$45,236 - $57,613

2015 Cadillac Escalade Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2015 Cadillac Escalade was new.


Performance: 7.8

While some reviewers note that the redesigned 2015 Cadillac Escalade rides a bit more firmly than some rivals, they say it’s still comfortable, and praise its well-controlled handling. They are also impressed with its powerful engine and say the Escalade accelerates with ease.  

  • "The Escalade may be quick thanks to its 420-hp V8, but it's no sports car, a fact that's especially obvious when you go around corners. Still, the SUV is nicely composed for a luxury vehicle, even if there's a little more body roll than we'd want." -- AutoTrader
  • "Even though this is a very comfortable SUV, Cadillac hasn't sacrificed handling ability. Surprisingly, this new GMT K2XL chassis handles like a much smaller vehicle." -- Autoblog
  • "The changes result in a confident-handling SUV that's generally much wieldier than its ample dimensions would suggest. Accurate, well-weighted electric assist steering imparts confidence, and the trick dampers provide an excellent balance of Germanic body control and Cadillac-appropriate ride comfort." -- Left Lane News

Acceleration and Power

The 2015 Cadillac Escalade is powered by a 420-horsepower, 6.2 liter V8 engine that’s mated to a six- or eight-speed automatic transmission. Fuel economy is an EPA-estimated 15/21 mpg city/highway with the six-speed automatic transmission and 15/22 mpg with the eight-speed. Both estimates are typical for the class.

Reviewers report that the 2015 Escalade is quiet at idle, accelerates quickly off the line and has no problem getting up to highway speeds. They also note that the Escalade's engine delivers seamless power at nearly any rpm. Automotive writers mention that although some rivals' transmissions have more gears and are a bit more responsive, the Escalade's six-speed still offers timely, seamless shifts.

  • "With a robust 6.2-liter V8 engine, the 2015 Escalade gets up and goes when you put the spurs into it. There's more than enough pep to get around slower traffic with a quick tip-in of the throttle, and it sounds good while doing so." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Power comes on smooth, and stays smooth, even when it drops to four cylinders to save gas. If you put your foot down more than an inch or two, all eight kick back on seamlessly. The company stuck with its six-speed auto, which will hold on to a gear almost to redline." -- AutoWeek
  • "Compared to something like ZF's ubiquitous eight-speed automatic, the Caddy's six-speed is slower to upshift and less willing to downshift, with more hunting for the appropriate gear. This isn't to say that the six-speed auto is bad - it's not - but there are better gearboxes in this end of the market." -- Autoblog
  • "The big eight's broad power band means that its dancing partner, a smooth-shifting six-speed automatic, never feels behind the times despite being down a cog or two to more modern gearboxes." -- Left Lane News

Handling and Braking

The redesigned Cadillac Escalade comes standard with rear-wheel drive and a Magnetic Ride Control suspension system that offers Sport and Touring modes. Four-wheel drive is optional. The Escalade can tow up to 8,300 pounds. According to critics, the 2015 Escalade's ride is firmer than some rivals', but they note that it’s composed, and that the Escalade doesn’t suffer from much body roll and feels planted in turns. The Escalade also earns praise for its strong brakes and well-weighted, responsive steering.  

  • "The 2015 Escalade gets the third generation of GM's outstanding Magnetic Ride Control suspension system, with sport and touring modes selectable through a button on the dash. We switched between the two and quickly felt the difference, both on bumpy roads and during lane change maneuvers. The track is wider in the rear, adding to the stability, and we found the overall ride to be stiffer than we expected. It's much less floaty than Escalades past." -- AutoWeek
  • "The ride is pinned down and composed on both smooth surfaces and rougher roads. Excess vertical motion is nary an issue, as the dampers adapt nicely to the road conditions ironing out imperfections." -- Autoblog
  • "Regardless of the speed or driving surface, the Escalade provides a smooth and quiet ride. The standard Magnetic Ride Control system reacts instantaneously to changing conditions to quell the vast majority of ruts and bumps. This system also features a Sport mode that stiffens up the ride a bit and marginally reduces body roll. Sporting it's not, but it does help a little." -- Edmunds
  • "On the road, the Escalade drives much as you'd expect -- like a big, bulky truck. Now in its fourth generation, the Escalade doesn't come with any big surprises here, even with Cadillac's impressive Magnetic Ride Control suspension system. " -- AutoTrader
  • "The Escalades get an optional sport mode to stiffen up the shocks, but the ride is firm and controlled enough without engaging it. Weighty steering and a firm brake pedal accurately translate driver inputs, while offering excellent communication for such a big vehicle. If you steer this Titanic into an iceberg, you'll have only yourself to blame." -- Car and Driver

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