By David Thomas on December 29, 2008
When the jet black Escalade Hybrid arrived last week, I was really excited at the prospect of ferrying the family to grandmother’s house in style, comfort and relative greenness. Although our station wagon gets better mileage, it seemed like a good idea. Then Dec. 24 arrived, and the rear-wheel-drive Escalade couldn’t get out of the icy confines of my alley. Minutes of cursing and shoveling enough ice to get the traction needed to re-park the beast later, we were packing lots of gifts into our Subaru Outback. The Subaru had no problem with the ice.
This meant I wouldn’t put as many miles on the green Escalade as I would have hoped. Luckily, I had to go home without the family on Sunday then return to pick them up. The weather had changed significantly and all the ice was gone, so I hopped into the Escalade and headed back out to the Chicago suburbs.
Now, for people who scrutinize reports such as these, here were the conditions:
Including some limited city driving before Sunday, on the trip out to the suburbs the Escalade Hybrid returned 15.8 mpg over 30-plus miles, according to the trip computer. That’s well below the 20/21 mpg city/highway rating on the sticker. Now, that pesky cold temperature, winds, some warm-up time and a heavy led foot could all add to the poor mileage.
I reset the trip computer, loaded the Escalade up with the family and cargo and headed back. Again, approximately 5 miles of suburban driving and 30 or so miles on the highway at around 70 mph. This trip got much better results, with the trip computer returning 18.6 mpg — though that’s still short of the mileage on the sticker. But I felt much better writing off this much smaller difference to environmental factors. It’s too bad I didn’t have the full vacation with the Escalade to get a better test. Maybe next time they’ll drop off a four-wheel-drive Escalade.
I filled up the Escalade this morning, topping it off with only 8 gallons, before it went back to the fleet. The trip computer said we had gone a total of 120 miles. That comes out to 15 mpg. That’s well off the trip computer and well off the estimated mileage from the EPA. It’s also well off what the Tahoe Hybrid got during our Hybrid Mileage Challenge back in May, which was 20.5 mpg — granted, though, that was almost all city driving. Perhaps the weather does have a dramatic impact on mileage in these large hybrids.
Managing Editor David Thomas has a thing for wagons and owns a 2010 Subaru Outback and a 2005 Volkswagen Passat wagon. Email David