2021 Cadillac Escalade

MSRP $76,195 - $102,995

Ranked #2 in Fullsize Suv

7.2

Overall Rating

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2021 Cadillac Escalade Price, Review, Ratings and Pictures

Updated on: July 5, 2021

Nathan Dyer's image
Nathan Dyer 

Senior Editor


The 2021 Cadillac Escalade has been fully redesigned for 2021 and now comes with a brand new exterior and interior. It has always been one of the most luxurious people carriers while also being a capable and powerful full-size SUV. It now gets all the latest tech and more on the inside. The exterior has been made sleeker and more stylish, and the looks drastically differ according to the trim chosen. The engine under the hood is a 6.2L V8 mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission. 2WD is standard, whereas 4WD is optional with all of the available trims. There are also a plethora of packages and optional features on offer with the new Escalade.

See detailed review »

Pros

New huge digital cockpit infotainment interface

Extremely spacious

Super luxurious interior

Cons

Low fuel economy

Very Expensive

What's New?

Fully redesigned for 2021


Features

vehicle bio

base price

$76195

bodystyle

4dr SUV

passenger capacity

7

drivetrain

rear wheel drive

engine type

displacement

376 cu.in.

horsepower

420 hp @ 5000 rpm

torque

460 lb-ft @ 1600 rpm

transmission

10 speed Automatic

chassis

brake rotors (f/r)

13/13.6 in.

dimensions

wheelbase

120.9 in.

length

211.9 in.

width

81.1 in.

height

76.7 in.

curb weight

5635 lbs.

ground clearance

8 in.

capacity

passenger volume

172 cu ft.

cargo volume

121 cu ft.

towing capacity

8000 lbs.

payload capacity

1636 lbs.

performance

zero to 60 mph

5.9 sec.

zero to 100 mph

15.4 sec.

standing 1/4-mile

14.3 sec.

braking (70-0 mph)

176 ft.

warranty

basic warranty

4 yr./ 50000 mi.

drivetrain warranty

6 yr./ 70000 mi.

corrosion warranty

6 yr./ unlimited mi.

roadside assistance

Yes


Pictures & Videos


Trims

Luxury$76,195 onwards

Premium Luxury$82,995 onwards

Sport$85,595 onwards

Premium Luxury Platinum$102,995 onwards

Sport Platinum$102,995 onwards

Colors and Styles

2021 Cadillac Escalade in Infrared Metallic color
Infrared Metallic

Vehicle images are guides only and may not reflect the model's exact specifications/features– exact specifications/features should be confirmed with the seller.

Ratings

Pricing and Features

5.0

Engine and Performance

7.6

Fuel Economy

7.5

Interior

7.2

Exterior

7.9

Safety

6.0

Competition

9.0

7.2

OVERALL RATING

Expert Review, Pricing Analysis and Buying Guide

7.2

Overall Rating


The 2021 Cadillac Escalade is offered in five trim lines, namely Luxury, Premium Luxury, Premium Luxury Platinum, Sport, and Sport Platinum. Pricing begins at $77,890 and climbs up to $105,290 for the top-end model. The Cadillac Escalade competes with its arch-nemesis, the Lincoln Navigator, the Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class, and the newest member of the segment, the 2021 BMW X7. The Caddy and the Lincoln have always been the kings in providing the maximum comfort to all seven of the occupants. The Mercedes and the BMW, however, provide a better driving experience. Let’s see how the redesigned Escalade holds up against the competition.

2021 Cadillac Escalade SUV front angle view
2021 Cadillac Escalade SUV rear angle view

7.6/10
Engine and Performance

7.5/10
Fuel Economy

7.2/10
Interior

7.9/10
Exterior

6.0/10
Safety

9.0/10
Competition


2021 Cadillac Escalade Features

The 2021 Cadillac Escalade comes in five trim options, namely Luxury, Premium Luxury, Premium Luxury Platinum, Sport, and Sport Platinum. The Luxury, Premium Luxury, and Premium Luxury Platinum look outright luxurious, elegant, and extremely flashy with a lot of chrome elements all around them, whereas the Sport and Sport Platinum trims are similar to the Premium Luxury and Premium Luxury Platinum in terms of feature set, but as the name suggests, they are much sportier, stealthier, and in a way, better looking than the other duo. However, the preference based on looks is purely subjective, and all of the models, in that case, look beautiful and elegant.

