Cadillac Hasn't Nixed Expanding New-Gen Escalade Family
- The 2015 Cadillac Escalade and long-wheelbase Escalade ESV, unveiled yesterday in New York, might not necessarily be the only variations of the new fourth-generation luxury SUV, a Cadillac source told Edmunds.
- Although they sold in low numbers, the Escalade EXT pickup and Escalade Hybrid could be developed on the 2015 Escalade's new structure.
- Despite more horsepower and torque from its new 6.2-liter V8, the 2015 Escalade is expected to generate meaningfully improved fuel economy.
NEW YORK — The all-new 2015 Cadillac Escalade was revealed here yesterday in standard and long-wheelbase ESV form, but that's not necessarily the extent of the new-generation Escalade lineup, the luxury SUV's chief engineer told Edmunds during the unveiling event here. The 2015 Escalade and Escalade ESV are set to begin production next spring.
Jeff Luke, General Motors executive chief engineer for global full-size and midsize trucks, said although the Escalade EXT pickup and Escalade Hybrid, part of the previous-generation Escalade family, were dropped after the 2013 model year, there's no technical reason why they couldn't return on the 2015 Escalade's new pickup-based underpinnings — although he stressed there currently are no plans to develop either model.
"Never say never," Luke said of the Escalade EXT pickup. "That always was a favorite of mine — a nice package. But in the end, it wasn't a high-volume seller."
Sales figures presented by Wikipedia show the Escalade EXT, introduced in late 2001, sold a high of 13,494 units in 2002, its first full year of production, but sales dwindled to a couple hundred or less per month in recent years.
As for the Escalade Hybrid, Luke said there also is no reason its unique components would not be compatible with the 2015 Escalade's new architecture — "We always leave our options open" — but he added that the former Escalade Hybrid's high cost made it a difficult sell.
Potential customers for the Escalade Hybrid were "still business people and they look at payback," Luke explained of that model's high cost and modest fuel economy improvement.
Luke also pointed to new developments for the 2015 Escalade's conventional 6.2-liter V8 that are projected to deliver a significant fuel economy upgrade over the outgoing Escalade's same-sized V8. The new engine, now featuring direct fuel injection and continuously variable valve timing in addition to active fuel management that allows the V8 to run on four cylinders when big power isn't required, is expected to generate a significant efficiency improvement, Luke said. He also mentioned that official Environmental Protection Agency fuel economy figures should be available for the 2015 Cadillac Escalade and Escalade ESV by the end of this year.
Edmunds says: If gasoline prices stay stable and pickup trucks continue their trend toward upscale features and prices, we wouldn't rule out a return of the Escalade EXT, although if the opposite happens, a new-generation Escalade Hybrid might not be out of the question either.