Quick Summary: The fourth-generation, 2015 Cadillac Escalade is all-new, but it's more of a subtle evolution than earlier redesigns. Compared to the Escalade it replaces, the 2015 edition has more power, a far nicer interior and a higher price. Sacrifices were made to cargo capacity and load height for the third row, which now folds flat. Full-time all-wheel drive has also been ditched for 2015. Instead, a part-time 4WD system is optional.
What Is It? The 2015 Cadillac Escalade is a full-size SUV based off the all-new Chevrolet Tahoe that seats seven normally, or eight with the optional second-row bench. The Cadillac features a unique, unmistakably Cadillac exterior and an interior awash with leather, wood and high-tech features. The Escalade now starts at $72,690 for the well-optioned base model and climbs to $83,790 for the top-of-the-line 4WD Premium trim with four-wheel drive that we tested here.
Included in the Premium trim are amenities like a rear-seat entertainment system with a Blu-ray DVD player and additional safety and driver awareness features. Our test vehicle went a little further with optional interior trim, power running boards, optional wheels and more for a sticker price of $87,985.
For those wanting even more space, a long-wheelbase Escalade ESV, based on the Chevrolet Suburban is also available. This XL Escalade adds about $3,000. Both the ESV and "normal" Escalade are available with optional four-wheel drive across all trim levels. The ESV is our pick for shoppers who actually plan to use the third row. The ESV drives nearly the same as the normal Escalade, but offers enough rear passenger room to be a truly useful seven-seater.
The Escalade EXT truck and the Escalade Hybrid have been discontinued.
How Does It Drive? Look at the list of competitors for the 2015 Escalade and you'll see a bunch of fancy drivetrains. You'll see turbochargers. You'll see superchargers. You'll see overhead cams. You'll see transmissions with seven or eight gears.
The 2015 Cadillac Escalade has none of the above. What it does have is a 6.2-liter V8 and a six-speed automatic. Drive the Escalade for a few days, however, and you'll wonder why those other vehicles even bother.
The V8 cranks out 420 horsepower and a whopping 460 pound-feet of torque. That's not as much as some of its competitors on paper, but this motor has an effortless quality that is unlike the high-strung engines used elsewhere. The Escalade's 0-60 time of 6.4 seconds isn't quite as fast as the more powerful Land Rover Range Rover, but the Escalade never disappoints.
The six-speed automatic shifts smoothly and quickly, even if it's down a gear to its competitors. There's also a tow-haul mode and a sport setting that add additional adjustability. We have zero complaints. Great powertrain.
Handling, as one might expect from a vehicle of its size, isn't particularly precise. It weighs 5,848 pounds, has massive 22-inch wheels with all-season tires and is a body-on-frame SUV with 4WD. This translates to steering that is often unnecessarily heavy and annoyingly slow in day-to-day life. Be prepared to turn the wheel a lot.
As for the ride itself, it's good for a 5,800-pound truck with 22-inch wheels. The ride is more surface-dependent than many other vehicles. Smooth pavement and low speeds? Beautifully smooth. Driving on cracked pavement or those fun little frost heaves that bisect most roads in the Snowbelt results in a thunk and a jiggle. This kind of behavior is very familiar to anyone already driving a truck or body-on-frame SUV, but won't meet the ride quality standards of anyone used to a more refined crossover.
Simply put, despite the fancy suspension, the Escalade's truck-based bones means it's not as controlled or as quiet as its main competition.
How Does It Rate in Terms of Interior Comfort, Refinement and Toys? You can't judge the interior of the 2015 Escalade without reviewing CUE. This is Cadillac's touchscreen-based infotainment-navigation system along with a capacitive touchpad for heating, ventilation, etc.
This system has never been ideal, and isn't great here either. It's slow to respond, which often leads to pressing the same button multiple times to make things work. This lack of confidence means that basic functions like adjusting the fan speed require you to take your eyes off the road more than we like. Even the steering wheel controls are slow and lack any sort of confirmation.
Our test vehicle had the optional $2,000 Kona Brown leather with jet black accents. The leather itself is lovely, but the seats are flat, featureless and have disproportionality short seat bottoms. On the other hand, the open-pore wood that comes with this interior is as impressive as any wood we've seen in a sub-$200,000 vehicle. We only wish there were more of it.
