2016 Cadillac Escalade Vsport

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The Cadillac Escalade really doesn’t need an introduction. Even the most oblivious, non-car-enthusiast consumer could easily identify — and lust after — an Escalade . Car shoppers buy Tahoes and Yukons , which the Escalade is based on, because they need them to tow boats, carry gear, and haul large families around in. Other individuals buy the Escalade simply because they want it. Seeing as a loaded-out Yukon Denali can top $70,000, what’s the big deal to pay a few grand more for the Caddy? A nicely-equipped, four-wheel-drive model can be yours for $75,290.

The new-for-2015 Escalade has been well-received by critics. The undisputed king-of-bling in this segment, combining sharp, polarizing styling, a plenty-powerful, 420-horsepower V-8, and, finally, a gorgeous interior worthy of the price. Dealers will likely not be able to keep these on their lots.

However, that isn’t stopping Cadillac from possibly introducing a few new variants in the next year or so. Cadillac is reportedly considering a Vsport edition, likely powered by the 3.6-liter, twin-turbocharged V-6. Expect more than the current 420 horsepower it provides for the CTS Vsport. Even a turbodiesel V-6 could be in the works.

Note: Standard Cadillac Escalade pictured here.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2016 Cadillac Escalade Vsport.

Drivetrain

According to the publication Automotive News, Escalade development manager David Schiavone would like to expand the Escalade lineup to give consumers more options. Details are scarce, but the news report hints that GM wants the Escalade to go head-to-head with the likes of the Mercedes-Benz ML63 AMG . Also, the addition of multiple trims and powertrain options will likely help Escalade sales globally.

We have no information about a possible turbodiesel offering, other than it would be a V-6 configuration. We hear rumors that GM has been developing a V-6 diesel for use in its half-ton pickups, so it would most likely be one and the same, but likely more powerful when under the Escalade’s hood.

A gasoline-powered, twin-turbo V-6 would help the Escalade compete — powertrain-wise — with its main rival, the Lincoln Navigator Lincoln Navigator , which now has dropped the outdated, 5.4-liter V-8 in favor of an Ecoboost, 3.5-liter V-6 that’s good for 380 horsepower and 460 foot-pounds of torque. However, we aren’t so sure there is anything wrong with the current Corvette -derived, small-block motor. Who can resist its intoxicating rumble, good-’ol American V-8 torque, and impressive acceleration?

The Escalade’s strong, pushrod V-8 has always been a part of its appeal, and in its current form motivates the SUV to nip the 0-to-60 dash in a shade under six seconds, which is nothing to scoff at for a three-ton, body-on-frame SUV. Don’t worry though, this motor isn’t going anywhere. Mr. Schiavone assures us that the venerable V-8 will remain the "backbone" of the Escalade lineup. GM in general is never one to shortchange the powertrain options on its vehicles, so regardless of which engine is used, expect very good performance.

Expect more details as we receive them.

Competitors

Infiniti QX80

Infiniti QX80

The Infiniti QX80 — formerly named QX56 — is a very competitive offering, combining similar versatility, credible off-road capability, impressive performance from its 400-horsepower, 5.6-liter V-8, and a top-notch interior. This Infiniti also has good handling — for a huge SUV — and very impressive tow-rating of 8,500 pounds.

Downsides include a lower-than-average fuel economy rating of 14 mpg city and 20 mpg highway, likely due to the V-8’s lack of cylinder-deactivation. Also funky, beluga-whale styling looks goofy and awkward, and the Infiniti brand doesn’t hold quite enough cache for such an expensive vehicle. Pricing starts at about 10 grand lower than the Escalade, at $62,700. While that is a significant difference, the Escalade feels much more special and is worth the extra cost.

Lexus LX570

Lexus LX 570

The LX570 has been around since 2008, and was just refreshed again for 2013. The Lexus spindle-grill treatment was part of the update, and looks rather sharp in this application. Based on the legendary, unbreakable Toyota Land Cruiser , the LX570 receives significant luxury upgrades befitting the Lexus brand. The interior certainly has the chops to go head to head with the Escalade, with almost every surface covered in semi-aniline leather, gorgeous, hand-matched wood, and high-quality plastics. Also, the LX570, full of hard-core hardware donated by the Land Cruiser, is one of the most capable off-road vehicles in existence.

Downsides include a relatively dated engine, lacking the latest technology such as cylinder deactivation and direct injection. The 5.7-liter V-8 is certainly stout, with a respectable 381 horsepower, but acceleration trails its main competition. So does fuel economy, with an awful 12 mpg city and 17 mpg highway EPA rating. The Lexus starts at about $10k higher than the Escalade, at $82,630.

Lincoln Navigator

Lincoln Navigator

The aging Lincoln Navigator has received a refresh for 2015. The biggest news is that FoMoCo is finally scrapping the underpowered and uncompetitive 5.4-liter V-8 for the acclaimed 3.5-liter, twin-turbo, EcoBoost V-6. This is a meaningful addition, as the previous V-8 has been outclassed and outperformed by the Cadillac Escalade’s small block, since the second generation ’Slade came out in 2002.

As impressive as the EcoBoost is, it may be too little, too late. There is no denying that this is basically the same truck that’s been around since 2007, and seven years is an eternity in the automotive world. If Lincoln Lincoln really wants to stay competitive, it needs a full redesign. The ’15 Escalade is new from the ground up, while, other than the engine upgrade, all that’s basically changed on the Navigator is a new grille, rims, and a few interior upgrades.

The only area where the Navigator has a clear edge over the Escalade is in pricing. Base models start at $62,475.

Cadillac Escalade

Cadillac Escalade

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