When the Cadillac Escalade first came on the scene about 20 years ago, I thought it was ridiculous.
Also, how have 20 years gone by that fast? But, when I first saw the Escalade, Cadillac’s first foray into the world of Sport Utility Vehicles, I just didn’t get it. SUVs needed to be rugged, to stand up to hauling camping gear, sports equipment, major Costco runs and large family people movers for moms who said they just “can’t even” with a minivan. In my mind, Cadillacs were sleek, expensive, roomy sedans that let everyone on the road knew you liked the finer things in life and didn’t mind paying for them.
Maybe I had my granddad’s powder blue Coupe de Ville (circa 1970-something) stuck in my head or maybe I didn’t want to merge luxury and practicality. I’m not sure where my disdain for Escalades came from but it went completely out the window as soon as I drove one. I had the opportunity to drive a fully loaded 2019 Cadillac Escalade for a week and I have to tell you – this is not my granddad’s Cadillac.
Here are a few things to know about the 2019 Cadillac Escalade:
The Cadillac Escalade is the biggest SUV I’ve driven to date. I’ve driven Tahoes, Suburbans and full-size pickup trucks and the Escalade just felt larger. It seats seven, which makes it perfect for large families or moms who transport kids on the regular (think sports teams or carpools.) It would also be a perfect vehicle for an adult or girlfriends night out since it comfortably seats seven people. I can totally see myself alighting from the sleek, sexy Escalade wearing a cocktail dress and my Jimmy Choos. Just kidding. I don’t have Jimmy Choos but if I did, they would SO go with this SUV.
What I’m not kidding about is the comfort. When I say comfortably seats, I really mean it. These large seats, made out of buttery soft leather, are roomier than a first-class airline seat. If you’re a mom who spends half of your life in the car (seriously, it feels that way) and you can afford this level of comfort (I’ll get to the pricing in just a minute), do it. I sometimes work in my car while my kids are at their martial arts classes and the room and comfort in this beauty are unrivaled.
While I hesitate to call the Cadillac Escalade “rugged” as I probably would with a truck or other large SUV, it is practical. There’s a ton of room everywhere. Legroom, storage space in the main cab and rear storage space that will accommodate all the stuff the average family carts around on the daily. There are a lot of minivans and SUVs out there that seat just as many people but the cargo space isn’t built to handle everyone’s bags, backpacks, suitcases, etc.
My daughter and I did the mother of all Costco runs in the Escalade. We filled two carts and stopped shopping because it was getting difficult to push them through the warehouse. There was room and then some in the back. If you’re grocery shopping for a small Army, a party, or teenage boys, this will come in handy.
My biggest challenge with smaller or even mid-sized SUVs is that they’re not great for family travel in terms of cargo space unless you’re a super minimal packer. While we didn’t road trip in the Escalade, it would have been perfect for our family. It has plenty of room for everyone’s suitcase and there wouldn’t be any “Oh, we can’t buy that. No room in the car.”
Tech, Tech, and More Tech
It’s becoming more and more important for cars to have all the techy bells and whistles and the Escalade definitely does. Some of the features we loved were the DVD player, Wifi, wireless charging, navigational software, and Apple Car Play (a must for me.)
The Escalade is a command center and no matter what you need to stay connected to while you’re on the go, the Escalade has it and then some.
Luxury SUVs Have Luxury Price Tags
You knew that was coming, right? The Escalade I drove starts at $91,000. With the added options, it came up to $97,000+. I’ll let that sink in. Yes, that’s a lot and yes, I know that in a lot of places around the country, that amount would get you a small starter house. I think of the move-in ready three-bedroom I bought in Illinois in 2006 for $120,000 and have trouble wrapping my head around that price for a vehicle.
But, that’s the price. If you have the money to spend if you’re partial to the Cadillac brand, and if you are willing to pay for those extra touches of luxury, this might be your car. You can probably argue that a Suburban or a Tahoe might be just as good, but as good as they are, they’re not going to rise to the level of luxury that a Cadillac Escalade does. The Escalade is definitely a status symbol of an SUV and people definitely take notice and maybe even look at you differently. You know…like they look at someone who can shell out nearly a hundred grand on their ride.
Just the Facts…the Car Facts, That Is
- Engine: V8, 6.2L
- Bose Centerpoint Surround Sound System w/16 speakers
- Active Noise Cancellation
- Sirius XM Radio Ready (subscription purchased separately)
- Wireless Charging
- Heads Up Display
- Heated Steering Wheel
- Passive Entry & Keyless Start
- Adaptive Remote Start
- 12-way Power Adjustable Seats
- Front Row Heated and Cooled Seats
- Second Row Heated Seats
- Rear Seat Reminder
- 110V Power Source
- Rainsense Wipers
- Illuminated Door Handles
- Power Tilt-Sliding Sunroof
- Assist Step
- Hands-Free Power Liftgate
- Rear Seat Entertainment System
- Automatic Parking Assist
- Safety Package includes dual-stage frontal airbags, driver and right front passenger airbag, driver seat mounted in front center airbags, side impact driver and right front passenger airbags, head curtain front and rear outboard seating positions, StabiliTrak (stability control with traction), tire pressure monitoring system, theft deterrent package, lane alert, rear cross traffic alert and more.
- The Escalade gets an average of 17 MPG, 14 in the city and 21 on the highway
The Escalade’s “Learning Curves” That Gave Me Pause
The sheer size of the vehicle wasn’t something I managed to get comfortable within a week. Parking and backing into my driveway (after the mother of all Costco runs) felt cumbersome, although the rear and side cameras worked like a charm. I need more than seven days to get used to driving and parking a vehicle of this size.
I also found the navigation and infotainment system were not as intuitive as I needed it to be. There are tons and tons of features on the Escalade. For me, it was a “read the manual cover to cover a couple of times” kind of vehicle. If this were my car, I’m sure it would be great once I’d figured it all out. Neither of my minor dislikes would deter me from purchasing an Escalade, though, if price were not a consideration; the things that gave me pause are simply learning curves. I’m pretty confident I would be able to overcome them.
The Verdict on the Cadillac Escalade
While I can’t say it’s the perfect car for me, I did enjoy it a lot. I liked the comfort and space. We drove the Escalade during my week my daughter and her family visited. It was the perfect size vehicle for the seven of us to run around in. Our minivan also seats seven but the Cadillac Escalade is a thousand percent superior to a minivan in terms of luxury and comfort…although that should go without saying. And that, for all the time we spend in our cars, is not ridiculous at all.
Disclosure: Cadillac provided the Escalade for my test drive; all opinions are my own.