The Cadillac Escalade has been a rap video icon since 1999. That’s when it was hastily introduced in response to the success of luxury SUVs like the Lincoln Navigator. Since then, the Escalade has come to dominate the full-size category, offering increasing levels of luxury and power with its brash looks.
2015 to Present: Cadillac Escalade
The fourth-generation Escalade debuted in 2014 as a 2015 model. The current Escalade is based on the latest General Motors full-size truck platform, while styling was brought in line with the current Cadillac fashions, including the CUE infotainment system added inside. The 6.2-liter V8 engine was carried over, making 420 horsepower here with a six-speed automatic transmission.
Midway through the model year, the six-speed automatic was replaced with a new eight-speed unit. A new Platinum edition with upgraded styling and trim was added, and all models got a new Cadillac emblem during the 2015 calendar year.
Earlier Cadillac Escalade Models
The Escalade was introduced in summer 1998 as a 1999 model. Based on the then-new GMC Yukon, it was the ultimate version of the GM full-size SUV line that also included the Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban. Standard equipment included leather upholstery, wood accents, Bose audio, chrome wheels and GM’s relatively new OnStar telematics. A 5.7-liter V8 with four-wheel drive and an automatic transmission was the only powertrain.
The Escalade took 2001 off and was reintroduced for 2002. Again, based on the latest GM full-size SUV platform, it gained styling lifted from the then-new Cadillac CTS that was more distinctive than its platform siblings. A third-row seat was newly available, bringing seating capacity up from five to eight. A 6.0-liter V8 became available, making the Escalade the most powerful luxury SUV around. Both two-wheel and four-wheel drive variants were offered, and most versions were equipped with leather, Bose audio and full power amenities.
Also new was the Escalade EXT, a sport utility truck based off of the Chevrolet Avalanche.
In 2003, a longer Escalade ESV model rolled out, which is based off of the Chevy Suburban and GMC Yukon XL. Satellite radio was now available, and all Escalades got HID headlamps, tri-zone climate control and adjustable pedals. Some revisions to the interior and instrument cluster were also made.
The 2004 Escalade got standard satellite radio, tire-pressure monitoring and second-row captain’s chairs. For 2005, a navigation system was introduced, in addition to some detail changes.
Cadillac redesigned the Escalade in 2006 as a 2007 model. More technology was available, including LED taillights and side curtain air bags, to match the upgraded looks. Power went up again thanks to a 6.2-liter V8 with 403 horsepower, this time routed through a six-speed automatic transmission. The Escalade got an interior design distinct from any GM truck-based vehicle, with a more sweeping design based off of Cadillac sedans. A large touch-screen navigation system was standard, as well as amenities like power-folding seats, a power liftgate and optional 22-inch wheels. Once again, EXT and ESV derivatives were offered.
A new Platinum edition arrived for 2008, boasting a special grille and upgraded materials inside and out. For 2009, Bluetooth, LED headlamps, blind-spot monitoring and a backup camera were made available.
The 2010 Escalade featured a host of improvements to safety (new structural changes and side air bags), efficiency (cylinder deactivation was added) and technology (a USB port was added) in the wake of declining sales.