2021 Cadillac Escalade - Driven
The Escalade hasn’t had an easy life. It started as a ripped-off GMC Yukon back in the 90s, but was soon spun off as a standalone SUV. That didn’t change its fortunes either. It was never perceived as a strong contender in the market despite having its own set of advantages. This went on for three generations but GM didn’t give up on the moniker. For the 2021 model, the automaker decided to up the ante and how. For the fifth-gen, Cadillac turned the Escalade into a big, attention-seeking SUV with oodles of space inside and a tech-savvy cabin. Stuff like a 38-inch screen, 36-speaker setup, and Super Cruise technology, are only some of its accolades. Can fifth time be the charm for Cadillac and the Escalade?
2019 Cadillac XT4 - Driven
Back in 2018, Cadillac finally decided that it was tired of missing out on sales in the compact SUV market and launched the XT4. This compact crossover was designed to compete against the best in the market, including the BMW X1, Mercedes GLC, Infiniti QX50, and Lexus NX, among others. Now that the XT4 has been on the market for well over a year, we decided it was time to get behind the wheel and see how it really holds up. Unfortunately, it doesn’t really seem to hold water against models from BMW, Mercedes, or Audi, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t compete in the market at all. This means there are a lot of questions to answer: How does the Cadillac XT4 drive, does it have enough passenger space, and what about cargo room? What models does the XT4 actually compete against? Well, we spent a week with the XT4, and we’re here to answer all those questions and more . This is what we’ve learned after spending a week with Cadillac’s latest compact crossover.
Must-Know Cool Facts About The Cadillac XT6
First off, let me tell you that I like SUVs. Not all, of course, but a lot of them. And when Cadillac announced the new XT6, I was rather thrilled to see what the American Premium can offer in the three-row SUV segment. Now, the XT6 is here, and before I give you all the facts about it, I have something to admit.
Despite my fondness of the whole SUV idea, I am really disappointed by the conventionality, conservatism, and the mediocrity of mid-range, mid-priced SUVs. As their market share does expand at an incredible rate, somehow I believe we, the consumers, should see far more innovation and strange novelties than what we really do. And, on that note, we need to see more differentiation between SUVs too.
Their strangely nice, plush, and comfortable driving demeanor simply isn’t enough. I want to see more than “class-leading-space-for-rear-passenger” and a “safety-suite” that’ll keep you out of harm’s way. As the premium side of the business is, obviously, far better with the creation of that X factor, I’ve expected the same from Cadillac.
I am sorry to admit, but I am a bit disappointed. The XT6 looks OK, and I actually do believe the Cadillac XT6 is OK as a whole.
But that’s just it.
A Cadillac cannot be OK. It has to be extraordinary! I am disappointed because I have a strange gut feeling that it isn’t.
After telling you this, you are perfectly entitled to call me an oaf or a brat, but first, you have to know that the 2020 Cadillac XT6’s price will land somewhere between $50,000 and $55,000. For an entry-level car. That is not cheap. I need more than OK for that.
There’s no denying that GM has been floating through turbulent waters lately, missing the mark just a bit at every turn. It wasn’t that long ago that the Chevy Silverado failed miserably at a Red Wings Game and the brand has been a little slow to keep up with its main competitors. More recently, the brand killed off its prized plug-in hybrid, the Chevy Volt, but it does have huge plans to introduce as many as 20 new electric models by 2021. That’s a lot of EVs in just a couple years’ time. So, what is the brand going to do? A Reuters report pins the once-famed luxury brand, Cadillac, as GM’s new leader in its EV onslaught that has yet to get off the ground.
This begs the question: As a “luxury” brand (and believe me, I use that term lightly these days) that has been affiliated more with the senior population than 20- and 30-somethings, can it rebrand itself as an electric manufacturer that’s geared toward the younger population without losing the luxury aura that the brand is supposed to have?
The 2020 Cadillac XT6 Is What Caddy Needs, But Is It Too Late?
Big, luxurious SUVs and crossovers are as popular as ever these days, and the latest Cadillac XT6 looks like a solid fit for customer demands. However, there are still lingering questions that have us wondering if Cadillac is struggling to keep up with the times.
The 2017 XT5 Succeeds At Being A Cadillac
Forget your grandfather’s 1985 Cadillac DeVille and even your neighbor’s 2011 DTS; the 2017 XT5 is the best iteration of the Cadillac spirit since the big fins and acres of chrome on the 1959 Eldorado. Sitting inside is where that feeling originates. The materials, the fit and finish, the in-dash technology, and the overall appearance impart a sense of luxury not found in prior generations.
The XT5 is completely new for 2017. Its clean-sheet architecture gave engineers the ability to bake in added comforts and features not seen Caddy’s previous crossovers. There’s an honestly new 3.6-liter V-6, an eight-speed automatic transmission, and the techie part-time AWD system. But beyond the mechanics and greasy bits, the XT5’s interior simply feels a cut above. I recently spent time in a 2017 CTS-V – the 640-horsepower monster with the bones of Chevy Camaro ZL1. While it was insanely powerful, it can’t match the XT5 for luxury. Granted, the CTS-V’s aim isn’t to coddle, so I’ll give it a partial pass. Still, the XT5 just feels incredibly plush.
