2020 Cadillac Escalade ESV Lease Deals, Specials and Offers
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2020 vs 2021: What's the Difference?
Priced well above the budget of the average buyer, the 2021 Cadillac Escalade ESV is, from the outside, a gorgeous vehicle. The Escalade has, however, stood in the shadow of the super fancy Lincoln Navigator for years. Last year's 2020 Cadillac Escalade ESV was honestly kind of a snooze-fest. Its ride quality lagged behind what you get in other luxury SUVs, and trying to maneuver the darn thing was a total chore. And, on top of that, you were stuck with a counter-intuitive infotainment system.
2021 marks the Escalade's entry into its fifth generation, and the difference is night-and-day . The full redesign includes a carving-out of more interior space for rear seat passengers and semi-automated driving feature known as Super Cruise (one of the many new driver aids that gets equipped). And that ride quality problem? It has been addressed with the inclusion of a new independent rear suspension, which is on-trend right now with these larger SUVs.
Both model years are excellent at transporting stuff. There is a max tow rating of 8,100 pounds and cargo space galore . So if it is cargo space you want, then you shall absolutely receive.
So, just how does the revamped 2021 Cadillac Escalade ESV stack up against the old 2020? What kind of trim levels does it have to offer? What kinds of technological features should you expect? How does it perform? Is it safe and reliable? We'll talk about that as well as give you some comparisons to the vehicle's top-rated competitors in the full-size third-row SUV segment.
What Do the Various Trim Levels Offer?
The 2021 Cadillac Escalade ESV comes in five different trim levels: the base Luxury, Premium Luxury, Sport, Premium Luxury Platinum, and the line-topping and ultra-luxurious Sport Platinum. The 2020 model comes as either the base, Luxury, Premium Luxury, and Platinum trim. A 6.2-L V8 engine comes standard and has a pwoer output of 420 hp and 460 lb-ft of torque. Rear-wheel drive is standard, but four-wheel drive is an option. A second-row bench seat is standard as well and seats up to eight, but there are captain's chairs that can be swapped in, taking the maximum occupancy down to seven. Also, note that there is a turbo 3.0-liter six-cylinder diesel engine that gets 277 hp and 460 lb-ft of torque. Though not as powerful, this engine is more fuel-efficient. Both powertrains are paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission.
The Luxury trim level starts off with full leather seating; there's no cloth or vinyl to be found here. You also get treated to a tri-zone climate control system, a massive 16.9-inch infotainment screen paired up with an instrument cluster that takes up 14.2 inches of dash space. Remote start comes with the keyless ignition, and the front and rear outboard seats have standard heating. You also get front and rear parking sensors, wireless smartphone app integration for Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, and a 19-speaker AKG Studio sound system.
If that isn't luxurious enough for you, the Premium Luxury adds the Driver Assist Tech (which has self-closing doors and adaptive cruise control) and the Performance package (which includes trailer hitch assist, a trailer brake controller, and a revised suspension). On top of that, it equips an adaptive air suspension, a rear seat entertainment system, and the Heavy-Duty Trailering package.
The Premium Luxury Platinum trim goes even further by adding leather wrapping to the upper door panels, console, and instrument panel. And - bonus - the front seats have a massaging function.
The Sport and Sport platinum respectively mirror the features found on the Premium Luxury and Premium Luxury Platinum. However, they get gloss black trim and upgraded wheel sizes.
One option left over is Super Cruise. You can get it on all but the Luxury trim. This semi-automated driving system allows you to keep your hands off the wheel while on the highway. You will, however, still need to keep your eyes on the road.
Which Trim is Right for Me?
The Premium Luxury trim level has a massive amount of features for the price. It doesn't have all the super luxurious features that the higher trims do, but you are left with enough options for customizing it.
What Kind of Technology Does it Have?
Technology clearly abounds in the Escalade ESV. It comes with a massive double-screen set-up of the instrument panel and infotainment display. Wireless smartphone app integration means less cluttering of cords around the console. The optional Super Cruise is one of the most innovative inclusions, as it will drive for you on the highway.
How Does It Perform?
Handling is not the Escalade ESV's strong suit due to its size. Is there noticeable body roll? Absolutely. Its cornering limits are low even by segment standards. The steering lacks on-center feel, and the driver has to put in a lot of extra effort. It's also hard to tell exactly what the front tires are doing since there isn't much grip. Putting it into Sport mode shows a lot more responsiveness.
Is It Safe and Reliable?
The 2021 Escalade ESV has not yet been rated by NHTSA or IIHS. Previous models have shown an increased rollover risk due to the vehicle's stature. NHTSA notes the rollover risk for the 2019 model is 20.4 percent . However, you get a lot of advanced driver aids, including an enhanced adaptive cruise control and side blind zone warning.
What's the Interior Like?
The interior is definitely upscale. The seats are padded for comfort, and the tri-zone climate control system works well at regulating cabin temps. However, ride quality suffers because the adjustable shocks don't handle larger bumps well, especially when they're successive bumps. The view out of the rear is hindered by thick roof pillars, and the surround-view camera is too low-resolution to be of much assistance.
What are the Alternatives to this Model?
The Lincoln Navigator is a strong alternative to the Escalade ESV. Pricier than the Cadillac Escalade ESV, the Navigator has a powerful turbo V6 equipped and a huge list of standard features. Too bad it doesn't fit in some garages. The BMW X7 is also a solid contender with a great ride quality and well-thought-out interior design. It's just a touch on the expensive side.
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Note: All Cadillac Escalade ESV lease prices and dollar figures above are approximate amounts. Prices are subject to change without notice.