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2021 Cadillac Escalade Diesel first drive evaluation: Oil tycoon


The brand new Cadillac Escalade is excellent. Basic Motors’ new Duramax inline-six diesel engine can also be excellent. Mix the 2 and, whaddaya know, the diesel-powered Escalade may be very, excellent. However this SUV’s excellence extends past a plug-and-play components.

Opinions editor Craig Cole was proper when he referred to as the Escalade “a flagship mannequin to be happy with” and, maybe unexpectedly, including the diesel engine solely heightens the super-luxe expertise. It is quiet, clean and highly effective, lending itself properly to the Escalade’s large-and-in-charge demeanor. Plus, it offers Caddy’s largest boy an actual gasoline financial system bump and never having to cease for gasoline on a regular basis is a pleasant little luxurious in and of itself.

The three.0-liter diesel I6 produces 277 horsepower and — extra importantly — 460 pound-feet of torque.

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The diesel powerplant in query is the three.0-liter Duramax I6 you may discover in GM’s full-size vans and SUVs, all the pieces from the Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban to the GMC Sierra pickup. This engine makes 277 horsepower and 460 pound-feet of torque, which is greater than sufficient to maneuver the practically three-ton Escalade with authority. The 460 lb-ft quantity matches that of Cadillac’s different engine selection, GM’s 6.2-liter, small-block fuel V8. However because of the diesel’s way-down-low energy supply traits, you may dip into the engine’s full torque at simply 1,500 rpm, relatively than revving as much as 4,100 rpm with the V8.

A 10-speed automated transmission handles shifting duties and it is principally positive. The very best factor a couple of diesel is the aforementioned low-range torque, but the 10AT continues to be susceptible to downshifting unnecessarily every now and then. This engine does not actually wish to rev and it sounds considerably coarse when doing so. However should you’re mild along with your throttle functions, the transmission is not as keen to leap round, so take into account it an added reward for clean driving habits.

All informed, the EPA says a rear-wheel-drive Escalade with the three.0-liter diesel engine ought to return 21 miles per gallon within the metropolis, 27 mpg freeway and 23 mpg mixed. That is an enormous enchancment over the V8’s 15 mpg metropolis, 20 mpg freeway and 17 mpg mixed scores, although after all, diesel gasoline is barely dearer. Including four-wheel drive drops every gasoline financial system quantity by 1 mpg throughout the board. Take ‘er simple and it is best to theoretically have the ability to eke out effectively over 500 miles per tank. Diesel Escalades can tow 300 kilos greater than their fuel equivalents, too, for a max score of 8,000 kilos with a two-wheel-drive mannequin.

The Escalade has a number of the finest cabin tech within the luxurious SUV area.

Steven Ewing/Roadshow

Seamless, easy energy is why the diesel engine ups the Escalade’s luxurious issue. I like a great American fuel V8 and all, however there’s one thing so serene about with the ability to step by step roll onto the throttle and have a wave of diesel torque easily push you ahead. Particularly together with my Premium Luxurious Platinum (all of the phrases!) tester’s commonplace adaptive air suspension and GM’s pretty Magnetic Journey Management, the diesel Escalade is an awesomely comfy cruiser — simple to drive and never practically as ponderous as its nice stature may recommend. I would not hesitate to drive this factor from Los Angeles to New York and again. And with the Escalade’s optionally available Tremendous Cruise hands-free driver-assistance tech ($2,500), it might be a cinch, too.

Including the diesel engine does not change anything concerning the Escalade. It is the identical big, good-looking SUV no matter powertrain. Diesel fashions get a 600D badge on the tailgate, referencing Cadillac’s silly metric-torque-rounded-up-to-the-nearest-multiple-of-50 naming system. Truly, wait, I am unable to even name it a naming system, since “600D” does not seem wherever on the car’s window sticker and you will not discover it whereas making an attempt to analysis or construct an Escalade on-line. Severely, the badge is ineffective.

The Escalade’s inside is identical, too, and it is actually fairly good. That is undoubtedly one in every of Cadillac’s — and GM’s — finest cabins so far, with soft seats, mushy leather-based surfaces and a clear, fashionable design. It is not excellent, nonetheless. The wooden trim on the sprint and doorways is roofed with a cheesy high-gloss end, which makes these accents look low-cost and really feel cheaper, and there are weirdly no matte or metallic choices obtainable. A bunch of the secondary switchgear is pulled from the generic GM components bin, as effectively, which is ok on a Tahoe, however far much less acceptable on an Escalade.

The place this Cadillac takes an enormous step ahead is within the tech division. Three extremely clear and crisp curved OLED panels span 38 inches throughout the dashboard, giving drivers and passengers a completely digital view of car features, driving information and multimedia data. The primary 16.9-inch infotainment show rapidly responds to inputs and has an easy-to-learn menu construction, with embedded navigation and a built-in Wi-Fi hotspot. Wi-fi Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are commonplace, too, however Cadillac’s newest interface is intuitive sufficient that I not often have the urge to depend on my iPhone’s software program.

The entire 2021 Cadillac Escalade’s commonplace and optionally available tools carries over with out even a greenback’s distinction in pricing. That is proper, the Duramax 3.0-liter I6 is a no-cost choice, it may be had with two- or four-wheel drive and it is obtainable on all the Escalade’s trims, from the $77,490 Luxurious to the $101,290 Sport Platinum (costs embrace $1,295 for vacation spot). That makes the diesel a reasonably simple promote so far as I am involved. Elevated gasoline financial system, added towing functionality and easy-breezy demeanor solely make Caddy’s flagship extra compelling.

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