2014 Cadillac Escalade
The Cadillac Escalade is a legend in multiple segments: as a celebrity limousine, a wealthy outdoorsman’s shuttle and do-it-all hauler for large families. These core attributes continue for the new model year with detail revisions to the LED lights front and back and two new grille designs in the higher-dollar models.
The Cadillac’s exterior style and enhanced image is the main justification for its prices at the very top of the GM SUV line that also includes the Chevrolet Suburban and the GMC Yukon. The Escalade also has unique interior trims, much better noise/vibration/harshness ratings and top-level performance to match its flashy chrome exterior.
The Cadillac brings serious levels of style, luxury and power with a better drivetrain than its cheaper siblings, standard air suspension with electronically adjustable dampers and even magnetic ride control on the top Platinum model.
So the Escalade is a shortcut to get the most loaded truck possible. Making most options standard at the Cadillac’s $65,000 base price also ratchets up the competition to the seven-passenger Range Rover Sport, the Infiniti QX56 and the aging Lincoln Navigator.
Does the flagship Cadillac SUV still capture buyer wants and needs in the final years before its replacement in 2015?
Click past the jump for the full review of the 2014 Escalade and 2014 Escalade ESV with photo comparisons of the three available grille finishes.
2014 Cadillac Escalade
Horsepower @ RPM:403 @ 5700
Torque @ RPM:417 @ 4300
0-60 time:6.5 sec. (Est.)
Top Speed:117 mph (Est.)
Layout:Front-engine, Rear-drive (AWD Opt.)
The Escalade ESV "extended" shares all styling with the normal model aside from a length stretch and rear doors that do not have a cutout for the wheel arch. The ESV is more imposing with less top-heaviness about the design and generally is priced only $2,500 more than the shorter Caddy.
The Escalade’s top two trims in both lengths (Premium and Platinum) have a new grille design that is sharper and more defined than the base model’s grille. The lower two trims stick with the bumper/grille combo with individual egg-crate grille that looks less current.
The Escalade Premium and Platinum run the latest wreath and crest design with intricate 3D slats, vertical chrome trims and upward-flowing horizontal creases from the central badge. This new design is marked out by sharper edges and matching grille detailing in the lower bumper.
It looks especially dramatic in body color Premium trim, as the Platinum has used this fancier grille in chrome since 2012. The 2014 models with the up-level grille also get a completely new bumper with deeper central sculpting and sharper corner designs.
The top two models now run a new taillight design that features clear lenses for the main LED blade lights in the corners and the third brake light up top. The latest generation of Escalade’s do not have a full-length LED light bar – only the center portion lights up.
The LED headlights are now standard on the top two trims and are magnificent. They run numerous small projector beams in a vertical design, with extra lamps for high-beam and cornering functions. The Escalade has an LED accent blade in the front lamps but it is an older design that is not as striking as the latest Cadillac ATS.
The major options for the exterior of the Escalade are larger wheels, in sizes up to 22 inches. Be warned: these tasty chrome rims are frequently stolen and the optional $55 wheel locks may not be enough to deter motivated thieves. Aftermarket locking wheel nuts are the best bet to make sure you never come back to find the Caddy sitting on its brake discs.
2014 Cadillac Escalade – Exterior Dimensions:
|Track - Front (in.)||68.2||68.2|
|Track - Rear (in.)||67||67|
|Weight (Pounds)||5527 RWD, 5718 AWD||5787 RWD, 5982 AWD|
2014 Cadillac Escalade – Standard Exterior Features:
- Road Sensing, electronically controlled shock absorbers
- Heavy-duty locking rear Differential
- Automatic level control, heavy-duty, air
- Wheels, 4 - 18-inch x 8-inch 7-spoke aluminum; Tires, P265/65R18, all-season
- Tire, full-size spare, P265/70R17-113S blackwall; Tire carrier, lockable outside spare
- Luggage rack, roof-mounted with chrome accents; Luggage rack center rails
- Assist steps, Black with chrome accents, mounted between front and rear wheels
- Headlamps, High-Intensity Discharge (HID) with Twilight Sentinel and flash-to-pass feature
- Headlamps, Twilight Sentinel automatic delay
- Mirrors, outside heated power-adjustable, power-folding and driver-side auto-dimming, color-keyed with integrated turn signal indicators, ground illumination and programmable to provide curb view when in reverse
- Power liftgate with deep-tinted liftglass includes rear-window wiper/washer and defogger
2014 Cadillac Escalade – Optional Exterior Features:
- Body-color grille (Dealer-installed $400)
- 22-inch x 9-inch multi-spoke chromed aluminum wheels
- Deleted dual exhaust: Makes room for a tire hoist and full-size spare (along with the jack and tools for changing a flat tire); Dual exhaust is replaced by the standard single exhaust ($235)
- Wheel locks (Dealer-installed $55) - Recommended!
