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2015 Cadillac Escalade Review

Escalade

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Base
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Starting At: $72,690
Base AWD
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Starting At: $75,290
Luxury
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Starting At: $76,690
Luxury AWD
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Starting At: $74,200
Premium
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Starting At: $81,190
Premium AWD
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Starting At: $80,736

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2015 Cadillac Escalade Overview

For those times when it’s imperative that a group of discerning folks, their luggage and a boat get to where they’re going comfortably and expeditiously, Cadillac offers the redesigned, fourth-generation 2015 Escalade. This full-size body-on-frame luxury liner returns with 7- to 8-passenger seating, but now sports an upgraded profile and a significantly improved interior. As well, there’s been a shakeup in the trim lineup, with the third-generation’s entry-level Base and the once-top-shelf Platinum trims both deleted this year. Thus for 2015, the remaining 3 Escalade trims line up as the base Standard, the now up-featured Luxury trim at the midlevel slot and the newly promoted Premium taking over as the flagship trim.

Tweaks for 2015 include a larger grille, LED headlights and taillights, inset doors and some 1.5 inches added to the length and width. Those extra dimensions translate into about 4 inches of extra driver and front passenger legroom but, alas don’t do much to improve second- and third-row legroom.

Inside, the most dramatic improvement is a brand-new folding third-row seat that challenges only the index finger, as opposed to the complete removal of said seat for added cargo space in previous generations. This long-awaited improvement is now standard in all of GM’s full-size utes, but has the unfortunate consequence of deleting some 15 cubic feet of cargo area, leaving the Escalade bearing 94 cubic feet of toting acreage with all rear seats folded.

Anyhow, some further cabin upgrades for the 2015 Escalade include an upgraded (but, according to many reviewers, still frustrating) CUE infotainment display, a massive 12.3-inch driver information display, upgraded standard perforated leather upholstery and some added freshening to interior accent trim materials.

Power-wise, Cadillac claims that the standard 6.2-liter variable-valve-timed (VVT) Flex Fuel (FFV) V8 powerplant has been upgraded to deliver 420 hp and 460 lb-ft of torque. That’s about a 15% jump in overall power numbers from the 2014 iteration, with the 6-speed shiftable automatic transmission returning to manage all that oomph. Curiously, towing grunt is still listed at last year’s max of 8,200 pounds (with the proper equipment), while there’s no word yet regarding mileage numbers for the reworked V8. The 2015 Escalade is again delivered with standard rear-wheel drive (RWD), but remains eligible for an available full-time all-wheel drivetrain (AWD).

Depending on the trim selected from the 2015 Escalade lineup, standard appearance features should again include 20- or 22-inch chrome alloy wheels and side-steps, a roof rack, a power sunroof and heated power-adjustable mirrors. Inside, look for the aforementioned upgraded perforated leather upholstery, the new folding third-row seat, heated power-adjustable front seats, heated second-row seats, a heated steering wheel, power-adjustable pedals, memory for driver's settings and full power accessories.

Of course, cruise control remains standard, as do tilt-wheel steering, rear parking sensors, a remote garage door opener and a rear-view camera, with all of this complemented by the upgraded CUE/Bluetooth interfaced directions and connections technology.

Entertainment is expected to once more include a Bose premium audio system with single-CD player, 10 speakers and satellite radio with NavTraffic, while the standard touchscreen-integrated memory-card-based navigation system returns as well.

An optional DVD player for the available rear-seat entertainment system is again offered with all trims, with further options, once more depending on the trim level, slated to remain upgraded wheels and exterior chrome, second-row bench seats for 8 total occupants and power-folding side steps.

Standard safety equipment for the 2015 Escalade lineup, finally, should once again include 4-wheel antilock brakes (ABS), traction and stability control, 3-row head airbags and front side-mounted airbags. Those new LED headlights and taillights are now standard, while daytime running lights, front fog/driving lights, high-intensity-discharge (HID) headlights, a post-collision safety system and OnStar emergency communications return from the pervious generation. Meantime, along with the returning remote antitheft alarm that’s standard across the lineup, the midlevel Luxury gets a Driver Awareness Package packing lane-departure warnings, a forward collision alert and a blind-spot alert system delivered, while the top-shelf Premium totes the standard Driver Assist Package with front collision preparation, adaptive cruise control and automatic braking. Both packages are optional in the now entry-level Standard trim.

Updated

Have Laptop, Will Travel. I'm retired and travelling the country in a 34' motor home. I'm really digging meeting people . . and sometimes their cars . . . getting a sense of what makes this nation tick. The plan is to visit all the national parks in the continental US, then cruise to Alaska to visit Denali, and to Hawaii to check out Haleakala and the Hawaii Volcano's national parks. Anyhow, when I'm not horsing the motor home around the roadways, I'm tooting around in the 2012 Ford Focus that we tow behind, or making runs to Home Depot and various malls with the 2004 F-150 that just won't die.

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