The 2021 Cadillac Escalade is all set to hit the stores in the later half of 2020. The completely revised SUV gains some physique, even more opulence and far rich tech-packaging. With the enhanced overall suite, the 2021 Escalade has all the bells and whistles to gain back its best full-size American luxury SUV throne.

Talk about the U.S. automobile market and you cannot resist the rivalry between Lincoln and Cadillac. At a time when the Lincoln Navigator seemed to march ahead in the full-sized American SUV league, the old emperor made a grand comeback. Long withstanding as the epitome of American luxury and status, the 2021 Cadillac Escalade is out now with a thorough redesign. The 2021 Escalade steps into its fifth generation and is far more improved and grown-up from its predecessors. 

2021 Cadillac Escalade looks bold in its new Avatar

It's more stylish on the outside, more premium on the inside, has more advanced technology and enhanced mechanics as well. However, with all these escalations, comes a soaring price as well. When launched in the later half of 2020, the 2021 Cadillac range will start from $76,195 for the base and all the way up to $102,995 for the top-gun. Cadillac Escalade now looks meaner than ever, thanks to its fully redesigned exterior and interior. The powertrains under the hood are still the same and there is no change in the power and torque figures as well. Now are the improvements over the previous generation Escalade worth the price upsurge? Let's find out here.

What is the Expected Price and Release date of 2021 Cadillac Escalade?

The 2021 Cadillac Escalade is expected to launch in the final quarter of 2020. Escalade will now be available in 5 trim levels rather than 4 trims in the ongoing 2020 model. The now base Luxury trim will start from $76,195 which is $1000 more than the ongoing base trim, also, Cadillac has introduced two new trims to the Escalade lineup - Sport and top of the line Sport Platinum. Its top-end trim will now be available at $101,290 which is $8000 more than that of 2020 Cadillac Escalade that too without any package inclusions.

Design and Exterior Highlights

While the 2021 Cadillac Escalade retains the form factor of its predecessor, what has changed is the styling and dimensions off course. The grand SUV now sits on a 4.9-inches longer wheelbase in the standard model and 4.1-inches in the ESV. What results is a 7.1-inches of additional length in the standard and 2.6-inches in the ESV, over the 2020 model. It is also 1.6-inch wider and 2.3-inch taller than the outgoing model. 

The redesigned front fascia of 2021 Cadillac Escalade is a treat to the eyes

The most remarkable change on the outside is at the front though. The bold grille is now even bigger with wider slats and gone are the traditional vertical headlamps. The headlamps are now more sleek and slim and also seemingly integrate with the monstrous grille. However, preserving the Escalade’s heritage, you do get vertical DRL’s highlighted by chrome accents.

Model

2021 Cadillac Escalade

2020 Lincoln Navigator

2020 BMW X7

2020 Mercedes GLS

Curb Weight (lbs.)

5635

5685

5370

5701

Length (in.)

211.9

210.0

203.3

205.0

Width (in.)

81.1

79.9

78.7

77.0

Height (in.)

76.7

76.4

71.1

71.8

Ground Clearance (in.)

N/A

9.7

8.7

7.9

Wheelbase (in.)

120.9

122.5

122.2

123.4

The grille could either be highlighted by chrome mesh finish with chrome highlight on the Luxury or a dark black mesh on the Sport models. At the rear, things remain very similar with the identical vertical LED tail lamps, reminiscent of an Escalade. With the grown-up size, the wheel arches and wheels have matured as well.

2021 Cadillac Escalade's rear design might turn a few heads on the road

The 2021 Cadillac Escalade range now gets 22’ inch wheels as standard. Overall, the 2021 Escalade still distinguishes itself from its fleet and still carries the strong American flavor into it. However, its operations are more stylish and imposing than earlier. 

Engine and Transmission

The 2021 Cadillac escalade will be offered in five different configurations as compared to four in the outgoing model. The new range includes Luxury, Premium Luxury, Sport, Premium Luxury Platinum and Sport platinum. All trims come standard with the familiar 6.2-liter V8 engine as in the previous model year. 

However, the engine now incorporates GM's Dynamic Fuel Management cylinder-­deactivation system which can put-off half of the cylinders for better efficiency. Surprisingly, Cadillac is also offering an optional 3.0-liter turbo inline-6 diesel engine with the 2021 Escalade, for the first time ever. 