How Safe Is It? The 2015 Cadillac Escalade has received five stars for side crash protection and three stars for rollover protection in testing by NHTSA. The 2015 Chevrolet Tahoe, on which the Escalade is based, received five stars for frontal crash protection by the same agency.
Adding to the Premium-trim Escalade's safety cred are a litany of driver-safety features including dual-stage front airbags; head curtain airbags; side-impact airbags; an automatic collision mitigation braking system; automatic seatbelt tightening; adaptive cruise control; forward collision alert; lane departure warning; cross-traffic warning; and GM's OnStar suite including automatic crash response, emergency services and crisis assist.
And while it's not directly safety related, the 2015 Cadillac Escalade has a dominatingly high seating position that allows a wonderful forward view as well as ultra-bright full-LED headlights. The brakes are solid as well, as the big SUV required only 131 feet to stop from 60 mph. There was some nosedive, but nothing dramatic.
What Kind of Mileage Does It Deliver? The EPA says the 2015 Cadillac Escalade with 4WD will get 16 mpg combined (14 city/21 highway), but we managed just 13.9. Our best tank, achieved during our evaluation loop, was 14.9 mpg. We usually get EPA or better on this loop, which just shows this truck's aversion to inclines and stop-start situations.
What Are Its Closest Competitors? Infiniti QX80: This less expensive option is worthy of consideration for its potent engine and towing ability, but third-row space is smaller than average. It does have a more engaging and carlike feel from behind the wheel, though.
Land Rover Range Rover: Notable for its off-road prowess and more luxurious interior, but comes up short in terms of cargo space, it lacks a third row and it's quite a bit more expensive.
Mercedes-Benz G-Class: Perhaps the only thing on the road with as much visual punch as the Escalade, the G-Class doesn't offer as many seats, but has more available horsepower.
Mercedes-Benz GL-Class: Residing at the top of the list of challengers, it benefits from a broader choice of engines including a fuel-efficient diesel option. The GL also showcases Mercedes' reputation for fine craftsmanship and quality. Similarly equipped, the Benz will set you back an additional $10,000 and feels like it The Mercedes-Benz GL-Class received an A rating from us.
Why Should You Consider This Car? The 2015 Cadillac Escalade is currently the apex of American luxury. It's big, it's bold and it ticks all the boxes all the other lux SUVs do. It's got a fantastic motor. It'll tow a boat. It'll annoy your Prius-driving neighbor.
When your money's on the table, though, the only logical reason to consider the 2015 Cadillac Escalade is because you really, really want it and don't care about the cost. Can you put a price on having that face in your driveway?
Why Should You Think Twice About This Car? If you do care about the cost, however, there are better options than the new Escalade, some within GM's own stable. Consider the GMC Yukon and Yukon Denali. They have their own unique style and the same 6.2-liter V8, 22-inch wheels and fancy features as the Escalade. You don't get the Cadillac name, but you do get all the same capability for around $15,000 less.
The manufacturer provided Edmunds this vehicle for the purposes of evaluation.
2015 Cadillac Escalade Overview Edmunds experts have compiled a robust series of ratings and reviews for the 2015 Cadillac Escalade and all model years in our database. Our rich content includes expert reviews and recommendations for the 2015 Escalade featuring deep dives into trim levels and features, performance, mpg, safety, interior, and driving. Edmunds also offers expert ratings, road test and performance data, long-term road tests, first-drive reviews, video reviews and more.
Our Review Process This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.
We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.
Consumer ratings and reviews are also available for the 2015 Cadillac Escalade and all its trim types. Overall, Edmunds users rate the 2015 Escalade 3.1 on a scale of 1 to 5 stars. Edmunds consumer reviews allow users to sift through aggregated consumer reviews to understand what other drivers are saying about any vehicle in our database. Detailed rating breakdowns (including performance, comfort, value, interior, exterior design, build quality, and reliability) are available as well to provide shoppers with a comprehensive understanding of why customers like the 2015 Escalade.
