2021 Cadillac Escalade: 5 Things We Like (and 3 Not So Much)

2021 Cadillac Escalade 2021 Cadillac Escalade | photo by Steven Pham

The Cadillac Escalade is the last of GM’s big family haulers to see a redesign after the Chevrolet Tahoe and GMC Yukon. For 2021, the Escalade gets a much-needed modernization. What’s new in this redesigned Escalade?

Related: 2021 Cadillac Escalade Review: Expensive, and Worth It

Well, what isn’t? It rides on a new platform that provides more space all around. Fresh styling inside and out differentiates it from the outgoing model, as does a major tech upgrade. All in all, it’s the picture of an American luxury vehicle, and it should give its closest competitor, the Lincoln Navigator, a run for its money

For all the ins and outs of this SUV, click the related link above for Aaron Bragman’s comprehensive review. Alternatively, read on below for the quick list of what we like (and don’t) about the 2021 Cadillac Escalade:

Things We Like

1. Technology Is a Centerpiece

2021 Cadillac Escalade touchscreen 2021 Cadillac Escalade | photo by Steven Pham

Modern tech makes the 2021 Escalade stand out, and the real showstopper is the 38-inch curved organic light-emitting diode display that stretches from the driver’s side to the middle of the dash and houses the gauge display and center touchscreen. It’s also user-friendly; the display is crystal clear and the icons are easy to read. In front of the driver, a digital touch panel to the left of the gauges controls the head-up display, trip computer and a configurable instrument panel. The center multimedia touchscreen gets Cadillac-specific functionality that sets it apart as a luxury brand.

2. Refined Style

The latest Escalade looks really good. Thankfully, there’s a “less is more” approach to chrome; where the old model utilized large, garish pieces, this one keeps it to tasteful accents. Horizontal headlights give the front end a meaner look. And in the back, the slim, vertical taillights are a Cadillac signature.

3. Smooth and Silent Ride

2021 Cadillac Escalade

With GM’s Magnetic Ride Control shock absorbers and an air suspension, the Escalade offers a relaxing, luxurious ride. You might feel the road a bit thanks to large wheels, but you probably won’t hear it. The cabin is whisper quiet due to noise cancellation efforts and a muted exhaust.

4. Transmission in Tune

The 10-speed automatic transmission is well tuned to the engine and manages to hit a sweet spot: It’s always ready to deliver more power when you need it, and it never has a problem finding the right gear.

5. Comfortable Cabin

2021 Cadillac Escalade second-row seats 2021 Cadillac Escalade | photo by Steven Pham

Cheap interior plastics have been traded for luxe materials that boost the cabin experience. For passengers in the third row, the new platform has increased legroom by 10 inches. Sliding seats in the second row, meanwhile, ensure comfort all around.

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Things We Don’t

1. The Engine is Not the Exciting Part

Let’s be real: The engine probably isn’t the reason you’re considering an Escalade, and that’s just fine. The 420-horsepower, 6.2-liter V-8 is the same as the one offered in the top trims of the Tahoe and Yukon, and it’s a little underwhelming here. It has more than adequate power, but the engine seems to be hidden behind a lot of other bells and whistles — almost like Cadillac is counting on its buyers not noticing the engine’s existence at all.

2. Missing the “S” in “SUV”

2021 Cadillac Escalade

While the ride will be comfortable, the handling isn’t athletic, per se. The Escalade is big, and its size hinders its ability for sporty maneuvering on curvy roads.

3. Sticker Shock

As always with price, it depends on what you’re looking for. The $77,490 starting price (including destination) is steep, and adding options will quickly jack the price to well beyond $100,000. But looking at the major improvements made over the last model, the price, for some, might be worth it.

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