You'd think this would be obvious.
Not only is the all-new 2021 Cadillac Escalade the most luxurious Escalade to date, but it's also the most technologically advanced. Boasting a class-leading 38-inch OLED display and an Augmented Reality-enabled navigation system, it's the Super Cruise semi-autonomous hands-free self-driving system that's already a standout. Super Cruise recently beat Tesla's Autopilot in a Consumer Reports test and this fact alone will convince more buyers to pay extra for it.
Like Autopilot, Super Cruise has its limitations and not all drivers may fully understand this. But unlike Teslas, the Escalade is a real SUV with numerous capabilities, such as towing. And therein lies a potential new problem: can Super Cruise and towing go together? The obvious answer is 'no.'
Cadillac Society examined the new Escalade's owner's manual where it specifically states "Super Cruise should not be used in complex or uncertain driving conditions" and proceeds to list 14 specific instances. These include slippery or icy roads, tunnels, construction zones, city driving, and when approaching or exiting tolling plazas.
But there's one specific warning aimed directly at SUV owners: Don't use it when towing a trailer. As impressive as it is, Super Cruise was simply not designed to accommodate trailer usage. Divers must always be aware of what's happening and no amount of technology can replace trailer towing driving skills.
Perhaps one day Super Cruise (and other semi-autonomous systems) will reach a stage where towing trailers can be handled, but we don't see this happening in the foreseeable future. Cadillac's warning will also need to be adopted by GMC for its updated and Super Cruise-equipped 2022 Sierra. Aside from certain limitations, Super Cruise can be used on around 200,000 miles of compatible highways in North America and GM promised to expand this further.
It's also not a cheap system to buy, costing $2,500 in the Escalade. In reality, buyers will need to spend over $6,000 because the system requires the optional $3,650 Driver Assist and Technology Package. The 2021 Escalade has a maximum towing capacity of 8,200 for regular-length 2WD versions.