Experienced by Kimatni D. Rawlins
When the $82,995 ($98,015 price as tested) Dark Moon Blue Metallic 2021 Cadillac Escalade 2WD Premium Luxury rolled into the Automotive Rhythms driveway for a 36-hour experience, we all instantly felt stately and dignified. It’s incredible how an elegant SUV can bring credence to your disposition. But that’s how engaging the Escalade has become since its debuted at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in 1998. The full-size SUV from Detroit is a cultural phenomenon and a distinguished household name for Fit Fathers, celebrities, sports moms, and influencers alike.
The authoritative and modish utility is substantially sized for entourages requiring ultra-comfort and features a bevy of innovation that satisfies the soul when out and about. My family of four enjoyed the Parchment/Jet Black interior as they sunk themselves into the lavish captain chairs and gave me orders to our destinations. The enlarged 12.6” entertainment screens ($1,995) allowed the kids to play their favorite music while following the navigation route. Mood lighting, tri-zone automatic climate control, and a smooth ride from the Air Ride Adaptive Suspension, as part of the Driver Assist Tech Package ($3,660), kept us all on cloud nine. I also favored the Adaptive Cruise Control while enjoying the ambiance and unity from my wife and daughters. The second and third-row seats can be laid flat and raised by switches in the cargo area or overhead console controls for storage capabilities.
With every Escalade iteration, Cadillac maintains the design DNA and rarely strays away from what has made this an exceptional vehicle. The silhouette is still familiar with modern adjustments, such as more sculpting on the front fascia, vertical lighting features, and a chin spoiler. Classy 14-spoke 22” polished wheels wrapped in Bridgestone tires, power assist steps that retract when the doors open ($1,750), flush exhaust tips, and a sky roof add to the vehicle’s amenities. Moreover, the Escalade’s attractive and alluring signature grille evolves with each model, including the blackened fascia on the new Sport Edition.
The latest Escalade is not just well-appointed, but pretty sophisticated with an array of amenities for suitors. It’s infused with Augmented Reality Navigation, a Street Vision Camera, optional Cadillac Super Cruise, Magnetic Ride Control, Night Vision, a rear camera mirror, LED exterior lighting, and much more. Power stems from either the 420-horsepower 6.2-liter V8 or a 3-liter turbo-diesel Duramax pumping out 460 lb-ft of torque. A 10-speed automatic transmission with electronic shift control pairs to either engine. On the highway, the power from my 6.2-liter was far more than required and moved the long SUV fluidly.
Once you start her up, a world of technology and innovation is brought to the forefront. Its curved OLED (organic light-emitting diode) display gives off visible light, so the backlight isn’t required. This means the technology can showcase deep black and higher contrast levels in low ambient light, such as when you’re driving at night. The Organic LED’s broad color range is phenomenal, and according to Cadillac, features “twice the pixel density of a 4K television and more than 38 total diagonal inches of vibrant resolution.” The thin touchscreen extends from the right of the center stack to the edge of the driver’s door and allows you to tap into all settings from WiFi to music choices utilizing the simple rotary dial.
Another one of the grand SUV’s attributes is the 36-speaker AKG Studio Reference audio system ($4,300). Engineering authentic sound since 1947, AKG brings professional and Grammy award-winning technology to every seat of the Escalade’s lavish cabin including the front chair embedded speakers. This could be good or bad depending on how loud you like your music. Standard on the Platinum model, the premium system features Conversation Enhancement, Surround 3D, and 360-degree listening experiences. I also love the large metal speaker grilles found throughout the enlightening cabin.
The test drive was short but memorable, as I look forward to a future 7-day immersive experience behind the wheel. The 2021 Escalade will definitely appease its suitors while everyone else looks on with envy. And of course, the typical safety features such as the Safety Alert Seat, Forward Collision Alert, Front Pedestrian Braking, and Teen Driver are part of the offerings. Are you ready for greatness?