2018 Cadillac Escalade Review

Pros & Cons

  • Strong V8 engine is never at a loss for power
  • Capable of towing up to 8,300 pounds
  • Cabin remains quiet regardless of road conditions
  • Less refined ride and seat comfort than other luxury SUVs
  • Low handling limits and heavy steering
  • High, uneven cargo floor makes loading objects difficult
List Price Range
$50,500 - $69,991

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Which Escalade does Edmunds recommend?

All versions of the 2018 Cadillac Escalade come with the same powerful V8, sophisticated dampers and unmistakable styling. To get the best interior features, however, we suggest getting the Premium Luxury trim. That gives you some desirable extras from the one-tier-lower Luxury trim (such as blind-spot monitoring and forward collision mitigation) and adds the Premium Luxury's rear entertainment system and adaptive cruise control.

Edmunds' Expert Review

Overall rating

7.3 / 10

Cadillac bases its 2018 Escalade on General Motors' full-size SUV platform that underpins the Tahoe and Yukon twins. The main difference is that everything on the Escalade is "more." There's more power, more brash styling, more standard features, even more features that are optional. All of this gives the Escalade true luxury SUV cred.

The inherent attributes of its traditional SUV design are all here, too. On the plus side, the Escalade can tow up to 8,300 pounds, which is more than most other luxury crossover SUVs. But its solid rear-axle suspension and body-on-frame construction also result in a less than ideal ride quality and a compromised cargo area. Overall, we think the 2018 Escalade is worth a look, but make sure to also check out this year's more refined Lincoln Navigator.

2018 Cadillac Escalade models

The 2018 Cadillac Escalade is a full-size, body-on-frame luxury SUV available in four trim levels: base, Luxury, Premium Luxury and Platinum. The base trim comes with a dizzying array of equipment, but the Premium Luxury and Platinum take this big, plush American machine to yet another level. All Escalade models are equipped with a 6.2-liter V8 engine (420 horsepower, 460 pound-feet of torque) and a 10-speed automatic transmission. Rear-wheel drive is standard, and four-wheel drive is optional.

The base trim is generously appointed inside and out. Standard equipment includes 20-inch wheels, an adaptive suspension, LED headlights, automatic wipers, front and rear parking sensors, automatic parallel and perpendicular parking assist, a hands-free power liftgate, remote start, three-zone automatic climate control, a heated and power-adjustable steering wheel, power-adjustable pedals, leather upholstery, heated and ventilated power-adjustable front seats, driver-seat memory settings, heated rear seats and split power-folding third-row seats.

Standard electronic features include the CUE infotainment interface (with an 8-inch touchscreen), OnStar (with 4G in-vehicle Wi-Fi), a surround-view parking camera system, a customizable gauge cluster display, a navigation system, five USB ports, a wireless device charging pad and a Bose 16-speaker audio system with satellite radio.

For a few more driver aids and a bit more plush equipment, you can step up to the Luxury trim. This adds 22-inch wheels, a sunroof, power-folding second-row seats, a head-up display, a camera-based rearview mirror system (the rearview mirror is actually a screen displaying what the camera sees behind the vehicle) and the Driver Awareness package (automatic high beams, blind-spot monitoring, lane departure warning and intervention, rear cross-traffic alert, forward collision warning and mitigation with automatic braking).

Our recommended trim, the Premium Luxury, adds adaptive cruise control, a rear entertainment system with a Blu-ray player and an overhead-mounted display, and a more advanced collision mitigation system with both forward and reverse automatic braking.

The most expensive (and most lavishly appointed) Escalade is the Platinum trim level. It certainly has all the bells and whistles, but you may not need all the extras it provides. The Platinum adds power-retracting side steps, upgraded power front seats (with massaging function), upgraded leather upholstery, a cooled front-seat center console and two more rear entertainment screens (mounted in the front headrests).

Trim tested

Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions that are fundamentally similar. The ratings in this review are based on our full test of the 2018 Cadillac Escalade Platinum (6.2L V8 | 10-speed automatic | 4WD).