Trim

Luxury

Premium Luxury

Premium Luxury Platinum

Sport

Sport Platinum

MSRP

$77,890 (2WD)

$80,890 (4WD)

$84,890 (2WD)

$87,890 (4WD)

$102,290 (2WD)

$105,290 (4WD)

$87,590 (2WD)

$90,590 (4WD)

$102,290 (2WD)

$105,290 (4WD)

Features

38-inch Curved OLED infotainment display 

Panoramic Sunroof

AKG Studio Reference 36-speaker audio system

Magnetic Ride Control 

AKG Studio Reference 36-speaker audio system

 

AKG Studio 19-speaker system audio system

22" 14-Spoke alloy wheels with Polished finish

Rear Seat Entertainment system

Electronic Limited Slip Differential (eLSD)

Rear Seat Entertainment system

 

22" 14-Spoke alloy wheels with Bright Silver finish

Rear Camera Mirror Washer

Adaptive Air Ride suspension

Hitch Guidance with Hitch View

Adaptive Air Ride suspension

 

22" all-season tires

Content theft-deterrent system

Magnetic Ride Control

In-vehicle Trailering App

22" 12-Spoke alloy wheels, Polished with Dark Android finish

 

4-way power driver and front passenger lumbar control

Heated and ventilated driver and front passenger seats

Electronic Limited-Slip Differential (eLSD)

22" 12-Spoke alloy wheels, Polished with Dark Android finish

Standard Driver Assist Tech Package

 

Cruise control

Head-Up Display

Adaptive Cruise Control

Trailer Side Blind Zone Alert

Adaptive Cruise Control

 

Front and Rear Park Assist

Available Super Cruise Driver Assistance feature

22" 10-Spoke alloy wheels, Polished with Dark Android finish and laser etching

Adaptive Air Suspension

Available Jet Black, Full leather seats with semi-aniline leather seating surfaces with Mondrian quilting

 

Tri-zone automatic climate control

Available Night Vision

Standard Driver Assist Tech Package

 

Magnetic Ride Control

 

Memory Settings

Available Jet Black, Leather seating surfaces with precision perforated inserts

Soft-close doors

 

 

The base Luxury trim is very well equipped with a lot of luxury features, and the pricing starts at $77,890. It can be opted with packages, including the ‘Performance Upgrade Package’ worth $2,795, which adds a Performance Air Intake System and a Cat-Back Performance Exhaust, an Illumination Package, and a Cargo Convenience Package. Next comes the Premium Luxury trim which gets a few more packages on offer along with a more luxurious feature set. The Premium Luxury Platinum, however, comes with the same package options as the base trim as all other features are already included as standard. The Sport and Sport Platinum trims come in a similar configuration as the Premium Luxury and Premium Luxury Platinum trims but differ in the exterior design and some other mechanical features which we will discuss later on in the review. 

We Recommend

The best options to choose from in the Escalade range are either the Premium Luxury trim or the Sport trim. Both of these are mid-level trims and come with some extra luxury over the base trim. As the name of both models clearly suggests, the Premium Luxury leans toward more luxury, whereas the Sport trim along with all of the luxury and features from the Premium Luxury trim further adds an Adaptive Air Suspension and Magnetic Ride Control along with an Electronic Split Differential, hence delivering a more engaging and comfortable driving experience. These trims also come with plenty of packages available to up the game even more.

2021 Cadillac Escalade Engine and Performance

7.6/10

All trims of the Cadillac Escalade are powered by a 6.2L V8 generating a strong 420 hp of maximum power and 460 lb-ft of maximum torque. The engine is mated to a 10-speed automatic gearbox which does the job pretty well. The power output is not the sportiest in the segment as power is delivered in a smooth and linear manner. The engine has a decent exhaust note also, which can be further enhanced by opting for the Performance Upgrade Package, which adds a performance air intake system and a cat-back performance exhaust. Overall the Escalade has a beefy brawny base engine with enough punch to carry people around with ease. 

