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2017 Cadillac Escalade Review

The 2017 Cadillac Escalade is one the largest luxury SUVs you can buy, with a robust V8 engine and an upscale cabin. However, the Escalade’s below-average predicted reliability rating, sluggish infotainment system, and truck-like road manners lower its overall ranking and appeal.

Pros & Cons

  • Elegant, well-built cabin
  • Muscular V8 engine
  • Extended-wheelbase ESV expands third-row and cargo space
  • Subpar predicted reliability rating
  • Infotainment system can be slow and confusing
  • Cramped third-row seat in standard configuration
  • Ride and handling are less refined than in rivals

New for 2017

  • Teen Driver system and rear-seat reminder became standard
  • Rearview camera mirror and parking assist became available




Critics' Rating: 8.9
Performance: 7.6
Interior: 8.0
Total Cost of Ownership: 6.6
This model has never been fully tested for safety. Its overall score is being calculated without safety.
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2017 Cadillac Escalade Overview

Is the 2017 Cadillac Escalade a Good Used SUV?

The Escalade is a reasonably good SUV, though a number of rivals are more well-rounded. The Escalade's cabin is one of its best attributes. It’s an elegant and relaxing space overflowing with high-quality touches, like leather upholstery, wood inlays, and plenty of soft touchpoints. With seating for up to eight and the extended-wheelbase version’s cavernous cargo area, the Escalade is an excellent option for transporting lots of people and their belongings in style. Cadillac offered an abundance of tech options in the 2017 Escalade, including multiple USB ports throughout the cabin and a wireless charging pad for smartphones. There’s also a 360-degree camera that makes parking a breeze, and a rearview camera mirror for an unobstructed view out of the rear.

The Escalade’s combination of space, available family-friendly features, and positive reviews helped it win our 2017 Best Luxury Large SUV for Families award for the fifth year in a row. That said, there are a few drawbacks to be aware of. The Escalade earned mixed crash test ratings, and it has a lower predicted reliability rating than most of its competitors. It also lacks refinement in areas like ride quality and infotainment.

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 20 sources and combined them with concrete data like fuel economy estimates, safety features, and performance specs to help you make an informed buying decision.

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 Is the 2017 Cadillac Escalade?

The average price of a 2017 Escalade is $67,100, based on almost 550 listings on our used car site. Factors such as optional features, vehicle condition, mileage, and regional demand affect the exact listing price, so you may see prices as low as $58,500 or as high as $79,000.

See the Best Used Car Deals »

How Much Does the 2017 Cadillac Escalade Cost to Own?

Over five years, you'll spend an estimated $30,700 to insure, fuel, repair, and maintain a 2017 Escalade. Most other luxury large SUVs have higher five-year costs for these expenses.

Is It Better to Buy a Used or New Escalade?

The 2018 Escalade is almost identical to the 2017 model, with a few exceptions. The 2018 model has an all-new 10-speed automatic transmission, which gives the Escalade two additional gears over the 2017's eight-speed transmission. However, that doesn't translate to a bump in fuel economy. Instead, the 2018 Escalade gets worse gas mileage in the city, and it now requires premium gasoline. That means you'll spend about $500 more per year on fuel than with a 2017 Escalade. You'll also spend about $7,600 more to buy a new Escalade over a used 2017 model. In the end, you (and your wallet) are better off with a used Escalade.

Read about the new Cadillac Escalade »

Consider a 2018 Infiniti QX80 if the idea of buying a new vehicle strikes your fancy, but spending north of $70,000 does not. This 3-row SUV is an exceptional value, in part because of its attractive list of standard amenities, which includes a power-folding and reclining third row, tri-zone automatic climate control, smartphone integration, and a user-friendly infotainment system. The QX80 is also expected to be one of the most reliable SUVs in its class. Pricing starts at $64,750.

See the Best New Car Deals »

See the Best New Car Lease Deals »

Which Model Year of the Cadillac Escalade Is Best? 

Following a full redesign for the 2015 model year, Cadillac has continued to add more tech options and enhancements. These include an update to the infotainment system for 2016, and the addition of Teen Driver and Rear Seat Reminder to the standard equipment list for 2017. Though these upgrades are appealing, shoppers may want to consider an older model to save some money. What’s more, the 2011 to 2014 models have much higher predicted reliability ratings than the 2017 Escalade.

Compare the 2015, 2016, and 2017 Escalade »

How Reliable Is the 2017 Cadillac Escalade?

The 2017 Escalade has a predicted reliability rating of 2.5 out of five from J.D. Power. Not only is that lower than most other luxury large SUVs’ scores, it’s also below average for a used vehicle in general.

Read more about Escalade reliability »

2017 Cadillac Escalade Recalls

As of this writing, one recall has been issued for the 2017 Escalade. The recall fixes a potential software problem relating to the front air bags and seat belt pretensioners. Before you buy a used Escalade, make sure that any applicable recalls have been addressed by a Cadillac dealer.

See more information on Cadillac Escalade safety recalls »

Which Used Cadillac Escalade Model Is Right for Me?

