The 2021 Cadillac Escalade is the fifth-generation luxury SUV to bear that name. In the 22 years since the first version was launched, there have been many changes, but all Escalades have featured a V8 engine, a body-on-frame platform, lots of exterior chrome and a luxurious interior. And, of course, they have all had various interpretations of the imposing Escalade grille.
The Escalade grille is such an important feature of the car’s design that Cadillac has posted a video of its evolution on its Instagram page, as shown at the bottom of this article. The production values are high, but the experience is a short one, and you might want to hit the Play button several times to get the full effect.
Or, if you’re feeling more leisurely, you could relax and read our own Cadillac Escalade grille guide. We start, because why not, with the first-generation model. This was a hurried response to the arrival of the Lincoln Navigator. Rather than spend time and money creating an entirely new vehicle, GM used the GMC Yukon as a base. This round-cornered Escalade grille was understandably similar to the one used on the Yukon, though the mesh pattern was different and, in an early example of what would become an Escalade tradition, there was more chrome around it.
The grille on the second-generation Escalade was quite different. The round-cornered treatment had given way to a more crest-like design, and there was even more chrome than before. This Escalade also used the more modern, geometric version of the Cadillac logo, without the crown and ducks featured on the earlier model.
The wreath, however, remained part of the logo for both the second and third Escalades. The latter had a grille of similar shape to the former, but the effect was very different, since the chrome piece above it was far more important than any of the other chrome elements.
No change of Escalade design has been as dramatic as that between the third and fourth generations. The 2015 Escalade had a larger grille than any of its predecessors, and featured far more chrome. The front-end treatment is not unlike that of the next model, though the current generation’s grille incorporates the horizontally-mounted LED headlights which have never been used on any previous Escalade.
It should be noted that the 2021 Escalade is in fact offered with three grille designs. The basic shape is the same in every case, but Luxury and Premium Luxury versions have a chrome mesh-style pattern, while the Sport (pictured above) uses black mesh. The Premium Luxury Platinum gets a unique grille with horizontal elements, as pictured below.
Check out the video to see Cadillac’s much shorter way of telling its own version of the Escalade grille story. And once you’ve done that, why not subscribe to GM Authority for more Escalade news, Cadillac news, and ever-increasing GM news coverage.
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This post was created in collaboration with our sister publication, Cadillac Society.