- Full LED headlamps ($1,500 or standard on Premium and Platinum models)
- Magnetic ride control (optional, standard on Platinum)
The interior of the Cadillac is showing its age and Chevy roots much more than the exterior. The design is lightly tweaked from its cheaper siblings and adds better materials all around, such as the wood-trimmed steering wheel and center stack.
Various leathers are available but the cream interior looks and feels the largest inside – the black leather option darkens the second and third rows too much and makes it too cave-like in the rear. A cocoa saddle leather option is available on the Platinum Escalades and is just about the only choice that justifies the extra outlay over the Premium trim.
Platinum specification also adds custom interior badges, embroidered logos in all seats and an ash wood decorative inlay in the passenger dash front. This non-matching accent is a very bizarre attempt at making the interior fancier without switching out the rest of the wood trims.
The Escalade soldiers on with a high-quality Bose audio system but without the new CUE touchscreen infotainment system. All Escalades have standard navigation and USB audio integration, which is a plus.
If the Escalade and ESV lose points for overall cabin panache, they earn it back with easy entry, hugely adjustable seats and steering wheels, and even standard power-adjustable pedals.
There is one area where no other premium SUV can compete: total interior space for passengers and cargo. While the standard Escalade is barely larger in most dimensions than the car-based Buick Enclave crossover, the ESV is simply massive in every measurement. For cargo, there is an extra 30 cubic-feet on hand in all seating configurations, bumping space behind the third row from 17 cubic-feet to 46 cubic-feet in the ESV.
Of course, rear seat space also increases dramatically with the ESV size. There are 9 extra inches of third-row leg room in the ESV and far more shoulder space as well. With all rear seats folded, the ESV can haul 137 cubic-feet of cargo below the window-line.
2014 Cadillac Escalade – Interior Dimensions:
|Front Seating Capacity||2||2|
|Middle Seating Capacity||3, 2 with buckets||3, 2 with buckets|
|Rear Seating Capacity||3||3|
|Headroom - Front (in.)||41.1||41.1|
|Headroom - Middle (in.)||39.2||38.5|
|Headroom - Rear (in.)||37.9||38.1|
|Legroom - Front (in.)||41.3||41.3|
|Legroom - Middle (in.)||39||39.5|
|Legroom - Rear (in.)||25.6||34.9|
|Shoulder Room - Front (in.)||65.2||65.2|
|Shoulder Room - Middle (in.)||65.3||65.3|
|Shoulder Room - Rear (in.)||61.7||64.7|
|Hip Room - Front (in.)||60.5||60.5|
|Hip Room - Middle (in.)||60.6||61.8|
|Hip Room - Rear (in.)||49.1||49.4|
|EPA Cargo Volume - All Seats Up (cubic-feet)||16.9||45.8|
|EPA Cargo Volume - Third Row Seat Folded (cubic-feet)||60.3||90|
|EPA Cargo Volume - All Rear Seats Folded (cubic-feet)||108.9||137.4|
2014 Cadillac Escalade – Standard Interior Features:
- Audio system controls, rear with 2 headphone jacks (headphones not included) and controls for volume, station selection and media; Bose 5.1 Cabin Surround Sound system with 10 speakers; USB port, located inside center console, radio interface
- Seats, front bucket with leather seating surfaces, driver and front passenger 14-way power seat adjusters including 4-way power lumbar control, independently heated driver and front passenger seat cushions and seatbacks (3 settings) and 2-position driver memory (STD); heated and cooled driver and front passenger seats;
- Steering wheel, power-tilt, color-keyed with wood and leather-wrapped rim, locking.
- Pedals, power-adjustable for accelerator and brake
- Climate control, tri-zone automatic with individual climate settings for driver, right-front passenger and rear passengers; Climate control, rear air conditioning; Climate control, rear heat
Drivetrain, Suspension and Brakes
In terms of the Cadillac’s mechanical options, the biggest change is the discontinuation of the Hybrid model. This hybrid is expected to return in 2016.
Until then, the Escalade twins run the same 6.2-liter V-8 engine that pumps out 403 horsepower and 417 pound-feet of torque. The engine is not quite cutting edge but does have 16 valves and VVT to send its force through the standard six-speed automatic transmission.
The engine runs Active Fuel Management but still delivers pretty dismal economy stats – not topping 20 mpg on the highway is a surprisingly poor result.
The Escalade thrives when driven hard: it can storm to 60 mph in 6.5 seconds for the standard model and 6.8 seconds for the ESV that weighs a few hundred pounds more.
AWD is optional on all trim levels and keeps the rear bias on the standard system as well as the locking rear differential. The rear-drive models actually have the higher towing stats: up to 8,300 pounds for the standard-length RWD, down to 7,700 pounds in the ESV AWD.
