2020 Cadillac Escalade

2020 Cadillac Escalade
2020 Cadillac Escalade Rear Angle View
2020 Cadillac Escalade Dashboard

2020 Cadillac Escalade Review: A Luxury Lounge On Wheels

In a culture where bigger generally means better, the Cadillac Escalade is definitely an all-American prize-winner. Few vehicles claim "You've made it!" as boldly as this enormous lounge on wheels - but you'll need to actually make it first if you want to afford this $80k SUV. With a powerful V8 engine under the hood, directing 420 horsepower and 460 lb-ft of torque to your choice of rear or all four wheels, the Escalade has no trouble getting around, but it'll need a steady supply of premium gasoline to keep moving. For the hefty initial outlay and high upkeep costs, you get a spacious and luxurious SUV that comes with a very long list of standard features, but is it really the best value for your hard-earned money when there are similarly opulent vehicles like the Lincoln Navigator out there?

Read in this review:

  • Exterior Design 7 /10
  • Performance 8 /10
  • Fuel Economy 7 /10
  • Interior & Cargo 9 /10
  • Infotainment & Features 8 /10
  • Reliability 10 /10
  • Safety 8 /10
  • Value For Money 8 /10
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2020 Cadillac Escalade Changes: What’s The Difference vs The 2019 Escalade?

Starting to look its age, the Caddy Escalade receives no noteworthy updates for the new year. In fact, its overall features list takes a slight hit, with the standard dual seatback-mounted entertainment dropped from the Platinum trim. If that is unacceptable to you, the screens can be added back at additional cost.

Pros and Cons

  • Powerful V8 engine
  • Comfy cruiser
  • Plenty of standard features
  • Massive towing capacity
  • Imposing curb appeal
  • Terribly thirsty powertrain
  • As clumsy as it is big
  • Extremely tight third-row seats
  • Some cut corners in build quality

What's the Price of the 2020 Cadillac Escalade?

If you want to get behind the wheel of Cadillac's most premium SUV, you better be willing to lay out some serious dough. The cheapest model in the range is the Standard trim, which goes for a less-than-modest $75,195. Each subsequent model climbs in price steadily, with the Luxury trim going for $80,795 and the Premium Luxury for $85,195. The top-tier Platinum model is actually a bit cheaper than last year, due to some standard features being dropped from the list, so you can pick it up for a mere $92,295 - sarcasm intended. Every model is available with an all-wheel drivetrain, assuming you're willing to tack on an extra $3,000. These prices exclude tax, licensing, registration, and Cadillac's $1,295 destination charge.

Best Deals on 2020 Cadillac Escalade

2020 Cadillac Escalade Trims

See trim levels and configurations:

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
6.2L V8 Gas
10-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
Four-Wheel Drive
6.2L V8 Gas
10-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
Four-Wheel Drive
Premium Luxury
6.2L V8 Gas
10-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
Four-Wheel Drive
6.2L V8 Gas
10-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
Four-Wheel Drive
See All 2020 Cadillac Escalade Trims and Specs

Handling and Driving Impressions

Despite its brutish appearance, the Escalade is actually quite a composed driver, especially around the busy streets where smaller sports cars are likely to get underfoot. The steering is light and direct, making it easy to quickly reposition the large SUV, but you'll still need plenty of room to work with in parking lots, especially when trying to park the juggernaut. Unfortunately, the wheel never gains much heft, even at highway speeds, and there is little or no communication with the tires.

The particularly large wheels are also a problem when it comes to ride comfort, especially when paired with the finicky adaptive suspension. Over smooth, well-maintained roads in town, the SUV delivers the kind of floaty ride you'd expect from a luxury vehicle, but throw in even the smallest of bumps and the Escalade loses its footing. Because of the body-on-frame design, vibrations travel through the cabin and disrupt passenger comfort all too easily.