Continue reading for more opinions on the 2017 Cadillac XT5.
How It Works: The 2017 Cadillac XT5’s AWD System
The 2017 XT5 is Cadillac’s clean-sheet crossover designed to compete against some stiff competition that includes the Audi Q5 and Mercedes GLE. Part of its secret sauce is its fancy all-wheel-drive system. Unlike most AWD systems, the XT5’s is actually a part-time system, meaning the driver can turn the system off manually. A Simple button near the gear shifter toggles through three modes – Tour, AWD, and Sport. In Tour, only the front wheels get power. The biggest advantage is fuel economy, of course, but I’ve found the FWD mode also heightens the liveliness of the 3.6-liter V-6 thanks to less parasitic loss in the driveline.
Being able to turn the AWD system on and off is a big deal, but it’s not the system’s crowning achievement. Rather, it’s the true torque vectoring abilities that help in vehicle control, both on slippery and dry surfaces. This isn’t some brake-activated cheater system, either. It uses a twin-clutch pack to progressively and precisely dial in the amount of power each axle gets. It’s pretty impressive, so let’s dive in.
Continue reading for more on the 2017 Cadillac XT5’s AWD system.
Cadillac Fixed CUE For The XT5
The Cadillac User Experience, or CUE system, has been dragged through the dirt for not being easy to use. Specifically, it’s the touch-sensitive radio and HVAC controls that leave critics in a bad mood. Cadillac models like the ATS, CTS, and even the Escalade all have nearly identical CUE systems that require sliding a finger across gloss-black plastic to adjust the radio volume and pressing on invisible buttons marked only with labels. Well, apparently Cadillac heard the complaints and decided to address the issue.
The 2017 Cadillac XT5 crossover I’m driving this week has an updated version of the CUE system – with actual buttons! In fact, the center stack is far simpler in design and feels less cluttered. The XT5’s HVAC system has chrome toggle switches that control fan speed and temperatures for the dual zones. Yes, other features like the heated and vented seats, defrost, and recirculation functions still rely on the invisible buttons, but their operation seems improved. The same is true with the radio slider. Yeah, it’s still there, but it somehow isn’t as frustrating to use as the one in the 2017 Cadillac CTS-V I tested a few weeks back.
Continue reading for more information.
Even Cadillac’s Key Feels High-Class
This past week has seen a rather swanky 2017 Cadillac CTS-V in my driveway. While there is much to talk about with this 640-horsepower, four-door bullet and the way it muscles itself to 60 mph in 3.7 seconds and onto a top speed of 200 mph, it’s still a Cadillac at the day’s end. As such, the small things matter. Little touches of luxury and flare are important, with even the smallest detail adding to the overall impression of the car. That’s why I’m so impressed with the Cadillac’s key fob. It just feels right in my hand.
Sure, its guts are plastic, but the outer rim is chromed metal that provides a nice weight to the key. Soft rubber covers the front and back side, making it easy to grip. The key’s overall shape is slightly curved to fit the palm of your hand. The buttons are both easy to see at a glance and easy to remember where they are. V-shaped ridges and a crease down the center help you easily locate the buttons without looking. This makes in-pocket operations very easy. Then again, since the Caddy has a keyless enter and go system, you never have to take the key out of your pocket.
There is one exception, though. The Cadillac has remote starting. By pressing the lock button twice and the ignition button once, the 6.2-liter supercharged LT4 V-8 will roar to life. Being near the trunk is the best place to enjoy its startup bark, anyway.
Now, I’ve seen plenty of automakers use high-end keys to impart the feeling of luxury to the driver before ever opening the door. Still others fail miserably and provide a dull, cheap-feeling key fob that only detracts from an otherwise fine vehicle. Cadillac just got it right with both the shape and materials it uses. In other words, the key is befitting to a $100,000 luxury car.
What’s your favorite key fobs? How about your least favorite? Let us know in the comments below. Don’t forget to include some photos!
There’s no such thing as the "perfect car." There — said it right off the bat. Not because I subscribe to the platitude that perfection is completely subjective, that beauty is in the eye of the beholder or any of that. Objective standards do exist. For instance, objectively, Scarlett Johansson probably looks better in a bikini than Steve Buscemi. Any dissenting opinion there? No? That’s because we can apply certain dimensional criteria, certain mechanical evaluations to determine who likely wears Spandex best. The same is true for non-human machines, like cars.
Even so, finding "perfection" that way means setting criteria, as opposed to expecting perfection as some kind of absolute. Absolute perfection is always an ideal. It’s kind of like the North Star. You can use it to navigate, to figure out which direction you’re going; but no matter how long you sail toward it, you’ll probably never get perceptibly closer. You’ve got earthly limitations in the here and now that kind of preclude the possibility.
So for this article, we’re going to stick to the earthly limitations of the here and now. We’ll look at our guiding star of ideal perfection first, just to get a navigation point. But from there, we’re on our own, left to sail those uncharted waters to find the closest thing to automotive perfection, sticking as closely as possible to the shores of today’s technology.