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2024 Cadillac Escalade Pros vs Cons, & Competitor Insights

2024 Cadillac Escalade Pros, Cons, and Competitor Comparison
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By Norman Ruckpaul
Reviewed & fact checked by
James Murdoch
Published: Feb 5, 2024

If your idea of luxury means being cocooned in a lavish leather interior while a high-tech V8 effortlessly motors you down the highway, the fifth generation Escalade should be on your radar. This iconic SUV has dominated the full-size luxury segment for years with its imposing presence and no-compromise comfort. But the competition is gaining with fresh offerings like the rugged Jeep Grand Wagoneer and driver-focused BMW X7 nipping at the Escalade’s heels.

In this review, we’ll see where the newest Escalade excels and where it could use a tune-up when stacked against rivals. From powertrains and cabins to handling and convenience features, we’ll cover it all so you can decide if Cadillac’s flagship has what it takes or if you should consider the competition. Time to hit the road!

Key Takeaways

  • The 2024 Escalade remains the hallmark of American luxury SUVs with a lavish interior and strong V8 performance.

  • Cadillac loads it with innovations like the curved OLED dash display and available Super Cruise.

  • Massaging seats, Zebra wood trim and AKG audio pamper passengers in true Cadillac fashion.

  • Thirsty engines and imposing proportions could give shoppers pause.

  • The Lincoln Navigator and Jeep Grand Wagoneer present stiff competition.

What We Like: Top Ten Pros

The 2024 Escalade sets the pace with opulent comfort, potent performance and serious technology. Here are some of the highlights that make it one of the most enticing luxury SUVs around.

1. Powerhouse Performance: The Heart of the Escalade

Under the hood, the Escalade packs a 6.2L V8 churning out a strong 420 horsepower and 460 lb-ft of torque for vigorous acceleration. According to Consumer Reports it goes 0 to 60 mph in 6.5 seconds. Even better, the high-performance V-Series version swaps in a supercharged V8 laying down a pavement-ripping 682 horsepower. With up to 8,000 pounds of towing capacity, this SUV can readily haul the big toys too.

2. Good Tech Innovation: Escalade's Digital Domain

The Escalade has game-changing tech like the curved 38-inch OLED display with stunning 4K graphics and animations. But the headline feature is Super Cruise hands-free driver assistance, using cameras and sensors for steering, braking and acceleration. This innovative system allows hands-free driving while keeping drivers safe and aware. Between Super Cruise and the jaw-dropping OLED display, the Escalade is at the forefront of SUV technology, taking convenience and entertainment to new heights.

3. Opulence Defined: The Escalade's Luxe Cabin Experience

Quilted leather seats with massage functionality, slabs of open pore Zebra wood trim, and an available console-mounted refrigerator demonstrate the Escalade’s commitment to first-class accommodations. The rear passengers aren’t neglected either, with available amenities like rear seat entertainment and even an AKG 36-speaker audio system to surround them in studio-quality sound.

4. King of the Road: Escalade's Towing Supremacy

Thanks to its sturdy body-on-frame construction and capable 6.2L V8, the 2024 Escalade can tow up to 8,000 pounds when properly equipped. That trounces competitors like the Lincoln Navigator and puts the Escalade at the head of the class for towing heavy loads like boats and trailers. The available air suspension also helps smooth out the ride when lugging all that cargo.

5. Shield of Safety: Cadillac's Commitment to Driver Assurance

The 2024 Escalade looks out for you and others on the road with Cadillac's smart system of safety and driver assistance features. This includes essentials like front pedestrian braking, automatic emergency braking, lane keep assist with lane departure warning, and Adaptive Cruise Control to help avoid collisions. Its head up display is customizable and keeps your attention on the road.

Parking and maneuvering get easier with the help of Rear Parking Sensors, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, and the Digital Rearview Mirror. The Safety Alert Seat provides an extra sensory cue by vibrating to warn about potential hazards.

Other advanced safety features include:

  • Forward Collision Warning

  • Surround View Camera System for a 360 degree view around the vehicle

  • Pedestrian Detection to spot people near the roadway

  • Automatic Braking

  • Lane Departure Warning, and Lane Keeping Assist

The Escalade has your back. The comprehensive Cadillac Smart System equips drivers with some of the latest tech to enhance safety and awareness on every drive. The Escalade helps give you confidence behind the wheel in modern traffic.

