• 2015 Cadillac Escalade - First Impressions

We’ve brought you all the important details about Cadillac’s newest flagship SUV: the totally new 2015 Escalade and Escalade ESV. Now we bring you live images and our first impressions of the beastly, all-American luxury SUV.

Over the weekend at the Miami International Auto Show, we had the chance to climb inside the completely redesigned Escalade to see the improvements first hand. The Escalade is based on its GM cousins, the Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban, along with the GMC Yukon and Yukon XL. Across the board, the interiors are much improved in regards to roominess and use of space. Finally for the first time, the full-size General Motors SUVs have folding rear seats that allow for a flat load floor.

The second row has grown two inches in the footwell for added ease of entry and exit for taller, larger-footed passengers. Their height won’t be a problem inside either, as headroom is quite generous throughout the cabin. The Escalade we sampled was equipped with the second-row captains chairs. The center aisle was wide enough for easy access to the third row and the nearly flat floor kept tripping hazards to the minimum.

Up front, the driver is treated to the same huge TFT display found in the Cadillac CTS and XTS. Real wood trim is abundant and contrasts nicely with the soft leather seating. Fit and finish is unmatched by any Cadillacs of past. Gaps and seams were tight even and intricate details abound throughout the cabin. The details continue outside with etched Cadillac crests appearing within the clear plastic tail lamps.

Such details were a welcome addition to what will assuredly be a home run for General Motors.

Click past the jump for detailed photos of the 2015 Cadillac Escalade.

  • 2015 Cadillac Escalade - First Impressions
  • Year:
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
  • Transmission:
    6-Speed Auto
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
  • MPG(Cty):
    16 (Est.)
  • MPG(Hwy):
    22 (Est.)
  • Torque @ RPM:
  • Energy:
    Direct Injection
  • Displacement:
    6.2 L
  • 0-60 time:
    6.8 sec. (Est.)
  • Top Speed:
    130 mph (Est.)
  • Price:
  • car segment:
  • body style:

2015 Cadillac Escalade


2015 Cadillac Escalade - First Impressions Exterior
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The Escalade is indubitably related to its GM cousins, but certainly has its own look and presence. The large grille is more subtle with less "bling" than in years past. Such a refine, mature look will likely appeal to a more affluent crowd who had overlooked the Escalade due to the inherent ostentatiousness.

2015 Cadillac Escalade - First Impressions Exterior
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The distinctive Cadillac taillights are quickly noticeable and closely tie the Escalade to Cadillac’s other vehicles. The rear bumper is more smooth and contoured looking while the rear hatch looks rather stately. The rear window wiper hides cleverly just below the third brake light. Also hidden is the standard two-inch trailer hitch receiver. Like in years past, it resides behind a body-colored plastic access panel in the rear bumper.

2015 Cadillac Escalade - First Impressions Exterior
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The power running boards deploy and are illuminated with LEDs from under the rocker panels each time a door is opened. We found their placement just right for hoping in and out. Added advantage: no dirty pants legs from mud-covered rocker panels.


2015 Cadillac Escalade - First Impressions Interior
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The Escalade’s interior is on par with Cadillac’s new fit and finish standards. Gaps are tight and stitched leather abounds. We found the door panels to be particularly nice with metallic door releases that flow perfectly with the other lines bisecting the panel. Storage nooks also abound below the arm rests for holding everything from parking passes and water bottles to a Glock 21 (Or Springfield XD 45 ACP – whatever your taste)

2015 Cadillac Escalade - First Impressions Interior
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Both front passenger and driver are treated to a nicely tailored environment with leather and wood surroundings. No more plastic-like faux wood; nope, this is the real deal. Each interior color scheme receives its own color-coordinating species of wood presented in a matte finish. The instrument cluster is a full TFT display while Cadillac’s CUE system finds its home in the center dash. The center console is deep and contains the many infotainment system connections.

2015 Cadillac Escalade - First Impressions Interior
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Rear passengers are treated to two extra inches in foot room, making entry and exit much easier. The center aisle is very wide aiding access to the third row. Passengers of a ‘larger build’ may find the second row captains chairs on the narrow side, especially with the center arm rests folded. Both the second and third rows fold flat with the push of a button in the rear cargo hold. A flat load floor is (unbelievably) a first for a GM full-size SUV and is a very welcomed addition. It’s so welcomed, in fact, that practically speaking, its the best new feature the Escalade/Tahoe/Suburban/Yukon has to offer over the outgoing model.


2015 Cadillac Escalade - First Impressions Interior
- image 531920

The full TFT instrument cluster is a beautiful arrangement of information with colors and moving symbols and text. It really gives a premium vibe to the front of the cabin. We do worry about how legible the display will be in harsh, direct sunlight.

2015 Cadillac Escalade - First Impressions Interior
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Even on this early pre-production model, fit and finish were quite good. Gaps and seams were tight and every surface felt rich and expensive. The mocha and black color scheme was very attractive in person.

2015 Cadillac Escalade - First Impressions Exterior
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The amount of attention the exterior lights obviously received is tremendous. Clear lenses cover the multiple layers and levels hidden within the lights. Once fascinating ‘Easter egg’ discovery is the Cadillac crest almost floating in the lower portion of the tail lamps. The photographs here simply neglect the depth and detailing found within each light lens.

2015 Cadillac Escalade - First Impressions Interior
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Matte-finished wood trim really stands out to those looking for it, while a casual passenger may glance right over it.

2015 Cadillac Escalade - First Impressions Exterior
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Each exterior door handle had an LED light strip illuminating the surrounding chrome. It’s a nice touch that would – quite literally – come in handy when entering the SUV at night.

2015 Cadillac Escalade - First Impressions Exterior
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Much like the rear taillights, the front lights are oozing with detail. LEDs flow from the upper light down almost to the lower air dam. The design language is distinctly Cadillac, providing a unique light signature at night for all to see.


2015 Cadillac Escalade - First Impressions High Resolution Drivetrain
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The standard 6.2-liter, EcoTec3 V-8 lays down some impressive numbers, as the Gen-V small block produces 420 horsepower and 455 pound-feet of torque. An AWD version will again be offered for those who like the extra capability of trudging sure-footedly through the rain, snow, or even mud.

2015 Cadillac Escalade - First Impressions Drivetrain
- image 531914
Engine 6.2-liter EcoTec3 16-valve V-8 With DI, OHV And VVT
Fuel Gasoline
Transmission 6-Speed Automatic
Powertrain Layout Font-engine, Rear-drive (4x4 Opt)
Power (Horsepower) 420
Torque (Torque) 455
0-60 mph (Seconds) 6.8, est
Top Speed (MPH) 130, est
EPA Fuel Economy (City/Highway/Combined) 16/22/18, est
  • Leave it
    • Although flat, the rear load floor is very high off the ground.
    • TFT display and CUE might look dated in five years
    • On the expensive side
Mark McNabb
Mark McNabb was a contributor at TopSpeed from 2013 to 2018. Growing up, Mark always had a mind for tinkering on random items throughout his home and dad’s garage, including a 1953 Ford Mainline and 1971 Corvette Stingray.  Read full bio
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