General Motors has just unveiled the 2015 Cadillac Escalade in New York City. It’s fully redesigned, yet all very familiar. The flagship SUV is everything you’d expect it to be.
While anticipated to be “less ostentatious” from the outgoing model and “more differentiated” from the rest of its K2XX SUV brethren, the 2015 Escalade is still very much a full-bodied flashy SUV with a pickup truck column shifter, which seems to stick out at us more than its otherwise fantastic looking interior.
At launch, there will be the standard Escalade, and the stretched ESV model, giving 14 more inches of wheelbase and 20 inches of extra length overall. The Avalanche-based EXT model is no more. Production begins in Spring 2014 in Arlington, Texas.
Under the hood will exclusively be the powerful 6.2L L86 V8 engine mated to a Hydra-Matic 6L80 six-speed transmission, producing 420 horsepower at 5,600 RPM and 460 lb-ft of torque at 4,100 RPM. Both numbers are SAE certified. Magnetic ride control was also implemented to optimize ride quality.
As for the interior, Cadillac says the front seating area offers more than 1.5 inches (44 mm) more headroom and more than four inches (101 mm) of additional legroom compared to the outgoing models along with fold-flat second and third row seats, plus a segment-first hands-free liftgate includes programmable height settings.
Cadillac didn’t hold back on material usage, either. The 2015 Escalade outdoes its predecessors in overall fit and finish, ambient lighting, cut-and-sew stitching of the leather, suede accents, a reclining second row, standard heated and cooled seats, et cetera. As with the rest of the modern Cadillac Lineup, there’s the CUE system, and a 12.3-inch reconfigurable instrument panel.
For those that lack the proper skill to drive something this big, Cadillac has incorporated a suite of active safety technology. Systems such as Front and Rear Automatic Braking, which relies on short-range radar technology and ultrasonic sensors to help the driver avoid front and rear low-speed collisions via a progression of alerts that extend to complete braking, if necessary. Meanwhile, the Driver Awareness package includes Forward Collision Alert, Lane Departure Warning System, and the patented Safety Alert Seat, which offers directional vibrations to alert the driver about potential crash threats. A Driver Assist package adds Full Speed Range Adaptive Cruise Control, Front and Rear Automatic Braking, Automatic Collision Preparation and Automatic Safety Belt Tightening. Additionally, Side Blind Zone Alert, Rear Cross Traffic Alert and Lane Change Alert are standard on Luxury and Premium models. You get all that?
Also new is the segment’s only Front Seat Center-Mounted air bag, which first debuted in the GM Lambda crossovers, and is engineered to provide additional protection to drivers and front passengers in far-side impact crashes, where the affected occupant is on the opposite, non-struck side of the vehicle.
And because the 2015 Escalade is a body-on-frame SUV, the 5,603-6,086 lb vehicle can tow up to 8,200 lbs, or the equivalent of one owner’s ego.