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2016 Cadillac Escalade Review

The 2016 Cadillac Escalade has a powerful V8 engine and an elegant, plush interior. However, a handful of minor drawbacks – including a less-refined ride quality than some – lead to the Escalade’s below-average position in our rankings.

Pros & Cons

  • Robust V8 engine
  • Extended-wheelbase ESV offers more third-row and cargo space
  • Refined cabin with top-notch materials
  • Select ownership costs are lower than many rivals’


  • Ride and handling aren’t as polished as some
  • High cargo load floor
  • Cramped third row




Critics' Rating: 9.1
Performance: 7.5
Interior: 8.4
Total Cost of Ownership: 7.2
This model has never been fully tested for safety. Its overall score is being calculated without safety.
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2016 Cadillac Escalade Overview

Is the 2016 Cadillac Escalade a Good Used SUV?

If you plan to carry a large amount of people and belongings often, the 2016 Cadillac Escalade is a good choice. It won our 2016 Best Luxury Large SUV for Families award for its outstanding combination of space, available family-friendly amenities, and positive reviews from professional automotive writers.

Why You Can Trust Us

Our Cadillac Escalade review includes far more than just one person's opinion. We collected professional evaluations from more than a dozen sources and combined them with concrete data like fuel economy estimates, safety features, and performance specs to help you make an informed buying decision.

At U.S. News & World Report, we rank the Best Jobs, Best Hospitals, and Best Colleges to guide readers through some of life’s most complicated decisions. We've been ranking and reviewing the Best Cars since 2007, backed by a team with more than 75 years of combined automotive experience. To keep favoritism out of the picture, we maintain a separate advertising team and decline expensive gifts and trips from car companies.

How Much Is the 2016 Cadillac Escalade?

The average price of a used 2016 Escalade is $62,000. That’s more expensive than the average listing prices of large SUVs like the 2016 Mercedes-Benz GL, Infiniti QX80, and Lincoln Navigator. Overall prices for the Escalade range between $53,000 and $71,500, as sourced from almost 700 listings on our used car site. Trim level, vehicle condition, mileage, and regional demand all affect a used SUV’s price.

See the Best Used Car Deals »

How Much Does the 2016 Cadillac Escalade Cost to Own?

Expect to pay around $30,200 over five years to fuel, insure, maintain, and repair a 2016 Escalade. These upkeep expenses are about $3,300 less than the estimates of most other luxury large SUVs.

Is It Better to Buy a Used or New Escalade?

Buying a 2018 Cadillac Escalade is a pricey endeavor. Its MSRP starts at $74,700 – almost $13,000 higher than the average price of a 2016 Escalade. Moreover, the benefits of the new Escalade are few. A new 10-speed automatic transmission became standard in the 2018 model, but this change increases estimated fuel costs by $450 a year. The 2018 Escalade comes with a few changes to the safety features as well; Teen Driver and a rear-seat reminder are standard, and a rearview camera mirror is available. Even so, the added safety equipment doesn’t seem worth the extra $13,000 you’ll spend to buy a new Escalade. The 2016 model year is the better buy for most shoppers.   

Read about the new Cadillac Escalade »

In our luxury large SUV rankings, no other new vehicle with a good score comes close to the price of a 2016 Escalade. If the idea of buying new still strikes your fancy, one option is to step down to a smaller SUV, such as the 2018 Audi Q7. The Q7’s first two rows of seats and cargo hold aren’t as spacious as the Escalade’s, but the Audi does have more third-row legroom than the Cadillac. You can get a midlevel Q7 Premium Plus (which comes with a well-equipped infotainment system and lots of advanced safety features) for $53,900. Another option is to look beyond luxury brands to a large SUV; you’ll still get the size and towing capacity you’re looking for. The redesigned 2018 Ford Expedition is a great example of this. It can tow up to 9,300 pounds and has ample cargo and passenger space. If you select an upper trim level, such as the Expedition Limited (MSRP: $62,675), you’ll get a near-luxury cabin outfitted with leather upholstery, heated front and rear seats, and ventilated front seats.

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How Reliable Is the 2016 Cadillac Escalade?

The 2016 Escalade has a reliability rating of three out of five from J.D. Power. While that’s an average score for a used vehicle, it’s on the low end for a luxury large SUV.

Read more about Escalade reliability »

2016 Cadillac Escalade Recalls

As of this writing, three recalls have been issued for the 2016 Escalade. Two recalls address the same problem: a software issue that may prevent the front air bags from deploying. The third recall, which isn’t as widespread, deals with potentially defective upper control arms.

See more information on Cadillac Escalade safety recalls »

Which Model Year of the Cadillac Escalade Is Best?  

The 2016 Cadillac Escalade is part of a generation that began with the 2015 model year and includes the 2018 Escalade. For 2016, the infotainment system was updated and lane keep assist became available. GM’s Teen Driver system became standard for 2017. If those additions don't matter to you, you'll be better off with the 2015 model. It costs a few thousand dollars less and posts the highest scores of the three models in this generation.

Compare the 2015, 2016, and 2017 Escalade »

Which Used Cadillac Escalade Model Is Right for Me?

There are four Escalade trims: Standard, Luxury, Premium, and Platinum. All are available as extended-wheelbase ESV models. The Escalade Platinum is the most luxurious and comes standard with almost everything the Escalade can provide. However, you might be better off with the Escalade Luxury, which costs less and is available with almost every notable feature besides massaging seats, adaptive cruise control, and automatic emergency braking.

