2021 Cadillac Escalade ESV SUV

MSRP $79,195 - $105,995

Ranked #18 in Suv

7.4

Overall Rating

2021 Cadillac Escalade ESV SUV Price, Review, Ratings and Pictures

Updated on: July 5, 2021

Nathan Dyer's image
Nathan Dyer 

Senior Editor


Full-size luxury SUVs barely go any better than the 2021 Cadillac Escalade ESV. With an all-new redesign, the fifth-gen Cadillac Escalade, it's now far more interesting than before, yet with some extra length and space than the regular Escalade. Not only is the new Cadillac Escalade more grown-up but importantly, looks a lot more stylish yet imposing than its outgoing model. Even on the inside, things are elevated onto a whole new level of sophistication. The redesigned cabin of the new Escalade is more spacious than before, it also gets a new layout which is probably the best in its segment. 

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Pros

Spacious than its predecessor

Super-rich interior layout

Plenty of features and driver aids

Cons

Not easy to maneuver

Not as off-road worthy as some rivals

What's New?

Thoroughly redesigned for 2021

Marks the fifth Cadillac Escalade generation


Features

vehicle bio

base price

$79195

bodystyle

4dr SUV

passenger capacity

7

top speed

152 mph

drivetrain

rear wheel drive

engine type

displacement

376 cu.in.

horsepower

228 hp @ 5000 rpm

torque

258 lb.-ft.. @ 1700 rpm

transmission

10 speed Automatic

chassis

brake rotors (f/r)

13/13.6 in.

dimensions

wheelbase

134.1 in.

length

227 in.

width

81.1 in.

height

76.4 in.

curb weight

5785 lbs.

ground clearance

8 in.

capacity

passenger volume

22 cu ft.

cargo volume

142.8 cu ft.

towing capacity

7900 lbs.

payload capacity

1636 lbs.

performance

zero to 60 mph

6.4 sec.

standing 1/4-mile

14.2 sec.

warranty

basic warranty

4 yr./ 50000 mi.

drivetrain warranty

6 yr./ 70000 mi.

corrosion warranty

6 yr./ unlimited mi.

roadside assistance

Yes


Trims

Luxury$79,195 onwards

Premium Luxury$85,995 onwards

Sport$88,595 onwards

Premium Luxury Platinum$102,995 onwards

Sport Platinum$102,995 onwards

Colors and Styles

2021 Cadillac Escalade ESV SUV in Crystal White color
Crystal White

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

7.3

Engine and Performance

7.6

Fuel Economy

7.5

Interior

7.0

Exterior

7.9

Safety

6.0

Competition

9.0

7.4

OVERALL RATING

Expert Review, Pricing Analysis and Buying Guide

7.4

Overall Rating


The cabin also gets an all-new conjugation of leather and wood which significantly amplifies its opulence. The sum that all with a plethora of tech and safety features. With the Escalade ESV, all of this overwhelming composition comes bundled with not only seating for up to seven passengers with ample room, but also a decent cargo area. Overall, at a starting MSRP of $79,195, the 2021 Cadillac Escalade is a great choice for those looking for king-size opulence. However, with similar attributes, the Lincoln Navigator L and GMC Yukon XL Denali are also considerable options. 

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

7.6/10
Engine and Performance

7.5/10
Fuel Economy

7.0/10
Interior

7.9/10
Exterior

6.0/10
Safety

9.0/10
Competition


2021 Cadillac Escalade ESV SUV Features

The 2021 Cadillac Escalade ESV is available in five different trims to choose from. The range starts from the base “Luxury” ($79,19) and tops out at $102,995 for the Premium Luxury Platinum and Sport Platinum. All the models come as RWD as standard with a $3000 AWD, optionally available with all trims. 

