Expect this new version to be quite a bit more than a blinged-out Chevrolet Tahoe.
With the luxury SUV war heating up thanks to high-end automakers finally capitalizing on the demand for large vehicles, it no longer pays to keep doing business as usual. As you may know, Audi is rising to the call, fighting the upcoming BMW X7 and potentially cannibalizing sales of its own sibling, the Bentley Bentayga, with the upcoming Q8. That means that automakers like Cadillac, which relies heavily on the profitable and strong-selling Escalade to bolster its bottom line, can no longer get by with antiquity.
That’s why Automobile Magazine is reporting that General Motors is thinking about ditching the Cadillac Escalade’s solid rear axle in favor of a more cushy independent rear suspension (IRS) system. The loaded luxury land yacht rides on the same body-on-frame platform as the Chevrolet Tahoe and GMC Yukon and sees the same extension as the Chevy Suburban and GMC Yukon XL in ESV guise. While this cuts costs for GM and preserves the work truck ethic that some Escalade buyers seek, it makes the Escalade more of a brute on suburban roads where it spends most of its life. Recognizing the issue, Ford Motor Company has already ditched the solid rear for an IRS in the latest Lincoln Navigator.
Unfortunately, the 2015 Escalade redesign was only a minor improvement over the 2007 model, which Automobile claims is due to GM’s 2009 bankruptcy. The decision to use an IRS was made so late that it delayed the upcoming Escalade’s release to early or mid 2019 where it will arrive on scene as a 2020 model. In hopes of differentiating the Escalade from lower GM SUVs, Cadillac will go beyond just adding more chrome and usher in some of the Escala Concept's design touches. Cadillac will also elevate interior quality so that the Escalade can better compete with the likes of Mercedes. That’s a welcome change given that our previous experience with the Escalade left us complaining about interior refinement.
Expect Cadillac’s Super Cruise 2 to be added as well. The new Escalade should also come equipped with GM’s new 4.0-liter V8, which will be mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission. That combo will pack an EPA-approved punch to the current ‘Slade’s 6.2-liter V8 fuel economy, though it may come offered in plug-in hybrid format as well for those wishing to wring out extra miles per gallon. Whether or not these changes help the upcoming Escalade better fight against its competitors, expect its price to be on par, with entry level models starting around $78,000 and higher trims reaching past the six-figure mark. No word on whether or not rappers will once again do their part to make the Escalade cool again.