(Source: Cadillac)

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has not rated the Escalade. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) gave the escalade a four star safety rating:

  • Front Driver Side: 5 star

  • Front Passenger Side: 4 star

  • Overall Side Star Rating: 5 star

(Source: NHTSA)

6. Glide on Air: Escalade's Plush Ride

The Escalade floats down the road with a serenity matched by few SUVs thanks to its ingenious Magnetic Ride Control and available adaptive air suspension. By reading the road surface and adjusting the dampers instantaneously, it delivers one of the smoothest, most comfortable rides around according to critics and owners alike.

7. Symphony on Wheels: Escalade's Sound Systems

Audiophiles will delight in the Escalade’s available AKG Studio Reference audio system and its 36 expertly placed speakers producing incredible clarity and depth. It transforms the cabin into a personal concert hall and gives all passengers a first-class listening experience.

8. Spaciousness Galore: Escalade's Generous Cargo Hold

Hauling lots of cargo or passengers? No problem for the Escalade, which offers a cavernous 142.8 cubic feet of cargo space in its stretched Escalade ESV version. That dwarfs the room in rivals like the GMC Yukon and Chevrolet Tahoe's 122.9 cubic feet, so you can pack this SUV to the gills if needed.

To customize the interior space it comes with a power 60/40 split-folding third row that folds flat. It has an availableRear Fold Flat Cargo Organizer fits the Escalade's cargo area, protecting that luxury carpeting from life's messes. The grippy mat provides a barrier against spills and dirt. An integrated cargo bin with collapsible sides contains smaller items and disappears into the mat when not in use.

For the regular wheel base model the cargo volume to the front seat is 121.00 ft³, seat two is 72.90 ft³ and the third seat is 25.50 ft³.

9. A Statement in Design: Escalade's Signature Aesthetics

The Escalade makes an entrance with its imposing, chrome-laden grille, vertical LED accents, and substantial road presence. Cadillac’s daring, razor-edged styling is anything but subtle, which will appeal to buyers looking for an unmistakably bold aesthetic.

10. Tailored to Taste: Escalade's Trim Levels Extravaganza

With six trims ranging from $83k up to $154k for the fire-breathing V-Series, the Escalade presents a high level of personalization. Across the Cadillac Escalade model lineup you’ll find options for exclusive 22” wheels, unique Platinum and Sport styling packages, four interior color schemes, and top-shelf semi-aniline leather seating to create your ideal luxury SUV. The following are the key features of Escalades trim levels.

Luxury - Starting at $83,890

  • The base Luxury trim starts at $83,890. This entry-level luxury SUV still comes loaded with a big 6.2L V8 engine, 22" alloy wheels, and a curved OLED display. You also get a heated steering wheel and front seats, 19-speaker AKG audio, and Cadillac's smart driver assists.

Premium Luxury - Starting at $95,190

  • Stepping up to the Premium Luxury models at $95,190 adds more indulgence. Expect extras like a panoramic sunroof, Rear Camera Mirror, and Super Cruise hands-free driving tech. This Premium Luxury trim pampers passengers.

Sport - Starting at $98,190

  • At $98,190, the Sport trim brings a sporty edge with gloss black accents, performance diffs, and trailering features - perfect for adventure seekers. The Sport Platinum builds on that with luxury perks like semi-aniline leather and 16-way adjustable seats.

Premium Luxury Platinum - Starting at $112,690

  • Topping the range, the Premium Luxury Platinum trim spares no expense at $112,690. Beyond the amenities of lower trims, synthetic leather upholstery, it brings four-zone climate control, an upgraded 36-speaker AKG sound system, and a rear seat entertainment system - the peak of luxury.

Sport Platinum - Starting at $112,690

  • At $112,690, the Sport Platinum pampers passengers with opulent details like full semi-aniline leather seats, 16-way adjustable ventilated front seats with heating and massage, and a 36-speaker AKG audio system. With luxury amenities like rear seat entertainment, illuminated sill plates, and air ride suspension, this trim combines athletic capability with bespoke luxury appointments. For those wanting sporting flair and ultra-luxury, the Sport Platinum is the tip-top Escalade.

V-Series - Starting at $154,290

  • And for performance fans, the supercharged V-Series at $154,290 offers exclusive styling, track-ready Brembo brakes, and a whopping 682 horsepower under the hood. It's the ultimate high-performance Escalade.

So whether you want a value luxury SUV, sporty flair, or pure opulence, the 2024 Escalade has a wide range of trims to match your desires. Each takes luxury and capability to the next level.

