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2023 Cadillac Escalade-V vs. 2022 Lucid Air Grand Touring: Would You Rather?

Two different takes on modern American maximalism

2022 Lucid Air and 2023 Cadillac Escalade-V
  • The first pairing of our "Would You Rather?" series pits the Cadillac Escalade-V vs. the Lucid Air Grand Touring.
  • Our prompt was: "If you had $150,000 to spend on an American-made high-performance luxury vehicle, what should you buy?"
  • The Escalade-V's supercharged V8 and the Lucid Air GT's electric motors offered very different experiences.
  • Watch our video to see which vehicle we'd rather take home!

Our latest video comparison test is a bit different. Instead of two direct competitors, we posed a rather fun question: If you had $150,000 to spend on an American-made high-performance luxury car, how would you spend it? We chose two very different vehicles in the 2023 Cadillac Escalade-V and the 2022 Lucid Air Grand Touring.

We’re judging the pair on a few criteria: how they perform when driving quickly, how they do in everyday commuting, and what features they offer to justify their considerable price tags. In our video, we subject the duo to three challenges. We think the winner is the better choice for your American bucks.

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One ferocious SUV

The Cadillac Escalade-V is a ridiculous machine just about any way you slice it. It's packed to the brim with tech and comfort features, and it looks just as opulent as high-priced rivals. But unlike the standard Escalade, the V features an over-the-top supercharged V8 under the hood putting out a ridiculous 682 horsepower. Atop the powerplant, Cadillac adds an air suspension with adaptive dampers (Cadillac's Magnetic Ride Control), a limited-slip differential, and a ferocious exhaust system with quad outlets.

Inside, the Escalade is covered in leather and suede, with sections of high-gloss wood and metal as complements. There are just over 38 inches of beautiful OLED screens, encompassing a digital instrument cluster, a center touchscreen and a side control panel. Our test car also has some extra goodies like GM's Super Cruise hands-free driving system and a center-console refrigerator. It’s all very impressive, but the Lucid Air has a lot to offer as well.

Cadillac Escalade-V front three-quarter

One fast sedan

The Lucid may lack the Escalade-V's ostentatiousness, but it outpaces the big Caddy when it comes to straight-line speed. The Caddy's 682 horsepower is nice, but the Lucid's 819 hp is better. That's enough to sling the Air Grand Touring from 0 to 60 mph in just 3.2 seconds at our test track, and more impressively, it completes the quarter mile in just 10.7 seconds at 131.8 mph. And it isn't just fast — the Lucid is also well composed on the road and has a nicely calibrated one-pedal driving mode that makes it a joy to drive at lower speeds too.

However, the Air does fall a bit behind in the luxury aspect. Cabin materials aren't as luxe as those in rivals, build quality is a bit iffy, and its cumbersome user interface is more difficult to use while driving than the Cadillac's. There isn't a hands-free driving mode to be found here either, though that could potentially arrive via an over-the-air update from Lucid at some point.

2022 Lucid Air rear three-quarter

Which one wins?

You'll have to watch our video to find out who comes out on top of this all-American battle. And while these two companies have produced very different contenders at this moment in time, should we choose to revisit this in five years, these vehicles will be much more congruous. Cadillac is in the midst of its own transition to a fully electric luxury brand, the space that Lucid currently occupies. Celestiq vs. Sapphire, anyone?

Edmunds says

This battle was closer than you'd think and goes to show that there isn't always a clear-cut answer to which car is best suited for a shopper's needs.