Cadillac gives pro athletes their next must-have ride with the 2015 Escalade

I’ve always been embarrassed by the Escalade. It, like the Hummer H2, was a truck that made me ashamed to be American. I’d grimace when I saw one on the road and wonder what nincompoop would choose a luxury truck that, from a technical standpoint, had more in common with a horse and buggy than it did with a comparably priced Range Rover.

Unlike the Range Rover, the Escalade had a chintzy interior, gaudy exterior designs, and about as much off-road or snow-day driving capability as a blue whale on casters.

Despite this, the Escalade, since its debut in 1998, has been the gold standard for full-size luxury trucks in America, easily outselling everything else in its class. And while I must admire it for its sales success, I must admit that I saw no good reason for its market dominance aside from its being American made.

… a lump of American steel that makes me want to hum the national anthem.

For 2015, though, it seems that’s all about to change. May I proudly present to you the fourth-gen Cadillac Escalade; one of the must stunning trucks I’ve ever laid eyes on and a lump of American steel that makes me want to hum the national anthem.

First off, the Escalade finally looks the part of a world-class full-size luxury SUV. It no longer looks like a Tahoe with a different front end. It has finally been given distinctive styling all the way around. It stands tall and proud with sharp bodylines that start with the vertical Cadillac headlights and lead down the side of the long body.

Built on a new, fully boxed steel ladder frame that’s 75 percent stiffer than the third-gen, the 2015 Escalade sits on 20-inch wheels with 22s as an optional upgrade. Moving those big rims side to side is an electric power steering system that Caddy claims helps save fuel. Elevating the not-so-bulbous body off those enormous rims is the new Cadillac Magnetic Ride Control suspension system with both Tour and Sport modes.

A Sport suspension mode might seem silly in an American land monster like the Escalade. Based upon the recent Caddy offerings, though, it’s not as laughable as it once was. The “new” 6.2-liter V8 bolted under the sinewy hood produces 420 horsepower and 460 pound-feet of torque.

Just like the Corvette Stingray, the 2015 Escalade’s improved power – five percent more horsepower and 10 percent more torque to be precise – is due in large part to the slew of advanced engine managements systems bolted to the pushrod V8, including cylinder deactivation and direct fuel-injection.

Power is sent to either the rear wheels through a six-speed automatic called the Hydra-Matic to an automatically locking rear differential or to all four wheels, when spec’d with 4×4. Cadillac has not made fuel economy numbers available yet. But like the Silverado before it, I presume fuel-efficiency – just like power – will, too, be up.

Delightfully, braking should now be just as forceful as acceleration. Engineers reworked the braking system, adding four-wheel disc brakes and improving brake pedal feel and braking performance.

Step inside and the cabin is anything but business as usual. Cadillac designers went all out with what they call “cut-and-sewn and wrapped” materials, including rich leather and real wood.

Seats have been formed to be not only more comfortable but also to appear more sculpted. As standard, the front seats are both heated and cooled, while second-row seats are heated.

Step inside and the cabin is anything but business as usual.

Up in front of the driver is a standard 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster that will display four different themes. Just above that, customers can spec a heads-up display. Over in the center console is an eight-inch CUE infotainment screen. Customers can also order a rear-seat Blu-Ray DVD entertainment system.

Overall the cabin is much quieter than any Escalade before it. To ensure a pleasant drive, designers triple sealed the doors and added the Bose Active Noise Cancelling system.

Cadillac hasn’t simply upped the levels of refinement; it has also improved safety, too. The fourth-gen Escalade comes with Front and Rear Automatic Braking, which uses short-range radar and ultrasonic sensors to sense impending collisions in the front and rear of the vehicle. Should the system detect an imminent collision, it will apply the brakes – up to full complete braking – to avoid the accident.

In the case of a side impact, Cadillac engineers added a Front Seat Center-Mounted airbag, which protects the passenger on the opposite side of the crash.

The 2015 Cadillac Escalade will go into production in Arlington, Texas next spring and should be hitting showrooms later in 2014. Although I’ll have to reserve my final opinion for when I get behind the road, I can confidently say that I’m thoroughly impressed by the 2015 Escalade.


Rivian CEO R.J. Scaringe wants his startup to be the Patagonia of electric cars

Rivian is the latest startup hyping new electric cars. But unlike most other startups, Rivian is focusing on off-road vehicles. It launched an electric pickup truck and SUV at the 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show. CEO R.J. Scaringe explains the…

2019 Ford Ranger saves fuel without sacrificing towing capacity

The 2019 Ford Ranger marks Ford's long-awaited return to the midsize truck segment, which has seen a resurgence lately. But will being late to the party make Ford's job more difficult?
Product Review

The 2019 Porsche Macan S is a luxurious and quick SUV, but it's no road tripper

The roster of models challenging the Porsche Macan grows annually. The German firm updated its smallest, most affordable SUV with a new engine, more tech features, and subtle design tweaks to keep it looking fresh.
Product Review

Audi built an electric SUV for buyers who want gasoline-free to mean stress-free

We finally got to spend time behind the wheel of the electric 2019 Audi E-Tron bustling cities and arid desert of the United Arab Emirates to see how it compares with Jaguar and Tesla's competitors.

World’s fastest electric race car to display at Petersen Museum

The Volkswagen I.D. R Pikes Peak race car smashed the all-time record at the hill climb for which it was named. The all-electric VW record-holder will be on display at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles until February 1, 2019.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Folding canoes and ultra-fast water filters

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!

This freewheeling Army truck-turned-tiny home is a labor of love

Most tiny homes are models of efficiency but one British metal worker has redefined the idea, converting an old Army truck into a mobile tiny home that comes with a bed, a sofa, a shower, and a beer garden.

Take a friend stargazing at 202 mph in the 2019 McLaren 720S Spider

McLaren has introduced the 2019 720S Spider. As its name implies, it's a convertible variant of the 720S coupe. The company promises the Spider retains the coupe's dynamism and agility thanks in part to the widespread use of carbon fiber.

Gateway’s born-again Ford Bronco boasts classic style, 2018 muscle car power

Illinois-based Gateway Bronco has received a license from Ford to make brand-new examples of the first-generation Bronco. Every build starts with a Ford VIN and a donor vehicle, but Gateway upgrades every part of the car.

Bloodhound’s plan to build a 1,000-mph car has run out of gas

The Bloodhound supersonic car (SSC) project has officially shut down. The upside is you can now buy a 135,000-horsepower car powered by a jet engine and a cluster of rockets for $319,000.

Pininfarina Battista is a 1,900-horsepower, 250-mph electric supercar

The Pininfarina Battista will be the first production car from famed Italian design firm Pininfarina. Named after company founder Battista Pininfarina, it has a claimed 1,900 horsepower and a $2.5 million price tag.

Tesla could show the electric pickup Elon Musk is dying to build in 2019

Tesla has started designing its long-promised pickup truck. The yet-unnamed model will come with dual-motor all-wheel drive and lots of torque, plus it will be able to park itself.
Cars is helping Hyundai mine the artificial intelligence gold rush

In November 2018, Hyundai invested in a startup named We talked to the company's founder to learn more about what that means for consumers in the not-too-distant futures.
Emerging Tech

With this robotic garage, retrieving your car is like using a vending machine

Remembering where we parked our cars can be a real pain. But what if our cars came to find us, rather than the other way around? A new automated robot parking valet system aims to help.