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2018 Cadillac Escalade KBB Expert Review

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Consumer Rating 6.2 / 10

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KBB Expert Review

KBB Editors' Overview

By Scott Oldham -- Contributing Editor

A favorite of moms and moguls, the 2018 Cadillac Escalade is a full-size luxury SUV with big style, big V8 horsepower and seating for eight passengers. Available in two sizes, the full-size Escalade and the even larger Escalade ESV, Cadillac’s largest SUV competes with the Lincoln Navigator, the smaller Mercedes-Benz GLS, Infiniti QX80, Lexus LX and the mechanically similar GMC Yukon and Chevy Tahoe and Suburban. Four trim levels are available, Base, Luxury, Premium Luxury and Platinum. Behind the Escalade’s distinctive grille is the largest engine in the class, a massive 6.2-liter V8 that makes 420 horsepower. This year it’s mated to a new 10-speed automatic transmission, which improves highway fuel economy. Rear-wheel drive is standard, but 4-wheel drive with a low range is available. Cadillac says the Escalade can tow up to 8,300 pounds and accelerate from 0-60 mph in 6.0 seconds.

You'll Like This Car If...

Those looking for the most size in the full-size luxury SUV class can stop looking. But the big and bold 2018 Cadillac Escalade and Escalade ESV don’t just offer seating for as many as eight passengers and acres of cargo space, they’re leather-lined and luxurious, with high-tech driving aids and family-friendly features including onboard Wi-Fi.

You May Not Like This Car If...

Some may equate the imposing size and weight of the 2018 Cadillac Escalade with safety, but the full-size luxury SUV is only rated four out of five stars for overall safety by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The smaller Mercedes GLS 550 and AMG GLS 63 offer more horsepower and handling than the Caddy.

What's New for 2018

For 2018, Cadillac has updated the new Escalade with a 10-speed automatic transmission, which improves the full-size SUV’s highway fuel economy. Top-of-the-line Platinum models also get a new available Maple Sugar interior with Jet Black accents.

Driving It Driving Impressions

It looks imposing and it intimidates other drivers like Dale Earnhardt, but from behind the wheel the 2018 Cadillac Escalade is a pussy cat. The Caddy is comfortable, easy-to-drive, sure-footed and powerful. Sure it’s big, and parking this beast or backing it up in tight parking garages can be challenging, but on the road it’s like a high-riding luxury sedan with impeccable manners and a refined ride. Cadillac’s 420-horsepower, 6.2-liter V8 is a lovable brute. Power for passing and merging is never in short supply and the new 10-speed automatic transmission is responsive and smooth. GM’s Magnetic Ride Control does an admirable job managing the Escalade’s bulk, allowing it to soak up rough roads and negotiate tight turns with little fuss. The power-steering assist is appropriately proportioned. Add the optional 4-wheel drive and the Escalade becomes a winter warrior capable of tackling all kinds of road conditions.

Favorite Features

If you’re worried about parallel parking such a big truck, don’t be. Cadillac’s Automatic Park Assist feature is standard. It uses ultrasonic sensors to locate a suitable parking space and then steers the vehicle into the space while you work the pedals and the gear selection.

Power-adjustable, heated-and-cooled front seats are standard on the new 2018 Cadillac Escalade, while the top Platinum-spec models add the luxury of a massage feature. Kneading, rolling and anti-fatigue settings are offered, and the intensity is adjustable. When used in combination with the heat, it feels reeeeeeeeeally good.

For vehicle details and pricing notes… Read More
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