towing capability are nonessentials in your next vehicle purchase, there are plenty of practical alternatives that are a bit more refined and subtle from Lexus, Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz.

What's New for 2012

Cadillac Escalade models receive a few modest updates for 2012, highlights of which include two new exterior colors for Escalade SUV models (Radiant Silver Metallic and Crystal Red Tintcoat), a new center console design, and navigation system enhancements.

Driving the Escalade ESV

Driving Impressions Due to its sheer size and weight it should come as no surprise that the 2012 Cadillac Escalade lacks razor-sharp agility and steering. However, we feel the Escalade delivers the...

smoothest and most comfortable ride offered on a body-on-frame vehicle. Thanks to a host of electronic stability, traction and suspension controls, winding roads that would have lesser SUVs heaving and tossing are simply tamed. All the electronic goodies in the world, however, can't help make the Escalade easy to park. As for power, the 6.2-liter V8 (standard in everything but the Escalade Hybrid) is as smooth as glass and has what feels like an endless reserve of torque on hand. If you need to tow a boat or horse trailer, the Escalade's V8 suddenly becomes indispensable. The heart of the Escalade Hybrid is a 6.0-liter V8 that feels as responsive and powerful as the conventional V8, yet it returns a 33 percent improvement in city fuel economy.

Remote Vehicle Start
This is one of those standard features that you may not want to live without once you've become used to it, especially in hot summer or cold winter weather. A touch of the key-fob button from afar can start the engine and begin cooling or heating the cabin before you're even inside.

Power Fold-and-Tumble Second-row Seat
Third-row access is a serious issue in big SUVs and an easy-folding second-row seat can save a lot of irritation. This feature operates with buttons on the console and interior door pillar.

2012 Cadillac Escalade ESV Details
Interior

The 2012 Escalade's interior takes Cadillac luxury to its extreme end. The interior is so solidly wrapped in sound-deadening materials one can almost hear a pin drop. Comfort levels rise to new heights on Escalade SUV Platinum trims with such items as heated and cooled cup holders, a heated steering wheel and Tehama aniline leather seating surfaces for all rows. Even the base 8-passenger SUV models and 5-passenger EXT variant are lavish beyond reason, with leather trim blanketing the seats, doors, steering wheel and center console, and with the interior pillars wearing rich-looking fabric.

Exterior

From its massive signature Cadillac grille to its chrome-clad fender vents to its enormous available 22-inch chromed-aluminum wheels, there is nothing subtle about the 2012 Cadillac Escalade. Its road presence is made all the more apparent by the sharp-edged lines, flush-mounted headlights and long, tinted side-glass panels. Stepping into the Escalade requires a hike up, but thankfully, every Escalade model offers standard assist steps for suitable ingress and egress from the vehicle. The Hybrid model boasts a distinctive front end featuring unique upper and lower grilles accompanied by a slew of Hybrid badges.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

The 2012 Cadillac Escalade's comprehensive standard equipment begins with road-sensing suspension, automatic rear leveling for heavy loads, a power liftgate, and remote vehicle starting. Inside, you will find leather-trimmed 14-way power heated and ventilated front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, power-adjustable pedals, DVD navigation with a rear backup camera, Bose Surround Sound, SiriusXM Satellite Radio, and OnStar with spoken turn-by-turn directions. Additional safety and convenience features include six airbags, OnStar emergency assistance, a sonar proximity warning system for difficult parking situations, and a specialized stability control system with roll-over mitigation.

Optional Equipment

With so much standard equipment and a variety of trims, 2012 Cadillac Escalade models offer an abbreviated list of options. Available equipment includes all-wheel drive (AWD) for Escalade SUVs (standard on the EXT truck), 22-inch chromed-aluminum wheels, power retractable running boards, a power sliding sunroof, a heated steering wheel, blind-spot monitoring and an automatic high-beam system, which detects the headlights of oncoming traffic and automatically switches between high and low beams accordingly.

Under the Hood

The 2012 Cadillac Escalade features a potent 403 horsepower, 6.2-liter V8 with Active Fuel Management, which deactivates half of the cylinders under light loads for increased fuel economy. The Escalade's 6.2-liter engine is also E85 (ethanol/gasoline fuel blend) compatible. The Hybrid model boasts a more-efficient 6.0-liter V8 combined with a 300-volt battery pack as well as the conventional engine's gas-saving Active Fuel Management technology.


6.2-liter V8
403 horsepower @ 5,700 rpm
417 lb-ft of torque @ 4,300 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 14/18 mpg (rear-wheel drive, gasoline), 13/18 mpg (AWD, gasoline), 9/13 mpg (EXT/ESV model with AWD, E85), 10/15 mpg (Standard Escalade model with rear-wheel drive, E85), 10/14 mpg (Standard Escalade model with AWD, E85)

6.0-liter V8 hybrid
332 horsepower @ 5,100 rpm
367 lb-ft @ 4,100 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 20/23 mpg

Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

Buying this car?

2012 Cadillac Escalade ESV Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.4
Out of 10

Based on 157 Ratings for the 2007 - 2014 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.2/10
    Quality
    8.5/10
  • Reliability
    8.8/10
    Performance
    8.8/10
  • Comfort
    8.9/10
    Styling
    9.0/10

Wife loves her Escalade

By on Friday, July 18, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 30,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "great to drive"

Cons: "3rd row rearseats"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"Great driving vehicle, with enough guts to get you off to a quick start, braking is ok considering the weight of the vehicle. Drives like a dream, quite, and smooth. Very comfortable. Downside which has been corrected in their 2015 model is the removal of the 3rd. row back seats. They are heavy, and a pain to get in and out. Almost impossible for a women of normal strength to handle."

16 people out of 32 found this review helpful

Best auto I have ever owned

By on Friday, June 13, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 71,469

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "room and driving comfort"

Cons: "Gas mileage"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"n excellent ride and driving experience.This is the best auto I have ever owned in 46 years of driving."

27 people out of 53 found this review helpful

I love this car!!

By on Monday, June 09, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 48,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Very classy car to own and drive."

Cons: "Loaded!1"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"This is by far the best car I've ever owned. It has class and comfort beyond compare. This car is in excellent condition. Very clean and all maintenance performed by dealer. Black with black leather interior. Fully loaded."

5 people out of 10 found this review helpful

Best luxury family vehicle ever..

By on Monday, May 12, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 28,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "comfortable,lots of room,smooth quiet ride"

Cons: "high price"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"This is our 4th Cadillac escalade esv and we simply love them for family transportation.Plenty of room and very comfortable ride and seating for long trips. Very reliable too, we have had no issues with our cadillac accept just basic oil changes and checkups..Love these cars!! only downfall is they can be a bit pricey but its worth the peace of mind."

11 people out of 26 found this review helpful

Great Vehicle

By on Tuesday, April 22, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 60,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
9/10

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"Dependable, easy handling, quick engine response, plenty of power. Interior could use some refinement. Nav system is not classy looking."

14 people out of 26 found this review helpful

Great vehicle.

By on Wednesday, February 05, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 13,300

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Very safe"

Cons: "Gas mileage"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"Can't wait until spring when the 2015's come out. Had a 2010 with AWD, got 16 mpg on average. The 2013 has RWD I get only 12.5 mpg on average. The 2013 has a better GPS system. Great ride as long as you don't use 22 inch tires."

12 people out of 23 found this review helpful

Share this page

Advertisement

Why ads?
Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

Buying this car?