2015 Cadillac Escalade ESV Expert Review
By Trevor Dorchies
What's New for 2015
The full-size luxury SUV segment has a lot to offer, but with an all-out redesign for the 2015 model year, the Cadillac Escalade has climbed back to the top of the pile. While other SUVs have decided to go smaller and more fuel efficient, the Escalade goes its own way, offering regular and long-wheelbase (ESV) models, with both powered by a 6.2-liter V8 engine. The all-new Escalade continues on with its boxy, bold profile and benefits from a redesigned interior which grants Cadillac's biggest offering a spot on the must-see list. If you're looking to seat eight in the lap of luxury, a ton of storage space, and a towing capacity of up to 8,300 pounds, the 2015 Cadillac Escalade would like to speak with you.
You'll Like This Car If...
Shop here if you need your SUV to carry up to eight passengers, all of their stuff, and tow up to 8,300 pounds. Not only can you do all that, but you'll look good while doing it.
You May Not Like This Car If...
If you don't want to stop for fuel often, or you don't want a V8 engine, lean towards the Mercedes-Benz GL-Class, or the Audi Q7 which has a cheaper asking price than the Escalade. Those models also are available with more efficient diesel V6 engines.
All-new for 2015, the Escalade boasts a redesigned interior and exterior, while fuel-economy figures climb slightly over the model it replaces. Versions built later in the 2015 model year have already been updated with an 8-speed automatic transmission, surround-view camera system and 4G LTE connectivity. The top-line Platinum edition also joins the collection.
Driving the Escalade ESV
With a robust 6.2-liter V8 engine, the 2015 Escalade gets up and goes when you put the spurs into it. There's more than enough pep to get around slower traffic...
... with a quick tip-in of the throttle, and it sounds good while doing so. Available with 2-wheel drive (2WD) and 4-wheel drive 4WD), the new Escalade also features General Motors' latest version of Magnetic Ride Control, which enables you to handle the full-size luxury SUV in a confident and controlled fashion. This function kicks into action when you tell it to by pressing a button on the lower left-hand side of the CUE infotainment system screen. According to Cadillac, the 2015 Escalade can also stop nine feet shorter than the one it's replacing.
FOLD-FLAT 2ND- and 3RD-ROW SEATS
With all of the Escalade's cavernous space, fold-flat seating is one feature you may not want to live without. With a simple touch of a button located in the cargo area, both the 2nd-row and 3rd-row seats fold flat, giving way to ample room.
For the first time in a while, the interior is one of the Escalade's selling points. Sewn and cut materials line the cabin, giving it a luxury SUV feel, finally.
2015 Cadillac Escalade ESV Details
By far the biggest leap forward for the new Cadillac Escalade, the interior is now fit for a full-size luxury SUV boasting soft-touch materials as far as the eye can see. Cut and sewn leather and real wood give off a more refined feel – something missing from the Escalade as of late. All models can be had with a 2nd-row bench seat allowing seating for eight passengers in lieu of a pair of bucket seats and seating for seven. Third-row legroom is tight in standard models, but the extended-length 2015 Cadillac ESV model rectifies that while also offering considerably more cargo space behind the rear-most seats.
Without stating the obvious redesigned front and rear ends, the 2015 Escalade benefits from the addition of full-LED headlights and taillights. There are four crystals in the headlights that act as the high beams, giving off radiant light. The taillights also employ LEDs, making it easier to follow the Escalade when weather conditions are less than ideal. The option to load cargo through the rear window is still available as it opens up separately from tailgate itself. While originally installed for aerodynamic purposes, the spoiler also hides the rear windshield wiper blade. ESV models add even more length, coming in at a total of 224.3 inches compared to the 203.9 inches of the standard model.
You can't miss the chrome grille, but you might not see the active-aero shutters behind it. Then there's the heated, power-adjustable seats, 20-inch chrome-plated aluminum wheels, and hands-free power liftgate. A remote starter, tri-zone climate control, and a reconfigurable instrument cluster further the Escalade's appeal.
Lane Departure Warning, adaptive cruise control, side blind-zone alert, cross-traffic alert, and 22-inch machine finished wheels are all available on the 2015 Cadillac Escalade. For buyers seeking the most indulgence, the new range-topping Platinum line comes with Nappa semi-aniline leather, sueded microfiber headliner and climate-controlled 18-way front seats complete with massaging functionality for the driver's side.
Under the Hood
You have once choice when it comes to motivating the 2015 Cadillac Escalade, and that's the 6.2-liter V8 engine rated at 420 horsepower and 460 lb-ft of torque. For those keeping track, both power numbers are up over the model it's replacing from 403 horsepower and 417 lb-ft of torque, respectively. Initial versions of the 2015 Escalade used a 6-speed automatic transmission. Those built later in the model year were updated with a new 8-speed. Even with the new transmission, this engine gets parched quickly, and the EPA's ratings of 15/22 mpg for the rear-wheel-drive (RWD) model and 15/21 mpg for the 4-wheel drive (4WD) variant reflect that. While premium gasoline is recommended, the Escalade's engine doesn't require it, so you can save a few cents at the pump.
420 horsepower @ 5,600 rpm
460 lb-ft of torque @ 4,100 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 15/21 mpg (RWD, 6-speed), 14/21 mpg (4WD, 6-speed), 15/21 mpg (ESV RWD, 6-speed), 14/20 mpg (ESV 4WD, 6-speed), 15/22 mpg (RWD, 8-speed), 15/21 mpg (4WD, 8-speed), 15/22 mpg (ESV RWD, 8-speed), 14/20 mpg (ESV 4WD, 8-speed)
There are four trim levels for the 2015 Escalade: Standard (starting at about $74,000 including a $995 destination charge), Luxury ($78,000), Premium ($82,500), and the new, top-line Platinum (starting just over $90,000). Long-wheelbase Escalade ESV models go for $3,000 more than their regular-wheelbase counterparts, and adding 4-wheel drive to any model is an extra $2,600. With every option box checked, the 2015 Cadillac can reach into the high-$90,000 range. The starting price for the 2015 Escalade puts it ahead of competitors like the Lincoln Navigator, Infiniti QX80, and even the Mercedes-Benz GL-Class. If the Escalade is a little rich for your taste, there's always the Audi Q7 or the Infiniti QX60, both of which offer seating for seven and a starting price below $50,000. Be sure to check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area are paying for their new Escalades. We expect the Escalade to have better resale value than the Lincoln Navigator but to trail that of the Lexus LX.
To compare current market prices, check out KBB.com's car classifieds to view the new and used
Cadillac Escalade ESV vehicles for sale near you.