Trims

Luxury

Premium Luxury

Sport

Premium Luxury Platinum

Sport Platinum

MSRP (FWD)

$79,195

$85,995

$88,595

$102,995

$102,995

MSRP (AWD)

$82,195

$88,995

$91,595

$105,995

$105,995

Key Features

Tri-Zone climate control

Adds to Luxury - 

Adds to Premium Luxury - 

Adds to Sport -

Adds to Premium Luxury Platinum - 

 

Leather upholstery and steering

Panoramic sunroof

Gloss black grille and exterior body accents

Unique Platinum Galvano grille

Air ride adaptive suspension with drive modes

 

16.9-inch infotainment and 14.2-inch instrument panel

Driver awareness plus

Available Performance Package

Extended interior leather accents

Advanced adaptive cruise control

 

Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto

Full-color heads-up display

Electronic limited-slip differential

18-way power front seats with massage function

Full semi-aniline leather upholstery

 

19-speaker AKG studio sound system

Lane keep assist

Magnetic ride control

Rear seat entertainment with dual 12.6-inch screens

 
 

Front and rear parking sensors

Blind-spot monitor

Trailering integration package

36-speaker AKG studio sound system

 
   

Forward-collision alert

Rear cross-traffic alert

   

In terms of features, being the halo Cadillac product, the all-new fifth-gen 2021 Cadillac Escalade is loaded to the hilt, even in the base model. Needless to say, even the base ‘Luxury” model comes loaded with features like leather upholstery, tri-zone automatic climate control, 38-inches of digital display, 19-speaker AKG studio sound, and many more. Moving up the trim order unlocks even more opulent features. 

Which Trim should you buy?

We suggest getting the Premium Luxury model with the optional AWD hooked on to it. While the Escalade ESV already comes with a generous array of tech and creature comforts, the “Premium Luxury” tops things with some advanced safety features. The optional AWD further arms it with some good weather-proofing. 

2021 Cadillac Escalade ESV SUV Engine and Performance

7.6/10

Despite a thorough makeover, the fifth-generation Cadillac ESV retains its familiar .2liter V8 engine. The engine is still good enough for a 420 hp and 460 lb-ft of torque and comes mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission. Power is sent either to the rear or to all four wheels with the available AWD system. While the Escalade may be large and heavy, the V8 engine is more than capable of hauling it around with plenty of vigor.

2021 Cadillac Escalade ESV SUV in acceleration mode

With an overwhelming torque reserve, the Escalade ESV doesn't hesitate from indulging in a quick highway passing. Power delivery is smooth and linear throughout the rev range and the powertrain actively responds to the slightest of pedal inputs. The electronically controlled 10-speed transmission feels always at home with its smooth and precise shifts and also features a tow/haul mode. 

Models

2021 Cadillac Escalade ESV Luxury

2021 Lincoln Navigator L 

2021 GMC Yukon Denali XL

MSRP

$79,195

$79,385

$71,300

Engine

6.2-liter V8

3.5-liter turbo V6

6.2-liter V8

Drivetrain

RWD

RWD

RWD

Transmission

10-speed auto

10-speed auto

10-speed auto

Power (hp @ RPM)

420 @ 5600

450 @ 5500

420 @ 5600

Torque (lb-ft @ RPM)

460 @ 4100

510 @ 3000

460 @ 4100

0-60 MPH (seconds)

6.0

6.0

6.0

Quarter-Mile (seconds)

14.5

14.5

14.5

Top-Speed (MPH)

130

157

130

On an empty highway, try flooring the 2021 Cadillac Escalade harder and the 6.2-liter V8 pushes this beast from 0-60 MPH in just 6.0 seconds. That's quite some reflex for an SUV that weighs 5785 lbs. However, the other two SUVs in the competition here are not only similarly powered but equally quick from 0-60 as the Cadillac. 

How well does the 2021 Cadillac Escalade ESV handle?

Apart from revamped interior, exterior, and tech, the 2021 Cadillac Escalade lineup also rides on an updated architecture. Gone is the live axle and comes in a multilink augmented rear axle. The new chassis also brings in independent rear suspension which makes the fifth-gen Escalade more comfortable than its predecessor. Sitting on air springs and adaptive magnetic dampers, the Escalade ESV negotiates with larger bumps more confidently than its predecessor. However, with around 6000 lbs of weight and riding on 22’ inch wheels, it is still not as remarkable as one would expect. 

