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2017 Cadillac Escalade Interior Review

Note: This interior review was created when the 2017 Cadillac Escalade was new.

Scorecard

Interior: 8.0

The 2017 Cadillac Escalade flaunts plenty of posh materials and high-end style elements, including an abundance of soft-touch materials, two different grades of leather upholstery, and genuine wood-grain trim. Also, the Escalade's impeccable sound insulation allows for whisper-quiet conversations. Seating is spacious in the first two rows, but the third row is only fit for children, unless you go with the extended-wheelbase ESV. The same goes for cargo space; the ESV's rear storage area dwarfs the standard-wheelbase version. With plenty of standard and available features, the Escalade makes quite the entertainer. However, audio and climate controls are not as responsive as what you'll find in rival cabins.

  • "The Escalade's cabin features attractive, high-quality materials. This is especially true of the Platinum trim level, which upgrades to a comprehensive use of premium leather." -- Edmunds
  • "Boasting soft-touch materials as far as the eye can see, the Escalade wows every time you enter. Leather and real wood give off a more refined feel – something missing from previous-generation Escalades." -- Kelley Blue Book (2016)
  • The interior is a vast improvement over the old model, which was a vast improvement over its predecessor. We're impressed with how well Cadillac has managed to keep up with the latest in interior design, though the Escalade still can't touch rivals, such as the Range Rover, for overall quality. Then again, it isn't as expensive as those rivals, either." -- Autotrader (2016)

Seating

The Escalade comes standard with seating for seven, leather upholstery, heated and cooled front seats, heated second-row seats, a power tilt-and-telescopic heated steering wheel, power-adjustable pedals, and memory settings for power adjustments. The default configuration for all trims places two bucket seats in the second row, but you can swap these for a second-row bench seat (increasing total capacity to eight) for no extra cost. Other options include second- and third-row power-adjustable seats, power-retractable steps, premium leather interior, and 18-way power-adjustable front seats.

Up front, driver and passenger alike won't have a problem getting comfortable, with standard 12-way power-adjustable seats. Second-row seats are spacious, but the same issue that many smaller SUVs face also plagues the Escalade: a cramped third row only fit for children. The extended-wheelbase ESV remedies this issue by adding 9.7 inches of legroom.

A rear-seat occupant reminder, which comes standard, is helpful for parents. It prompts caregivers to check if a toddler or infant is in the back seat before exiting the SUV. The Escalade's LATCH car-seat system comes with two full sets of anchors on the second-row outboard seats and a tether-only connection for the third-row middle seat.

  • "As big as the Cadillac might seem on the outside, it's surprising that the interior doesn't feel extraordinarily spacious. The first two rows of seats have an abundance of head- and legroom, yet shoulder space seems oddly limited. And as with third-row seats in all SUVs in all size categories, these are meant to be used only for children on short trips." -- Edmunds
  • The extended-length ESV model makes the somewhat cramped 3rd-row seat a bit more spacious and adds more rear cargo room as well." -- Consumer Guide (2016)
  • Third-row legroom is tight in standard models, but the extended-length 2016 Cadillac ESV SUV rectifies that while also offering considerably more cargo space behind the rear-most seats." -- Kelley Blue Book (2016)

Interior Features

Standard features in the 2017 Escalade include push-button and remote start, tri-zone automatic climate control, a 360-degree parking camera, a Wi-Fi hot spot, and wireless charging for smartphones. The Cadillac CUE infotainment system comes with an 8-inch touch screen, integrated navigation, a Bose 16-speaker surround-sound system, Bluetooth, satellite radio, HD Radio, five USB ports, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, front and rear parking sensors, parking assistance with semi-automatic steering, a rear-seat occupant reminder, and a Teen Driver management system.

Available features include a sunroof, a head-up display, a Blu-ray entertainment system, two headrest-mounted rear-seat displays, a security system with motion sensors and an inclination sensor, illuminated door handles, and a built-in cooler. Optional safety features include a driver alertness monitor, a rearview camera mirror, automatic high beams, forward collision warning with low-speed automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning with lane keep assist, adaptive cruise control, a safety alert seat, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, front and rear automatic emergency braking, and cornering headlights.

The center stack is both stylish and befitting of the Cadillac moniker. Although audio and climate controls are more responsive than before, the CUE infotainment system's 8-inch touch screen is occasionally slow to react. Touch-sensitive buttons have the same issue. To make matters worse, the CUE's menu structure is confounding, making it frustrating to find particular menus. Connectivity features like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto help by bringing a familiar interface to the Escalade. They mirror select apps from your iPhone or Android phone directly on the Escalade's display.

With the standard Teen Driver system, parents can control certain functions of the SUV, like setting the audio level to preset decibel levels. Also, parents can prohibit the disabling of advanced safety features. The system even gives a report card of driving habits, recording how many times the driver went over the speed limit or received a forward collision warning or how often the automatic emergency braking system was engaged. This acts as a tool for parents to coach their teens on good driving habits.

See 2017 Cadillac Escalade specs »

  • Cadillac's CUE infotainment system is visually appealing, as are the rest of the controls on the center stack of the dash. CUE offers plenty of features to keep passengers entertained, yet the system's responses to touchscreen inputs are sometimes delayedand the menus aren't always intuitive to understand. The touch-sensitive buttons for climate control are similarly problematic." -- Edmunds
  • "The CUE audio and infotainment system has been improved for faster responseand more intuitive operation, plus given the ability to interface with Apple CarPlay." -- Kelley Blue Book (2016)
  • "Overall, nearly everything inside looks and feels worthy of the Escalade's pricetag." -- Left Lane News (2015)

Cargo

Cargo capacity depends on whether you opt for the standard Escalade or the extended-wheelbase ESV variant. With the standard-wheelbase version, you'll have 15.2 cubic feet behind the third-row seat, 51.6 when you fold down the third row, and 94.2 with both the second and third rows folded. While the maximum capacity is well above average for the luxury large SUV class, space behind the third row is tight compared to others. For more room, opt for the ESV body style, which has 39.3 cubic feet behind the third row, 76.7 with the third row down, and 120.9 with all but the front seats folded, making it one of the most cargo-ready SUVs in its class.

Open the liftgate, push a button, and the standard power-folding third-row seat collapses. Although this make the cargo floor higher, it is much easier than manually removing the seats, like you have to do in some rival SUVs. That said, getting cargo into the Escalade is made difficult by that high load floor, though the optional hands-free power liftgate greatly adds to the Escalade's convenience. Small-item storage includes a built-in cooler, which comes in handy for storing ice-cold beverages.

  • These figures don't tell the whole story, though, because the high load floor in the back makes for a fairly strenuous loading process. Fortunately, the hands-free power liftgate can be triggered with a swipe of your foot under the rear bumper." -- Edmunds
  • "Given the 2016 Cadillac Escalade's cavernous interior, the ability to fold the 2nd- and 3rd-row seats is an invaluable feature. Simply press the cargo area-mounted switch and both sets fold flush to create a level load floor." -- Kelley Blue Book (2016)
  • For such a big vehicle, the Escalade's space utilization is wanting. The cargo floor now steps up, which was necessary to allow the second- and third-row seats to fold flat (via a pushbutton just inside the tailgate). It's not an elegant solution, but we agree that pushing a button to stow the seats certainly beats lugging them out of the car." -- Automobile Magazine (2015)

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