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2011 Cadillac Escalade Review

The 2011 Cadillac Escalade is a boldly-styled luxury large SUV that not only turns heads, but fits your entire family and their cargo. If you are looking for practicality that’s wrapped in luxury and style, the Escalade is a good choice.

Pros & Cons

  • Smooth ride and ample power
  • Luxurious interior appointments
  • High towing capacity
  • Good safety scores
  • Cramped third-row seats




Critics' Rating: 9.2
Performance: 8.7
Interior: 8.6
Total Cost of Ownership: 8.4
This model has never been fully tested for safety. Its overall score is being calculated without safety.
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2011 Cadillac Escalade Overview

When it was new, reviewers appreciated the Escalade’s luxurious interior appointments, powerful V8 engine and look-at-me styling. They also liked that the Escalade handles well and feels smaller than it is.

Buyers can select the regular Escalade or the long-wheelbase Escalade ESV. The main benefit of the ESV is extra cargo room behind the third row. There’s up to 137.4 cubic feet of cargo space behind the first row of seats, versus 108.9 cubic feet in the regular Escalade. Both models come standard with rear-wheel drive, though all-wheel drive was optional. Power comes from a 403-horsepower 6.2-liter V8, and the Escalade achieves an EPA-estimated 14/18 mpg city/highway with RWD or 13/18 with AWD. The Escalade can tow up to 8,300 pounds, which makes it among the best SUVs in the class for towing.

The 2011 Cadillac Escalade seats up to eight on standard leather upholstery. Other standard equipment includes tri-zone climate control, Bluetooth, a Bose stereo, navigation, satellite radio, a rearview camera, power-adjustable heated and cooled front seats and a power liftgate. The top-of-the-line Platinum trim adds unique leather seats and interior trim, as well as larger wheels. Overall, reviewers found the Escalade to be very luxurious. With the exception of additional standard interior features, the 2011 Escalade is largely unchanged since this generation debuted in 2007, so you may be able to save some money by buying an older model.

See the full 2011 Cadillac Escalade specs »

Other Cars to Consider

If you’re looking at the Escalade, check out the 2011 Mercedes-Benz GL as well. Reviewers loved the GL’s smooth ride and ample power. The GL’s three engine options included a diesel, and reviewers said that regardless of which engine you choose, there’s plenty of power to move the vehicle. On the downside, critics’ biggest gripe with the GL was its COMAND infotainment system, which they found difficult to use. The GL can’t tow as much as the Escalade because it is not based on a truck platform, but that also means the GL has better on-road manners and handling.

Another alternative to consider is the 2011 Lexus LX, which was our 2011 Best Luxury Large SUV for Families. Like the Escalade, the LX has no shortage of luxury or interior space. The LX is also a capable off-roader, so if you plan on venturing off the beaten path, the LX is a good choice. Keep in mind that the Escalade, and especially the ESV, can hold more cargo than the LX can.

Compare the Escalade to the GL and LX »

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