I was lucky enough to live with the 2021 Cadillac Escalade for a week. I’ve come to the conclusion that there is only one word that describes the many facets of this vehicle: AWESOME. It’s fitting to describe the size, tech, interior finishes and exterior design.
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The first thing I noticed about the Escalade was its size. It’s big. But, despite its size, it has modern lines and a simple aesthetic. The 22-inch wheels fit neatly into the wheel wells and were appropriately proportioned; the rims are well designed and not too aggressive, but edgy enough. The minimal trim drew your eye across the landscape of the exterior and instilled a feeling of motion, even when the vehicle was sitting still. From the front, the grill is imposing and conveys a feeling of dominance without being overbearing.
The interior was inviting. The seats were dressed in buttery leather and were both heated and cooled. Other parts of the interior were a mix of leather and cloth. There was no mistaking the fact that I was in a luxury vehicle. The modern, curved OLED dash screens were impressive and seemed to stretch from the driver’s window to the center of the vehicle. Yet, they never felt overwhelming. The resolution was nothing short of amazing. No matter what the lighting situation was, there was never any glare on the screen. Everything remained crisp and easy to read, was easily viewable from any angle. The rearview camera display was a fun at first, however, I couldn’t get used to it while the vehicle was moving. I ended up opting for the comfort of the old school mirror and turned the camera off (Jaime: I loved the mirror camera!).
The technology features were everything that you would expect. From parking assist, to night vision, head’s-up display, and Apple CarPlay – the Escalade was loaded. I’m not sure that there was an option that I ever heard of that wasn’t included. It even had massage seats! Thankfully, it was also more intuitive than I could have imagined. After little more than a half an hour, I felt the same comfort and ease that usually comes after spending months with a vehicle. If I tried harder, I might have figured out that there was parking assist sooner. I eventually discovered it, but only after I had already parallel parked. Yet, with all of the cameras and sensors, parallel parking was a breeze. But, for as intuitive as it was, my daughter was disappointed that we couldn’t get her iPhone hooked up to rear screens. I know that you could cast some devices, however, that wasn’t an option for Apple devices. I think that it would have been great if we could have mirrored her screen.
One of the nice things about the quick adjustment to the bells and whistles was that I got the opportunity to focus on the ride. It was smooth. I mean…really smooth. You could barely feel the road underneath you as you glided over the asphalt (Jaime: I felt like we were flying!). The interior compartment was supremely quiet. I couldn’t help getting the feeling that I wished someone was chauffeuring me around (Jaime: Jordan was chauffeuring us around and my daughter and I felt uber-fancy – like celebrities!). At the same time, it was fun to drive. For a full-size SUV, it drove like a much smaller vehicle. It had nice acceleration and the handling was nimble. I was thankful for the driver assist features that helped me change lanes and stay in my own lane. The model I drove didn’t have their new Super Cruise Handsfree Driving Technology because I understand that wasn’t available at the time of our test drive, but it will be this Spring.
The layout of the interior was also really convenient and spacious. There were two rows of captain chairs and a third row of bench seats. The third row of bench seats could lower and raise automatically. I was able to put a 7-foot surfboard right down the middle by lowering one side of the bench seat. I still had room for four more passengers. And, if they surfed too, it would have been no problem to fit their boards as well.
Overall, I enjoyed my week with the 2021 Cadillac Escalade and hope to test the Super Cruise technology as an excuse to drive this vehicle again!