$23,737 - $30,302

2012 Cadillac Escalade Interior Review

Note: This interior review was created when the 2012 Cadillac Escalade was new.


Interior: 8.4

Test drivers say that the 2012 Cadillac Escalade’s interior lives up to its brand’s luxurious reputation. They praise the intuitive, easy-to-use navigation system, but the Escalade’s cumbersome and small third-row seats are universally panned.

  • "Even base models are lavish beyond measure, with leather covering the seats, doors, steering wheel and center console, and the interior pillars wearing rich-looking fabric.” -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Impressive assembly quality, and mostly top-notch materials, though a few plastic pieces, especially the lower inside door panels, disappoint at these prices.” -- Consumer Guide


The 2012 Cadillac Escalade can seat up to eight people. The standard seating configuration is for seven, with captain's chairs in the front two rows and a three-person bench in the third row. While most reviewers think that the second-row captain's chairs are the most comfortable configuration, a three-person bench in the second row is a no-cost option for buyers who need room for eight. Most reviewers complain about the lack of space in the third row in the regular-wheelbase Escalade, which is typical in this class. Escalade ESV models offer a bit more legroom, but many test drivers say that the seats are so low to the ground that third-row passengers will still be riding with their knees up around their ears. The auto press also doesn’t have a consensus regarding front-seat comfort. Some say the driver’s seat is a great place to be, while others say that they’re not as nice as the Escalade’s high price tag suggests.

  • "Escalades have big-rig space on wide, comfortable seats, though the tallest drivers may want more headroom and legroom. … This is a tall truck, so some climbing is needed to get in, even with the standard fixed or optional power-retractable running boards.” -- Consumer Guide
  • "Also, the Escalade's third-row seat is less practical than that of other full-size luxury SUVs, since it both lacks legroom and must be removed in order to get a flat cargo area." -- Edmunds
  • "Smallish third row in regular-length version.” -- Car and Driver
  • "The front seats could be better. Though blessed with power four-way lumbar adjustments, their convex contour provides no lateral support. They also feel a little undersized and unworthy of the vehicle they occupy.” -- The Truth About Cars

Interior Features

Reviewers love the 2012 Cadillac Escalade's interior features, and are especially pleased with the design and layout of the dash. Plus, the Escalade comes standard with many features that are optional on other luxury large SUVs, like a Bose sound system, heated and cooled front seats and a rearview camera. While many other luxury brands sometimes utilize high-tech infotainment systems that can be confusing, test drivers say that the Escalade’s navigation system is easy to read and use.

  • "The well-integrated navigation system has a large, easy-read touch screen. It also absorbs, but doesn't complicate, audio functions.” -- Consumer Guide
  • "The gauges and controls are well-placed and intuitive in their operation, and an upgraded navigation system for … gives the Escalade the latest electronics at GM's disposal.” -- Edmunds
  • "Heated and Cooling Cupholders: Available only on the Platinum Edition, these decadent luxury items actually seems to be one of the most logical inventions since the cup holder itself.” -- Kelley Blue Book


The Escalade offers good cargo capacity for its class, with a maximum of 108.9 cubic feet of space. There are 16.9 cubic feet behind the third row and 60.3 cubic feet behind the second row. However, removing the third-row seats is a sore spot for many reviewers. The third row will fold forward, but to maximize cargo space, the Escalade's third row seats must be manually removed from the SUV. The seats are heavy and the process is difficult, especially when compared with competitors’ third rows that fold flat into the floor.

Buyers who need more room may want to consider the Escalade ESV. In this model, there is 45.8 cubic feet of cargo space behind the third row, which is nearly three times as much as the regular Escalade. With the third row removed, the ESV has 90 cubic feet of cargo space and with the second row removed, the ESV has 137.4 cubic feet of cargo space, which is more than enough room to haul a large piece of furniture or take a couple of kids to college.

  • "In the standard-length wagon, only grocery-bag space is available behind the 3rd-row bench. There's plenty of room with those seat backs flopped down. ESVs have generous space behind the 3rd row. In both wagons, the 3rd-row seat is split into 50/50 sections that don't fold flush with the floor and are heavy and cumbersome to remove or install.” -- Consumer Guide
  • "The 50/50-split third-row seat doesn't provide much legroom and doesn't fold neatly into the floor as in most other SUVs. Instead, owners looking to carry bulky items are forced to either fold and tumble the entire assembly forward -- eating up precious cargo space -- or remove the heavy seats entirely.” -- Edmunds

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