2021 Cadillac Escalade SUV in acceleration mode

As we know, the Escalade is not a performance SUV even though it has variants named Sport and Sport Platinum on offer. However, it does deliver an impressive performance for a full-size luxury SUV of its size. The 2021 Cadillac Escalade can reach a speed of 60 mph in 5.9 seconds and cross the quarter-mile mark in 14.4 seconds which is admirable. The Escalade delivers the maximum power output at 5,600 rpm, which is a bit higher than the competition. Also, the fact that the maximum torque is not available at a lower rpm is a confusing decision taken by Cadillac, not that it lacks torque in the low range, but still, it is a questionable matter. The top speed of the 2021 Escalade is limited to 155 mph.

Models

2021 Cadillac Escalade

2021 Lincoln Navigator Standard

2021 Mercedes-Benz GLS 450 4Matic

2021 BMW X7 xDrive40i

MSRP

$77,890 (2WD)

$80,890 (4WD)

$76,185 (2WD)

$78,855 (4WD)

$76,000 (AWD)

$74,900 (AWD)

Engine

6.2L V8

3.5L Twin-Turbo V6

3.0 L Inline-6

3.0 L Inline-6

Drivetrain

2WD/4WD

2WD/4WD

AWD

AWD

Transmission

10-speed shiftable automatic

10-speed shiftable automatic

9-speed shiftable automatic

8-speed shiftable automatic

Power (hp @ rpm)

420 hp @ 5,600 rpm

450 hp @ 5,500 rpm

362 hp @ 5500 rpm

335 hp @ 5500 rpm

Torque (lb-ft @ rpm)

460 lb-ft @ 4,100 rpm

510 lb-ft @ 3,000 rpm

369 ft-lbs. @ 1600 rpm

332 ft-lbs. @ 1500 rpm

0-60 mph (sec)

5.9

5.9

5.8

5.4

Quarter Mile (sec)

14.4

14.5

14.3

14.1

Top Speed (mph)

155

155

130

155

We have taken the base variants of all of the luxury full-size SUVs here for comparison, and the BMW and Mercedes offer better, stronger engines at higher price points and different trims. The Cadillac and Lincoln are, however, limited to these engine options even though the Cadillac has a diesel engine option which will be reviewed separately. As we can see, the Lincoln, followed by the Cadillac, are the most powerful vehicles in this comparison, but the X7 and the GLS being more sporty machines developed and fine-tuned to deliver maximum performance and agility, emerge victorious with expected results. 

The BMW X7, even with the least powerful engine, is still the fastest among these, and if the X7 M50i is taken into consideration, it just smokes all of the rivals. The Mercedes is also not far behind delivering blistering performance. The top-end models of the GLS and the X7, the AMG GLS 63 and X7 M50i take 4.7 and 4.1 seconds to reach 60 mph which is super fast by SUV standards, while the Caddy and the Lincoln take the same exact times as their engines remain the same. So in terms of performance, the BMW X7 is the winner, followed by the Mercedes-Benz GLS Class.

How well does the 2021 Cadillac Escalade Drive and Handle?

The handling and driving dynamics of the 2021 Cadillac Escalade has been found to be much better than the last generation model which was on sale till last year. With the 2021 redesign, Cadillac has focused more on making the Escalade a better-handling, easier-to-drive machine, and they have succeeded in doing so to a certain extent. However, it is still far away from being a supersport SUV or the best handling one in the segment. Still, the ride quality delivered by this machine is of exceptional quality. It just glides through the roads providing ample amounts of comfort and soaking up bumps and rough patches of roads. 

The Sport, Premium Luxury Platinum, and Sport Platinum models, equipped with the Adaptive Air Suspension and Magnetic Ride Control, perform even better in terms of ride quality. But compared to the competition, the Cadillac performs very well in terms of ride quality but loses out when it comes to handling and driving dynamics. Both the GLS as well as the X7 performs miles better than the Caddy in terms of overall handling, cornering stability, steering feel, and providing an engaging driving experience.

