The 2015 Cadillac Escalade is a large and luxurious sport utility vehicle. It is sold in regular and extended wheelbase editions and is available with rear- or all-wheel drive. For 2015, a redesigned Escalade takes to the market and now offers a new eight-speed automatic transmission.
The 2015 Cadillac Escalade may be considered the king of full-size luxury SUVs with its massive presence, chrome touches and opulent interior. As such, it remains a formidable model offering standard room for seven and optional room for eight. The Escalade is available in four trim levels.
Take GM’s full-size truck platform, turn it into a sporty utility vehicle and you have the makings of a big Chevrolet or GMC model. The Cadillac Escalade shares the same platform as its brand stablemates, but it departs from them in a number of ways.
The Cadillac Escalade has always had an abundance of chrome, and the current interpretation does not disappoint. What it also has is a new fascia, featuring an oversized chrome grille with horizontal slats.
Each headlamp assembly is composed of four vertically stacked crystal lenses and LEDs. Reflectors give the assembly a more pronounced look when the lights are activated. At the bottom of the fascia are LED fog lamps. Together, the fascia’s lighting assembly provides a formidable, if not elegant look.
Cadillac takes a standard slab-sided profile and dresses it with belt line molding, rocker panel treatments, chrome door handles and arched wheels. Gone are the faux ventiports that were a decorative touch near the front wheel wells in earlier models. Cadillac dresses the Escalade in 20-inch dual seven-spoke chrome aluminum wheels or optional 22-inch aluminum wheels. Retractable side steps are standard.
To the rear, massive signature LED lighting extends from the roof down to the bumper. This model also has a spoiler and an automatic liftgate.
Massive may be the most appropriate word to describe the 2015 Escalade’s cabin. From front to back, the interior offers the best seating room in its class, especially when buyers opt for seven seating positions instead of the available eight.
The standard seating arrangement has two bucket seats up front, a pair of captains chairs for the second row and a 60-40 split bench seat to the rear. The captains chairs can be replaced with a bench seat to gain an eighth seating position.
Every 2015 Cadillac Escalade is richly laid out in leather, wood trim and aluminum accents.
Premium, layered materials are used throughout the cabin, including cut-and-sewn leather and sueded accents. Interior lighting with theater dimming and additional lighting for the footwell, console and door storage are useful touches.
All seating positions are comfortable, with the front seats offering excellent bolstering with generous hip, thigh and leg support. The second-row seats are slightly thinner and offer less bolstering, but are still supportive. The third-row seat is comfortable, but legroom is much more limited in the standard wheelbase version. The second- and third-row seats fold flat, with the latter being power operated.
Every Escalade provides keyless entry and push button start. You also receive a power-operated tilt-and-telescopic steering column, a heated steering wheel, three-zone climate control, heated and ventilated seats in the first row and heated seats for the second row. And if the weather is too cold for you, an adaptive remote start enables you turn on the Escalade from within the comfort of your home to heat the front seats, activate the climate control system and turn on the rear defogger.
The Escalade comes with Cadillac CUE — Cadillac User Experience — a telematics system marked by an 8-inch color display in the center stack. The system provides 3-D graphics, natural voice recognition and can be controlled by hand gestures. CUE connects up to 10 separate Bluetooth-enabled smartphones and includes an SD slot, five USB ports and and an auxiliary input port. CUE is one of the better systems out there, although voice recognition offers mixed results.
A 12-inch reconfigurable high-resolution color instrument panel allows the driver to customize what is displayed. Traditional analog gauges are replaced with four cluster display configurations. The panel provides vehicle systems information; a driver information center pairs with Cadillac CUE and audio system information.
The Escalade’s long list of standard features a 110-volt power outlet located on the back side of the front console, a Bose audio system, a floor console with two cup holders, steering wheel-mounted controls, power accessories, and automatic wireless charging for electronic devices. Various package and trim level upgrades bring in a reconfigurable head-up display, rear seat headphones, all-weather floor mats, a cooled console with covered storage, a rear seat entertainment system, dual DVD screens, full leather seats, power-operated second row seats and various safety upgrades including side blind zone alert.
The 2015 Cadillac Escalade is powered by a direct-injected 6.2-liter V8 engine. This 16-valve engine makes 420 horsepower and 460 pound-feet of torque. General Motors says that the redesigned Escalade goes from 0 to 60 mph in just under six seconds, quite a feat for a vehicle weighing three tons.
Escalades built earlier in the model year were paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. However, later 2015 models are outfitted with an all-new eight-speed automatic transmission, which improves acceleration.
The fuel economy boost is small with rear-wheel drive models rated at 15/21 mpg city/highway with the six-speed transmission, or 15/22 mpg with the new transmission.
As always, the Cadillac Escalade offers a smooth, quiet ride. Its turning radius is tight, enabling you to make u-turns on four-lane roads without resorting to a three-point turn. There is more than enough power always at the ready even when carrying a full load. Its 8,300-pound maximum towing capacity is suitable for pulling a large boat or a camper.
One of the hallmarks of the Cadillac brand is technology. The 2015 Escalade does not disappoint, as it delivers it in abundance and with the latest technologies at that.
New for 2015 is 4G LTE Wi-Fi, what turns this SUV into a hot spot for Internet connectivity. When driving, you have access to the Internet through the color display panel. Get directions, find local restaurants and gas stations and connect your smart phone.
Your passengers can use their devices to play games online, retrieve information or to send text messages.
Another area where the 2015 Escalade stands out is in noise cancellation technology. Delivered through the SUV’s Bose audio system, the technology offsets powertrain noise regardless of engine speed by detecting unpleasant cabin noise and supplying white noise that effectively eradicates sound. The technology also eliminates the need for extra layers of sound-deadening materials, which add weight to any vehicle and can hamper fuel economy.
The Cadillac Escalade has not been crash tested by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). However, the federal government conducts crash tests through its National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the most recent Cadillac Escalade tested was for the 2014 model year.
The NHTSA gave both the rear- and all-wheel drive versions of the 2014 Cadillac Escalade a four-star rating based on a five-star criteria. The Escalade received five stars for frontal and side crash testing. It received a three-star rating for rollover.
Cadillac outfits the Escalade with numerous safety features, including a safety alert driver seat. That seat vibrates on either the left side or the right side as sensors detect a possible obstruction, such as a car approaching your blind spot when you back up.
Overall we give the Cadillac Escalade a 10 for safety and trust it will do no worse than the 2014 on crash tests.
Cadillac prices the 2015 Escalade from $73,965 for the Standard rear-wheel drive edition and $77,965 for all-wheel drive. Add an additional $3,000 to your price for each corresponding stretched wheelbase trim level.
Besides the Standard trim level, buyers can choose Luxury ($77,965), Premium ($82,465) and Platinum ($90,270) editions. Fully loaded, stretched wheelbase, all-wheel drive edition will cost you just over $97,000.