The all-new fourth generation of Cadillac’s full sized luxury SUV brings with it a new look, a new engine, a totally revamped interior and a decidedly different approach to “bling”. But is it the family hauler and track day workhorse you’d want to put in your driveway? We took to streets of Los Angeles and, somewhat courageously, Mulholland Highway to find out.
At first glance, these new spy photos—courtesy of Automobile—seem to be of a new Ford, what with the conspicuous oval shaped badge in the center of the grille. However, we have been assured that this is actually the 2014 Cadillac Escalade in heavy camouflage.
It’s not like the Escalade has simply gone bad, more that it hasn’t been updated (or better, completely revised) while newer products like the QX have sprung up. That relative datedness isn’t unique to Cadillac in this teetering full-size SUV segment, as mainline competitors like the Lexus LX (2007), Mercedes-Benz GL (2006), and Lincoln Navigator (2007) are all growing pretty long in the tooth.
In the real world, a vehicle’s comfort isn’t limited simply to how good the seats feel to sit in. There are a lot of other factors, including climate control, ride quality, noise levels, being able to get in and out of the car, and ease of use. Often, the words “luxury” and “size” go hand in hand with the idea of comfort. The features on hand also factor into how comfortable the experience is for driver and passengers; a long drive is going to be more comfortable if the kids in the back seat are calm, complacent, and entertained than if they are squirming, complaining, and asking, “Are we there yet?”
Driving dynamics are not the point here, so we’ll keep our comments on the Escalade short. It is built on a truck platform and it feels like it. Modern trucks being very accomplished vehicles that isn’t all bad, but don’t expect to see the ESV score very high on our Involvement Index. You wouldn’t buy this instead of a sports sedan, of course, but users who don’t need all the functionality should know that the ride is just okay, the acceleration is modest, and the weight transfer borders on the ponderous.