Even before you get into the Cadillac Escalade, you can tell you are in for a new experience. Maybe it’s the huge 22 inch chrome wheels. A clear response to market trends that custom shops are driving the market. They completely filling the Escalade’s huge wheelwells and give it a bold statement that the Escalade is cool. The big 22 inchers make the standard 18-inch wheels look positively puny by comparison. Or maybe its the enormous badge set within a chunky block of chrome trim, reminding everyone that they are following a Cadillac.
This week I will be testing the 2010 Escalade Platinum Edition with the Hybrid option. It combines a 6.0-liter V8 tuned specifically for hybrid use with a 300-volt battery pack and dual electric motors. We will take a detailed look at the hybrid gas-electric powertrain that shares technology with the Tahoe/Yukon two-mode hybrids. The luxurious Platinum option includes every amenity Cadillac offers. We will take a look at all the fun goodies included with this available option.
The first thing I noticed upon getting into the Escalade is the height of the vehicle. Because the Escalade is based on a truck chassis, the cargo load floor is 32.3 inches off the ground. The Cadillac Escalade sits higher than your average crossover such as the GMC Acadia. This means you will have to lift those 40 lb bags of dog food a little higher to clear the rear deck. One nice feature that you notice immediately are the power assist running boards that automatically move out to give you a step up into the high truck.
The front end of the Escalade is dominated by a traditional Cadillac egg crate grille draped in lots of chrome. The grille is flanked by three-element, vertical headlamps that tie the vehicle to the rest of Cadillac’s lineup. The LED headlights on the Platinum edition are a first in trucks or SUVs. The Escalade almost looks more like a massive car than a truck the way the bumper and front trim are cleanly integrated.
The side view offers an abundance of chrome, including on the door handles, the side moldings, exterior mirrors, full-length roof rails, and the non-functional ventilation ports above the front wheels. The rear view features Cadillac’s classic slim, vertical taillights, which remind me of the large tailfins of Cadillac’s of the 1960s and ’70s. But the dominant feature of the Escalade’s rear is the rear liftgate. It opens and closes by pushbutton as a hatch or glass-only for lighter items, a convenient feature.
Tomorrow we look at the luxurious interior of the Platinum Escalade.
2010 Cadillac Escalade Platinum Hybrid Review: Interior-Day 2
The luxurious interior of the Cadillac Platinum Escalade is definitely a place where you want to spend some time. The cabin is roomy and luxurious and the fit and finish is very nice. When you think of a Cadillac interior you expect soft padded materials, chrome details, and soft leather seats, and that’s what you get with the Escalade. The Platinum upgrades to additional features like unique door sills and floor mats.The Escalade comes standard with seven-passenger seating: front bucket seats, second-row bucket seats separated by a center console, and a three-passenger bench for the third row. The Hybrid I tested seats eight because it comes with a three-passenger bench seat in the second row.
The front bucket seats are what you would expect from Cadillac, comfortable, supportive, and comes with 14-way power adjustments. In the Platinum edition, the front seats are not only heated with memory for the driver’s side, but also has cooled cushions and backrests included. One thing about the Escalade’s cabin; it is very wide, and the front seats are wide also. This vehicle is built for large people.
Leather continues onto a four-spoke steering wheel equipped with abundant controls for the audio system and cruise control. A heated steering wheel is available as an option that would be nice when it’s cold. The Escalade’s huge cabin has triple-zone automatic climate controls. The first two zones are for each front occupant and a third zone for the rear-seating area with multiple vents in the cabin ceiling for heating and cooling.
In the middle row, full-size adults can enjoy plenty of space. First and second row seats get a special Aniline leather with the Platinum upgrade. The second row has a 60/40 bench seat that seats three and folds flat to increase the cargo carrying ability. The Hybrid comes with a 60/40-split rear bench seat only to allow for the battery pack underneath it. We put the three granddaughters in with their car seats and there was plenty of room.
The three-passenger third row seat gets leather upholstery called Nuance. The third-row bench on the standard Escalade sits on the cargo floor and offers a bit less legroom, so unless it’s a short trip, the third row is more for kids. The third row seat also folds flat and with the second row folded down opens up the back for a sizable cargo area for hauling. The Escalade sits high and loading cargo requires a 32-inch lift to the load floor, where tie-down hooks ease securing the load. A handy remote power liftgate is standard on the Escalade.
Tomorrow we will continue with the interior space and check out some of the fun features.
2010 Cadillac Escalade Platinum Hybrid Review: Interior-Day 3
It requires a big step up to get into an Escalade. A nice feature is a power retractable assist running board that automatically opens out when the doors are opened. The benefit of such a high step up is a high seating position from which to view the traffic. Outward visibility over the dash and long hood is very good. Side pillars are large and a bit thick and have the potential to block your view of smaller vehicles to the side. The large side mirrors help with this issue. Rear visibility is good with a large back window and wiper.
Storage space in the front of the Escalade is abundant. There is a multi-level center console under the armrest that takes advantage of the wide cabin. There are cupholders galore that make it nice for those long trips. Additional storage is found in pockets in the doors. The Escalade also has four 12-volt power points, including one near the tailgate for whatever needs to be powered up. The Platinum edition interior is upgraded with aniline leather with French seams, the Cadillac logo embroidered in the front seats with color-contrast stitching. Additional leather is used for trim on the center console, dash, and doors, complemented by unique wood and aluminum trim, door sills and floor mats. Platinum models also include heated and cooled cupholders, and an independent DVD entertainment screen in each front seat headrest in addition to the one overhead.
On the dash, there are clear, bright gauges, LED-backlit with white markings and blue pointers on a black background. Between the speedometer and tachometer is an information display that cycles through several menus via buttons on the steering wheel. The buttons and knobs on the radio and climate controls have a nice feel, as do the controls for the turn signals and wipers. There is a Hybrid power flow display that shows when the vehicle is in battery mode or when the gas engine is being used.
There is a small cargo space behind the 50/50-split third row in the Escalade. Hauling anything more than a few bags of groceries will likely require the third-row seat to be folded. The third row seats fold easily with the pull of a strap and then fold forward. The Escalade’s seats must be removed in order to have a flat floor, unlike some competitors that fold into the floor. Removing the seats requires only a tug on one handle, but they are heavy and quite bulky and must be left at home to get a larger cargo space.
There are a ton of options available on the Escalade and tomorrow we will take a close look.