Despite its size, the Caddy handles corners relatively well, gripping the road as it swings around, but it is prone to understeer at higher speeds. It certainly isn't a sporty or fun ride, but it will get you where you're going in style and comfort, for the most part. However, at this price range, we'd expect far better handling and a smoother ride.

Verdict: Is the 2020 Cadillac Escalade A Good SUV?

You may think that a tank-sized SUV that costs close to $100k wouldn't be overly popular, but you'd be dead wrong. The Cadillac Escalade has muscled its way into the hearts of many American shoppers who want a veritable mobile lounge with in-your-face styling and unignorable road presence.

That muscle comes from an eminently capable naturally aspirated V8 engine that practically roars when the throttle is applied, warning smaller cars to get out of the King of the Road's way. But the Caddy isn't just intimidating from the outside. The cabin is huge and well-appointed, with enough features to keep even the biggest tech-heads happy. It may not win any awards for trunk space, but it certainly isn't ashamed of what it offers, either.

But this is a vehicle that is meant for cruising in style and being seen, as it saunters down the road; it will never deliver the thrills that smaller, more athletic SUVs can. It also isn't as luxurious inside as it would have you believe, especially on the move when even minor road abrasions disrupt ride comfort horribly. Beauty is pain, or so they say, and this Caddy seems to take that mantra to heart.

However, despite these shortcomings, the Escalade is still an icon, with many buyers interested more in what the car says about them than what it can do for them. Nevertheless, at this price point, there are better choices out there if you actually want real value for your money.

What Cadillac Escalade Model Should I Buy?

You certainly wouldn't feel like you're missing out on much if you buy the Standard Escalade. It comes with an impressive list of standard features and a very comfortable cabin, with heated front and middle-row seats, tri-zone climate control, and a 16-speaker Bose sound system as standard. However, savvy shoppers with a mind for family safety will notice its distinct lack of advanced safety features. For those, you will need to upgrade a trim level or two. The Premium Luxury is the cheapest way of accessing the fully comprehensive safety suite, but the Luxury gets you the essential components without the superfluous features that push the price up another $5k, making it our recommended pick. You still need to invest $80,795, but you will get blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, forward collision, and a full suite of lane keep/departure functions, as well as high beam assist and the standard parking aids.

Check out other Cadillac Escalade Styles

2020 Cadillac Escalade Comparisons

Lincoln Navigator Lincoln
Chevrolet Tahoe Chevrolet

2020 Cadillac Escalade vs Lincoln Navigator

Similarly priced to the Escalade, Lincoln's entry to the large SUV segment is the Navigator. But, rather than go the old-school route, as Cadillac is so prone to do, the Navigator opts for a twin-turbo V6 engine that beats the V8 in the Escalade, developing 450 hp and 500 lb-ft. Often, extra power means poorer fuel economy, but the Lincoln actually gets a few extra miles to the gallon across the board. The Navigator is also a little more spacious in the back than the Caddy, opting to even out passenger space rather than give those up front the best seats in the house, and it still manages to supply far more cargo space, too. In terms of features, you can expect to find much the same inside either SUV, but the Lincoln is a little less ostentatious. Whether or not that is a good thing will depend entirely upon your taste. But, overall, the Lincoln Navigator gives slightly better all-round value than the Escalade.

See Lincoln Navigator Review

2020 Cadillac Escalade vs Chevrolet Tahoe

Starting off a lot cheaper than the Escalade, and even topping out below the base Standard trim, the Chevrolet Tahoe is more of an everyman's large SUV. With more of a focus on utility than pure decadent luxury, it comes standard with eight seats and slightly more cargo space than its countryman. The Tahoe also comes with a naturally aspirated V8, but its power outputs are less impressive at 355 hp and 383 lb-ft, while weighing just as much as the Escalade, so expect it to be quite a bit more sluggish on the road. In other areas, it handles very much like the Caddy. With a much lower base price, and ever-so-slightly better fuel economy, the Chevrolet Tahoe is the smarter buy money-wise, but if you care more about luxury and having more features than you know what to do with, the Caddy Escalade is the large SUV for you.

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