Retaining it's cachet among celebrities and professional athletes, GM has added layers of refinement to the completely redesigned #2015 Cadillac Escalade, which made it's debut last week in New York City.
While most of the #2015 Escalade's underpinnings are shared with the Chevy Suburban and the GMC Yukon, there is no confusion. Last redesigned in 2007, the new Escalade is sophisticated and dramatic. It boasts a sleeker exterior, and a wood-trim interior. It seats eight and is loaded with the Cadillac User Experience (CUE) infotainment system and a BOSE active noise-cancellation system. For the first time, safety features such as automatic collision preparation, forward-collision alert, full speed-range adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning and front and rear auto braking have all been added.
The interior is quieter than the former model, and it's seats have been re-engineered to be more comfortable all while appearing more sculpted. There is more headroom and legroom than found in the outgoing model too.
The redesigned SUV's headlights are all LEDs, each with it's own individual crystal lens. A rear window wiper has been integrated into the rear spoiler. If riding on 20 inch wheels isn't enough, a 22 inch option is available.
The new version's engine has been beefed up to a 6.2-litre V8 EcoTec3, delivering 420 horses. GM says that despite the extra power, it will get better fuel economy than it's predecessor. No official EPA estimates are available yet though. Aerodynamics have been improved with the addition of active air shutters which close at highway speeds.
Since it's introduction in 1998, the Cadillac Escalade has always been a favourite target of car thieves. This new version seeks to fight back. It's loaded with intrusion and glass breakage sensors, as well as the ability to sense when it is being lifted or towed.
While luxury SUVs are very popular, the larger models only comprise about 8 percent of that market, down from 27 percent a decade ago, despite several more competitors. Escalade sales peaked in 2004, selling more than 62,000 units. Land Rover, Lexus and Lincoln all offer large luxury SUVs, all fighting for a piece of this shrinking market. Other luxury brands including Masarati and Bentley have large luxury SUVs in the works, and Rolls-Royce is considering one. The vehicles are profitable though, since they share engineering with other models. GM's margins on the Escalade are in the 20 to 30 percent range, versus about 4 to 6 percent on a car such as the Malibu.
GM is considering applying the Escalade name to other models within the Cadillac brand, crossovers in particular which are among the industry's fastest growing segments. These smaller models are attractive to buyers because of their better gas mileage. A hybrid version of the Escalade was discontinued after the 2012 model year.
The 2015 Cadillac Escalade will enter production in early 2014. It is one of ten new or redesigned models that Cadillac will release by the end of 2015.
By Linda Aylesworth - autoExpert.ca