Interaction with smaller potholes and obstacles, does echo inside the cabin, although it's not annoying. Furthermore, the supple leather soaked seats would in no time take your attention away from the minor disturbances. The steering wheel feels precise and direct and for its size, the fifth-gen Escalade remains significantly planted, even around corners. With the limited-slip differential, the Sport and Sport Platinum models do showcase better enthusiasm and discipline. However, for something with 225 inches of length, you always have to put in some effort while maneuvering it through heavy traffic or closed parking spaces.

2021 Cadillac Escalade Braking Performance

For braking needs, the 2021 Cadillac Escalade ESV relies on ventilated discs at all four corners associated with ABS and Emergency Braking Assist. Despite its larger footprint though, the brake pedal has a good bite into it. The pedal feels firm and lets you feel exactly what the brakes are doing. When squeezed harder in severe circumstances, the 2021 Escalade ESV stops from 60-0 MPH in just 121 feet. The braking performance for something its size, its reassuring to say the least. 

Models

2021 Cadillac Escalade ESV Luxury

2021 Lincoln Navigator L 

2021 GMC Yukon Denali XL

Brake Rotors: Front (inches)

N/A

13.9

N/A

Brake Rotors: Rear (inches)

N/A

13.6

N/A

Curb Weight (lbs)

5785

5768

5780

60-0 (feet)

121

132

123

In the clash of the Titans here, each contender is assisted by a similar set of braking apparatus. In terms of braking performance, while the Escalade and Yukon are almost identical, the Lincoln Navigator stands last. The Navigator takes a slightly longer 132 feet to stop from 60-0 MPH. Thanks to Lincoln’s mighty 9.7inches of ground clearance which makes it a bit more top-heavy compared to the other two. 

2021 Cadillac Escalade ESV SUV Fuel Economy

7.5/10

A full-size luxury SUV like the 2021 Cadillac Escalade ESV is not a frugal machine by any means. Its massive yet sumptuous presentation is powered by a 6.2-liter V8 which does have a healthy intake. If you are more into calculations, the 2021 Escalade ESV returns a 17 MPG combined fuel economy which is fairly acceptable for its class. 

Furthermore, its large 28.3 gallon of fuel tank also plays a useful hand with 481 miles of combined driving range. These economy figures of the 2021 Cadillac Escalade ESV are surely livable keeping aside the fact that you don’t buy an $80,000 SUV with fuel economy in mind. 

Models

2021 Cadillac Escalade ESV Luxury

2021 Lincoln Navigator L 

2021 GMC Yukon Denali XL

MPG (City)

15

16

14

MPG (Highway)

20

21

20

MPG (Combined)

17

18

16

Fuel Capacity (Gallons)

28.3

27.8

28.0

Range (City/Highway/Combined, in Miles)

424/566/481

444/583/500

392/560/448

While the Escalade may seem a bit too generous pertaining to its humble economy and lavish ornamentation, it's not the best among the lot here. Although all the three rivals in the pack here are very similar in terms of economy, the Lincoln Navigator L offers a marginally better 18 MPG of combined fuel economy, compared to the Escalade. Despite its tall build, the Navigator manages to churn that extra 1 MPG because of its comparatively smaller 3.liter V6 engine. 

2021 Cadillac Escalade ESV SUV Interior

7.0/10

On the inside, the 2021 Cadillac Escalade instantly catches your attention with its new ornamentation which feels even more premium than before. The doors open wide enough and the enhanced proportions open up more room on the inside than earlier. The biggest attraction of the dashboard is the long 38-inches of digital real estate. 

2021 Cadillac Escalade ESV SUV cockpit area

The updated cabin layout looks way more pleasing now and the Whisper Beige Interiors with Gideon accents in the higher models look fabulous. The steering wheel is also new for 2021 and almost everything inside the cabin is covered in soft-touch leather. The wooden inserts on the dashboard, center console, steering, and door panels, further accentuate the grandeur inside. 

