2017 Cadillac Escalade ESV Review

Escalade ESV

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2017 Cadillac Escalade ESV Overview

The Cadillac Escalade represents the height of safety, luxury, and technology among American SUVs. Although it has sometimes been cast as a study in excess, its fourth generation has grown far more refined, both in content and design. But for the times when you simply to need more of everything, the 2017 Cadillac Escalade ESV succeeds.

Based on the standard Escalade, the ESV has a 14-inch longer wheelbase and 20 more inches of overall length. This extension maximizes the usefulness of the third row and rear cargo space. Cadillac claims the ESV provides more than two-and-a-half-times the cargo space of the conventional Escalade.

Without doubt, the Escalade ESV carries the same striking visual presence as the standard model, but with even greater size. This look includes a massive waterfall grille, intricate LED headlights, standard 20-inch wheels, and stunning “blade” taillights. Cadillac further cleans up the ESV's appearance with a rear-window wiper blade that tucks cleanly up under the large rear spoiler. The Escalade ESV is also available with two new colors (Dark Adriatic Blue Metallic and Bronze Dune Metallic) and several optional 22-inch wheel designs, one of which is new for ’17. Higher trims are also available with cornering lights, which activate with the turning of the steering wheel to project their beams in the direction you're turning.

The Escalade ESV has a visually fetching cabin, with a center stack that flows effortlessly into the center console. Based on a GM truck platform, the ESV is also rife with cubbies and cargo compartments, including the center console itself, which is a large, two-tier unit. With all three rows of seating up, the Escalade ESV still has almost 40 cubic feet of cargo space. Fold the rear seats down and you have access to an incredible 120 cubic feet of cargo space. Rear seats fold quickly and easily and are available with a power-folding function.

If your hands are full, the Escalade has you covered: with your key fob in your pocket, simply wave your foot underneath the rear bumper and the power rear hatch deploys. Standard leather seating, push-button start, tri-zone climate control, and a wireless phone charging pad should satisfy those in search of creature comforts.

The Escalade ESV comes standard with Cadillac CUE, a fully customizable infotainment system with easy-to-read icons. Plug your smartphone into the USB port and you have access to Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, which carry many smartphone capabilities onto the vehicle's touchscreen, including Spotify, Pandora, podcasts, and even map apps.

Powering the Escalade is a 6.2-inch cast aluminum V8 engine. It makes 420 hp and 460 lb-ft of torque sent through an 8-speed automatic transmission to either rear-wheel drive (RWD) or available full time four-wheel drive (4WD). Incredibly, an Escalade ESV with RWD can rocket from 0 to 60 mph in just 5.98 seconds! Fuel economy for the 2017 Cadillac Escalade is 17 mpg city/22 highway/17 combined with RWD and 15/20/17 with 4WD.

Cadillac’s impressive magnetic ride control is employed in the Escalade ESV: a shock-absorber fluid is loaded with metal shavings and a current is run through the fluid. This allows the system to adjust suspension stiffness for different driving conditions and respond to changing road conditions in record time. There are both Tour (softer) and Sport (firmer) drive modes.

In addition to its generous cargo space, the Escalade ESV is no slouch when it comes to towing. Its 8,100-pound tow rating is more than either the Mercedes-Benz GLS550 or the Lexus LX 570.

For 2017, the Escalade ESV has a new rear-view camera setup that employs a wide-angle lens, improving its field of vision by as much as 300%. It also comes standard with Surround Vision, which uses a series of cameras (including the rear-view) to present a 360-degree exterior view for precise parking jobs.

The Escalade ESV is available with automatic park assist, which monitors the front and rear of the vehicle as you park, alerting the driver when faced with obstacles or automatically braking to avoid a fender-bender. Additionally, the available Driver Awareness Package contains helpful safety technology like forward-collision warning with automatic braking, lane-departure warning, automatic high beams, and Cadillac’s Safety Alert Seat, which vibrates one side of the driver's seat to indicate possible danger on the corresponding side of the vehicle.

Pricing for the 2017 Cadillac Escalade ESV has not yet been announced, but it should closely follow pricing for 2016. The 2016 Escalade ESV started at $76,965 and ranged up to $95,945 for a 4WD ESV Platinum.

Like a lumberjack in a tuxedo, the Cadillac Escalade ESV delivers impressive cargo room, seating, and towing capacity, while wrapped in a refined, sophisticated package. From the latest in-car infotainment technology to fantastic passive and active safety features, the Escalade ESV is a formidable vehicle in both style and substance.


From open-wheel racecars to specialty off-road vehicles, George Kennedy has driven it all. A career automotive journalist, George has been a contributor, editor, and/or producer at some of the most respected publications and outlets, including Consumer Reports, the Boston Globe, Boston Magazine, Autoblog.com, Hemmings Classic Wheels, BoldRide.com, the Providence Journal, and WheelsTV.

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