CHATHAM, Mass. – Commander is the feeling I got when I got behind the wheel and started driving the 2023 Cadillac Escalade 4WD Platinum Sport thanks to its elevated seating position and full-color augmented-reality (AR) cluster monitor that my view through the huge windshield of this full-size sport-utility vehicle (SUV).
The presence on the road of the BIG, angular Escalade cannot be minimized, a specimen whose unique front-end/headlight configuration and Cadillac-embedded grille emphasize it. There are other SUVs of this size, including several General Motors siblings, but none that stand out quite like the Escalade.
And, unlike some of the domestic luxury vehicles of the past, the 2023 Escalade is filled with the latest technology and systems to enhance driving safety, comfort and convenience, including unique details such as the AR-enhanced navigation system, pedestrian and and pet-friendly (optional, $2,000) night vision system and 38-inch OLED screens for the driver.
Complete set of advanced driver assistance systems
You’d expect a solid group of Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) in a top-of-the-range car like this Escalade, and Cadillac doesn’t disappoint. In addition to the AR system, which provides street views that complement turn-by-turn navigation directions and acts as a “second” windshield should there be anything obscure by actual, as well as night vision, the ADAS list includes:
- Improved automatic emergency braking (AEB)
- Reverse AEB
- Rear cross traffic alert
- Improved parking aid (front, sides, rear)
- HD surround view
- Forward Collision Warning
- Brakes for pedestrian
- Rear-pedestrian alert
- Lane keep assist with lane departure warning
Not considered an ADAS, but one feature that I think certainly improves driving safety is a very useful heads-up display (HUD) operated via the 7.2-inch driver information touchscreen on the far left of the dash.
To my point, I was driving down a tight, winding country road in Eastham, Massachusetts, when an orange image of a person appeared on the HUD. This warning indicated a walker on the left side of the road. It was a help when the hiker’s clothing blended into the foliage just to his left, making him difficult to see with the naked eye.
Behind the steering wheel is the 14.2-inch customizable color cluster display that projects the AR image as well as full driving information, an image that seems to bring the Escalade’s interior to life.
Luxury and technology within the cavernous interior
Big, roomy, gargantuan, cavernous—words that come to mind as you climb into the roomy interior with the help of the (optional $1,750) electric running boards and take a seat on the leather-wrapped throne. The front seats are electrically adjustable with heating and ventilation; the two center captain’s seats are heated, and both this and the third row can be electrically folded from the diver’s seat.
Heating and leather upholstery extend to the steering wheel, which is also electrically adjustable and whose settings are stored by the two-person memory system.
A three zone automatic climate control system with easy to understand and use dash buttons/switches (no searching for a touchscreen to adjust the temperature or lower the fan speed).
The center of the appeal is the 16.9-inch infotainment OLED touchscreen. In addition to the touch controls, there are buttons on the steering wheel and a pair of console-mounted dials to control the infotainment system and volume for audio.
The infotainment system is equipped with wireless Apple CarPlay/Android Auto; SiriusXM satellite radio; HD radio; Bluetooth audio streaming and AM/FM. The sound of the system is projected by the first car implementation of an AKG audio system with 19 speakers, including a subwoofer, and a 14-channel amplifier.
The overall environment is comfortable for all occupants in three rows. The footboards aid entry and exit, but there is a definite need for a grab bar on the “A” pillar or dashboard for the front passenger (the grab bar on the ceiling is out of reach for someone of normal height trying to get into the car to climb). escalate).
Driving, handling not truck like
This fifth-generation Escalade (first introduced in 1999) drives and handles in a way that belies its being based on the big GM pickup (think Chevrolet Silverado/GMC Sierra).
The Escalade features independent rear suspension, Cadillac’s Magnetic Ride Control (which uses sensors to constantly “read” the road and change the damping rate of the shocks almost instantly), Air Ride Adaptive Suspension (provides automatic stepless height adjustment at all four wheels) and electronic limited slip rear differential.
All of these parts allow the 211.9-inch-long, 81.1-inch-wide, 5,823-pound SUV to handle and drive without drama or feeling like you’re driving a yacht.
Bringing this full-size SUV to a stop is a power braking system with anti-lock braking system (ABS) and four-wheel ventilated rotors riding within 22-inch 12-spoke dark-android wheels shod with all-season P275/50R22SL tires.
Motivating these chassis pieces is a 6.2-liter V8 producing 420 horsepower and 460 pound-feet of torque. A 10-speed automatic transmission backs up the big powerplant and helps squeeze out the 15.5 miles per gallon I saw during my week behind the wheel. This was slightly less than the 16 mpg the federal Environmental Protection Agency rates the vehicle (14 city, 18 highway).
The Escalade 4WD Sport Platinum, as the name suggests, has an automatic four-wheel drive system where the SUV’s computers decide when to switch from rear-wheel drive to four-wheel drive (which it does seamlessly, without anything other than a dash of LED indicator showing the change for driver and passengers).
The base of Escalade
The 2023 Escalade 4WD Sport Platinum tops the brand’s full-size SUV range and does so with panache, style and substance. The version I tasted had a base price of $107,095. Four options (the running boards, night vision, a cooled console [$700] and Galactic Gray[$625}brought$1795destinationchargetotalto$113965[5}795destinationchargebroughtthetotalto3965[5}bracht95bestemmingskostenhettotaalop3965[5}795destinationchargebroughtthetotalto3965
The total is actually quite competitive with the top end of the luxury SUV market and anyone looking for a large three-row ultimate SUV will find the Escalade 4WD Sport Platinum to be an excellent choice.
TBR Drives is off for the holiday season and the next drive will be released on January 2ndnd.