Models

2021 Cadillac Escalade

2020 Lincoln Navigator

2020 BMW X7

2020 Mercedes GLS

Base MSRP

$76,195

$76,185

$73,900

$75,200

Engine

6.2-liter V8

3.5-liter Turbo V6

3.0-liter Turbo Inline - 6

3.0-liter Turbo Inline - 6

Transmission

10-speed shiftable automatic

10-speed shiftable automatic

8-speed shiftable automatic

9-speed shiftable automatic

Horsepower (hp @ rpm)

420 hp @ 5600 rpm

450 hp @ 5500 rpm

335 hp @ 5500 rpm

362 hp @ 5500 rpm

Torque (ft-lbs @ rpm)

460 ft-lbs. @ 4100 rpm

510 ft-lbs. @ 3000 rpm

330 ft-lbs. @ 1500 rpm

369 ft-lbs. @ 1600 rpm

No changes on the transmission front and both the available engines come mated to the same 10-speed automatic transmission, seen on the 2020 Cadillac Escalade. A $3000 optional AWD can also be paired with any of the trims based on your choice and convenience. While the Lincoln Navigator still towers in the segment in terms of power, brutality is not an ideal virtue of this elite class.

Fuel Economy and MPG Figures

With the same engine and transmission, thankfully the redesign doesn't bring in a dip in the efficiency. You still get 15 mpg in the city, 20 on highway and 17 combined. With the new cylinder-deactivation and reduced weight, an enhanced efficiency was palpable though, but even consistency in this class is always laudable. 

Models

2021 Cadillac Escalade

2020 Lincoln Navigator

2020 BMW X7

2020 Mercedes GLS

MPG (city)

15

16

20

19

MPG (highway)

20

23

25

23

MPG (combined)

17

19

22

21

Fuel tank capacity (gallons)

24.0

23.2

21.9

23.8

Range (city/highway in miles)

360.0/480.0

371.2/533.6

438.0/547.5

452.2/547.4 

It's probably the 2021 Escalade’s enhanced proportions that consume the engine’s efficiency cover. As usual, the fifth-gen Escalade again sits at the bottom of its segment in terms of fuel economy. The BMW X7 on the other hand with its efficiency tuned smaller engine, lighter body and enhanced aerodynamics happen to be the most efficient. However, we wonder if efficiency is that serious a concern in a segment whose members are easy infiltrators of the six-digit territory. 

Interior, Seating, and Cargo

On the inside, the 2021 Cadillac Escalade is a complete departure from its ancestors. Gone is the traditional touch and the new modern luxury treatment is far more appealing than it has ever been. The major highlight of the new cabin has to be the new Mercedes S class like a floating screen on the dash. Even the updated interior seems heavily inspired by the “Escala” concept.

There are also new minimalistic touch-sensitive climate control buttons along with a sheeny new electronic shifter replacing the earlier ignoble column-mount. An artistic amalgamation of real wood and leather trims with intricate quilting and piping, present a sight to behold. The steering wheel, dashboard, door panels, or center console, everything is either coated with supple leather or from one of the 8 available real wood inserts. 

Models

2021 Cadillac Escalade

2020 Lincoln Navigator

2020 BMW X7

2020 Mercedes GLS

Passenger Capacity

7

7

7

7

Front (Head/Shoulder/Leg) (in.)

42.3/65.5/44.5

41.8/65.2/43.9

 

41.9/60.0/39.8

39.4/59.3/40.3

Second (Head/Shoulder/Leg) (in.)

38.9/64.6/41.7

40.0/65.1/42.6

39.9/58.1/37.6

40.2/58.5/41.9

Third (Head/Shoulder/Leg) (in.)

38.2/62.7/34.9

37.3/64.2/40.9

36.6/47.9/33.3

38.9/50.3/N/A

Cargo Capacity (cu.ft.)

25.5

19.3

12.8

17.4

While second-row space remains identical and not as generous as the Lincoln Navigator or Mercedes GLS, the redesign brushes up its overall space. With reworked dimensions, the 2021 Cadillac Escalade offers the best in class front-seat space. Also, the third-row seat has much better space now and can happily accommodate adults. As earlier the 2021 Escalade shares its underpinnings with its other recently updated siblings like the GMC Yukon and Chevrolet Tahoe

As on its updated siblings, the new Escalade also replaces the earlier live axle with a new independent rear suspension. The new setup allows for a smoother ride, lower load height and better room on the inside, especially at the third row. The higher models also sport air suspension with Magnetorheological adaptive dampers. Another notable mention is that with its new proportions, the 2021 Cadillac Escalade offers a best-in-class cargo area of 25.5 cubic-feets. That too with all the seats in place.