How efficient is the braking performance of the 2021 Cadillac Escalade? 

The 2021 Cadillac Escalade comes with 13.2-inch brake rotors in the front and 13.6-inch ones in the rear, which does a good job of bringing the behemoth SUV to a stop in a respectable time. The Escalade stops from 60 mph at a distance of 122 ft, which is a good distance but not a great or praiseworthy one. There are competitors in the segment that have a significant advantage over the Escalade in terms of braking distance.

Model

2021 Cadillac Escalade

2021 Lincoln Navigator Standard

2021 Mercedes-Benz GLS 450 4Matic

2021 BMW X7 xDrive40i

Brake Rotors Front (in.)

13.2

13.9

14.8

N/A

Brake Rotors Rear (In.)

13.6

13.6

13.6

N/A

Curb Weight (lbs.)

5,635

5,645

5,467

5,397

Braking Distance 60-0 mpg (ft.)

122.0

125.0

105

105

As we can see from the table, the X7 and the GLS shine in terms of braking performance too. So it’s not just about the best performance or impressive handling, the brakes on these machines also work efficiently to bring them to a stop at a superb distance of 105 ft. The Cadillac follows with a significant gap, whereas the Lincoln is the weakest in the braking department. The braking performance of the Cadillac is certainly not bad, but it’s just that the rivals just outshine it with superior braking performance.

2021 Cadillac Escalade Fuel Economy

7.5/10

Fuel efficiency has not ever been a term that was in harmony with the Cadillac Escalade. For 2021, there hasn’t been a significant improvement in the fuel economy of the Escalade even after the redesign. The 2021 Escalade delivers a fuel economy of 15 mpg in the city, 20 on the highway, and a combined efficiency of 17 mpg. It comes with a huge 24-gallon fuel tank, providing a combined range of 408 miles. Even with the advantage of a slightly larger fuel tank, the Cadillac still doesn’t hold up with the rivals.

Models

2021 Cadillac Escalade

2021 Lincoln Navigator Standard

2021 Mercedes-Benz GLS 450 4Matic

2021 BMW X7 xDrive40i

MPG (City)

15

16

20

19

MPG (Highway)

20

22

24

24

MPG (Combined)

17

18

21

21

Fuel Capacity (Gallons)

24.0

23.6

23.8

21.9

Range (City/Highway/Combined, in Miles)

360/480/408

378/519/425

476/571/500

416/526/460

Once again, the Mercedes and the BMW happen to be the best. They come with the best-combined fuel economy of 21 mpg. The GLS also gets a large fuel tank of 23.8 gallons, which means that it provides the best combined range of around 500 miles. The BMW is not far behind and is followed by the Navigator. The Cadillac happens to be the least efficient, both in terms of fuel economy as well as range. 

2021 Cadillac Escalade Interior

7.2/10

Now, this is where the Escalade now and always has shined bright. The 2021 Cadillac Escalade comes with a well-built, super luxurious interior made up of high-quality premium materials and elements. The interior trim comes in various themes, including Parchment with Jet Black accents, Whisper Beige with Gideon accents, and Dark Auburn with Jet Black accents. The top-end Premium Luxury and Sport Platinum trims even feature a leather-covered dashboard with all kinds of luxury materials present everywhere in the cabin. Everything inside the cabin feels nice to see, touch, and feel.

2021 Cadillac Escalade SUV dashboard image

The upholstery options in the different trims of the Escalade include Jet Black leatherette, semi-aniline leather with mini-chevron perforated inserts, and also in the highest trim with Mondrian quilting. All of these options mean that the best quality materials and leather are used in the Cadillac. The seats are extremely comfortable, and the interior space is exceptional. All three rows of seating provide enough space for adults to be seated. The Escalade also comes with a superior cargo capacity of 25.5 cu-ft. Overall the 2021 Cadillac Escalade comes with a truly sumptuous interior. The only drawback happens to be the misplacement of some controls and also that the climate control buttons are not illuminated.