2014 Cadillac Escalade – Mechanical Details:
|Engine Size and Type||6.2-liter 16-valve V-8 With VVT||6.2-liter 16-valve V-8 With VVT|
|Peak power (Horsepower)||403 @ 5700||403 @ 5700|
|Peak torque (Pound-feet)||417 @ 4300||417 @ 4300|
|Transmission||6-Speed Auto||6-Speed Auto|
|0-to-60 mph||6.5 seconds, est||6.8 seconds, est|
|Top Speed||117 mph, est||117 mph, est|
|Fuel Economy Estimates (City/Combined/Highway)||14/NA/18 RWD, 13/NA/18 AWD||14/NA/18 RWD, 13/NA/18 AWD|
|Maximum Tow Rating||8300 pounds RWD, 8100 pounds AWD||8000 pounds RWD, 7700 pounds AWD|
The Escalade is very safe with advanced electronics for the stability and traction control systems. It also has uprated brakes and earned a four-star NHTSA crash test rating for 2014. The Escalade is not as prone to rollovers as some vehicles on this platform due to its lower ride height and air suspension.
The Escalade lacks the latest Cadillac active safety technology like adaptive cruise control but does have a standard backup camera and rear parking sensors.
2014 Cadillac Escalade – Standard Safety Features:
- Daytime Running Lamps with automatic exterior lamp control
- Air bags, dual-stage frontal, driver and right-front passenger with Passenger Sensing System; Air bags, head curtain side-impact, first, second and third row outboard seating positions with rollover sensor; Air bags, seat-mounted side-impact, driver and right-front passenger for thorax and pelvic protection
- OnStar, 1-year of Directions and Connections
- Rear Park Assist
- Rear Vision Camera
- Safety belts, first and second row belts to body, third row belts to seat, lap and shoulder all seating positions
- Door locks, child rear security
- Tire Pressure Monitor System (does not apply to spare tire)
- StabiliTrak, vehicle stability enhancement system with Rollover Mitigation, includes disable switch
- Traction control, all-speed, electronic
The Escalade is priced from $65,000 for the rear-drive model to $87,000 for the AWD extended-length ESV model.
Escalades all have abysmal depreciation rates and can lose upwards of 30 percent of their value in the first six months of ownership - so a pre-owned Platinum model is within reach of buyers with a $65,000 price cap.
2014 Cadillac Escalade – Pricing by Model:
|Escalade ESV Standard||$67,340||$69,890|
|Escalade ESV Luxury||$71,565||$74,115|
|Escalade ESV Premium||$76,445||$78,995|
|Escalade ESV Platinum||$84,115||$86,665|
The QX56 gets a name change for 2014: it will now be called the Infiniti QX80. The largest QX model is a rare sight on the roads but has some shapely styling and an ultra-smooth clamshell hood with integrated air vents.
The QX80 is a better car than the Escalade in all except third-row dimensions and cargo space in the ESV.
The Navigator also offers an air suspension and a huge cabin. It splits the difference in size between the two Escalade lengths. The Navigator looks ancient on the road and drives with a lumbering and overweight feel to all its controls. The interior is much more luxurious than the donor Ford Expedition but has some awkward ergonomics and also lags years behind the best in infotainment from other Lincoln models.
The Escalade is still a force to be reckoned with in the full-size SUV segment. No premium manufacturers have dared go as large as the ESV Cadillac for even their most hardcore G-wagen or Audi Q7 models. They are simply dwarfed in every measurement by the Cadillac - and barely outmatch the Escalade for high speed poise.
Perhaps that is why VW’s Ferdinand Piëch is rumored to have a few Escalade ESVs in his personal fleet.
The Escalade has many charms to justify its price over stripped Suburban’s costing $30,000 less. The main one remains style, but is closely followed by interior refinement and ease of driving.
By installing a far more road-biased AWD and engine systems, Cadillac builds a truck that comes in one easy-to-buy mechanical specification. Heavy-duty hardware is still at the backbone of these trucks but is paired with pillow-soft air suspension and lightweights steering for easy driving in the city.
The Escalade’s new grille options bring some excitement to the model in its last year before a refresh expected in 2015.
Next summer’s Escalade replacement is expected to bring a far better interior and a drastic exterior overhaul. The new nose will faithfully recreate the heavily curved grille and ultra-narrow headlamps from the drop-top Cadillac Ciel concept car.
For people less concerned with the latest style, 2014 Escalade will still be top dog in hauling, towing and people space for many years to come.
|Driving||B-||Light Steering And Adjustable Pedals Mean Anyone Can Pilot Big Escalade|
|Performance||B||Speedy; Rides Great With Air Suspension and Magnetic Shocks|
|Look||B+||LED Headlights Are Boss|
|Value||B+||Check For A Delivery-Miles / Pre-Owned Model For Huge Savings|
|Overall||B+||Unique Offering With More Space, Grace and Pace Than Range Rover|