Last year when I reviewed the Platinum edition of 2010 Cadillac Escalade, I called it a beautiful behemoth that was “mind boggling” in terms of its size, carrying capacity, technology and amenities. That description still fits. In fact, the 2011 has aged well with some refinements and upgrades that made the driving experience equally as enjoyable.
First, the stats. The Platinum model of the 2011 Cadillac ESV is a six-speed automatic with all-wheel drive and a 6.2-liter, V8 engine with 403 horsepower. And it’s equipped with features galore to keep driver and passengers happy: tri-zone climate control, rearview camera, two flip-down entertainment screens, four wireless headphones and even cupholders that warm and cool.
As the driver, I’m once again repeating myself from last year. The ride is surprisingly smooth considering it’s such a large SUV (Cadillac boasts it’s the large SUV segment leader).
For easy access to a vehicle that sits quite high the retractable running boards on both sides of the vehicle are a must. I was thankful our vehicle was equipped with it.
The Champion editorial staff and I put this Escalade through its paces on every level recently during an 800-mile trip to Jekyll Island and back. My colleagues thoroughly tested the Escalade, checking out every option and manufacturer’s promise.
We packed in more than 12 pieces of luggage, garment bags, grocery sacks as well as a blender and tripod heading out and returned with about the same in addition to a stack of first-place award plaques from the Georgia Press Association.(Sorry, just had to brag.) Absolutely no complaints with the vehicle’s carrying capacity. Escalade’s auto-opening rear door made the continual opening and closing that comes with traveling with so many companions a breeze.
The Escalade has also enhanced noise reduction measures (laminated front windshield and front row side glass) as well as “active noise cancellation technology,” which “continuously adjusts the music in response to background noise.” Nice!
The vehicle received favorable reviews from my colleagues in several areas. “I thought that the vehicle was very classy and comfortable. It was sleek, spacious and I loved the entertainment system,” stated one. “The two things I was most impressed with were the ventilated seats and the climate controlled cup holders. Was surprised at how small the sunroof is,” said another.
However both second-row passengers reported feeling “sway” with one irked that the seat didn’t push back farther. Stated one: “I was underwhelmed. There was a noticeable sway in the ride and the middle seats had a stiff feel.”
And the $88,295 sticker price coupled with the vehicle’s EPA fuel economy estimates (average of 13 miles per gallon in the city and 18 mpg on the highway) drew a chorus of shock.
The Platinum Escalade is top of its line—other Escalade models start in the $66,000 range—and competes against the Mercedes Benz GL, Lincoln Navigator and Infiniti QX56.
Stats: Flex-fuel capability and active fuel management, antilock brakes, 22-in chrome wheels, Bose surround sound, Bluetooth for phone, heated steering wheel, power sunroof, side blind zone alert, LED headlamps.