• 2021 Cadillac Escalade: What We Know So Far

The big SUV is closing in on its debut date, so here’s what to expect

LISTEN 05:39

Arguably one of the most recognizable modern Cadillacs, the Escalade is getting ready to say bye-bye to its fourth generation as the fifth is set to make a debut on February the 4th, 2020.

So far we’ve had a fair share of rumors joined by blurry shots of the big SUV’s interior an exterior cues, so we’ve put it all together to see what exactly do we know about and what to expect from the 2021 Cadillac Escalade.

The 2021 Cadillac Escalade Has a New Platform

2019 Chevrolet Silverado Interior Exterior Drivetrain
- image 758132
The 2021 Cadillac Escalade will sit on GM’s T1 platform, thus ditching the K2 platform used by the current version.

The same T1 underpinnings are found under the 2019 Chevy Silverado 1500, 2019 GMC Sierra 1500, and the likes of 2021 Suburban, 2021 Tahoe, and 2021 GMC Yukon.

GM T1 Platform At A Glance
Name GMT-T1, T1XX
Predecessor GMT-K2
Successor GM VSS-T
Type body-on-frame
Size full size
Vehicle suitability SUV, pickup truck
Layout front engine, RWD and AWD
Engine positioning Longitudinal
Engine compatibility 4-cylinder, 6-cylinder, 8-cylinder
Gearbox compatibility GM 8-speed auto, GM 10-speed auto, Allison 10-speed

According to GM Authority, the 2021 Escalade will also pack an independent rear suspension setup with coil springs, marking the end of the live rear axle/leaf springs era. What’s more, the swap to a more modern setup will affect for the better the Escalade’s ride and handling, but also clear up more space in the trunk. Expect the likes of Magnetic Ride Control and air suspension to find their way inside the new Cadillac Escalade, too, offered as optional features.

Cadillac will most likely continue to assemble the Escalade in Arlington, Texas, where the current generation is being produced.

What Engine Does the 2021 Cadillac Escalade Have?

2015 Cadillac Escalade High Resolution Drivetrain
- image 554475
The 2021 Escalade’s main beating heart will be a naturally-aspirated 6.2-liter V-8 gasoline engine twinned to a 10-speed automatic gearbox.

The new Escalade’s V-8 will use Dynamic Fuel Management instead of the Active Fuel Management that’s offered by the current Escalade. That’s because the new Escalade’s V-8 is badged as L87, a step forward from the L86 unit utilized by the fourth-gen SUV.

There’s no word on power or performance, but we expect the new Escalade to pack at least 450 horsepower. Rumor has it that a V-badged supercharged variant of the SUV is expected to boast 500+ horsepower, but we’re taking that with a pinch of salt for the time being.

2017 Cadillac CT6 Plug-In Hybrid High Resolution Drivetrain
- image 695427

What’s more, the new Escalade could even adopt a hybrid powertrain - most likely borrowed from the now-defunct CT6 Plug-In Hybrid. In the large sedan, it mixed a 18.4-kWh battery pack, two e-motors, and a 2.0-liter inline-four gasoline engine for a grand total of 335 horsepower and 432 pound-feet of torque. Surely, Cadillac will want to retune the setup for more oomph, since the Escalade will be considerably heavier than the CT6 sedan. Still, a 400-mile range could be on the table for the SUV.

Don’t overrule a 3.0-liter turbodiesel inline-six at this point, but there’s little info on Caddy’s intention of actually offering such a mill for the Escalade. We’ll have to wait and see about that.

2019 Cadillac Escalade specifications
Type: 6.2L V-8 VVT DI with Active Fuel Management
Bore & Stroke         (in / mm): 4.06 x 3.62 / 103.25 x 92
Block Material: Cast aluminum
Cylinder Head Material: Cast aluminum
Valvetrain: Overhead valve, two valves per cylinder, variable valve timing
Fuel Delivery: Direct high-pressure fuel injection with Active Fuel Management
Horsepower (hp / kW): 420 / 313 @ 5600 rpm (SAE certified)
Torque (lb.-ft. / Nm): 460 / 621 @ 4100 rpm (SAE certified)

What Does the 2021 Cadillac Escalade Look Like?

Judging by the leaked photos on Instagram, the exterior of the 2021 Escalade is polarizing to say at least. Given that the pics look like they’ve been taken inside a production facility of sorts, this is pretty much what the road-going big Caddy will look like on the outside. We can spot a lot of similarities to the XT6, but the Escalade will keep the forward-canted C-pillar design.

Viewed from the side, the Escalade looks a lot like the Tahoe and Suburban, which is not something we necessarily like, while in the back, the big SUV will flaunt vertical-positioned LED taillights.

What Does the 2021 Cadillac Escalade’s Interior Look Like?

With the Chevy Tahoe and Suburban Revealed, Someone Has Leaked Images of the 2021 Cadillac Escalade
- image 876236

A lot better than the exterior, we can tell you that much. If the leaked photos do indeed show a production-ready 2021 Cadillac Escalade interior, then owners will enjoy a dashboard decorated with two overlapping OLED displays, à la Cadillac Escala concept, with the larger one measuring 38 inches. The smaller screen will act as instrument cluster while the other will serve the Escalade’s multimedia system. From what we can tell, the overall cabin arrangement does look upscale, which will do the Escalade and Cadillac, for that matter, a world of good. As Road & Track points out, this will position the luxury SUV higher above Chevrolet’s similar offerings - just as it should be.

The addition of the high-tech-y display duo also suggests an infusion of new tech inside the 2021 Escalade. GM Authority talks about the use of GM’s Global B electrical architecture which will serve as the car’s nervous system with extra processing power, better cybersecurity, and OTA (over-the-air) updates compatibility over the previous Global A platform. Caddy’s Super Cruise will trickle down the new Escalade and we’re also hearing rumors that the whole rear infotainment setup will be revamped with larger screens and a modern user interface.

How Much Will the 2021 Cadillac Escalade Cost?

2021 Cadillac Escalade: What We Know So Far
- image 814121

That’s quite hard to tell at this point, but we can use the 2020 Cadillac Escalade’s price tag as starting point. For reference, Caddy is asking at least $76,490 for the normal-wheelbase version, while the stretched-wheelbase ESV will leave you without $79,490. Both cars use the 6.2-liter V-8 L86 good for 420 horsepower and 460 pound-feet of twist.

We expect the new 2021 Escalade to start at $78,000-$79,000, with the ESV version priced at around $81,000-$82,000.

Tudor Rus
Tudor Rus
Assistant Content Manager - Automotive Expert - tudor@topspeed.com
Tudor’s first encounter with cars took place when he was only a child. Back then, his father brought home a Trabant 601 Kombi and a few years later, a Wartburg 353. At that time, he was too young to know how they worked and way too young to drive them, but he could see one thing – each of them had a different ethos and their own unique personality. As time went on, he started seeing that in other cars as well, and his love for the automobile was born.  Read full bio
About the author

Related Articles

Inspector Gadget Style: Every Gizmo In the 2021 Cadillac Escalade, Detailed

2021 Cadillac Escalade

2021 Is Cadillac’s Surprise EV Concept a Preview of the Next-Gen Cadillac Escalade?

2015 Cadillac Escalade

What do you think?
Show Comments
Car Finder: