Seen and Heard - 2015 Cadillac Escalade
Cadillac Reveals Its Fourth Generation Escalade
All eyes were on New York this past October as the 2015 Cadillac Escalade was revealed to the public, with special guests that included renowned artist Autumn de Wilde and everyone’s favorite tough-guy businessman, Donald Trump and his wife Melania.
The Escalade has been one of the industry’s signature SUVs since its debut in the late 1990s, and its popularity has shown no signs of waning. Now in its fourth generation, the regular and extended versions (ESV) of the SUV will begin production in the spring of 2014 in Arlington, Texas.
With a prominent, attention-grabbing grill and a fully updated interior, Cadillac is ready to again capture the attention of buyers who want a high-end SUV with some attitude. Compared to previous models, the first noticeable difference is the use of long, thin lines, a theme that is repeated with the exterior lights and body. Cadillac has permanently laid to rest the softer, rounder corners that were a signature of the first-generation model—and one that has been disappearing with every subsequent redesign. It borrows some of the more aggressive looks from its smaller sedan cousins, the 2014 CTS, ATS, and, of course, XTS. With headlamps that are ever so slightly placed further back than the grill, the entire lineup seems to be trending toward a futuristic, edgier look—in a great way. Side by side with the third-generation model, you will see a clear difference. Most of the interior and exterior dimensions remain about the same.
Under the hood, the Escalade is powered by a new 6.2L V-8 engine, which Cadillac says is more powerful yet increasingly more efficient than previous models. Testing shows that the new engine has a 5 percent increase in horsepower (420 horsepower) and 10 percent more torque. Fuel efficiency ratings were not available at the time of the release. It will be available in both 2WD and 4WD drivetrains for better handling, and the magnetic ride control—the standard electronically controlled suspension system—creates more precise handling and better performance. Stopping and preventing collisions is also improved by automatic braking, which relies on ultrasonic sensors and radar to bring the vehicle to a full stop especially in an emergency. The new Escalade was, of course, one of the highlights of the Cadillac booth during the recent Chauffeur Driven Show. Fresh off its premiere in New York City, the SUV debuted for the chauffeured ground transportation industry with much fanfare. According to Jim Connelly, Cadillac Professional Vehicles program manager, the hardest part was telling eager attendees that the vehicle was not yet available.
“I probably could have sold a hundred of them,” he says about the Escalade. “The buzz around [the vehicle] was just incredible. It was one of the first groups of people to see the Escalade after the New York premiere and the response was amazing. Customers really liked the interior enhancements, including the flat fold seat and that the second row flips forward. It’s a convenient new feature, especially for livery access.”
While the Escalade was the star, Connelly says that the XTS, the company’s flagship livery vehicle, also captured a lot of attention and he sold the display vehicle right off the show floor.
Here’s a look at the features that are new for 2015 (courtesy of Cadillac).
• Good news for those who enjoy CUE, Cadillac’s nerve center with just about every major function in the vehicle: it will be standard on the 2015 model. With voice recognition and touch-screen controls, the information can also be projected onto the windshield (visible only to the driver) so that eyes are always on the road.
• The new interior features cut-and-sewn and wrapped materials, with wood trim options chosen for elegance and authenticity. Seats were engineered to be more comfortable and sculpted in appearance. The new interior is dramatically quieter, too, thanks to a stronger new body structure, new and enhanced acoustic material, and Bose Active Noise Cancellation technology.
• The front seating area offers more than 1.5 inches more head room and more than four inches of additional legroom compared to previous models while the second- and third-row seats fold flat for greater cargo versatility—and a segment-first hands-free liftgate includes programmable height settings.
• More precisely controlled combustion enables Escalade to run with a higher compression ratio, which delivers greater power and greater expected efficiency. The engine is matched with the Hydra-Matic 6L80 six-speed automatic transmission with enhanced TapShift control.
• A Driver Awareness package includes forward collision alert, lane departure warning system, and the patented safety alert seat, which offers directional vibrations to alert the driver about potential crash threats. A Driver Assist package adds front and rear automatic braking (mentioned above), automatic collision preparation, and automatic safety belt tightening. Additionally, side blind zone alert, rear cross traffic alert, and lane change alert are standard on Luxury and Premium models.
The Escalade has achieved a legendary status in our industry, and judging by its continued appeal to customers, it won’t lose that title anytime soon. To see more about the Escalade, visit http://bit.ly/1iEkZUP to view a video of the vehicle. [CD12.13]