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2019 Cadillac Escalade Interior Review

Scorecard

Interior: 7.4

The 2019 Cadillac Escalade tenders a luxurious experience because it comes so richly outfitted. Genuine leather, heated seats, a hands-free liftgate, a power-folding third row, and a well-equipped infotainment system are all standard. There are a few hiccups, though, including a finicky infotainment interface and a shortage of cargo space when every seat is in use.

  • The Escalade is well-built, and parts-sharing of switches and touch points from the Suburban is the only real sore point. The seat materials are noticeably better in the front seats versus the second and third rows, and the hard plastic used in some areas of the interior feels cheap." -- Edmunds
  • We're impressed with how much tech and feature content is included, but the Escalade still can't touch similarly priced rivals such as the Range Rover or Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class for overall quality. The new Lincoln Navigator also, perhaps arguably, puts it to shame on the style front." -- Autotrader (2018)
  • "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)

Seating

In its standard configuration, the Escalade is a 3-row SUV with seating for seven. You can also build this as an eight-person SUV by opting for a second-row bench seat in place of the captain's chairs. Leather upholstery is standard, as are heated and ventilated front seats, heated second-row seats, a power-folding third-row seat, and a leather-wrapped heated steering wheel. Options include semi-aniline leather seating surfaces, 18-way power-adjustable front seats with a massage feature, second- and third-row power-adjustable seats, and power-retractable steps.

In the second row, Escalade models with captain's chairs have two full sets of LATCH anchors, each consisting of a top tether anchor and two lower anchors. Models with a second-row bench seat have three full sets of LATCH connections. There are three additional tether anchors in the third row. The standard rear-seat reminder cautions the driver to double check the back seat before leaving the vehicle.

Adults will want to reserve their spot in the first two rows of seats. These zones are roomy and comfortable, though some will want more support than these soft cushions offer. In the rearmost seats, there is less legroom than in any other luxury 3-row SUV we rank, and the third-row bench is only suitable for kids. The extra-long Escalade ESV is an excellent option if you want a more usable third row, with its much-needed 9.7 inches of extra legroom.

  • "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 (2018)
  • Third-row legroom is tight for tall adults in standard models, but the extended-length 2018 Cadillac ESV SUV rectifies that while also offering considerably more cargo space behind the rearmost seats." -- Kelley Blue Book (2018)
  • "Its American rival also greatly outpaces the Escalade's interior space, especially in the third row. Despite this huge Cadillac's size, space back there is actually an issue, as the regular-wheelbase model's aft-most seat is basically mounted to the floor with occupants' knees shoved toward the roof and scarce room between it and row number two." -- Autotrader (2018)

Interior Features

In the Escalade, you can adjust audio and climate settings using the CUE infotainment system. This sleek-looking system employs an 8-inch touch screen – which is prone to showing fingerprints – and a handful of buttons for quick adjustments. The interface is confusing at first, and it can be slow to respond to inputs. Its standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto give smartphone users a familiar and convenient layout, helping offset some of the CUE's quirks. The base system also comes with navigation, a 16-speaker Bose surround-sound system, Bluetooth, satellite radio, HD Radio, four USB ports, and a Wi-Fi hot spot. Remote start, wireless device charging, and tri-zone automatic climate control are standard as well. You'll also get a healthy dose of standard safety tech, such as a 360-degree parking camera, front and rear parking sensors, active park assist, Teen Driver, and a rear-seat occupant reminder system.

Most of the Escalade's add-ons focus on safety and include a rearview camera mirror, forward collision warning with low-speed automatic emergency braking (even in reverse), lane departure warning, lane keep assist, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, automatic high beams, a head-up display, a safety alert seat, adaptive cruise control, and cornering headlights. A sunroof, two types of rear-seat entertainment systems, and a cooler in the center console are also available.

See 2019 Cadillac Escalade specs»

  • Primary controls, such as shifter, fall to hand. The instrument panel is clear and easily configurable. Infotainment software is adequate, but the buttons around the display are laggy and lack the haptic feedback of the lower buttons. The glossy infotainment stack shows fingerprints and glare." -- Edmunds
  • "The CUE audio and infotainment system has been improved for faster response and more intuitive operation, plus given the ability to interface with Apple CarPlay." -- Kelley Blue Book (2016)
  • "Leather is the cabin's dominant material, with small streaks of wood and spans of faux suede. As it is on the rest of Cadillac's range, the CUE infotainment system is surrounded by piano black trim. Fit and finish is truly excellent, especially around the center console lids, which conceal change trays and cupholders. And these high-quality materials are all standard - what you see in these images is fitted to every Escalade." -- Autoblog (2015)

Cargo

Cargo space is slim behind the third-row seats, at just 15.2 cubic feet. Fortunately, it's easy to create more space with the power-folding third-row seats, which lay flat and don't require you to hoist them out of the SUV. With these out of the way, the cargo area measures 51.6 cubic feet, and the Escalade offers up to 94.2 cubic feet when you collapse the second- and third-row seats. These two measurements are above average for a luxury large SUV. The Escalade's cargo floor is quite high, though, so be prepared to use extra muscle to lift heavy cargo.

You get much more cargo space in every seating configuration with the long-wheelbase Escalade ESV. It more than doubles the storage area behind the third row (at 39.3 cubic feet), has 76.7 cubic feet behind the second row, and up to 120.9 cubic feet overall. Cadillac also offers a power-folding second-row seat and a hands-free power liftgate.

  • "Behind the third row is 15.2 cubic feet of cargo space, just about the least spacious in the category. Fold down the seats for 94.2 cubic feet. The high load floor limits cargo height, and loading bulky and heavy items is difficult, requiring a deep reach-over. More tie-down points are needed." -- Edmunds
  • –"The extremely high load height in both the regular and extended-length Escalade ESV makes it difficult to lift just about anything into the cargo area. Good luck to the poor dog who tries to leap aboard." -- Autotrader (2018)
  • "Both the 3rd - and 2nd-row seats fold flat, and open up an incredible amount of cargo space." -- Kelley Blue Book (2018)
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