Models

2021 Cadillac Escalade ESV Luxury

2021 Lincoln Navigator L 

2021 GMC Yukon Denali XL

Seating Capacity

7

7

7

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

42.3/65.5/44.5

39.5/65.2/43.9

42.3/66.0/44.5

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

38.9/64.6/41.7

37.9/65.1/41.1

38.9/64.8/42.0

Trunk Capacity (cubic feet)

41.5

34.3

41.5

On the seating front, the 2021 Cadillac Escalade ESV gets wide front seats with thick padding and excellent bolstering. Apart from soft hand-sewn leather, you can also get up to 16-way power front seats with ventilation, massaging, and lumbar support. Even at the back, you get captain chairs which are as supportive as those on the front and can be paired with a rear-seat entertainment package. Out on long trips, the Escalade truly mesmerizes you with its impeccable comfort and craftsmanship.

Even in terms of passenger room, the Escalade has more than adequate headroom and legroom at the first and second rows. Thankfully, even at the third-row, the Escalade can happily fit two adults with very good all-around space. With its stretched body though, the Escalade ESV even opens up a 41.5 cu-ft of cargo space, and that too with all three rows up. Among the other two rivals here, while the GMC Yukon Denali XL is as spacious and practical as the Escalade, the Navigator L falls short in the competition. Some of the interior features in the 2021 Cadillac Escalade are:

  • Full leather seats with semi-aniline leather seating surfaces
  • Whisper Beige and Gideon interior accents
  • Wooden interior trims
  • Tri-zone automatic climate control
  • Up to 16-way power front seats with heating, ventilation, and massage function
  • Panoramic sunroof
  • Heated leather steering
  • Captain second-row seats
  • Ambient lighting
  • Cruise control

What’s there to keep you entertained in the 2021 Cadillac Escalade?

To keep you entertained on the go, the fifth-gen 2021 Cadillac Escalade ESV comes standard with 38.0- inches of curved OLED display sitting atop the dash. What looks; like a single piece of glass running through actually consists of three screens. First up is a 16.9-inch infotainment screen and a 14.2-inch digital driver display. There is also a small screen next to the instrument panel which helps the driver with vehicle information.

The infotainment system is bright and crisp with a very good resolution and clean interface. The infotainment screen is super quick in its responses and operating the system while driving is as easy as it gets. Even the instrument panel screen is sharp with several themes and it can also be easily configured through steering mounted controls. In terms of features, you get wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. A 19-speaker AKG Studio sound system comes as standard but you can also upgrade to an even bonkers 36-speaker AKG Studio system. The higher models also get an integrated navigation system. Some of the infotainment features in the 2021 Cadillac Escalade include:

  • 16.9-inch touchscreen infotainment
  • The 14.2-inch digital instrument panel
  • 16-speaker AKG Studio sound system
  • Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
  • Navigation
  • Headup display
  • WiFi Hotspot
  • Satellite and HD radio

2021 Cadillac Escalade ESV SUV Exterior

7.9/10

On the outside, though the new fifth-gen Cadillac Escalade retains its large footprint, it now looks more imposing and premium than before. It is now also more grown up on the outside sitting on a 4.9-inches longer wheelbase and is also 7.1-inches longer than its predecessor. The ESV extends those by 4.1 and 2.6-inches respectively. The overall design is still similar to an Escalade now but gets more premium and modern. The chrome-slat Cadillac grille is wider and lower than before and the slim headlight housing is all new as well. We love the way the headlights barge into the grille giving it a wide and imposing front fascia. 