2021 Cadillac Escalade SUV front seats

Models

2021 Cadillac Escalade

2021 Lincoln Navigator Standard

2021 Mercedes-Benz GLS 450 4Matic

2021 BMW X7 xDrive40i

Seating Capacity

7

7

7

7

First Row (Headroom/Shoulder Room/Leg Room, in inches)

42.3/65.5/44.5

41.8/65.2/43.9

39.4/59.3/40.3

41.9/60.0/39.8

Second Row (Headroom/Shoulder Room/Leg Room, in inches)

38.9/64.6/41.7

40.0/65.1/41.1

40.2/58.5/41.9

39.9/58.1/37.6

Third Row (Headroom/Shoulder Room/Leg Room, in inches)

38.2/62.7/34.9

37.3/64.2/40.9

38.9/50.3/34.6

36.6/47.9/33.3

Cargo Capacity

25.5

19.3

17.4

12.8

The 2021 Lincoln Navigator is the clear winner in terms of overall interior space as it provides the most legroom in the third row by a significant margin while also delivering a great amount of space in the first two rows. But considering luxury and interior quality along with that, the Cadillac and the Mercedes become the champions as they stand just below the Navigator in terms of third-row space while also delivering a far more superior and luxurious interior and features. The Cadillac, however, defeats all of the competition by providing the most cargo space measuring 25.5 cu-ft. Major interior features include:

  • Fully automatic panoramic sunroof
  • Heated and ventilated front and rear seats
  • 16-way power-adjustable heated and ventilated front seats with massage function
  • Power soft closing doors
  • Three-zone climate control
  • Ambient lighting

How intuitive is the 2021 Cadillac Escalade’s infotainment unit?

This is an area where the 2021 Escalade has received a significant upgrade. It now features a super high-resolution 38-inch curved OLED touchscreen infotainment system spread all the way to the center of the dashboard. It is split into a 16.9-inch infotainment screen and a 14.2-inch instrument cluster seamlessly, thus eliminating any bezels or separations. It is one of the highest-end infotainment units ever fitted into a car in the present time. 

The infotainment unit is easy to use and intuitive and comes with all of the features and media options you can imagine. As for audio, a 19-speaker AKG stereo system is standard in the lower trims, whereas the higher trims feature a super-advanced 36-speaker AKG Studio Reference premium audio system. It comes with 3 amplifiers and front and rear subwoofers along with 3D Surround technology. The following are the most important infotainment features-

  • A 38-inch curved OLED touchscreen infotainment system
  • A dual-display rear media system 
  • Wireless device charging
  • 36-speaker AKG premium audio system
  • Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
  • 4G LTE WiFi hotspot
  • Real-time 3d navigation system

2021 Cadillac Escalade Exterior

7.9/10

The exterior of the new-gen 2021 Cadillac Escalade has gone through a major redesign, while the basic essence and soul of an Escalade has been kept the same. The Escalade now looks sleeker, more fluidic, and definitely more beautiful than the last generation model. It has also been made longer, and that increase has been reflected in more interior space. The styling is differentiated between the Luxury and Sport variants. The Luxury models look more flashy and like how the Escalade has always looked. The design language and the plethora of chrome elements all over the vehicle scream that it is an epitome of luxury from every angle. Whereas the Sport models are for someone who needs a more stealthy, subtle, and strong-looking vehicle with all of the luxury and features but keeping away the bells and whistles from outside. 

2021 Cadillac Escalade SUV 

The models also differ based on the wheels equipped in each of them. All of the Escalade models, including the base model, come with huge 22-inch wheels. So the type and the styling of the wheels is what changes according to the trim chosen. With the base Luxury trim, you get 22" 14-Spoke alloy wheels with a Bright Silver finish, whereas the Premium Luxury trim gets the same wheels with a Polished finish. Stepping up to the Sport and Sport Platinum trims, you get 22" 12-Spoke wheels with a Dark Android finish, while the Premium Luxury Platinum trim exclusively comes equipped with 22" 10-Spoke wheels with Dark Android finish and laser etching. There are also major differences in the front end design, the Luxury models feature a chrome grille, whereas the Sport models get a more stealthy blacked-out one.

