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2014 Cadillac Escalade ESV

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2014 Cadillac Escalade ESV Review

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KBB Expert Rating: 6.4

While other SUVs strive to become smaller and more fuel-efficient, the Cadillac Escalade carries on much as it has in years past, albeit with two fewer versions in its current lineup. For 2014, the Escalade remains big, bold and brash. It brims with power and prestige, and its chrome-clad exterior and leather-lined cabin continue to be as popular with celebrities as they are with politicians and well-heeled soccer moms. The 2014 Escalade lineup has said goodbye to the hybrid model and the EXT, which was based on the also-gone Chevy Avalanche. There are many 7- and 8-passenger crossover SUVs that offer better fuel-efficiency and handling than the Escalade, but few can match the Cadillac's sheer presence or hauling practicality.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you want to carry up to eight passengers and tow 8,300 pounds of toys with a boatload of style and amenities, the Escalade can do so with plenty of class.

You May Not Like This Car If...

If you're seeking a 3-row luxury SUV that's easy to park, handles like a car and gets better fuel economy than middling figures, look to the diesel-powered Audi Q7 or Mercedes-Benz GL-Class. Those put off by the Escalade's $65,000 starting price should check out the low-$40,000 Infiniti QX60.

What's New for 2014

Cadillac is winnowing its Escalade offerings to just two versions for 2014, the regular model and the even longer ESV version. No longer available are the Escalade Hybrid or pickup-like Escalade EXT. The only thing new for the 2014 Escalade lineup is an exterior color: Midnight Plum Metallic.

Driving the Escalade ESV
Driving Impressions

With its size and heft, it should come as no surprise that the 2014 Cadillac Escalade isn't exactly a corner carver. But considering the Escalade remains a body-on-frame vehicle, it...

... offers a surprisingly comfortable ride. This is made possible by a host of electronic stability, traction and suspension controls, including the rapidly-adjusting Magnetic Ride Control that is standard on all but base models. The Escalade is at home on the highway, but tight parking lots can feel even tighter when you're trying to pull this big Caddy into the last available space. As for power, the Escalade's 400-plus horsepower 6.2-liter V8 is smooth, strong and feels like it has an endless reserve of torque. That power and a dedicated tow mode are especially appreciated when pulling a boat or trailer. The optional "intelligent" all-wheel-drive feature can help the Escalade maintain grip on snowy and slippery roads.

REMOTE VEHICLE START
This is one of those standard features that you may not want to live without, 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 2ND-ROW SEAT
For less-than-limber adults, accessing the third row in an SUV can feel like an obstacle course. The Escalade's power-fold feature makes reaching the rear far easier.

2014 Cadillac Escalade ESV Details
Interior

In either regular or ESV extended-length form, the 2014 Escalade can seat seven or eight passengers. The former setup is the standard form, with the second row consisting of two bucket seats. For families needing to carry up to eight, the second row can be fitted with a 60/40 folding bench seat. In standard-length Escalades, 3rd-row legroom is tight for adults. ESV models offer plenty more space, along with nearly three times the cargo capacity behind the 3rd-row seat. Whatever setup you choose, leather is the material of choice, with higher-end versions featuring more supple versions of it along with wood inlays.

Exterior

The 2014 Escalade is available in two sizes: Regular models are more manageable with a length of just over 202.5 inches, similar to a Ford Flex, while ESV versions add over 20 inches to that total. This bigger setup offers plenty of cargo capacity as described above, but you'd be wise to make sure an ESV will fit in your garage if you plan to park it there. Both models are defined by their rectangular shapes and acres of chrome, not the least of which is featured in or around the Escalade's massive grille. Buyers desiring even more bling can opt for 22-inch chromed aluminum wheels.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

The Escalade and Escalade ESV are available in four trim levels: Standard, Luxury, Premium, and Platinum. Even in "base" Standard form, the 2014 Escalade comes very well equipped with navigation, Bose premium sound with 10 speakers and rear headphone jacks, a power liftgate, 3-zone climate control, 14-way power heated and ventilated front seats, and power-adjustable pedals to accommodate a variety of driver sizes. Stepping up to higher trims brings Magnetic Ride Control Suspension, blind-zone monitoring, a power sunroof, a heated steering wheel, and a rear-seat DVD entertainment system. Standard safety features include a rearview camera, rear-park assist, and GM's OnStar communications system with automatic crash response.

Optional Equipment

All-wheel drive is optional on all trims of the 2014 Cadillac Escalade in lieu of the standard rear-wheel drive (RWD). Most other enhancements to the Escalade are bundled and vary by trim level. The few stand-alone options include 22-inch wheels, power-retractable side steps, LED headlights, and rear-seat DVD entertainment.

Under the Hood

The 2014 Cadillac Escalade employs a 6.2-liter V8 that makes a potent 403 horsepower. The engine features Active Fuel Management, which deactivates half of the cylinders under light loads for increased fuel economy. Even with this technology, the Escalade's big V8 drinks a lot of fuel. EPA combined ratings are 16 mpg for rear-wheel-drive versions and 15 mpg for all-wheel-drive (AWD) models. Though you'll probably be filling up often, at least you can do so with regular-grade gasoline instead of premium. The big Caddy also accepts E85 blend.

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 (RWD), 13/18 mpg (AWD)

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