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2015 Cadillac Escalade ESV

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 3/21/2015 Stefan Ogbac

New for 2015

The Cadillac Escalade ESV has been redesigned for 2015, and gains a 4G LTE connection via OnStar (a subscription is available after a trial period). The Escalade's V-8 engine has more power than before, and the SUV is more fuel efficient, too.

Research

Vehicle Summary

Powered by a 420-hp 6.2-liter V-8 rated at 430 lb-ft of torque, the 2015 Cadillac Escalade ESV is the extended-length variant of the Escalade SUV. Twenty inches longer than the standard model, the 2015 Escalade ESV increases cargo space and room in the third row, and has seating for up to eight passengers.

With the second and third rows folded, the Escalade ESV can accommodate up to 120.9 cubic feet of volume versus 94.2 cubic feet in the standard model. The extra length of the ESV benefits space behind the third row as it increases capacity to 39.3 cubic feet compared to the base SUV's 15.2 cubic feet of volume. Fuel economy isn’t a strong point due to the SUV’s size at 15/21 mpg city/highway in rear-drive guise and 14/20 mpg with four-wheel-drive; all Escalades use a six-speed automatic transmission.

Overview

Build quality has improved over past generations of the Cadillac Escalade, with plenty of high-grade materials used throughout the interior including open-pore wood accents, and two-tone leather upholsteries. However, Cadillac’s CUE infotainment system remains hard to use due to its touch-sensitive controls, making it fussy and nearly impossible to use when the SUV is moving. Even with the available 22-inch wheels, the 2015 Escalade ESV rides well thanks to its magnetic shocks while also improving its handling. The new V-8 engine gives it plenty of power, allowing it to accelerate quickly despite its having a 6,000-pound curb weight.

UPDATE: The NHTSA gave the 2015 Cadillac Escalade ESV a five-star side crash and a three-star rollover safety rating (out of a possible five stars).

What We Think

The 2015 Cadillac Escalade ESV remains a great choice for those looking for a large premium SUV with a cavernous interior that can fit seven passengers and cargo comfortably. In a First Test review, we said that the Escalade ESV is a step up in terms of materials and fit/finish because of its well-executed interior featuring open-pore wood and leather swathed on “nearly every surface,” extending all the way into the door jambs.

Cadillac’s CUE infotainment system, however, remains a weak point because it could be more user-friendly. Even with the available 22-inch wheels, the SUV's ride and handling are surprisingly decent thanks to its magnetic shocks. The Escalade ESV's updated V-8 engine provides plenty of straight-line acceleration despite the SUV's weight.

You’ll Like

  • Cavernous interior for passengers and cargo
  • Good ride quality
  • Surprisingly quick for a heavy vehicle

You Won’t Like

  • Fussy and unintuitive infotainment system
  • Gas guzzler
  • Not fitting into smaller parking spots

Key Competitors

  • Mercedes-Benz GL-Class
  • Infiniti QX80
  • Lincoln Navigator L
  • Lexus LX 570
  • Land Rover Range Rover

Rating

4 star

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