2022 Cadillac Escalade

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Updated: May 26, 2022

2022 Cadillac Escalade

The Cadillac Escalade is a full-size eight-passenger SUV, with angular and brash styling and a cabin with tasteful appeal. It has a standard 6.2-liter V-8 making 420 horsepower, mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission. It was redesigned last year, so for 2022 there are only small changes to available features.

Cadillac also offers a 277-hp 3.0-liter turbodiesel-6, which gets better fuel economy but costs more and tows less than the big V-8.

The Escalade’s ride is refined thanks to an independent rear suspension—it’s especially calm with optional magnetic dampers and air springs, which also help the handling. It’s rear-wheel drive with available all-wheel drive.

The Escalade is so big that the third row fits adults, and with the second and third rows dropped, there’s a vast 109 cubic feet of cargo space. There’s also a long-wheelbase ESV variant with even more cargo space, a van-like 126 cubic feet.

The EPA rates it at 14 mpg city, 19 highway, 16 combined. With the turbodiesel and four-wheel drive, it gets 20/26/22 mpg.

Standard safety equipment includes automatic emergency braking, parking sensors, active lane control, and a surround-view camera system. Most models come with blind-spot monitors, adaptive cruise control, and automatic park assist. Night vision is available, along with Super Cruise, which enables hands-free driving on a network of more than 130,000 miles of U.S. roads.

Model Lineup

Made in Texas, the Escalade comes as a base model, Sport, Platinum Luxury and Sport Luxury.

The entry-level Escalade costs about $78,000, with the longer ESV at about $80,000. Standard equipment includes synthetic leather, a 19-speaker sound system, a big touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, wireless phone charging, remote start, power tailgate, and 22-inch wheels.

The Escalade Sport for about $90,000 adds real leather, a panoramic sunroof, magnetic dampers, adaptive cruise control, automatic park assist, an electronic limited-slip differential, and a tow package.

The Platinum Luxury and Sport Luxury, at more than $100,000, add semi-aniline leather, 16-way massaging front seats, 36-speaker audio, and a mode-controlled air suspension.

Options include a head-up display, a center console refrigerator, and night vision.

A 4-year/50,000-mile warranty includes one free service.

Exterior

The Escalade impresses with its sheer size and its flourishes of chrome. The big grille wears its big Cadillac badge with pride. The grille can also come in black, which subdues the front end, a little.

The stance is broad, with a tall face and steep taillights. The fender flares aren’t quite as square as the rest of the profile, but in general the Escalade looks like it’s had its suit pressed for an important date.

Interior

The instrument panel hums with a 38-inch strip of digital displays–curving OLED screens set into a dash wrapped in wood and leather. There’s a 14.2-inch panel of gauges, a giant 16.9-inch main touchscreen, and a secondary 7.2-inch touchscreen. Information flashes with brilliant high resolution, with camera views of all directions superimposed with reality-enhanced overlays, and available night vision creeping into view like stalking spirits. The show of technology is bedazzling.

Beautiful hues of leather come in perforated or quilted upholstery, enhanced by tasteful gray wood and thin slices of metallic trim. Some plastic trim lives at the knees, but it’s easily overlooked.

The standard front seats of synthetic leather adjust in 12 directions, while available real leather seats heat and cool and massage and go even more ways.

The second-row bench is wide enough for three adults, but most Escalades come with captain’s chairs. The doors are tall to make access easy. The rear passengers have their own 12.6-inch entertainment screens.

The third row can seat two adults or three kids, and folds flat for a tall cargo space with 25.5 cubic feet, which grows to 109.1 cubic feet when the rear seat is folded. And that’s with the standard wheelbase; the ESV is like a cave, with 126.6 cubic feet.

Driving Impressions

Cadillac’s 6.2-liter V-8 provides the kind of throaty and torquey power the Escalade needs to get the most out of its sweet ride and surprisingly responsive handling. Its smooth 420 horsepower is delivered without effort. With the 10-speed transmission, it scoots from a standing start and clicks through the gears to reach 60 mph in about six seconds. It’s a beautiful powertrain, and capable of towing 8,200 pounds with an option package.

Standard rear-wheel drive works well on dry and flat roads. The Escalade’s four-wheel-drive system can come with a 2-speed transfer case and limited-slip differential that’s either mechanical or electronic, to make the Escalade a great snow vehicle.

The turbodiesel with its 277 horsepower is capable and more fuel-efficient but can’t tow as much as the gas-powered Escalade.

The independent rear suspension came with the last redesign, and it greatly improves the handling and ride. The road manners are composed, isolation from bumps excellent, and steering is relatively quick. The available adaptive magnetic dampers only improve things, and the air suspension can raise or lower the suspension by four inches, for freeway or potholes or ruts on dirt roads.

Any vehicle this size will be a pain to park, and the Escalade can’t escape this, but at least the steering is light.

Final Word

The 2022 Cadillac Escalade feels like a luxury-lined fortress. We’d spend more for the Sport to get its magnetic dampers, but skip the turbodiesel.

 

—by Sam Moses with driving impressions by The Car Connection