New for 2021
Rankings & Research
The 2021 Cadillac Escalade's #3 ranking is based on its score within the Luxury Large SUVs category. Currently the Cadillac Escalade has a score of 8.1 out of 10, which is based on our evaluation of 9 pieces of research and data elements using various sources.
Is the Cadillac Escalade a Good SUV?
Yes, the Cadillac Escalade is a good SUV. Fully redesigned for 2021, it now runs with the best luxury large SUVs in terms of interior quality, and it has ample seating and cargo space to boot. The highlight of this Caddy's cabin, though, is its dash. It includes three brilliant display screens with crisp graphics, as well as infotainment controls that are easy to use.
The three-row Escalade handles with composure and delivers the serene ride quality you'd expect from a range-topping passenger vehicle. If there's a nit to pick, it's that fuel economy is a little subpar for the class.
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Should I Buy the Cadillac Escalade?
It's easier to recommend the Escalade than it's ever been. Its base price is very close to that of rivals such as the Lincoln Navigator and Mercedes-Benz GLS, but the Escalade exudes value in comparison, thanks to its long list of standard features. With ample passenger room, lots of cargo space, and some of the best tech in the class, it's hard to beat this Cadillac.
2020 vs. 2021 Cadillac Escalade: What's the Difference?
The Cadillac Escalade is fully redesigned for 2021. Its updates include improved interior quality, more cargo space, and significantly more third-row legroom. Mechanically, a new independent rear suspension results in better handling, and Cadillac introduces a diesel engine option. The revamped Escalade has an almost completely digital dashboard, consisting of three separate displays.
Additionally, the Super Cruise feature debuts in the new Escalade. This partially automated driving assistance system maintains a set distance between the Escalade and other vehicles and traces lane markings to help steer the Escalade. While it might sound fully autonomous, Super Cruise still requires driver involvement. The system will alert you if more attention to the road is needed.
How Much Does the Cadillac Escalade Cost?
The 2021 Cadillac Escalade starts at $76,195 for the base Luxury trim, which puts it in line with the starting prices of several other luxury large SUVs. Other Escalade trims include Premium Luxury ($82,995), Sport ($85,595), and Premium Luxury Platinum and Sport Platinum, which both carry an MSRP of $99,995.
All of those prices are for standard-wheelbase models with rear-wheel drive. You can upgrade any trim to the long-wheelbase Cadillac Escalade ESV for an additional $3,000. Adding four-wheel drive will cost you another $3,000. A four-wheel-drive Escalade ESV can cost in excess of $116,000 when you select the top trim and add most major options.
Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Cadillac dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Cadillac deals page.
How Much Does It Cost to Insure a Cadillac Escalade?
The cost of insuring a Cadillac Escalade will depend on a variety of factors, including your deductible, the level of coverage that you want, and the type of insurance that you choose. Your age, gender, location, credit score, and driving record can also have an impact on your insurance rates. Check out our car insurance guide to find the best policy for you.
Cadillac Escalade Versus the Competition
Cadillac Escalade vs. Lincoln Navigator
For as good as the Cadillac Escalade is, it's hard to top the Lincoln Navigator. The Navigator has spry acceleration from its twin-turbocharged V6 engine, and it has one of the highest towing capacities in the class. The Lincoln is also a little more well-appointed inside, with touches like standard leather upholstery. The Escalade provides a lot more cargo space, however, and both SUVs offer a supple ride, welcoming seating space, and user-friendly technology. If you prioritize utility, buy the Caddy, but the Lincoln is more well-rounded.
Cadillac Escalade vs. Mercedes-Benz GLS
The Mercedes-Benz GLS is one of the most fun-to-drive vehicles in the luxury large SUV class. It has enthusiastic handling and a potent base engine, as well as high-powered engine options. The lineup includes a 483-horsepower twin-turbocharged V8 and a 603-horsepower AMG variant. This Benz doesn't sacrifice any ride comfort for its agility, though it can't tow as much as the Escalade. In contrast to the Cadillac's massive cargo capacity and three rows of roomy seating, the GLS has less space for gear and a slightly more cramped third row. Choosing between these two SUVs depends on if you like the performance of the GLS or if you need the added room of the Escalade.
Escalade Interior: Roomy, Swanky, and Futuristic
Escalade Cargo Space
The Escalade's redesign leads to a massive increase in cargo space. It now bests nearly every luxury large SUVfor storage room, even in its standard-wheelbase configuration. In that model, you get 25.5 cubic feet of space behind the third-row seats and 72.9 cubic feet with the third row folded down. Folding all of the rear seats opens up 121 cubic feet of space. Power-folding second and third rows make it easier to access and alter the space.
The extended-wheelbase Cadillac Escalade ESV is even more cavernous. It boasts 41.5 cubic feet of space behind the third row, 94.1 cubic feet behind the second row, and a maximum cargo capacity of 142.8 cubic feet. The ESV model has significantly more cargo space than all of its class rivals.
How Many People Does the Escalade Seat?
The 2021 Escalade is a three-row SUV that comes standard with second-row captain's chairs and seating for seven. In any model, you can bump the seating capacity to eight by switching to a middle bench seat at no cost.
