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2011 Cadillac Escalade

Overview
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2011 Cadillac Escalade Review

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In recent times Cadillac's biggest cars have suffered from slumping economies and spiking fuel prices. Yet, Cadillac's biggest players seem to have emerged relatively unscathed. That the Escalade family hasn't been put out to pasture in an era of plug-in hybrids and all-electric cars is something of a mystery. Yet, despite the misfortune heaped upon the automotive industry over the last few years, the Escalade remains as popular as ever. Call it tenacity or karma or just plain luck, but Americans seem reluctant to give up the Escalade.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you need room for eight people and more luxury trappings than an 18th-century French estate, there is no better luxury SUV than the 2011 Cadillac Escalade.

You May Not Like This Car If...

Fuel economy is not the Escalade's strong suit (nor is being inconspicuous). There is an Escalade Hybrid for the fuel-conscious and a host of less-flashy but equally-comfortable competitors for those who prefer something less ostentatious.

What's New for 2011

Changes for 2011 are relatively minor and include the addition of Cadillac's Premium Care Maintenance program, improved sound insulating techniques and the ninth-generation OnStar upgrade that includes flexible speech-recognition software.

Driving the Escalade

Driving Impressions Largely due to its tremendous bulk, the 2011 Cadillac Escalade isn't exactly the most agile vehicle to toss about. Its not that the Escalade's handling is truck-like (this is, after...

all, a truck). In curves, it certainly can't be expected to feel like a sports car, although the steering feel is more pleasing and precise than with previous Escalades. Expect a smooth ride on good surfaces, but don't be surprised when minor bumps get through, especially with the larger-diameter tires and wheels. Despite the 400-plus horsepower lurking under the hood, acceleration is best described as energetic, but not thrilling, and hitting the gas at lower speeds doesn't always produce vigorous response. Engine noise, on the other hand, is plentiful when the throttle is wide open, a very un-Cadillac like attribute. On the upside, the six-speed automatic's shifts are impressively smooth, though on upgrades it sometimes seems uncertain what to do next.

Manual-mode Transmission Operation
Placing the + and - (upshift/downshift) buttons on the column gearshift might not seem like a good idea at first, as most vehicles with a manual-shift provision have a floor lever or paddle shifters. Even so, these buttons are easy to find and use, and the transmission responds with satisfying promptness.

Power Fold-and-Tumble Second-row Seating
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 door pillar.

2011 Cadillac Escalade Details
2011 Cadillac Escalade photo Interior

With seating for up to eight passengers, the Escalade is in no danger of feeling cramped. Attention to detail reveals itself, with no exposed fasteners visible and close-out panels concealing all the seat hardware. Fabric covers the ceiling and pillars, with leather covering just about every other exposed surface. Space-saving details, such as the sculpted seat backs, abound throughout the Escalade's cabin. Access to the third-row seat is made easy thanks to the power-assisted fold-and-tumble second-row seats. From the driver's seat, gauges are large and clearly visible, but we did find the blue indicator needles somewhat impair readability. We also couldn't understand why the driver is left without a grab handle while the passenger side handle is such a long reach.

Exterior
2011 Cadillac Escalade photo

The Escalade's huge chrome grille wears the now familiar face of Cadillac and is flanked by flashy triple-stack headlamps. Ventiports adorn the front fenders and the windshield is steeply raked for both style and aerodynamic efficiency. Cadillac's renewed emphasis on craftsmanship can be seen in the clean, proportional exterior that places an emphasis on precision. A unique D-pillar treatment and doors that wrap over the rocker panels further define this as a Cadillac, and the glossy paint and tight fitting body panels complete the look. The Escalade's wide track is complemented by a coil-over-shock suspension and a boxed frame for greater torsional stiffness. The standard 18-inch wheels and tires are handsome as is, but adherents of bigger-is-better can choose chrome-clad 22-inchers.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

A power rear liftgate heads the list of standard features in the amply-equipped 2011 Cadillac Escalade. Audiophiles can enjoy Bose 5.1 Digital Surround Sound, while everyone benefits from Cadillac's Auto Ride suspension. A tap-up/tap-down manual mode for the transmission works easily and promptly, using buttons on the column-mounted gearshift lever. DVD navigation with rear backup camera is also standard equipment. Compatibility brackets, built into the front frame, are intended to reduce damage to other vehicles in certain collisions. Side-curtain airbags include tethers for enhanced rollover protection, front seatbelt pretensioners activate in rear impacts – said to be an "industry-exclusive" feature – and the StabiliTrak stability control system incorporates rollover-mitigation technology. Integrated tow hooks are standard.

Optional Equipment

Among the Escalade's many options are power-deployable running boards, power fold-and-tumble second-row seats and heated and cooled seats (part of the Ultra Luxury Collection package). Also available is Cadillac's IntelliBeam automatic high/low beam adjuster and the Side Blind Zone Alert warning system. When properly equipped, an all-wheel-drive Escalade can tow up to 7,700 pounds; good news for boaters and RVers.

Under the Hood

Cadillac's 6.2-liter V8 engine features Active Fuel Management, which deactivates four of the eight cylinders when the engine is not under heavy load. Despite the temporary loss of four cylinders, the 6.2-liter generates significant horsepower and torque as soon as the driver steps on the gas pedal. With its two overdrive ratios and wide gear-ratio spread, the Hydra-Matic 6L80 six-speed automatic transmission is said to be nearly equivalent to a seven-speed. The manual-shift mode uses column-lever buttons.

6.2-liter V8
403 horsepower at 5700 rpm
417 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4300 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 14/18 (2WD, Gasoline), 10/15 (2WD, E85), 13/18 (AWD, Gasoline), 10/14 (AWD, E85)

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2011 Cadillac Escalade Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.4
Out of 10

Based on 161 Ratings for the 2007 - 2014 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.3/10
    Quality
    8.5/10
  • Reliability
    8.8/10
    Performance
    8.8/10
  • Comfort
    8.9/10
    Styling
    9.0/10

Very comfortable to drive on road trips

By on Sunday, October 05, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 74,000

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
10/10
Comfort
10/10

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

"Easy transition to multiple uses, no need for a 2nd car; good for towing, carrying loads, cleans up nice for formal occasions"

8 people out of 12 found this review helpful

Great car

By on Saturday, September 20, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 130,000

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
9/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
Not Rated

Pros: "Great looks, cheap to fix , comfortable"

Cons: "Gas mileage"

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

"I have had this 07 Escalade for almost a year and love it. Cheap to fix if something go wrong and lots of parts available pretty cheap. Super comfortable and good looking inside and out."

11 people out of 18 found this review helpful

Great Family Vehicle

By on Friday, September 12, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 59,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Fun to drive, Stylish, Good Price"

Cons: "No Aux output for iPod/iPhone usage."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8

"I purchased this vehicle in replacement of a Yukon Denali that was totaled in a recent accident. The Escalade is stylish and a definite eye catcher. The Escalade also helps me transport my big family and enough room for my physically handicap child to enjoy themselves."

9 people out of 17 found this review helpful

THIS VEHICLE HAS BEEN KEPT IN EXCELLENT CONDITION.

By on Monday, September 08, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 265

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

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

"I HAVE RECEIVED MANY COMPLIMENTS ON HOW THIS VEHICLE OVERALL APPEARANCE IN AND OUTSIDE. THIS WILL BE A GOOD PICK."

5 people out of 10 found this review helpful

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 54 found this review helpful

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