Infotainment and Connectivity

There's so much happening on the tech-front in the new 2021 Cadillac Escalade. First and foremost is the infotainment setup that features a massive display that looks like a single piece. However, look up close and you will find it segmented into three different screens. A 7.2-inch driver-centric screen towards the left of the steering, a 14.2-inch digital gauge behind the steering and a 16.9-inch primary infotainment screen. Interestingly, all the three screens are OLED displays that layer over another to create 38 inches of combined digital interface. 

This is the very first example of an OLED screen inside a car. While the infotainment screen can be primarily operated via touch inputs, there's also a rotary dial controller on the center-console for better accessibility. There's also a rear-seat entertainment package available with two 12.6-inch displays that are even capable of media streaming. Standard Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, WiFi and Bluetooth certainly need no talking at this price and class and we won’t either. Instead, talking about some of the most advanced features, the 2021 Escalade features Augmented reality Navigation and Cadillac's Super Cruise system. While the former animates directions with arrows and live street views, the latter is the only true automated driving system available right now. 

Audiophiles are surely in for a delight in the new Escalade. In an industry first, Cadillac has roped in Grammy-winning audio and acoustic great AKG to enhance the Escalade sound ambiance. While the base Studio system houses 19 speakers, the upgradable Studio Reference Package splashes the cabin with 36 speakers and 3-D audio. The AKG audio treatment also rewards the Escalade with strategically placed microphones to facilitate hassle-free communication between the first and third benches. 

Safety Features and Ratings

Yet to hit the stores, there is no crash-test crating available for the 2021 Cadillac Escalade yet. However, with regards to the overall technological enhancements, we bet that Cadillac is all set to raise the safety bar in its class. The super-cruise semi-autonomous driving is already making quite a noise in the corridors. Some of the other safety features available with the new Escalade are mentioned below;

  • Standard lane-departure warning with lane-keeping assist
  • Available adaptive cruise control with semi-autonomous driving mode
  • Standard automated emergency braking with the front and rear pedestrian detection
  • Pre and post-collision safety system
  • Dusk sensing and self-leveling LED headlamps

Verdict

The Cadillac Escalade has represented the paramount of luxury, class and presence in the American automobile corridors and it continues to do so in its 2021 iteration as well. The new 2021 Cadillac Escalade is even bolder, tech-loaded and plush on the inside than all its ancestors. The redesign and valuable additions do come in with some added dollars but is absolutely worth the price. On paper, it's an absolute marvel with some industry-first and best features. We can only wait till it hits the stores to see how it fares in real life and on the road of course. 

Also Read:

Can't wait and planning to buy a 2020 Cadillac Escalade? Check out its complete in-depth review and buying guide.

Does the Lincoln Navigator offer better space and luxury than the Cadillac Escalade?

FAQ's

Is the Cadillac Escalade a good car?

Yes, the Cadillac Escalade is surely one of the best full-size SUVs you can get in the States. The big American SUV presents a beautiful blend of a long body and plenty of space, powerful engine choices, comfortable ride and opulent interiors. It also comes loaded with all the latest tech gizmos and also has a history of great safety standards as well.

How much will the 2021 Escalade Cost?

The 2021 Escalade will be available in five trim options with prices starting at $76,195 for the base "Luxury" model. Also part of the 2021 Escalade trim line are Premium Luxury, Sport, Premium Luxury Platinum and Sport platinum. The Premium Luxury and Sport models are priced at $82,995 and $88,595 respectively while the Premium Luxury Platinum and Sport Platinum share a tag of $99,995. The prices mentioned here are for the standard configuration on each trim without any optional attachments.

Are Cadillacs reliable?

Well, Cadillacs are not the best in business when it comes to reliability. Data from several surveys and reports show that Cadillac has a reliability rating of 3.0 out of 5.0 that makes it rank on 26th position out of all 32 car brands. Also noteworthy is the fact that Cadillacs have an average maintenance cost of $783 which reciprocate into average ownership costs and reliability.