Models

2021 Cadillac Escalade

2021 Lincoln Navigator Standard

2021 Mercedes-Benz GLS 450 4Matic

2021 BMW X7 xDrive40i

Curb Weight (lbs)

5,635

5,645

5,467

5,397

Length (inches)

211.9

210.0

205.0

203.3

Width (inches)

81.1

79.9

79.9

78.7

Height (inches)

76.7

76.4

71.8

71.1

Ground Clearance (inches)

8.0

9.7

7.9

8.7

Wheelbase (inches)

120.9

122.5

123.4

122.2

The Navigator is a tad bit heavier than the Escalade, but that’s by a very slight margin, but it comes with more ground clearance than all of the rivals. The Escalade is the longest and widest while also being the tallest. The Mercedes and the BMW have a significant weight advantage over the other two, in which the BMW is the lighter one. This weight advantage also helps them to achieve better performance. And about exterior beauty, all of the vehicles have their own beauty elements, and the choice would be subjective. As for us, the Escalade in the Sport trim and the Mercedes GLS are to be the most beautiful ones. The following are the most important exterior attributes-

  • Swept-black headlights
  • 20-inch 7-spoke chrome alloy wheels
  • Eldorado inspired tail lights
  • Adaptive Air Suspension
  • An acoustic windshield and Rear Privacy glass
  • Active Aero Grille Shutters

2021 Cadillac Escalade Safety

6.0/10

The 2021 Cadillac Escalade has been crash-tested and rated by NHTSA, and it has been given a good overall safety rating of 4-stars. It also gets a 4-star rating for overall front protection too. In all of the side crash tests, the Escalade performed exceptionally well and gained a superb 5-star rating under all parameters. However, it gets only a 3-star rating for rollover protection and has a rollover risk of 21.20%. The 2021 Cadillac Escalade comes with a lot of safety features incorporated in it. The major safety features include the following-

  • Enhanced Automatic Emergency Braking
  • Enhanced Automatic Parking Assist
  • Forward Collision Alert
  • Front Pedestrian Braking
  • Lane Keep Assist with Lane Departure Warning
  • Available Night Vision

2021 Cadillac Escalade Competition

9.0/10

2021 Cadillac Escalade vs 2021 Lincoln Navigator

Both of these offer very similar performances and come with a lot of space in the interior. However, the Escalade is the more luxurious option, while the Navigator is the more spacious option. The Navigator is slightly less expensive than the Escalade, but the Escalade does come with an extra premium for the price. Overall the Escalade is worth paying the extra price, but for the absolute maximum passenger space, the Lincoln Navigator is the option. 

2021 Lincoln Navigator

2021 Cadillac Escalade vs 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class

The Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class is a faster, better handling option than the Escalade with a lot more punch on offer. It also delivers far better fuel economy figures along with more range. The Escalade, however, provides slightly better third-row space and a lot more cargo capacity. Overall, both of these are very capable machines, but the GLS is the overall more superior option for the price paid.

2021 Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class

2021 Cadillac Escalade vs 2021 2021 BMW X7

This is a fairly simple choice between the super-impressive drivability, handling, fuel efficiency, and mind-blowing performance of the BMW and the vastly spacious and a tad bit more luxurious interior of the Escalade. A choice has to be made according to your need and use. If you intend to drive your huge SUV, then go for the BMW X7. But if you’re planning to be chauffeured around, then go for the Escalade.

2021 2021 BMW X7

 

2021 Cadillac Escalade Final Verdict

The 2021 Cadillac Escalade is still a palace on wheels as it has always been. But this time, it is a high-tech palace with a lot of new and updated technology incorporated into it. The ride quality and comfort are exceptional and best-in-class in this huge SUV. It also provides a huge amount of space for people as well as cargo. The interior is filled with all sorts of luxury and the latest features. The exterior now looks more streamlined and beautiful with different exterior styling options to choose from. The drawbacks include sub-par handling and lower fuel economy. But overall, the 2021 Cadillac Escalade is a great option in the segment.

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