The next-generation 2021 Cadillac Escalade offers a number of notable improvements over the outgoing model, including fully independent rear suspension, a massive widescreen infotainment display and, crucially, improved exterior styling. But even though the last-generation Cadillac Escalade is more than five years old, the vehicle’s design is still very well-received by Cadillac customers.
In an interview at the 2021 Escalade reveal event back in February, Cadillac Escalade Global Product Manager, Dave Schiavone, told GM Authority executive editor, Alex Luft, that the design of the previous-generation Cadillac Escalade was the second most well-received among customers in recent studies – second only to the 2021 Cadillac Escalade design.
“Five years into its lifecycle, the last-gen is number two!” Schiavone said.
These customer focus groups, or “clinics” as they are sometimes referred to, are meant to gauge customer reactions and perceptions prior to a vehicle’s release. The study referenced by Schiavone 2021 Cadillac Escalade compared the design of the 2021 Escalade to the SUV’s closest competitors, including the Lincoln Navigator, Infiniti QX80 and Lexus LX, as well as the outgoing 2020 model year Cadillac Escalade. It’s worth pointing out that such studies typically remove any branding associated with the vehicles to avoid any biases related to brand perception or reputation.
These results confirm the design of the outgoing Cadillac Escalade, with its tidy, chiseled lines, bold grille and tall upright stance, still resonate with Cadillac customers – even half a decade after its initial release. Many vehicles begin to age even two or three years after their release, so Bob Boniface, exterior design manager for the previous-generation Escalade, definitely deserves some recognition for his work on the SUV.
More importantly, the focus group findings confirm the 2021 Cadillac Escalade design is a step forward for the nameplate in terms of styling. While not a radical departure from a design perspective, the new model features a larger grille and horizontally-mounted LED headlights, which replace the outgoing model’s vertically-mounted front lamps. The large upright taillights in the rear remain, which, along with the large grille, help to maintain the SUV’s commanding road presence.
The 2021 Cadillac Escalade will arrive at U.S. Cadillac dealerships later this year.