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MSRP: $75,195 - 100,295

6.6

Overall

Scorecard

Critics' Rating: 7.6
Performance: 6.6
Interior: 6.4
Safety:
This model has never been tested for safety. Its overall score is being calculated without safety.
N/A
Reliability:
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2019 Cadillac Escalade Review

Despite being brawny and capable of towing more than most other full-size SUVs, the 2019 Cadillac Escalade struggles to keep up with the refinement and luxury of its rivals. That’s why it ranks near the bottom of the luxury large SUV class.

Pros & Cons

  • Robust, smooth powertrain
  • ESV model has lots of passenger and cargo space
  • Infotainment interface can be sluggish and complicated
  • Rivals have cushier rides
  • Confined third-row seat in standard-length model
  • Small cargo area behind rearmost seats in standard-length model

Is the Cadillac Escalade a Good SUV?

The Cadillac Escalade is not a good luxury large SUV, but it does have some redeeming qualities. This full-size vehicle has some of the best hauling capabilities in the class, making it a good choice for towing a heavy trailer or boat or filling the interior with people and their stuff. A robust V8 engine gives the Escalade a surplus of power and, as a bonus, surprisingly good fuel efficiency. When the third-row seat is folded, the Escalade offers an abundance of cargo space. It also has many standard comfort, entertainment, and safety features.

However, this Cadillac isn’t as well-rounded as its rivals. Its ride comfort and interior opulence trail most competitors, and it has a hard-to-master infotainment system. The third row in standard-wheelbase models offers less legroom than what you’ll find in most 3-row SUVs. Unless your third-row occupants are small, you won't want to use this zone in the standard-length Escalade. The extended-length ESV model offers roomier third-row seats.

Should I Buy the Cadillac Escalade?

You should buy the Escalade if you want a wealth of standard features without having to upgrade to a higher trim level. An outstanding tow rating also makes the Escalade a good choice for pulling large trailers or boats. For even more cargo room and an adult-friendly third-row, Cadillac offers the extended-length Escalade ESV. That said, a number of higher-ranking alternatives are also worth considering. If a posh cabin and silky ride are important to you, we recommend giving the Mercedes-Benz GLS a look. The Lincoln Navigator is also a top choice among large luxury SUVs.

Compare the Escalade, GLS, and Navigator »

Should I Buy a New or Used Cadillac Escalade?

Cadillac launched the current generation of Escalade for the 2015 model year. Since then, it has received very few upgrades. An exception was the introduction of an all-new 10-speed automatic transmission for 2018, replacing the eight-speed. Changes to gas mileage were minimal though (14/23 mpg to 15/22 mpg). You can likely save money and get a nearly identical vehicle by shopping for a used 2015 through 2018 Escalade.

We Did the Research for You: 28 Reviews Analyzed

Our goal is to make shopping for your next car as easy as possible. You'll find everything you need to know about the Cadillac Escalade in our comprehensive review. It combines concrete data (like fuel economy estimates, horsepower specs, and cargo space dimensions) with 28 professional Cadillac Escalade reviews.

Why You Can Trust Us

The Best Cars team – a division of U.S. News & World Report – has been reviewing cars, trucks, and SUVs since 2007. With more than 75 years of combined automotive experience, our editors, writers, and analysts rank a wide variety of new and used cars and issue three annual awards: Best Cars for the Money, Best Cars for Families, and Best Vehicle Brands. To keep our recommendations unbiased, we decline expensive gifts from carmakers, and a third party handles our advertising.

How Much Does the Cadillac Escalade Cost?

Prices for the 2019 Escalade start just above $75,000, which is typical for a large luxury SUV, and top out around $94,000. Purchasing the long-wheelbase ESV Escalade adds $3,000 to the price of whichever trim you choose. To find out about the differences between the trims, and prices on each, read our section below, Which Cadillac Escalade Model Is Right for Me?

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Cadillac dealer. You can also find lease offers, special finance deals, and other offers on our Cadillac deals page.

Cadillac Escalade Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: Cadillac Escalade or Mercedes-Benz GLS?

If you need a large SUV that's both luxurious enough for an outing to the opera but brawny enough to tow your thoroughbred, the 2019 Cadillac Escalade is an ideal choice. If towing isn't a priority, the Mercedes-Benz GLS is the better SUV. It cranks out plenty of power for most driving situations, it surpasses the Escalade in terms of interior elegance and ride comfort, and it’s more agile. Between these two, the Mercedes is the better pick.

Which Is Better: Cadillac Escalade or Lincoln Navigator?

The Lincoln Navigator is among the top-ranking SUVs in its class. It one-ups almost everything the Escalade does well, including fuel economy, horsepower, cargo space, and towing capability. Additionally, the Navigator has a velvety ride, and most reviewers find it to be more comfortable than the Escalade.

