Virtually every model in the Cadillac lineup has implemented its new horizontal tail lamp design, which combines a long vertical lighting element with shorter, horizontally-positioned element. All of Cadillac’s most recent models use this design, including the XT4 and XT6 crossovers – so why does the 2021 Cadillac Escalade retain the same vertical tail lamp design as the outgoing model?
To find out why this design decision was made, Cadillac Society asked Cadillac Escalade Product Marketing Manager Dave Schiavone about the matter. Cadillac actually did experiment with a horizontal tail lamp design for the 2021 Cadillac Escalade, Schiavone explained, but the vertical design tested better in focus groups, so designers decided to stick with what they knew.
“One thing that [General Motors] is really good at is research,” Schiavone told Cadillac Society. “It’s an exciting time to be there because you’re getting all the people who are buying Escalades, you’re getting the people who are buying anything else in the segment, and we’re showing them dozens and dozens of different ideas.”
“In the case of the Escalade, nobody liked the look with the horizontal tail lamps,” Schiavone added. “We had plenty of these designs. It works for the other models, I don’t argue that at all. But we made an exception here for the 2021 Escalade because the customers told us ‘no, we like the thin vertical lamps.'”
We’re no experts on design, but it’s hard to deny the Escalade’s tall, vertical tail lamps look right on the SUV’s boxy rear end. They also help give the vehicle a ton of presence at night, and large luxury vehicles like the Escalade all about making a statement. Schiavone also pointed out that vertically oriented tail lamps have appeared on every Escalade since the model’s inception in 1999, so customers are also used to the look.
Cadillac Society rightly points out that the Escalade’s tail lamps have grown progressively thinner over the years. Advancements in lighting technology have enabled vehicle designers to get more creative and daring with tail lamp designs and make them thinner and more complex.
The 2021 Cadillac Escalade isn’t the only Cadillac without horizontal tail lamps, though. The Cadillac XT5‘s tail lamps don’t feature a horizontal element, either. The XT5 is also the oldest vehicle in Cadillac’s portfolio, however, and is due to be replaced in 2022.