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2020 Cadillac Escalade

Starting at $76,490

2020 cadillac escalade front

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  • Highs Everyone recognizes an Escalade, lots of standard luxuries, notable tow ratings.
  • Lows Rides like less-refined SUVs, interior isn't truly luxurious, meager fuel-economy estimates.
  • Verdict Despite its pop-culture status, the Escalade is really just an ordinary SUV playing dress-up.
By Eric Stafford


Even though it shares parts with lesser GM products, the 2020 Escalade is unmistakably a luxury SUV. Along with its chrome-laden shell, the Escalade has a host of upscale standard features such as a leather interior, heated and ventilated front seats, self-parking assist, and more. Every Slade is motivated by a gutsy V-8 that pairs with rear- or all-wheel drive and can tow up to a hefty 8300 pounds. Both short- and long-wheelbase versions can fit up to eight people, but the extended Escalade ESV has a roomier third row and more cargo space. The Caddy looks snazzier than its corporate cousins—the GMC Yukon and the Chevy Tahoe—but it's considerably more expensive and its ride isn't any more refined. Although the 2020 Cadillac Escalade evokes the Hollywood lifestyle, it doesn't truly deliver the red-carpet experience.

What's New for 2020?

Cadillac lightly updated the Escalade for 2020 with only a smattering of changes. Along with a new Dark Mocha metallic paint color, which costs extra, the lineup adds a new appearance package called the Sport Edition. The get-up is only available in Red Passion, Satin Steel, and Black Rave. However, that unlocks gloss-black trim to the front end, around the side windows, and on the rear. While we've glimpsed the interior of the next-gen model and spied a prototype testing, Cadillac hasn't officially revealed the upcoming 2021 Escalade.

Pricing and Which One to Buy

The Cadillac Escalade's base price is $76,490, and we think that's the model to get. Stepping up to the more expensive trims simply doesn't have a lot of value since the entry-level version has plenty of desirable standard equipment. The extended ESV model adds $3000, but the upgrade only makes sense for large families. Likewise, optional all-wheel drive is only necessary for those who live in cold-weather states.


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Engine, Transmission, and Performance

Behind the Escalade's giant sparkling grille sits a mighty 420-hp V-8 engine connected to a 10-speed automatic transmission. Together, they push this plus-size SUV with authority and can tow up to 8300 pounds. Rear-wheel drive is standard, while all-wheel drive is optional. In our testing, the Escalade was always responsive, and the transmission handled gearchanges without fuss. At cruising speeds, the Slade was quiet and refined. Despite a set of standard adaptive dampers, the Escalade never felt as convincingly comfortable as its branding and price would suggest. To be clear, the Caddy never felt explicitly uncomfortable. However, the way it shivered over uneven surfaces and how harsh bumps infiltrated the cabin are unacceptable. At least the Escalade is composed around corners—just don't launch it onto an exit ramp above the posted speed limit. The steering effort felt lighter than we found on the Chevy Tahoe and GMC Yukon, which made the Escalade easier to operate at low speeds. Unfortunately, that lack of directness allowed the Cadillac to wander in its lane on the highway. The brake pedal had smooth and strong responses that we appreciated on daily commutes.

2020 cadillac escalade front

Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG

Despite a hefty curb weight and a hearty V-8, the EPA estimates align with the competition. Both body styles with all-wheel drive have the same 14 mpg city and 21 mpg highway estimates, but the rear-drive versions earn 2 mpg more on the highway. The Escalade ESV we tested matched its EPA-estimated 21 mpg on our highway fuel-economy test route.

Interior, Comfort, and Cargo

We like the Escalade's wealth of standard interior features, and its wide front seats will fit all manner of body types. Unfortunately, the available massage functions and top-of-the-line materials are reserved for the outrageously priced Platinum model. A set of second-row captain's chairs are standard issue, but they can be replaced with a 40/60 split-folding bench seat. Families larger than four may want to choose the second-row bench seat, since the shorter Escalade's third row is only suitable for children. The longer Escalade ESV's third row offers an extra 9.7 inches of legroom, but those seeking maximum third-row space should see the extended Lincoln Navigator L. While both versions of Escalades have a power-folding third row, the extended ESV is more useful on family road trips. With an extra 24 cubic feet behind the third row, it held eight more bags back there than the shorter model (12 total). Both Cadillacs have useful interior cubby storage, including a sizable center console with an optional refrigerated bin.

2020 cadillac escalade interior

Infotainment and Connectivity

Every Escalade in the lineup has an 8.0-inch touchscreen running the latest iteration of Cadillac's CUE infotainment software. A luxury vehicle should provide relaxation as opposed to frustration of the sort embodied by CUE. Its heavy reliance on touch-sensitive controls is always distracting and at times inaccurate. Otherwise, every model includes an array of charging outlets and standard features such as Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and a 4G LTE mobile hotspot.

Safety and Driver-Assistance Features

The 2020 Escalade hasn't been completely evaluated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration or the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Every model does feature front and rear parking sensors, but most driver-assistance technology costs extra and isn't available on base models. Key safety features include:

  • Available forward-collision warning and automated emergency braking
  • Available blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert
  • Available lane-departure warning and lane-keeping assist

Warranty and Maintenance Coverage

The Escalade has an excellent warranty with lengthy powertrain protection. However, Cadillac's coverage isn't the best in every category.

  • Limited warranty covers 4 years or 50,000 miles
  • Powertrain warranty covers 6 years or 70,000 miles
  • Complimentary maintenance is covered for the first visit


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