The 2021 Cadillac Escalade is a major leap forward for the popular nameplate, introducing several major improvements such as an independent rear suspension, a 38-inch widescreen OLED display and available adaptive air suspension. The one change that has really captured the attention of many Cadillac fans, though, is the addition of General Motors‘ turbo-diesel 3.0L LM2 inline-six – part of the Duramax engine family – to the luxury SUV’s engine lineup.
It’s easy to see why Cadillac enthusiasts are excited about the addition of the 3.0L diesel engine to the Escalade’s powertrain portfolio. This is the first time a diesel has been offered in the full-size luxury SUV and, as Escalade Marketing Manager Dave Schiavone told GM Authority in a recent interview, it will offer some rather significant efficiency gains over the standard 6.2L L87 V8 engine.
“If you love Escalade, you love Escalade,” Schiavone explained to GM Authority’s executive editor, Alex Luft. “But for those people that also love fuel efficiency, they can get it in the diesel. We’re expecting some pretty good improvements in fuel economy on the diesel over the V8 gasoline. I don’t have numbers to share right now, but I will tell you that they’re significant.”
At this point, some readers may be asking themselves why fuel efficiency matters in a pricey luxury vehicle like the Escalade. After all, do rich people really care how much they are spending at the pump? We asked Schiavone the same thing, and his answer was an unequivocal “yes.”
As a reminder, the 3.0L diesel offered in the 2021 Cadillac Escalade is good for 277 horsepower and 460 pound-feet of torque. Meanwhile, the 6.2L V8 produces 420 horsepower and 460 pound-feet of torque. Both engines are paired with the GM 10-speed automatic transmission in the SUV.
The EPA has yet to release its fuel economy figures for the 2021 Cadillac Escalade. The EPA’s ratings for the outgoing 2020 model-year Escalade may give us a good idea of what to expect, though, as it had the previous-generation L86 6.2L V8 engine, which is closely related to the L87, and the same 10-speed automatic transmission. The 2020 Escalade was rated at 14 mpg city, 23 mpg highway, and 17 mpg combined with rear-wheel-drive, while four-wheel-drive models returned 14 mpg city, 21 mpg highway and 17 mpg combined.
Looking at other GM products with the same available engines as the 2021 Escalade may also give us a good idea of what to expect from the Escalade diesel. Let’s use the 2020 Chevrolet Silverado as an example. The Silverado with the L87 V8 and four-wheel-drive is rated at 16 mpg city, 20 mpg highway and 17 mpg combined. The Silverado with the LM2 diesel and four-wheel-drive, meanwhile, returns 23 mpg city, 29 mpg highway and 25 mpg combined.
Customers may also be interested in the diesel-powered 2021 Escalade for reasons other than fuel economy. As Schiavone explained, the 3.0L engine also has impressive low-end grunt, giving the big SUV some rather impressive pick-up when accelerating.
“[The] torque curve is impressive on the diesel,” he said. “Max torque at 1,200 rpm and up, so it’s there instantly.”
The 2021 Cadillac Escalade will go on sale at Cadillac dealers later this year.