For 2017, the Escalade comes in four trims: Escalade, Luxury, Premium Luxury, and Platinum. Every model comes with a robust V8 engine, an eight-speed automatic transmission, and either rear-wheel or all-wheel drive. If you need more space than the standard body style allows, look for a Cadillac Escalade ESV. This long-wheelbase version adds almost 10 inches of legroom to the third row and more than double the cargo area behind the rearmost seats.

Out of all the trim levels, the base Cadillac Escalade offers the best value. It comes lavishly equipped with many of the interior comforts befitting of a luxury SUV. Leather upholstery, tri-zone automatic climate control, heated and cooled front seats, heated second-row seats, and a 16-speaker Bose surround-sound system are among its standard treats. 

See 2017 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 2017 Escalade is one of the few luxury large SUVs that has undergone a crash test analysis. It has a four-star overall safety rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, with five out of five stars in the side crash test, four stars in the frontal crash test, and three stars in the rollover test.

See Escalade safety scores »

2017 Cadillac Escalade Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: 2017 Cadillac Escalade or 2017 Land Rover Range Rover?

You lose third-row seating with the 2017 Land Rover Range Rover, but you gain impressive off-road abilities. Every model is outfitted with standard four-wheel drive, and unlike some other off-road SUVs, it's composed and comfortable on pavement. The Range Rover also boasts one of the most sumptuous interiors in the class. Though it’s a good SUV, the Land Rover costs quite a bit more than the Cadillac (about $31,000 more on average). We recommend the Escalade over the Range Rover.

Which Is Better: 2017 Cadillac Escalade or 2017 Mercedes-Benz GLS?

When it comes to passenger and cargo space, the 2017 Mercedes-Benz GLS is one of the few SUVs that can compete with the Cadillac Escalade. In fact, the GLS has an extra 10 inches of third-row legroom over the base Escalade, giving it adult-friendly accommodations throughout the entire cabin. Add in the GLS' hearty engine choices and above-average predicted reliability rating, and it’s easy to see why this Mercedes is one of the best options in the class. 

Compare the Escalade, Range Rover, and GLS »

2017 Escalade Performance

How Does the 2017 Cadillac Escalade Drive?

Slow acceleration is never an issue with the Escalade. Its brawny V8 engine makes merging onto the highway or overtaking slower traffic easy. The news isn't as good when it comes to ride quality, though. Unlike some SUVs (such as the 2-row Cadillac XT5), the Escalade has a truck-like construction, which yields a stiffer ride and coarser handling. The standard Magnetic Ride Control system somewhat helps by adjusting quickly to absorb rough patches in the pavement, but the ride still isn't as pleasant as in some other luxury large SUVs.

Does the 2017 Cadillac Escalade Get Good Gas Mileage?

Earning an EPA-estimated 15 mpg in the city and 22 mpg on the highway, the Escalade gets typical fuel economy for an SUV of its size. The Mercedes-Benz GLS has a slightly higher fuel economy rating, but you'll spend less on annual fuel costs with the Escalade because it doesn't require premium gasoline like the GLS. 

2017 Cadillac Escalade Towing Capacity

You can tow up to 8,300 pounds with the standard Escalade, or 8,100 pounds with the longer Escalade ESV.

Read more about Escalade performance »

2017 Escalade Interior

How Many People Does the 2017 Escalade Seat?

The Escalade’s carrying capacity depends on its interior configuration. Models with a pair of bucket seats in the second row have room for seven people, while models with a second-row bench seat provide room for eight. The first two rows of seats are comfortable and spacious, pampering travelers with heated seats (both rows) and ventilated seats (first row only). Similar to many other 3-row SUVs, legroom is tight for adults sitting in the third row. This section is much more inviting in the Escalade ESV, with legroom expanding from 24.8 to 34.5 inches.

How Many Car Seats Fit in the 2017 Cadillac Escalade?

In seven-seat Escalades, there are two sets of lower anchors (both in the second row) and five tether anchors (two in the middle row, and three in the rearmost row) for installing child seats. The tether anchors in the second row can be difficult to locate and identify, but all other anchors are easy to use.

2017 Cadillac Escalade Features

The Escalade comes equipped with a bevy of tech features, including an 8-inch touch screen, navigation, a 16-speaker Bose surround-sound system, Bluetooth, satellite radio, and HD Radio. The Escalade’s CUE infotainment system can be distracting to use, and both the touch screen and touch-sensitive climate control buttons are slow to respond. On the plus side, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard.

See 2017 Cadillac Escalade specs »

Read more about Escalade interior »

2017 Cadillac Escalade Dimensions

Cadillac Escalade Cargo Space

In the standard body style, the Escalade has one of the smallest cargo areas behind the third-row seats (at only 15.2 cubic feet). With all of the rear seats folded, this space expands to 94.2 cubic feet, and the extended-wheelbase Escalade ESV offers as much as 120.9 cubic feet of cargo room. The standard power liftgate and power-folding third-row seats are convenient touches that any busy family will appreciate.

Cadillac Escalade Length and Weight

The two-wheel-drive Escalade is 17 feet long, and it has a curb weight of 5,520 pounds. Escalade ESV models are 20.4 inches longer (totaling 18.7 feet) and weigh 5,731 pounds. Four-wheel-drive models weigh about 260 pounds more.

Where Was the 2017 Cadillac Escalade Built?

Cadillac built the 2017 Escalade in Texas.

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