Vehicle 4dr SUV w/ Prod. End 10/14 (6.2L 8cyl 6A)
Review The Cadillac Escalade is stylish, fast, comfortable, safe, and it has a nice grumble from the 6.2L V8. But there is a MASSIVE FLAW. It's the CUE system. The CUE system is the worst infotainment system ever. Sometimes it won't even come on when you start the car! It can take up to 6 blocks for it to turn on. The response is slow, voice commands can be frustrating and it glitches a lot. I also don't like the sliding things to turn the volume up or turn the AC on. I like knobs. The headlights can be a little too bright and people think your high beams are on. Also the turn signals on the mirrors can be blinding at night. But the tail lights are INCREDIBLE. It lights up the whole street!! The gas mileage is great for an SUV like this. The DVD player in the rear is great too. I love the power fold down seats. Mountain driving is one of the best places to drive it. It flies up the hills and I love the hill decent braking. Overall I expected more when paying $93000 for this beast. When I Kelley Blue Booked it, it said it was worth $70000 and it only has 8300 miles on it. The Escalade is the perfect family hauler, it is safe, cool, and I don't think there is anything on the road like it. We have had four Escalades and they all are great. The reason we keep buying them is because it saved my brothers life in a car accident and the vehicle was totaled. It took one for the team. So if you were looking at a big burly safe SUV, the Escalade is a great choice.
Edmunds Value Edmunds has deep data on over 6 million new, used, and certified pre-owned vehicles, including rich, trim-level features and specs information like: MSRP, average price paid, warranty information (basic, drivetrain, and maintenance), features (upholstery, bluetooth, navigation, heated seating, cooled seating, cruise control, parking assistance, keyless ignition, satellite radio, folding rears seats ,run flat tires, wheel type, tire size, wheel tire, sunroof, etc.), vehicle specifications (engine cylinder count, drivetrain, engine power, engine torque, engine displacement, transmission), fuel economy (city, highway, combined, fuel capacity, range), vehicle dimensions (length, width, seating capacity, cargo space), car safety, true cost to own. Edmunds also provides tools to allow shopper to compare vehicles to similar models of their choosing by warranty, interior features, exterior features, specifications, fuel economy, vehicle dimensions, consumer rating, edmunds rating, and color
Available Cadillac Escalade 2015 Submodel Types: SUV
Available Trims: Base, Luxury, Premium, Platinum, Premium Luxury, Platinum Edition
Exterior Colors: Black Raven, White Diamond Tricoat, Crystal White Tricoat, White Diamond, Dark Granite Metallic, Quicksilver, Radiant Silver Metallic, Blue Chip, Silver Coast Metallic, Dark Adriatic Blue Metallic, Red E, Gold Mist, Stealth Gray, Majestic Plum Metallic, Red Passion Tintcoat, Sable Black, Crystal Red Tintcoat, Infrared Tintcoat, Mocha Steel Metallic, Silver Sand, Black Ice Metallic, Bronze Dune Metallic, Galaxy Gray, Gold Mist Metallic, Green Envy, InfraRed, Midnight Plum Metallic, Bordeaux Red, Celestial Blue, Dark Emerald Metallic, Deep Amethyst Metallic, Evolution Green Metallic, Gray Silk Metallic, Radiant Bronze, Rip Tide Blue, Silver Lining, Silver Lining Metallic, Terra Mocha Metallic
Interior Colors: Jet Black leather, Ebony w/Ebony Accents leather, Shale w/Cocoa Accents leather, Ebony leather, Cocoa/Very Light Cashmere leather, Kona Brown w/Jet Black Accents leather, Cashmere w/Cocoa Accents leather, Shale, Jet Black w/Jet Black Accents premium leather, Pewter, Ebony w/Ebony Accents premium leather, Tuscan Brown premium leather, Cocoa/Light Linen premium leather, Shale leather, Pewter leather
Popular Features: Alarm, Audio and cruise controls on steering wheel, Auto Climate Control, Electronic Folding Mirrors, Fold Flat Rear Seats, Heated seats, Leather Seats, Parking sensors, Power Driver Seat, Rear Bench Seats, Third-row seating, Trip Computer, Stability Control, Multi-Zone Climate Control, Towing Hitch, 2nd Row Bucket Seats, AWD/4WD, Post-collision safety system, Tire Pressure Warning, Upgraded Headlights, Power Liftgate/Trunk, Remote Start, Sunroof/Moonroof, Navigation, Cooled Seats, 8000lb Towing Capacity, Bluetooth, Blind Spot Monitoring, USB Inputs, Rear Entertainment System, Aux Audio Inputs, Back-up camera, Heads up display, Lane Departure Warning, Keyless Entry/Start, Pre-collision safety system, 360-degree camera, Mobile Internet, 6000lb Towing Capacity, Apple Carplay/Android Auto, Adaptive Cruise Control, Upgraded Stereo, 5000lb Towing Capacity