What We Question: Four Cons

While brimming with luxury and innovation, there are also some possible drawbacks with the Escalade to weigh:

1. Thirst for Fuel: The Escalade's Appetite for Gas

No way around it – even with cylinder deactivation, those V8 engines remain seriously thirsty. Rear-wheel-drive 6.2-leter Escalades manage just 14 mpg city / 19 highway according to the EPA. Compare that to the 30% more efficient inline-6 BMW X7, and you’ll be making frequent fill-ups to keep this big Cadillac satisfied. (Source: EPA)

  1. 2WD 3.0 L, 6 cyl, 10 Speed Automatic Transmission, Turbo, Diesel

    • Combined MPG: 23

    • City: 21 MPG

    • Highway: 27 MPG

  2. 4WD 3.0 L, 6 cyl, Automatic 10-spd, Turbo, Diesel

    • Combined MPG: 22

    • City: 20 MPG

    • Highway: 26 MPG

  3. 2WD 6.2 L, 8 cyl, Automatic 10-spd, Premium Gasoline

    • Combined MPG: 16

    • City: 14 MPG

    • Highway: 19 MPG

  4. 4WD 6.2 L, 8 cyl, Automatic 10-spd, Premium Gasoline

    • Combined MPG: 16

    • City: 14 MPG

    • Highway: 18 MPG

  5. Escalade V AWD 6.2 L, 8 cyl, Automatic (S10), Supercharger, Premium Gasoline

    • Combined MPG: 13

    • City: 11 MPG

    • Highway: 16 MPG

The Jeep Grand Wagoneer doesn't fair much better with a combined MPG range is 15 to 17. The Lincoln Navigator gets a combined MPG of 18 and the BMW X7 ranges from 17 to 22 MPG.

2. Pricey Proposition: The Escalade's Premium Tag

With a starting price cresting $83,000, the Escalade resides at the peak of luxury SUV pricing. While competitive within its set, this still strains value versus the lavishly equipped but cheaper BMW X7 line. The sticker shock could sway certain shoppers.

3. Urban Navigator: Handling the Escalade's Grandeur

The Escalade’s imposing proportions – 17 ft long and weighing three tons – impair agility around town versus the tidy BMW X7. Drivers may find its heft and size a liability when navigating cramped city streets and parking garages.

4. Brand Blending: The Escalade vs. GM's Lineup

Close mechanical ties to GM’s Chevrolet Tahoe and GMC Yukon families mean the Escalade shares fundamental underpinnings. For some buyers, this dampens exclusivity versus rivals from standalone luxury brands with bespoke engineering.

Rival Rundown: How the Escalade Measures Up Against Its Foes

To see how the 2024 Cadillac Escalade truly measures up, we’ve got to stack it against its chief competitors – the Jeep Grand Wagoneer, Lincoln Navigator and BMW X7. How does Cadillac’s luxury cruiser compare when the rubber meets the road? Let’s find out.

Vs 2024 Jeep Grand Wagoneer

The all-new Grand Wagoneer brings a fresh perspective by blending luxury with Jeep’s legendary off-road grit. Its ritzy Summit Reserve model offers Escalade-like trimmings for over $20k less. But dated underpinnings hamper ride and efficiency versus the modern Escalade. Authentic off-road capability remains this Jeep’s calling card.

Vs 2024 Lincoln Navigator

Lincoln’s familiar rival, the Navigator, gives the Escalade a run for its money with comparable scale, power and towing capacity. Critics argue it claims victory on interior luxury. However, the Escalade fights back with its exclusive curved OLED screens, Super Cruise availability and slightly more cargo versatility.

Vs 2024 BMW X7

With its composed, driver-focused competence, the BMW X7 contrasts elegantly with the Escalade’s in-your-face presence. Its silken inline-6 engine and car-like handling return a 30% boost in fuel economy over the Cadillac’s thirsty V8s. However, the X7’s back seats can’t match the expansive accommodations of the Escalade. BMW’s latest iDrive system also pales versus the artistic OLED displays in Cadillac’s cabin.

Summing it Up

The 2024 Cadillac Escalade carries a heavy burden as the standard-bearer for American luxury SUVs. While it upholds core strengths like potent power, indulgent comfort and generous space, cracks are showing in its armor. Key areas like interior detailing, driving refinement and prestige see fresh challengers nip at the Escalade’s heels. But even with any shortcomings J.D. Power still managed to rank it number one for Best Large Premium SUV of 2024.

The Jeep Grand Wagoneer, Lincoln Navigator and BMW X7 all make compelling cases, chipping away at the Escalade’s domain. But with its iconic design, cabin technology and uncompromising capability, Cadillac’s flagship remains hard to dethrone. For loyal brand devotees or shoppers needing to combine luxury with serious towing chops, the 2024 Escalade still reigns supreme. Yet in the ultra-competitive luxury SUV derby, this king of bling can’t rest easy on its laurels.