2012 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid Review
2012 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid Review
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Edmunds' Expert Review
by the Edmunds Experts
- Significantly improved fuel economy over conventional Escalade
- generous standard features
- eight-passenger seating capacity.
- Questionable value
- quirky powertrain operation
- reduced power and towing capacity
- mediocre braking
- third-row seat doesn't fold flat.
The 2012 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid gets minor enhancements to its navigation system.
Whether it's from a practical standpoint or simple financial considerations, the 2012 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid doesn't make much sense.
Calculate my fuel costs
Cost to DriveCost to drive estimates for the 2012 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid 4dr SUV (6.0L 8cyl gas/electric hybrid 4A) and comparison vehicles are based on 15,000 miles per year (with a mix of 55% city and 45% highway driving) and energy estimates of $3.24 per gallon for regular unleaded in Virginia.
Monthly estimates based on costs in Virginia
$190/mo for Escalade Hybrid Base
Escalade Hybrid Base
Avg. Large SUV
If you're trying to be environmentally friendly, then the 2012 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid is not the way to do it. It achieves 21 mpg combined, which is a 5 mpg improvement over the regular Escalade and a huge savings in fuel for a truck, but pretty abysmal by the expectations of a traditional hybrid. It's better for the planet, but maybe not better for you. In green metaphorical terms, it's like picking the Exxon Valdez over the Deepwater Horizon.
However, dismissing the Escalade Hybrid at this point would be foolish. It may not be truly environmentally friendly, but how many hybrids can seat as many as eight people? The answer is two, and they are the Cadillac's Chevy Tahoe and GMC Yukon hybrid siblings. Only the vastly more efficient Toyota Highlander comes close with a seven-passenger capacity, but those seven passengers will be less comfortable.
Which brings us to the Escalade Hybrid's most attractive asset: the name. As an Escalade, it brings with it a very generous features list, a more luxurious cabin and that indelible style that has made this full-size luxury SUV a different sort of urban legend. And as a hybrid, it should in theory garner whatever brand cachet comes along with the "H" word. In other words, the neighbors may be impressed. Or they might find the idea of an Escalade Hybrid to be oxymoronic and a questionable purchase.
Mostly, we fall into the latter group. If you're looking to save gasoline and still have plenty of utility, the diesel-powered BMW X5 xDrive35d and Mercedes-Benz GL350 Bluetec and the hybrid Lexus RX 450h and Porsche Cayenne Hybrid are not only equally (or more) efficient, but also are more modern, refined and don't suffer from poor braking distances. But if you're the rare person who needs to occasionally carry seven people and/or tow a boat while wishing for 20-plus mpg fuel economy and a luxurious interior the rest of the time, well, maybe the Escalade Hybrid will be the right choice after all.
Performance & mpg
The 2012 Escalade Hybrid is powered by a 6.0-liter V8 working in conjunction with a battery pack mounted under the second-row seat and a pair of 60-kilowatt electric motors located inside a unique automatic transmission dubbed "Two-Mode." GM engineers say that combined output with the electric motors is 379 horsepower. The Escalade Hybrid can be had with either rear-wheel or four-wheel drive.
In Edmunds performance testing, the Escalade Hybrid went from zero to 60 mph in a slow 9.3 seconds; the regular Escalade does it in 7.5. EPA-estimated fuel economy is good for a V8-powered large SUV, returning 20 mpg city/23 mpg highway and 21 mpg combined regardless of whether you get rear- or all-wheel drive.
Standard safety features on the 2012 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid include stability and traction control, antilock disc brakes, front side-impact airbags, full-length side curtain airbags, rear parking sensors, a rearview camera, a blind-spot warning system and OnStar emergency communications.
In Edmunds brake testing, the Escalade Hybrid came to a stop from 60 mph in 138 feet. This is long, but nevertheless acceptable for a full-size truck. However, we found excessive fade after additional stops and experienced a brake system failure. This is in addition to the general odd feel that goes along with the regenerative braking systems found in all hybrids.
The 2012 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid exhibits two distinct personalities depending on your motoring mode. At low speeds with a light load, this Escalade can travel in electric-only fashion, which makes for an especially peaceful cabin atmosphere devoid of mechanical vibration and noise. At higher speeds, though, you'll hear the various sounds of the hybrid powertrain at work, while the ride quality suffers from the heavy 22-inch wheels and stiff low-profile tires, which transmit every bump in the road directly to your backside.
The cylinder deactivation system goes about its work seamlessly, as it automatically shuts down and restarts engine cylinders when appropriate. The regenerative braking system takes some getting used to, however, as it gives surging feedback through the pedal as you attempt to come to a smooth stop. There's also the matter of acceleration. While the regular Escalade is surprisingly quick, the Hybrid is beaten off the line by some four-cylinder-powered compact SUVs.
The Cadillac Escalade Hybrid's cabin is nearly identical to that found in the conventionally powered version, boasting a stylish contemporary design with top-quality materials and finish. The layout of its controls is straightforward and their operation is intuitive, including the standard navigation system.