See 2016 Cadillac Escalade trims and specs »

What Does Cadillac's Certified Pre-Owned Warranty Cover?

Cadillac offers a certified pre-owned program for vehicles four years old or less and with fewer than 50,000 miles. Eligibility is determined by the vehicle’s initial sale date. Qualifying vehicles see the original new-car limited warranty extended to six years or 100,000 miles. Cadillac CPO models must pass a 172-point inspection. Additional benefits like towing and roadside assistance may be available, so read Cadillac’s warranty page carefully.

Cadillac’s CPO program is OK, according to our analysis, but several luxury carmakers offer better programs. These include Lexus, Infiniti, Audi, and Acura.

See the best CPO programs »

How Safe Is the Escalade?

The 2016 Escalade hasn't been put through crash tests by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. It has no overall safety rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, but it did receive five out of five stars in its side crash test and three stars in rollover testing. This limited level of crash testing is common among select luxury vehicles.

Standard driver assistance features include a surround-view camera and front and rear parking sensors. Available features include a head-up display, adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, blind spot monitoring, forward collision warning with automatic braking, a rear cross traffic alert, and a safety alert seat, which vibrates to warn you of potential hazards.

See Escalade safety scores »

2016 Cadillac Escalade Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: 2016 Cadillac Escalade or 2016 Mercedes-Benz GL?

The Mercedes-Benz GL offers impressive performance; its sharp steering and poised handling make it feel more like a car than a large SUV. The GL also has one of the best fuel economy ratings in the class, and it’s one of the few class rivals with an interior that might surpass the Escalade's. In the GL's cabin, you’ll find comfortable seats and premium materials, like leather and wood. The Mercedes COMAND infotainment system is easy to operate once you get the hang of it. The GL is about $6,000 cheaper than the Escalade on average. At the end of the day, the GL is a better choice for most buyers.

Which Is Better: 2016 Cadillac Escalade or 2016 Land Rover Range Rover?

The Land Rover Range Rover pairs off-road ruggedness with a palatial interior. There's plenty of power under the hood no matter which engine you choose (though the Escalade's V8 is stronger than most Range Rover engines), while the optional turbodiesel V6 is one of the most fuel-efficient engines in the class. All Range Rover models come standard with four-wheel drive. The Range Rover's on-road manners are smooth and composed. While the Escalade seats up to eight, the Range Rover only seats five. Both rows of seats in the Range Rover are comfortable and roomy, with posh materials all-around. One area where there's no comparison is price; the Range Rover will cost you about $22,500 more than the Escalade. The Range Rover is a nice SUV, but unless you plan to do plenty of off-roading, the Escalade is the clear choice between the two.

Compare the Escalade, GL, and Range Rover »

2016 Escalade Performance

How Does the 2016 Cadillac Escalade Drive?

The Cadillac Escalade features a 420-horsepower V8 engine mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. It packs plenty of power and delivers good acceleration. The SUV also has a comfortable ride and composed handling on winding roads, but the standard Magnetic Ride Control doesn’t soak up every bump or completely curtail body roll.

Does the 2016 Cadillac Escalade Get Good Gas Mileage?

The Escalade’s fuel economy – 15 mpg in the city and 22 mpg on the highway – is average for the class.

2016 Cadillac Escalade Towing Capacity

When properly equipped, the Escalade can tow up to 8,300 pounds.

Read more about Escalade performance »

2016 Escalade Interior

How Many People Does the 2016 Escalade Seat?

The Cadillac Escalade's cabin looks great and features plenty of premium materials. It seats up to eight, and the first two rows of seats have lots of space. The Escalade's standard third-row seats are smaller than those in some rivals, but long-wheelbase Escalade (ESV) models have larger third rows.

How Many Car Seats Fit in the 2016 Cadillac Escalade?

In the second row, the Escalade has three full sets of LATCH child-seat connectors. The third-row seats have three tether anchors and no lower anchors.

2016 Cadillac Escalade Features

The Escalade's long list of standard features includes tri-zone automatic climate control, wireless smartphone charging, a Wi-Fi hot spot, a 16-speaker Bose audio system, satellite radio, and the CUE infotainment system with an 8-inch touch screen, Bluetooth, navigation, five USB ports, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto. Available features include a sunroof and a dual-screen rear-seat entertainment system. The CUE system, long panned for its slow speeds and confusing menus, was updated for 2016. It responds quickly to inputs and is easier to operate. The voice recognition also works well.

See 2016 Cadillac Escalade specs »

Read more about Escalade interior »

2016 Cadillac Escalade Dimensions

Cadillac Escalade Cargo Space

The standard Escalade's max cargo capacity of 94.2 cubic feet (120.9 cubic feet in the extra-long Escalade ESV) is higher than almost every rivals’. However, space is limited behind the rearmost seats of the standard body style, and it can be difficult to load items because of the high cargo floor.

Cadillac Escalade Length and Weight

The Escalade is 17 feet long and has a curb weight that ranges from 5,594 to 5,840 pounds. The extra-long Escalade ESV is 18.7 feet long, and its curb weight ranges from 5,795 to 6,040 pounds. Gross vehicle weight tops out at 7,500 pounds.

Where Was the 2016 Cadillac Escalade Built?

Cadillac built the 2016 Escalade in Arlington, Texas.

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