Compare the Escalade, GLS, and Navigator »

Escalade Interior

How Many People Does the Escalade Seat?

The Escalade is a 3-row SUV. It offers seating for seven in its standard configuration, but you can up that number to eight by swapping out the second-row captain's chairs for a bench seat. The first two rows of seats are spacious and comfy, though some may find the cushions to be overly cushy and lacking sufficient support. Despite the Escalade's length, the third-row seats are very pinched, with less legroom than any other 3-row SUV in our ranking. If passengers will occupy this zone on a frequent basis, go for the extra-long ESV model. These increase third-row legroom from 24.8 inches to 34.5. 

Escalade and Car Seats

In the second row, Escalade models with captain's chairs have two full sets of LATCH child-seat connections, while models with a second-row bench seat have three full sets. There are three additional tether anchors in the third row. The standard rear-seat reminder cautions the driver to double check the back seat before leaving the vehicle, intended to prevent you from forgetting a small child, purse, or bag.

Escalade Interior Quality

The Escalade is a well-constructed SUV, boasting a fair share of high-quality materials, including genuine leather and wood. As a bonus, indulgent treats such as heated front and rear seats and a surround-sound stereo come standard, and luxe options like massaging front seats are available. Relatively speaking, though, the Escalade doesn't quite reach the level of luxury that you'll find in a Mercedes-Benz.

Escalade Cargo Space

The standard-length Escalade is a great SUV if you don’t often carry a full load of passengers but regularly need abundant cargo space. It has an above-average 51.6 cubic feet with the third row folded, and 94.2 cubic feet with all rear seats collapsed. Opening up this space takes little effort. Rather than lifting out the third-row bench, you can quickly collapse it with the touch of a button. With all seats in use, however, the Escalade has minimal storage room in the back. Additionally, its high cargo floor is awkward when you are loading in bulky items. For an extra-large cargo hold of up to 120.9 cubic feet, pick the longer Escalade ESV.

Escalade Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

When it comes to the Escalade's technology, the good news is that there is a lot of it. Navigation, a Bose surround sound system, a Wi-Fi hot spot, and wireless device charging are among the many standard features that complement the Cadillac CUE infotainment system. You can easily display many of your favorite smartphone apps using standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. That's extra helpful for this SUV, as its infotainment system can be complicated to learn and slow to respond to some inputs. 

Read more about interior »

Escalade Performance

Escalade Engine: Muscular and Polished

You won't have any problem getting up to speed or overtaking slow traffic in the Escalade. Its 420-horsepower 6.2-liter V8 engine is plenty powerful, and it sounds good, too. Accompanying the V8 is a smooth-shifting 10-speed automatic transmission.

Escalade Gas Mileage: Excellent Gas Mileage on the Highway

The Escalade is on the upper end of the luxury large SUV class when it comes to fuel economy. It earns 14 mpg in the city, which is typical for a large luxury SUV. Its highway fuel economy is among the highest in the class, at 23 mpg.

Escalade Ride and Handling: Bulky and Somewhat Coarse

The Escalade's underlying truck-like chassis is apparent in the way it handles. This hefty SUV has some body roll, and its steering is quite heavy. Magnetic Ride Control is a rapidly adjusting suspension system that comes standard in the Escalade. It helps smooth out the ride, though this Cadillac still doesn't feel as cushy as many other SUVs.

Escalade Dimensions and Weight

The 2019 Escalade is 17 feet long and has a curb weight that ranges from 5,578 to 5,856 pounds. The Escalade ESV is about 20 inches longer (at 18.7 feet). Its curb weight tops out at 6,088 pounds.

Escalade Towing Capacity

A properly equipped rear-wheel-drive Escalade has a tow rating of 8,300 pounds. Adding four-wheel drive reduces towing capacity by 200 pounds.

Read more about performance »

Escalade Reliability

Is the Cadillac Escalade Reliable?

The 2019 Escalade does not yet have a predicted reliability rating from J.D. Power.

Cadillac Escalade Warranty

Cadillac covers the 2019 Escalade with a four-year/50,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty and a six-year/70,000-mile powertrain warranty.

Read more about reliability »

Escalade Safety

Escalade Crash Test Results

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the 2019 Cadillac Escalade five stars in the side crash test and three stars in the rollover evaluation. The Escalade did not undergo frontal crash testing, and it did not receive an overall safety rating.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has not crash tested the 2019 Escalade. This is common among luxury vehicles.

Escalade Safety Features

To ease the headache of parking a large SUV, the Escalade has a standard 360-degree parking camera, front and rear parking sensors, and active park assist. A rear-seat occupant reminder and a Teen Driver system are also standard in every model. Available safety features include a rearview camera mirror, forward collision warning with low-speed automatic emergency braking, reverse automatic braking, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, automatic high beams, a head-up display, a safety alert seat, adaptive cruise control, and cornering headlights.