There's room for as many as eight, but the rearmost seats offer cramped legroom for all but small passengers. When it comes time to load up with cargo, those 50/50-split third-row seats also don't fold away conveniently like those in competitors; they are heavy and awkward to remove, and must be stored elsewhere. Once they're out, though, there are 109 cubic feet of maximum cargo space available.
2012 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid models
The 2012 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid is a full-size SUV available in base and Platinum Edition trim levels. It seats seven people with standard second-row captain's chairs and eight with the optional second-row bench.
Standard equipment includes 22-inch wheels, a magnetically controlled adaptive suspension, running boards, a power liftgate, automatic HID headlights, foglamps, a roof rack, heated power-folding mirrors with driver-side auto-dimming, a blind-spot warning system, rear parking sensors, a sunroof, remote ignition and keyless ignition/entry. Inside you get tri-zone automatic climate control, heated and ventilated 10-way power seats with driver memory functions and four-way lumbar adjustments, leather upholstery (first and second rows, third-row vinyl), power-adjustable pedals, a power tilt-only steering wheel, heated second-row seats and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. Electronic features include a rearview camera, Bluetooth phone connectivity, OnStar emergency communications, a navigation system, a touchscreen interface, voice controls, a rear seat entertainment system and a 10-speaker Bose surround-sound audio system with a six-CD changer, satellite radio, an iPod/USB audio interface and rear controls.
The Platinum Edition gets unique front styling, 22-inch chrome wheels, LED headlamps, power-retractable running boards (optional on base), leather-covered dash and door tops, upgraded seat leather, contrasting stitching, upgraded wood trim and heated and cooled cupholders. For the Platinum, the entertainment system gets dual display screens mounted in the front headrests.
3.6 out of 5 stars
Most helpful consumer reviews
1 out of 5 stars
2010 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid 4dr SUV 4WD (6.0L 8cyl gas/electric hybrid 4A)
The electrical system has gone out four times in 6 weeks. This means no power steering, power brakes, gas etc. No power! This makes the vehicle a liability on the road. I am getting very little support from the dealer to resolve this issue. This vehicle needs to be taken off the road before someone gets hurt or even worse killed. Traveling at a high speed on the freeway without power as … I experienced was quite frightening to say the least. Every time the system has failed I was traveling in traffic. Not sure if this is a Hybrid, Cadillac or Escalade issue?
4 out of 5 stars
HYBRID cadillac Escalade
2009 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid Platinum Edition 4dr SUV 4WD (6.0L 8cyl gas/electric hybrid 4A)
I was the second owner of my 2009 cadillac hybrid escalade, I have not enjoyed a suv of this size as much as this escalade ,it is still so classy looking it turns heads , love to drive it in any weather, handles snow with features like dial in 4 high 4 low and All wheel drive and hugs the mountain roads , I regularly carpool kids to sports in and out of state & love the comfort for all … ages accommodates my husband's 6'4 height w ease & a car full of people seats 8 ,still has room for moderate storage in trunk fully seated but any large luggage I have a travel case for roof rack , great gas mileage the Hybrid module recharges when you brake , the sound system & television are outstanding I have owned several suburbans as well as a Mercedes suv but this is my favorite.
4.88 out of 5 stars
Love It !
2009 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid 4dr SUV (6.0L 8cyl gas/electric hybrid 4A)
I traded in a 2007 Tahoe for the Escalade and so far I am very impressed with the performance. You step on the gas and the performance is much better than I was expecting from a hybrid. I am getting 20.7 MPG combined City/Highway driving with mildly conservative driving habits.The fit and finish is what you would expect from Cadillac and is fun to drive.
5 out of 5 stars
2009 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid 4dr SUV 4WD (6.0L 8cyl gas/electric hybrid 4A)
This is my third Escalade. Hybrid is very quiet. The 2007 was really loud. Very smooth acceleration. Ride is 75% better than 2007 vehicle. The bluetooth is great to have although should have been available on the 2007. Hybrid gets 18-19 on average which for me is acceptable. Love the vehicle. Do not drive like a full size sport utility. Best large SUV on the road. Have driven it 4K … miles. Flawless.
We have a limited number of reviews for the 2012 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid, so we've included reviews for other years of the Escalade Hybrid since its last redesign.
2012 Escalade Hybrid Highlights
|Cost to Drive
All Seats In Place
|rear wheel drive
|4 years / 50,000 miles
Key safety features on the Escalade Hybrid include:
- Back-up camera
- Blind Spot Monitoring
- Tire Pressure Warning
- Stability Control
- Post-collision safety system
NHTSA Overall Rating4 out of 5 stars
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
- Frontal Barrier Crash RatingOverall5 / 5Driver5 / 5Passenger4 / 5
- Side Crash RatingOverall5 / 5
- Side Barrier RatingOverall5 / 5Driver5 / 5Passenger5 / 5
- Combined Side Barrier & Pole RatingsFront Seat5 / 5Back Seat5 / 5
- RolloverRollover3 / 5Dynamic Test ResultNo TipRisk Of Rollover24.6%