Cadillac has been building premium cars since 1902. After co-founder Henry Ford sold his stake, Cadillac’s remaining owners continued to elevate the brand during the childhood years of the American auto industry. parts from model to model. That same year, Cadillac became part of General Motors.
Numerous automotive innovations first appeared on Cadillacs. As the industry moves toward adapting mass battery electric vehicles, the GM buyer wants to reposition Cadillac as the “standard of the world.” As the number six selling “premium” brand in the US market – after Tesla, Mercedes, BMW, Lexus and Audi, with a fairly steep drop after Audi – Cadillac’s product planners have a lot of work to do.
During this week’s Escalade Sport visit, a cold mid-November, GM announced to investors and financial houses that it plans to use government grants to support its BEV powertrain, counting on recent legislation to curb the ever-rising cost of battery components. while consumers will help pay for rapidly rising retail prices with the enhanced BEV subsidies the government will offer.
In an effort to convince investors that GM can be as valuable or likeable as Tesla, the industry darling, they claim they can maintain their net margins and be a leading BEV provider by 2025. label as “Government Motors”, has no models on the top ten selling list of BEVs in America.
How will GM pay for the billions of dollars in BEV investment until all these incentives come into effect? By selling thousands upon thousands of gas-powered SUVs like our handsome Escalade Sport.
The best-selling vehicle in Cadillac’s lineup – by far – is approaching twenty-five years old. Our 2023 Sport, remade for 2022, quickly demonstrated why the Escalade is the most desirable luxury SUV for a vast majority of premium buyers; it has a rich interior, with extensive use of high-quality materials. The interior looks and feels luxurious, and it’s first-rate in comfort.
Using 38-inch horizontal screens in the curved dash – very well integrated, no add-ons like several rivals – the Escalade passes a ton of data to the driver, while still offering several banks of real buttons and controls that are often are managed vehicle controls, such as the row of climate buttons below the screen with the desired levels of tactile feedback. No wandering multiple fingers on a bouncing screen here – just precise interaction.
There’s a large heads-up display, plus our Platinum-clad Sport includes Augmented Reality navigation and a forward viewing screen – in theory you could drive from under the wheel – as well as forward night vision (for detecting people and critters in your path ), in addition to Cadillac’s trademark Super Cruise, a hands-free driver aid.
Other “goodies” include power-folding third-row seatbacks – up and down, power-folding footboards, a console refrigerator, a plethora of electronic driver aids and assist systems, magnetic ride control with adaptive suspension, 22-inch wheels, panoramic roof, trailer blind spot system (8,000 -pounds of torque), automatic reverse assist system, heated second-row bucket seats, massaging front seats, as well as a 36-speaker AKG audio system that replaced the standard 19-speaker AKG speaker setup – just in case you missed some high notes.
The powertrain is powerful, with the throbbing 420-horsepower 6.2-liter V-8 providing plenty of excitement via a selectable AWD/4WD system and a smooth 10-speed automatic transmission. A 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder diesel engine – with the same torque as the V-8 (460 lb./ft.) is optional, while 2023 will bring a new Escalade V model with a supercharged version of the V-8 making an incredible 682 horsepower. Fuel economy is 14/18 mpg for the V-8, with 17.5-20 mpg realized, while the diesel produces EPA readings of 21/27 mpg.
Base prices start at $82,590, while our Sport Platinum sticker for $113,915. The Escalade V starts at $152,000.
The Escalade’s attitude is unmistakable; the elongated front and rear LED lights easily say Cadillac, while the bold, upright grille is unlike any rival. The rear decal pops open the tailgate, while the top glass panel can be opened separately.
There’s a certain heaviness to the Escalade, a deliberation to every point of contact. From the door handles to the steering feel, the Escalade calls for purposeful engagement. It rolls down the road with ease, confidently clears road imperfections and discreetly reaches high speeds without tension. Endowed with the latest technology, graceful handling and soulful power, the Escalade is well positioned to help generate the boatloads of cash GM needs to achieve its BEV goals.
Tim Plouff has been reviewing cars for over 20 years.
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