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Cadillac Escalade: Benchmarking Large Luxury

By Arv Voss, September 14th, 2019

Setting a high standard among large SUVs, the 2019 Cadillac ESV is a long-wheelbase, three-row, eight-passenger luxury ride.


Both the Escalade and Escalade ESV feature sophisticated, state-of-the-art technological advancements and hand-tailored craftsmanship. The Escalade is the standard model, while the ESV is an extended-length edition, with a 14-inch-longer wheelbase and approximately a 20-inch increase in overall length.

strong>Four trim levels are available: the base Escalade, Luxury Escalade, Premium Luxury, and Platinum. Available drive configurations include 2WD (rear) and 4WD.


Power for the Cadillac Escalade ESV is provided exclusively by a 6.2-liter, V-8 engine. The powerful engine delivers 420 horsepower at 5,600 rpm along with a healthy 460 lb.-ft. of torque at 4,100 rpm, hooked to a 10-speed automatic transmission with a manual tap up/down shift switch located on the gear selector stalk. The Escalade ESV can tow up to 8,100 pounds.


The design provides a look of quality, elegance, and capability, with styling cues combining sculpted surfaces and high-technology embellishments that give it a standout curb appeal.

The detailed chrome grille displays an almost brushed appearance, enhancing the dynamic frontal impact. LED lighting highlights the front and rear, creating razor-like vertical light signatures with crystal clarity. Headlamps incorporate a Total Internal Reflection LED high-beam function that consists of four vertically stacked crystal lenses and LEDs. The low beam utilizes five crystal lenses and LEDs to create the light pattern.

Other exterior features include signature LED lighting extending its full-height from the fascia to the roof and power-retractable chrome-accented side assist steps. The liftgate rear spoiler houses a hidden rear window wiper and capless fueling.


Entering the cabin, the interior ambience showcases real wood combined with premium cut-and-sewn materials and suede accents along with ambient lighting, all designed to add an air of elegance. Elegantly sculpted seats have been designed to be ultimately comfortable. The instrument cluster features a reconfigurable, high-resolution digital driver information center display paired with Cadillac's CUE infotainment system, with data repeated on an available, full-color head-up display. Connectivity includes a text-to-voice feature for Bluetooth-connected smartphone users that reads incoming texts through the vehicle's speakers.


My test 2019 Cadillac ESV was a Platinum 2WD version. The exterior wore a Black Raven finish with the interior done in Jet Black with Jet Black trim and polished wood accents. The base price was set at $97,295.


The 2019 Cadillac ESV looms very large, but handles and performs more like a luxury sedan. Handling characteristics are surprisingly nimble and athletic for a vehicle considering its more than 2-ton mass; this is thanks to the electric variable assist power steering system and the ride quality is quite comfortable. Body roll is minimal during more spirited maneuvers, thanks to a wide track that results in a stable stance.

The healthy V-8 certainly delivers more than ample doses of power on demand, while also delivering relatively satisfactory fuel economy. The active fuel management system is capable of cutting cylinder operation in half, even when cruising at highway speeds up to 80 mph.

The Escalade ESV provides overall comfort, convenience, functionality, and versatility, all at optimum levels and safety and security features abound.


Bottom line, the 2019 Escalade ESV is truly the best yet. It delivers everything one could possibly want in a full-size luxury SUV, and it does it in luxurious style, including a 4G LTE hotspot and wireless charging for personal connectivity devices.


Base price $97,295 (as tested: $98,840)
Curb weight 5,311 lbs.
Displacement 6.2-liter
Engine type 16-valve OHV V-8 w/DI
Epa mileage rating 14 mpg city, 23 mpg highway
Fuel capacity 26.0 gal.
Horsepower (net) 420 at 5600 rpm
Overall length 224.3 in.
Torque (lb.-ft.) 460 at 4100 rpm
Transmission -speed
Vehicle type 8-passenger RWD large SUV
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