2018 Cadillac Escalade ESV Review

Model Overview

If Cadillac’s regular full-size Escalade is still too small for your requirements then perhaps the extended wheelbase ESV will be a better match. It offers additional seating capacity as well as far more cargo space and can tow just about anything that isn’t bolted to the ground.

Updated equipment and a new transmission have been introduced for the 2018 model year.

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What’s it like inside?

The Escalade offers a very spacious cabin with seating for 8 occupants and is clad in decent quality materials although build quality is below par in certain areas compared to rivals. A large touchscreen takes pride of place in the center console of the stylishly designed dashboard and the minor buttons are placed around the driver in a logical fashion.

The ESV features three rows of seats although despite its huge dimensions the third row is still not quite spacious enough for taller occupants. Seat comfort too is only average for the class but the two front rows offer a significant amount of leg and knee room.

Cargo space is superb and with both rear rows folded flat the Escalade ESV offers a cavernous load space. The Escalade’s high liftover height can make loading heavy items a back-straining affair though.

How does it drive?

A quiet cabin and a smooth ride over good quality roads make the Escalade a great highway cruiser. The large diameter wheels and truck-based chassis do not cope well with rougher pavement though and the Escalade disappoints in its inability to iron out bumps and thumps.

The unobtrusive transmission and muscular power delivery make for a very relaxed and laid-back driving experience. Attempt to get a move on and the high kerb weight of the ESV makes it reluctant to change direction quickly although it feels predictable ad safe within its limits. The steering can be extremely heavy at lower speeds.

What about the performance?

A potent 6.2-liter V8 engine moves the Escalade along briskly in most conditions and provides meaningful acceleration even when loaded up. It produces 420 horsepower and 460 lb-ft of torque, a new for 2018 10-speed automatic transmission is standard and both two-wheel drive and all-wheel drive options are available.

0-60mph takes under 7-seconds which is excellent for the class and the strong power delivery gives the Escalade ESV confident overtaking ability too.

What are my options?

The Escalade ESV offers a very comprehensive range of standard equipment, even the base trim includes an 8-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, 16-speaker Bose audio system, automatic parking assist, surround vision cameras, hands-free power liftgate, power fold-flat third row seats, heated and cooled power front seats with heating on the second row, LED headlamps, magnetic ride control, 20-inch alloy wheels.

The Luxury Trim adds 22-inch wheels and a driver awareness package which includes forward collision alert, lane keep assist, lane departure warning and a number of additional driver assistance systems. A full color head-up display, power second-row seat folding, power sunroof and rear camera mirror are also included.

The Premium Luxury Trim adds the Driver Assist Package which offers adaptive cruise control, forward and reverse automatic braking and automatic seatbelt tightening. Front LED cornering lamps, illuminated exterior door handles and a rear-seat entertainment system including wireless headphones and a 9-inch overhead screen complete the offerings.

If that is still not enough, the top Platinum Trim includes all of the above and adds premium interior leather trim, 18-way power and massaging front seats, center console cooler and premium 22-inch wheels.

The Verdict

The Cadillac Escalade ESV is an extended wheelbase full-sized SUV with seating for 8 and their luggage too. An astounding level of standard and available luxury equipment is on offer.

Masses of interior space a quiet cabin and muscular performance are its strong points although the cramped third row seats and subpar ride quality detract from a potentially class-leading offering.

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Starting MSRP
$83,295