Driving

8.0
Big V8 power is the primary driver of the Escalade's performance. A new 10-speed automatic transmission makes it more efficient than before. The transmission shifts smoothly and even rev-matches downshifts, but the Escalade is too big to be a competent handler.

Acceleration

8.5
The 6.2-liter V8 engine is responsive, torquey and sounds good as the revs rise. Thanks to its 420 hp, 460 lb-ft of torque and quick-shifting 10-speed transmission, 0-60 mph comes in at 6.6 seconds, remarkable for such a large vehicle. The throttle is one of the Escalade's high points.

Braking

7.0
For a vehicle of this size, you shouldn't expect sports-carlike braking performance. The pedal has a long travel with a slow and gradual buildup of brake pressure. There's no initial grabbiness, which may reduce confidence. Stops from 60 mph take 140 feet; about what we would expect.

Steering

7.0
There's no on-center feel, very little feedback, minimal self-centering, and a slow steering ratio. That means you have to wind the wheel a lot to get it to turn. On the plus side, the Escalade is responsive to inputs, with moderate weighting. You just can't tell what the front tires are doing.

Handling

6.5
The Escalade has low cornering limits, even among other full-size SUVs. The adjustable shocks keep body motions under control, up to a point. Sport mode stiffens the ride and further decreases body roll but is chattery on bumpy roads. The Escalade is a big SUV, and there's no escaping physics.

Drivability

8.0
The Escalade's powertrain is responsive, particularly in Sport mode. Its 10-speed transmission tends to skip gears, simulating a traditional five- or six-speed automatic, so there's less hunting around. Due to the Escalade's weight, though, nothing happens particularly quickly.

Off-road

7.5
The transfer case features a true low range and an auto mode to allow the front axle to engage as needed. Airing down is not recommended for more grip due to the low-profile tires. It's no rock crawler, but it can tackle aggressive terrain. Its size and maneuverability are its biggest issues.

Comfort

7.0
Oddly, ride comfort, once a Cadillac strength, suffers noticeably in the Escalade. Excellent massaging seats in our Platinum-trim tester helps the balance, but there's no avoiding the fact that many competitors do better for the same or less money.

Seat comfort

6.0
Although the padding and general contouring of the seats are comfortable, you can feel the stitching in the upper seatback. The seat bottom is wide with no bolstering, so it feels like you're in your dad's old recliner. You frequently find yourself shifting around to straighten your posture.

Ride comfort

6.0
The adjustable shocks work well on smooth rolling roads, but get overwhelmed on a quick succession of bumps and are ineffective against square-edge bumps, such as the choppy conditions found on concrete highways. You can occasionally feel the solid axle jiggling around on certain bumpy roads.

Noise & vibration

8.0
For the most part, the Escalade's interior is a quiet place, as active noise cancellation keeps the bulk of noise at bay. Road noise sneaks in over coarse road surfaces, and certain impacts are out of sync with the active noise cancellation system, which causes boominess. The cabin is vibration-free.

Climate control

Three-zone climate control is adjusted via touchscreen and capacitive-touch buttons. Rear-seaters get their own panel. Front passengers get seat ventilation and heating; second-row seats get heating only. The system is quiet, works well, and can combat solar loading from the giant greenhouse area.

Interior

7.0
Aside from the infotainment system, the rest of the interior is a nice place to while away the miles. The only real issues are compromises to the floor of the cabin and third-row seats made for the solid rear axle and non-sliding second-row seats.

Ease of use

6.0
Primary controls, such as shifter, fall to hand. The instrument panel is clear and easily configurable. Infotainment software is adequate, but the buttons around the display are laggy and lack the haptic feedback of the lower buttons. The glossy infotainment stack shows fingerprints and glare.

