The biggest news from GM’s luxury brand this year is a full redesign of its largest SUV, the Escalade. For 2021, the giant three-row SUV gets a new platform, styling, engines and tech. In other big Cadillac news, the brand is widening the availability of its hands-free driver-assist system, Super Cruise. Meanwhile, the original purveyor of Super Cruise, the CT6 sedan, has been discontinued.
Here’s everything we know about what’s new with Cadillac for the 2021 model year:
Cadillac’s smallest sports sedans add more tech and safety features for 2021, including the introduction of Super Cruise, which becomes available early in the 2021 calendar year on the mid-level Premium Luxury and top-end V-Series trim levels for both the CT4 and CT5.
A newly standard feature joining both models this year is wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity. Automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, which was standard on the CT5 but optional on the CT4, is now standard on both cars. Lastly, a new 12-inch virtual gauge display, up from 2020’s available 8-inch center display, is optional on both models.
The Escalade is redesigned this year. It’s larger than the outgoing model and wears sleeker styling with cleaner lines and more dramatic-looking LED headlights. As before, the Escalade comes in regular- and extended-wheelbase editions, the latter called the Escalade ESV.
Inside, the star of the show is an LED display that takes over the dashboard. It comprises a 38-inch, curved three-zone display with leather-wrapped framework. The zones consist of a 7.2-inch touchscreen to the driver’s left, a 16.9-inch touchscreen to the right and a 14.2-inch reconfigurable gauge display between.
Another major tech advancement is that the Escalade joins the CT6 sedan in getting Cadillac’s Super Cruise hands-free driver-assist technology, which now has autonomous lane-changing.
Under the hood, the Escalade’s standard engine is a normally aspirated 6.2-liter V-8 that makes 420 horsepower and 460 pounds-feet of torque. Shoppers can also opt for a diesel engine in the Escalade — a first for the SUV. The turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six-cylinder makes 277 hp and 460 pounds-feet of torque. Both engines pair with a standard 10-speed automatic transmission and rear-wheel drive; four-wheel drive is optional.
Cadillac’s small SUV hit the market for 2019 and gets some minor equipment additions for 2021. Newly standard across all trims of the 2021 XT4 is wireless connectivity for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto; new, too, is Amazon Alexa integration. A power liftgate is standard on the base trim, called Luxury, for 2021 and leather seats are newly available (without it, the XT4 has vinyl, otherwise known as leatherette). Newly available colors include Infrared Tintcoat and Wave Metallic.
Slightly larger than the XT4, the XT5 SUV got a host of changes during a model-year 2020 update, including a minor face-lift, an updated touchscreen, a new base engine and a mid-level trim called the Sport. For 2021, minor additions include wireless Android Auto and Apple Car Play connection as well as Amazon Alexa integration. The XT5 Sport also gets newly standard 20-inch wheels.
The XT6 three-row SUV joined the Cadillac lineup for the 2020 model year and gets some additional standard features plus a new entry-level model for 2021.
A new base trim level, called Luxury, joins the Sport and Premium Luxury trims. It’s powered by a 237-hp, turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine paired with a nine-speed automatic transmission. Other standard features for the Luxury trim level include black leatherette (vinyl) upholstery, aluminum interior trim, heated front seats, a power liftgate, additional exterior brightwork and 18-inch silver alloy wheels.
Additional standard features across the XT6 range include wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone connectivity, as well many safety features: automatic emergency braking with forward collision warning, lane keep assist with lane departure warning, front and rear parking sensors, and Cadillac’s Rear Vision Camera, which uses a camera to display what’s behind the vehicle on the rearview mirror.