The 2023 Cadillac Escalade is today the flagship of the General Motors brand. It contains one of the largest V8 engines for sale in America, it is one of the largest vehicles for sale in America and without a doubt one of the most luxurious. But how well can it handle big touring tasks? We set out to explore the backcountry mountain roads of rural New Hampshire.
What are we driving?
Our test vehicle was a 4WD Sport Platinum Edition of the 2023 Cadillac Escalade with a sticker price of $113,915. The five major options included a special paint for the cooled console, night vision, a power retractable side step and some perimeter lighting. None of that has anything to do with touring, grand or otherwise. However, none of these got in the way of enjoying the Escalade on the open road.
What makes this Cadillac special?
When testing the Escalade, we noticed a few things. The suspension is both magnetic and pneumatic. Pretty crazy, but the result is that the Escalade handles pretty well in tight corners and when you have the chance to take a turn. Cornering isn’t the forte of very large vehicles with wheelbases measured in miles, but the Escalade defies all physics and feels pretty good in a corner.
In the back of the Escalade is a limited slip differential that helps to effectively cut the power. This is perfect because 4WD is not a positive when trying to steer in tight situations. We like 2WD much more than 4High in the Escalade after trying both modes.
The power is generous thanks to the 6.2 liter displacement in the large V8. Paddle shifters and a sport mode are both available but not required. All you need to add the speed you want is your toe on the throttle of the Escalade’s “Sport” trim.
How does the Escalade drive on open roads?
Grand touring is driving on open roads with speed limits greater than 45 MPH. The Escalade feels great with this kind of driving. It is smooth, relaxing, responsive and comfortable on the road. With huge 22-inch low-profile touring tires, the Escalade is firm over bumps, but New Hampshire does a great job minimizing them. Most of the sidewalk we covered was a perfect black ribbon.
Bring the comfort
Cadillac uses semi-aniline genuine leather seats in the Escalade. If you’re a fan of soft perforated leather, these are for you. The steering wheel is also genuine leather and feels just right. The seats are adjustable as desired and the standard massage function does not switch off every few minutes, as is the case with the top models of many European brands.
The technique is perfect in the Escalade
Modern technology aids in touring big. It does this by keeping your head up and focused on the road via the aptly named head-up display. The driver information display can be one large map view if desired. The infotainment screen can be touched, or you can use the rotating mouse. Brilliant. There’s a perfect phone mount, and Android Auto and Apple Car Play are wireless and worked perfectly in our testing.
Who doesn’t like tunes when they ride for fun? We certainly enjoyed the 36 speakers (yes, thirty-six). You can be sure that the Cadillac sound system rocks.
Security, sure why not?
Sixteen different safety features are standard on the Escalade, not to mention that it’s the biggest and heaviest thing on the road, not a tractor-trailer. What we liked most about them is that the electronic nannies never annoyed us during our week with the Cadillac. In fact, the little vibrations the seat creates when you deviate from the centerline of the road are fine. They sort of tickle. Much better than the tug of the wheel of blaring buzzers that many brands force you to endure.
Conclusion – Cadillac Escalade as Grand Touring Vehicle
Surprisingly, the largest GM vehicle money can buy is quite enjoyable in an environment more befitting a Corvette. When you need the hefty three-row Cadillac, you can rest assured that your driving pleasure will not be compromised. And unlike a ‘Vette’, if you get a flat tyre, you can put on the full size spare wheel and be back on the road in no time. A nice bonus if you’re far from home and touring the back roads during peak foliage.
Pictures of the 2023 Cadillac Escalade 4WD Sport Platinum by John Goreham
John Goreham is a longtime member of the New England Motor Press Association and recovering engineer. John’s interest in electric cars goes back to 1990, when he designed the thermal control system for an electric battery as part of an academic team. After earning his degree in mechanical engineering, John completed a marketing program at Northeastern University and worked with auto parts manufacturers, in the semiconductor industry, and in biotechnology. In addition to Torque News, John’s work has appeared in print on dozens of U.S. news outlets and provides reviews to many auto-shop sites. You can follow John on TikTok @ToknCars, at Twitterand view his credentials on Linkedin
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