There's really not a bad seat in the house. The front perches are extremely comfortable and welcome you with standard heating and 12-way power adjustments. For more pampering, check the option box for ventilated seats or 16-way power-adjustable and massaging front seats. The second row also has plenty of space for adults to relax and enjoy the trip.
One of the biggest improvements with the revamped Escalade is third-row passenger room. In the standard-length Escalade, there's an extra 10 inches of third-row legroom compared with the 2020 Escalade. The larger Escalade ESV offers an additional 1.7 inches of third-row legroom over the standard model.
Escalade and Child Car Seats
There are two complete sets of LATCH connectors for the second-row outboard seats.
Escalade Interior Quality
Previous versions of the Escalade were derided for using some low-end cabin materials found in other General Motors SUVs. Not anymore. Every surface in this Caddy is absolutely premium, and it finally feels like a true flagship vehicle for the brand. You have your choice of several leather upholstery options, as well as wood and brushed metal trim.
Escalade Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation
The centerpiece of the Escalade's interior is a three-screen digital display that measures roughly 38 inches. Together, they combine to create the illusion of an almost fully computerized dashboard.
We'll break it down. There's a 16.9-inch main infotainment screen that has both capacitive touch controls and a knob on the center console. Operation is straightforward, and the system impresses with snappy response times. Cadillac provides standard wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, providing a leg up on competitors that still require you to plug in your phone to connect.
A 14.2-inch display serves as an instrument cluster. Here you find another cool feature: augmented reality-enabled navigation. It takes video from a front-view camera and overlays directions and commands, presenting it right behind the steering wheel. On the left of the instrument display is a 7.2-inch touch screen that functions as the driver information display.
This amalgam of technology might seem overwhelming, if only because it can require some time to learn where all the functions are and what appears where. That's a tiny complaint in the face of breathtaking graphics that make it feel like you're piloting a spaceship.
- Standard infotainment features: a 16.9-inch touch screen, a 7.2-inch digital control panel, a 14.2-inch digital instrument cluster, wireless Android Auto, wireless Apple CarPlay, a 19-speaker AKG Studio stereo, wireless device charging, Bluetooth, two USB ports, navigation, a Wi-Fi hot spot, satellite radio, and HD Radio
- Available infotainment features: a 36-speaker AKG Studio Reference surround-sound stereo and a rear-seat entertainment system with two 12.6-inch touch screens
- Additional standard features: a household-style power outlet, proximity keyless entry, remote start, tri-zone automatic climate control, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, and a universal garage door opener
- Other available features: a panoramic sunroof, cabin air ionization, and a center console refrigerator and freezer
The redesigned 2021 Escalade comes standard with a 6.2-liter V8 engine that produces 420 horsepower and 460 pound-feet of torque. This V8 is basically a carryover from the previous generation, and it can also be found in other GM large SUVs and full-size pickups.
This tried-and-true powertrain doles out ample muscle to get the big Escalade moving quickly. However, with the vehicle weighing in at almost 6,000 pounds, you might wish that acceleration felt a little more forceful.
The star of the show is the 10-speed automatic transmission. It easily clicks into the correct gear and helps the engine with appropriate power delivery. Moreover, shifts are almost imperceptible.
A Duramax turbodiesel 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder engine is newly optional. Horsepower is estimated at 277, but torque output is identical to the base engine at 460 pound-feet.
Escalade Gas Mileage
The 2021 Escalade’s fuel economy is a little subpar for the luxury large SUV class. With the base engine and rear-wheel drive, this Caddy gets an EPA-estimated 15 mpg in the city and 20 mpg on the highway. When equipped with four-wheel drive, the Escalade gets 14 mpg in the city and 19 mpg on the highway.
At the time of writing, neither Cadillac nor the EPA has provided fuel economy estimates for models with the diesel engine. However, other GM products that use this powertrain return much better gas mileage than the Escalade does with its standard V8.
Escalade Ride and Handling
The Escalade now comes with an independent rear suspension, which leads to a better combination of handling and ride quality than previous models offered. Going around corners no longer feels like a lumbering or unwieldy experience, as body roll is mostly kept in check.
And despite its trucklike, body-on-frame construction, the Escalade traverses even the worst road conditions with poise and comfort. For the most serene driving experience, outfit the Escalade with the optional adaptive air suspension and Cadillac’s Magnetic Ride Control system.
Escalade Towing Capacity
The Cadillac Escalade can tow between 7,400 and 8,200 pounds; that maximum capacity is good for the class. All models come standard with a seven-wire harness and a rearview camera with hitch guidance.
Options include an integrated trailer brake controller, as well as blind spot monitoring for the full length of the trailer. The available Heavy Duty Trailering package includes a two-speed transfer case (4WD models only), an auxiliary trailer camera, trailer tire pressure monitoring, and upgraded engine cooling.
The redesigned 2021 Cadillac Escalade puts up a good fight in the heavyweight luxury large SUV class. It boasts an attractive cabin, sharp technology, oodles of passenger and cargo space, and a posh ride. However, it gets subpar fuel economy estimates for the class, and some critics wish the engine provided a little more oomph.