It's not only for more low-end torque.
As the automotive industry, in general, is turning away from diesel-powered vehicles in the aftermath of the Dieselgate scandal, there are still a few brands offering the old oil burner for their large trucks and SUVs. GM is one of them. Not only is its 3.0-liter inline-six diesel powerplant available in the new Chevy Tahoe and GMC Yukon, but also the Cadillac Escalade. In fact, it's the first time in the Escalade's 21-year history that diesel power is being offered, and Cadillac fully expects a large number of buyers to opt for it. Why? Because they care about fuel economy.
Speaking to Cadillac Society, Cadillac marketing manager Dave Schiavone made very clear why the diesel option exists. "If you love Escalade, you love Escalade," he said. "But for those people that also love fuel efficiency, they can get it in the diesel. We're expecting some pretty good improvements in fuel economy on the diesel over the V8 gasoline. I don't have numbers to share right now, but I will tell you that they're significant."
Schiavone further confirmed that wealthy Escalade customers want an SUV that's more fuel-efficient than that naturally aspirated V8 version. The fact that there are enough Escalade buyers who want improved fuel economy is certainly a good thing, and this can also serve as a potential preview for future EVs customers.
But we think there's another probable reason why the diesel is there: it's a place holder until the all-electric Escalade arrives. The Escalade EV is still a few years away, though the brand is set to launch its first-ever EV in the very near future, the Cadillac Lyriq crossover.
Unfortunately, the original debut date of April 2 has been postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. Cadillac aims to flood its lineup with EVs in the years ahead and offering an Escalade diesel today could very well end up being the first step many customers take towards a pure battery-powered vehicle.
Official fuel economy figures for the diesel haven't been announced though they'll surely be better than the V8's 14/23/17 mpg city/highway/combined rating from the outgoing 2020 model. The 2021 Escalade will feature that same engine.