Getting in/getting out

8.5
With large door apertures and wide, auto-retracting steps, getting in and out of the Escalade is like climbing two steps of tall stairs. A grab handle, mirroring the passenger side, would make it easier for height-challenged drivers. Power-tumbling second-row seats allow easy third-row access.

Driving position

Power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel and adjustable pedals allow both short and tall drivers to drive the Escalade comfortably. Reaching the infotainment system, particularly the passenger-side buttons on the center console, requires a stretch even for taller drivers.

Roominess

7.0
The inside of the Escalade is generous, with ample leg-, headroom and shoulder room for first- and second-row passengers. Third-row passengers will feel the pinch in their knees and toes, as the non-sliding second row does not offer much of a toe box.

Visibility

8.0
The front and driver's side provide excellent visibility but, due to the vehicle's size, views to the rear and to the passenger side are restrictive. Quarter-view blind spots are large due to wide pillars. The surround-view camera is low-res and distorted, but it's better than nothing.

Quality

5.5
The Escalade is well-built, and parts-sharing of switches and touch points from the Suburban is the only real sore point. The seat materials are noticeably better in the front seats versus the second and third rows, and the hard plastic used in some areas of the interior feels cheap.

Utility

5.0
Utility is the realm of the full-size SUV, and the Escalade is about average. We would gladly give up the standard, somewhat tepid, center console cooler for more storage space. Unfortunately, it lacks the towing-friendly tech usually found in the other GM products on an otherwise capable platform.

Small-item storage

A standard cooler takes up all the space in the center console. Two slim areas, in front of the cool box and in front of the cupholders, are barely enough for cables. Dual-tier door pockets alleviate the issue; the lower pocket is large, while the upper pocket is partially blocked by the armrest.

Cargo space

Behind the third row is 15.2 cubic feet of cargo space, just about the least spacious in the category. Fold down the seats for 94.2 cubic feet. The high load floor limits cargo height, and loading bulky and heavy items is difficult, requiring a deep reach-over. More tie-down points are needed.

Child safety seat accommodation

A car seat can be installed in any second- or third-row position. Because the second row can't slide, installing a seat in that row will prevent entry to the third row from that side. All anchor points are clearly labeled and accessible, except for the top anchors located low on the seatbacks.

Towing

8.0
Two-wheel-drive models can tow 8,300 pounds; four-wheel-drive models can tow 8,100 pounds. Tow mode holds gears longer and keeps revs higher for better acceleration and more engine braking. An adjustable suspension keeps the body level for steady handling. But there's no trailer brake controller.

Technology

The Escalade's only real fault is that it doesn't have top-level driver's aids. Where's Cadillac's Super Cruise on this otherwise great road-trip hauler? Otherwise, the CUE haptic-touch feedback system suffers due to its gloss-black finish and lack of dedicated audio source select button.

Audio & navigation

Surround-sound system is crisp, with full tone. The navigation system feels a generation behind; you'll have smoother functionality via smartphone mirroring. Dual headrest-mounted screens and dual overhead screens wired to play from sources including streaming is an excellent touch.

Smartphone integration

Bluetooth, aux-in and three USB ports that support Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are standard. The front and rear cargo areas each offer a 12-volt outlet, and the second row has both a 12-volt outlet and a 110-volt power outlet. A wireless charging pad is on the center armrest.

Driver aids

Adaptive cruise, lane departure warning, front and rear parking sensors, and blind-spot and rear cross-traffic alert are all standard features on the Platinum. And for the most part, they all work well. But lane departure warning comes on later than expected, and auto parking requires a lot of room.

Voice control

Cadillac's own voice control system is satisfactory, with issues centered around being sensitive to pronunciation and requiring a specific entry syntax. Smartphone voice controls pass through without issues.

EdmundsScorecard

Overall7.3 / 10
Driving8.0
Comfort7.0
Interior7.0
Utility5.0

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the Used 2018 Cadillac Escalade.

