By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating: 6.5
Despite a trend toward smaller, more agile and more fuel-efficient vehicles, the realm of the full-size luxury SUV seems to have missed the memo. As proof, the 2013 Cadillac Escalade shows no desire to change and no attempt to shed chrome, horsepower or price. And that's just the way Cadillac buyers like it. As popular with celebrities as it is with politicians, professionals and well-to-do soccer moms, the Escalade is pretty much in a league of its own. Be it the Escalade, its extended companion, the Escalade ESV, the open-bed EXT or the fuel-efficient (if you can call 23 mpg fuel efficient) Hybrid, Cadillac's Escalade for 2013 has all the bases covered.
If you like your luxury SUV big, menacing and powerful, the chrome-slathered 2013 Cadillac Escalade has no equal. The hybrid model is unique in this class.
If you're looking for a 7-passenger luxury SUV that is easy to park, handles like a car and gets fuel economy better than 14 mpg, the Audi Q7 or Mercedes-Benz GL with the diesel engine might make a better choice.
Other than some enhancements to the Escalade's brakes and two new colors, there are no major changes to the 2013 Escalade SUV.
Driving Impressions Due to its sheer size and weight it should come as no surprise that the 2013 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 aids in the world, however, can't 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 2ND-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.
The 2013 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 2013 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 Escalade Hybrid l boasts a distinctive front end featuring unique upper and lower grilles accompanied by a slew of hybrid badges.
The 2013 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 rearview 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.
With so much standard equipment and a variety of trims, 2013 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.
The 2013 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.
403 horsepower @ 5,700 rpm
417 lb-ft of torque @ 4,300 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 14/18 mpg (RWD, gasoline), 13/18 mpg (AWD, gasoline), 9/13 mpg (EXT/ESV model with AWD, E85), 10/15 mpg (Standard Escalade model with RWD, E85), 10/14 mpg (Standard Escalade model with AWD, E85)
6.0-liter V8 hybrid
332 horsepower @ 5,100 rpm
367 lb-ft of torque @ 4,100 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 20/23 mpg