Read more about safety »

Escalade Dimensions and Weight

The standard-wheelbase 2019 Escalade is 17 feet long. Its curb weight ranges from 5,578 to 5,856 pounds. The Escalade ESV is 18.7 feet long. Its curb weight tops out at 6,088 pounds.

Where is the 2019 Cadillac Escalade Built?

Cadillac builds the 2019 Escalade in Texas.

Which Cadillac Escalade Model Is Right for Me?

The 2019 Escalade comes in four trim levels: standard, Luxury, Premium Luxury, and Platinum. The same powertrain is in every model, and you can add four-wheel drive to any trim for $3,000. This SUV is also available as the extra-long Escalade ESV, which also adds $3,000 to the price tag.

Right from the beginning, the Escalade is very well-equipped. Its base infotainment system includes navigation, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and a Bose surround-sound system. Leather seats come standard, and the first two rows of passengers are treated to heated seats, with added ventilation for the front seats. Most shoppers will find the base trim level very appealing. Consider spending a little more if cutting-edge safety technology is important to you. For $5,600 more than the base model, the Escalade Luxury comes with a suite of advanced systems that isn't available in the base Escalade.

Cadillac Escalade

Every Escalade comes with heated and ventilated front seats, heated second-row seats, a power-folding third-row seat, and a leather-wrapped heated steering wheel. Cadillac's CUE infotainment interface and an 8-inch touch screen are standard, along with navigation, a 360-degree parking camera, remote start, tri-zone automatic climate control, and a hands-free power liftgate. Pricing starts at $75,195.

Cadillac Escalade Luxury

More safety features make up the bulk of the Escalade Luxury's extras. You’ll get a rearview camera mirror, forward collision warning with low-speed automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, automatic high beams, a head-up display, and a safety alert seat. A sunroof is also added to this $80,795 trim. 

Cadillac Escalade Premium Luxury

A rear-seat entertainment system with a 9-inch fold-down screen keeps passengers entertained in the Escalade Premium Luxury ($85,195). This trim also includes reverse automatic braking, adaptive cruise control, and cornering headlights.

Cadillac Escalade Platinum

Standout amenities of the top-of-the-line Escalade Platinum ($94,295) include semi-aniline leather seating surfaces, 18-way power-adjustable front seats with a massage feature, a cooler in the center console, power-retractable steps, and a rear-seat entertainment system with screens built into the head rests.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Cadillac dealer. You can also find lease offers, special finance deals, and other offers on our Cadillac deals page.

See 2019 Cadillac Escalade specs and trims »

The Final Call

The Cadillac Escalade is a classy way to transport up to eight people or an 8,000-plus-pound trailer, and its hearty V8 engine never hesitates under a big load. This Cadillac SUV also gets great gas mileage for the class. The interior is quiet and nicely equipped.

However, while the Escalade's truck-like platform helps it achieve exemplary towing capacities, it also curtails ride comfort and handling agility. Not every large luxury SUV feels as hulking as the Escalade, so if you find its ride to be unpleasant or don't need its towing capacity, consider more refined vehicles in the class.

Don’t just take our word for it. Check out comments from some of the reviews that drive our rankings and analysis.

  • Today's Escalade does more to differentiate itself from its plebeian roots than did its forebearer, and it now boasts more unique interior appointments and a list of standard features as long as your torso. There's probably no more comfortable way to tow, say, a boat than to do it in an Escalade. … Yet due in part to its trucky origins, there are some compromises. The cargo area's load floor is very high, the ride quality struggles to cope with sharp-edge impacts, and its driving dynamics border on indifferent. The Escalade has its charms, but it's a concept that's showing its age." -- Edmunds
  • The 2018 Cadillac Escalade is bound to impress with its bold, expressive styling that's been the hallmark for this popular nameplate. It also has a well-equipped interior, a strong V8 engine and a trick magnetically controlled suspension that delivers considerably better ride and handling than its other GM full-size SUV siblings. However, we have to say that the Escalade is for the most part a lot of sizzle and not enough steak … So although the Escalade will perhaps always have its charms, we'd argue that's not really enough anymore. Cross-shopping is definitely in order." -- Autotrader (2018)
  • You'll Like This Car If... The 2017 Cadillac Escalade luxury SUV provides all the room, power and towing capacity of a full-size Chevrolet Suburban, then infuses it with copious luxury, technology and performance enhancement we've come to expect from a vehicle wearing the wreath-and-crest badge. You May Not Like This Car If... Despite its numerous driver and parking assists, Cadillac's 2017 Escalade SUV is a massive vehicle that can be difficult to maneuver and park. If you don't need the Escalade's oversized abilities, you'll likely find a nimble Audi Q7 or Infiniti QX60 more appealing." -- Kelley Blue Book (2017)
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