Advertisement

Why ads?
Popular at KBB.com
  • 10 Best Luxury Cars Under $40,000
  • 2014 Small Luxury Sport Sedans
  • 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.
Favorite Features

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
8.3
Out of 10

Based on 149 Ratings for the 2007 - 2014 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.2/10
    Quality
    8.4/10
  • Reliability
    8.8/10
    Performance
    8.7/10
  • Comfort
    8.9/10
    Styling
    9.0/10

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."

10 people out of 20 found this review helpful

Tremendous comfort, easy handling, perfect height

By on Sunday, January 05, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 125,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

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

"This is the coolest, finest vehicle I have ever owned. Perfect for me personally. Perfect for my family and excellent for business outings. I loved this car for 7 years. I'm only now considering a trade-in or upgrade. It looks and feels like it would go another 125,000 miles"

3 people out of 3 found this review helpful

Several Issues

By on Monday, December 02, 2013

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 6,000

10 6.0
overall rating 6 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
6/10
Value
2/10
Reliability
5/10
Quality
5/10
Performance
2/10
Styling
6/10
Comfort
3/10

Pros: "looks great"

Cons: "poor performance"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 3

"This is my 3rd Escalade ESV. I had minor issues with my last (2009) so felt comfortable buying a new 2013. Two days after I bought the car, I drove to FL. I had driven approx 100 miles and I had to stop and stretch due to a slight "tremor" that I could feel in the steering wheel and the seats. I had never had this problem in my other 2 Escalades. The dealer has replaced the tires 4 times in 7 months yet the problem continues. The shop manager told me that it "drives as designed". It is so uncomfortable on trips longer than 50 miles. I also have had numerous problems with the navigation system. Was told it "operates as designed, and could not duplicate the issue" until a couple of weeks ago when it completely went blank. Now they have figured the SD card is bad and can't get a replacement for 6 weeks. Im a very disappointed owner."

7 people out of 10 found this review helpful

At 71 I have owned dozens of automobiles and this

By on Monday, November 11, 2013

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 32,563

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

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

"is without a doubt the best,great ride,and confort,low maint. easy handeling,overall just a super vehicle."

8 people out of 8 found this review helpful

Luxury at its finest,always room for improvement

By on Friday, October 18, 2013

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 21,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "You will Love what it does for You. ;)"

Cons: "The third row seat is a pain in the Rear End."

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

"Have been owning Foreign Cars forever. Have decided to be patriotic and support the American GOP and do what I can to help get GM back to the upper tier status. Bought my first American Made Car and went straight to the top. The 2013 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid Platinum. Top of the line Vehicle with all the trim. Surprised that it did not come with the heated steering wheel though. Vehicle came with everything else. Hand Stitched French Leather trim all around the dash, Seats, doors and Olive wood panel accents...truly a work of art. Bose Stereo system with 10 Speakers is top quality and the even though hybrid, the engine give's a major punch upon request. Same hybrid technology used in buses for years. Complete Battery runs when 30MPH or below. Heated and Cooled seats in the front and heated in the back row. Why not cool the back row also? heated and cooled Cup Holder in the front seats. 4 Monitors to watch and 2 to play video games. Watch the DVD in the front when parked. HID lights are super bright with automatic brights when driving in the worst of darkest of areas. Blind Spot warning on the mirrors keeps you aware of your surroundings without having to completely turn your head. If you can afford the luxury, you will be completely spoiled in it. The best part of the Deal is the maintenance that Cadillac provides. Inspection Stickers, oil Changes, all filter changes, everything, I mean Every single maintenance issue is provided by Cadillac at no extra cost. Absolute worry free Pampered Perfection."

9 people out of 9 found this review helpful

By far, the best vehicle I have ever owned.

By on Monday, October 07, 2013

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 24,000

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: "Absolute pleasure to drive, every single time."

Cons: "No matter the road or weather condition."

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

"The versatility of the EXT bed being able to open into the cab was the biggest selling point for me. I have used this feature numerous times and I am very disappointed that Cadillac has decided not to continue building the EXT product."

2 people out of 3 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?