Trending topics in reviews

Most helpful consumer reviews

Worst Vehicle We Have Ever Purchased
Maria Almeyda,01/31/2019
4dr SUV (6.2L 8cyl 10A)
This is our fourth and last Cadillac or GM vehicle. The Escalade is a horrible vehicle. The transmission does not shift properly. In fact, the dealer replaced the original transmission at 3000 miles. The mounts have also had to be replaced as well as other parts. The controls are difficult to maneuver. Cadillac customer service in Detroit is the worst anywhere. They never acknowledge any problem, do not attempt to repair anything, and then ask you if you are satisfied. We are in the process of having our arbitration hearing as part of the lemon law process. The Escalade has been at the service shop for almost 60 days over six visits in just 11 months. Do yourself a favor and listen to the reviews. Do not buy or lease an Escalade or any GM product.
2018 Escalade SUV
KJW,05/21/2018
Premium Luxury 4dr SUV (6.2L 8cyl 10A)
Ride is very comfortable and power is great. Instrumentation is very good. No need for platinum options.
Nothing can be finer than riding in the best
John Barbee,11/17/2018
4dr SUV (6.2L 8cyl 10A)
Forget the bells and whistles on the Cadillac, or any other full sized SUV. Drive the best. The 2018 base model Escalde has everything you need for the open road!

Safety

Our experts like the Escalade models:

Rear Camera Mirror
Displays as redundancy the rearview camera's view in the rearview mirror.
OnStar
Provides automatic crash notification, on-demand roadside assistance and remote door unlocking.
Adaptive Cruise Control
Modifies your set speed to account for the varying speed of traffic, then resumes when the road is clear.

NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    Overall4 / 5
    Driver4 / 5
    Passenger4 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    Overall5 / 5
  • Side Barrier Rating
    Overall5 / 5
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger5 / 5
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front Seat5 / 5
    Back Seat5 / 5
  • Rollover
    Rollover3 / 5
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of Rollover22.8%

More about the 2018 Cadillac Escalade

Used 2018 Cadillac Escalade Overview

The Used 2018 Cadillac Escalade is offered in the following submodels: Escalade SUV. Available styles include Platinum 4dr SUV (6.2L 8cyl 10A), Luxury 4dr SUV (6.2L 8cyl 10A), Premium Luxury 4dr SUV (6.2L 8cyl 10A), 4dr SUV 4WD (6.2L 8cyl 10A), Platinum 4dr SUV 4WD (6.2L 8cyl 10A), Luxury 4dr SUV 4WD (6.2L 8cyl 10A), Premium Luxury 4dr SUV 4WD (6.2L 8cyl 10A), and 4dr SUV (6.2L 8cyl 10A).

What's a good price on a Used 2018 Cadillac Escalade?

Price comparisons for Used 2018 Cadillac Escalade trim styles:

  • The Used 2018 Cadillac Escalade Platinum is priced between $53,500 and$69,991 with odometer readings between 2758 and65274 miles.
  • The Used 2018 Cadillac Escalade Premium Luxury is priced between $50,500 and$60,999 with odometer readings between 20118 and41622 miles.
  • The Used 2018 Cadillac Escalade Luxury is priced between $55,000 and$57,500 with odometer readings between 22412 and28804 miles.

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Which used 2018 Cadillac Escalades are available in my area?

Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2018 Cadillac Escalade for sale near. There are currently 14 used and CPO 2018 Escalades listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $50,500 and mileage as low as 2758 miles. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2018 Cadillac Escalade.

Can't find a used 2018 Cadillac Escalades you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Cadillac Escalade for sale - 10 great deals out of 14 listings starting at $15,915.

Find a used Cadillac for sale - 1 great deals out of 22 listings starting at $11,795.

Find a used certified pre-owned Cadillac Escalade for sale - 4 great deals out of 23 listings starting at $16,423.

Find a used certified pre-owned Cadillac for sale - 12 great deals out of 12 listings starting at $15,394.

Should I lease or buy a 2018 Cadillac Escalade?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

Check out Cadillac lease specials
Check out Cadillac Escalade lease specials