Our sister publication Ford Authority has been keeping track of which GM products have been acquired by The General’s cross-town rival, Ford Motor Company, for benchmarking purposes. For example, it was revealed last week that Ford was in possession of a Chevy Corvette C8 Stingray. Now we’ve learned that FoMoCo also got its hands on a 2021 Cadillac Escalade, which has been seen entering its Dearborn Development Center.
The obvious implication is that Ford wants to compare the fifth-generation Cadillac Escalade with its own Lincoln Navigator, which is set to undergo a mid-cycle enhancement (MCE) for the 2022 model year. Back in March, Ford Authority reported that FoMoCo was benchmarking the last-gen, 2020 Cadillac Escalade.
- See more on the 2022 Lincoln Navigator
This seemed odd at the time, since it would make more sense to take a close look at a current model rather than a discontinued one, but it’s possible that Ford was simply unable to get its hands on the new Escalade at the time.
Automakers benchmarking each others’ vehicles is hardly new – it’s been happening for many decades. However, there is a reason why Ford should be showing particularly high levels of interest in the Escalade.
Sales Numbers - Full-Size Luxury SUVs - Q1 2021 - USA
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In Q1 of 2021, the Cadillac Escalade dominated the full-size luxury SUV sales charts in the United States at 9,842 units. This was slightly more than double the 4,832 sales achieved by the Lincoln Navigator, which nevertheless overtook the Infiniti QX80 (4,342 units) for second place in the segment. If the Navigator and the QX80 are the supporting players in this scenario, the Lexus LX has a non-speaking part, with sales of just 1,340 units, or seven percent of the segment for the first three months of the year.
Nothing short of a calamity will remove the Escalade from its leading position in the near future, but looking at it closely will likely help Ford as it continues to play the long game in its attempt to gain a more prominent position in this highly-lucrative space.
The 2021 Escalade rides on the GM T1 platform for body-on-frame vehicles, which is also used for the fourth-generation Chevy Silverado pickup truck and the 2021 GMC Yukon SUV. The two available engines are the 6.2L V8 L87 gasoline unit from the EcoTec3 family, which produces 420 horsepower and 460 pound-feet of torque, and the 3.0L I6 LM2 turbo diesel Duramax, which is rated at 277 horsepower and the same 460 pound-feet of torque. The Lincoln Navigator uses a twin-turbocharged 3.5L V6 PowerBoost gasoline engine, which makes 450 horsepower and 510 pound-feet of torque.
Including destination charge, the base price for the Cadillac Escalade is $77,840. The Lincoln Navigator is priced to start at $78,645. Both are available in longer-wheelbase variants, which are known as Escalade ESV and Navigator L.