2021 Cadillac Escalade ESV SUV exterior image

You also get new vertical DRLs sitting below the headlamps which help the Escalade retain its classic front impression. At the side, the window line has been tweaked a bit and it now tapers a bit upwards behind the C-pillar. A strong shoulder line now runs from the hood to the tail and the large 22’ inch wheels further add to its dominant presence. At the rear, while the slim vertical tail lamp housing remains the same, it has been updated as well. Also, contrary to the chrome ornamentation in the ‘Luxury” models, the “Sport” models get a blacked grille, black window-line, and black exterior body inserts as well. 

Models

2021 Cadillac Escalade ESV Luxury

2021 Lincoln Navigator L 

2021 GMC Yukon Denali XL

Curb Weight (lbs)

5785

5768

5780

Length (inches)

227.0

221.9

225.2

Width (inches)

81.1

79.9

81.0

Height (inches)

76.4

76.2

76.5

Ground Clearance (inches)

N/A

9.7

N/A

Wheelbase (inches)

134.1.

131.6

134.1

Overall, the fifth-gen Cadillac Escalade beautifully accentuates its already existing luxury benchmark. It’s larger, more spacious, and more elegant than its predecessor. The two rivals here though are equally imposing and large as the Escalade ESV. 

However, while the Lincoln Navigator L gives the Cadillac a tough competition in terms of class and presence, the GMC Yukon looks a bit more muscular and capable than the other two. In terms of footprint though, all the three mega SUVs here are almost identical. Some of the exterior features in the 2021 Cadillac Escalade are:

  • LED headlights and tail lamps
  • LED DRLs
  • 22’ inch wheels
  • Hands-free liftgate
  • Heated mirrors
  • Keyless entry
  • Chrome/matte-black front grille
  • Chrome window-line

2021 Cadillac Escalade ESV SUV Safety

6.0/10

Exemplary opulence is always accompanied by top-notch safety features and the 2021 Cadillac Escalade ESV is a classic example of the same. While the base model is still a bit thin in terms of a complete safety package, you do get a “Surround Vision” feature as standard which shows a 360-degree birds-eye view of the vehicle. As standard, you also get Automatic Emergency Braking, front and rear parking sensors, front and rear pedestrian detection, and forward collision alert. 

Stepping up to the higher models opens up even better safety tech like driver awareness plus, rear cross-traffic alert, lane change alert with side blind zone alert, and lane-keep assist. The higher models also get “Super Cruise” driver assistance as well as advanced adaptive cruise control. This advanced safety tech also helped the 2021 Cadillac Escalade score an overall “4-star” rating in the NHTSA crash tests. Noticeable safety features in the 2021 Cadillac Escalade are:

  • Surround-view 360-degree camera
  • Front and rear parking sensors
  • Front and rear pedestrian detection
  • Rear cross-traffic alert
  • Driver awareness plus
  • Lane change alert with side blind zone alert
  • Lane keep assist

2021 Cadillac Escalade ESV SUV Competition

9.0/10

Cadillac Escalade ESV Vs Lincoln Navigator L

Compared to the Navigator L here, the Escalade ESV has better cabin and cargo space and is also richer in terms of tech and driver assistance on offer. However, the Navigator turns out to be more comfortable on the move and is also a bit more economical than the Cadillac. The Navigator is also better and easy to drive and is also richer in terms of standard safety features. 

Lincoln Navigator L

Cadillac Escalade ESV Vs GMC Yukon Denali XL

As the corporate twin of the Cadillac Escalade, the GMC Yukon XL shares the same proportions, powertrain, and cabin space as the former. Even on the move, the Yukon Denali and Cadillac Escalade showcase very similar characteristics. However, the Escalade is significantly better than the Yukon in terms of cabin layout, tech, and infotainment as well as overall upscale fit and finish. 

GMC Yukon Denali XL

 

2021 Cadillac Escalade ESV SUV Final Verdict

Oh yes! If you are looking for a large full-size luxury SUV that looks imposing, is loaded with opulent features along with overwhelming cabin space, the 2021 Cadillac Escalade ESV won’t disappoint you at all. With a redesign, the 2021 Escalade ESV is even more elegant, more spacious, and importantly more comfortable and luxurious than before. 

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