If first impressions count, then Cadillac has won our attention with the all-new generation of its 2015 Escalade full-size SUV that was officially unveiled today during a special event in New York City. It may have impressed us more if a) it had shown the Escalade first instead of last, after the Chevrolet and GMC models or b) if the Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban and GMC Yukon and Yukon XL simply did not exist…
We say that because if you place the three models together, their relation is clear, at least on the outside where the differences between them are focused on the individually styled front and rear ends, and the exterior trims and wheels – overall, the Escalade has crispier ends and more upscale detailing.
Inside, however, it's a different story as GM has made great efforts to differentiate the three full-size SUVs with the Escalade garnering most of the attention with bespoke styling and materials, as well as gadgetry and equipment features. To put it bluntly, unlike the Escalade's predecessors that looked more Tahoe and Yukon than Cadillac, the new model's cabin is completely in line with the wreath and crest firm's freshest products, such as the ATS, CTS and XTS.
Cadillac states that its new big SUV features "real wood combined with premium cut-and-sewn materials and sueded accents, along with ambient lighting", while also highlighting the fact that, "tight tolerances of the instrument panel and door panels, precision controls and triple-sealed doors were engineered and designed to reinforce a feeling of quality".
The brand's touch-sensitive CUE system also makes an appearance with an eight-inch display as standard, while instead of traditional instrument gauges, the Escalade now sports a reconfigurable, high-resolution 12.3-inch screen.
On the tech front, you'll find, bluetooth phone and navigation systems, available Blu-Ray DVD rear entertainment system, and a raft of safety features such as the comprehensive Driver Awareness package, Side Blind Zone Alert, Rear Cross Traffic Alert and Lane Change Alert.
GM also highlights the existence of "greater security features to thwart theft attempts" since the Escalade is a popular vehicle amongst thieves… These include an intrusion sensor, inclination sensor and glass breakage sensors, all of which are supported by the brand's OnStar Stolen Vehicle Assistance.
The fourth-generation Escalade rides on a traditional body-on-frame architecture with Cadillac to offer two versions of the SUV, a regular wheelbase (116 inches or 2,946mm) model measuring 203.9 inches or 5,180mm long, and the extended-length ESV edition with a 14-inch-longer (355 mm) wheelbase at 130 inches or 3,302mm and approximately 20 inches (508 mm) more in overall length (224.3 inches or 5,698mm). According to Cadillac, the ESV maximizes space for third-row passengers and also offers 60 percent more cargo space behind the third-row seat than the regular wheelbase Escalade.
Aside from choosing lengths, buyers will also be able to opt for 2WD and 4WD drivetrains, with power in all cases provided by a new 6.2-liter V8 direct-injection engine rated for 420hp and 460 lb-ft of torque (623 Nm), which represents a nearly 5-percent increase in horsepower and 10 percent more torque than the outgoing unit. The eight-cylinder mill is paired to GM's Hydra-Matic 6L80 six-speed automatic transmission with TapShift control. Cadillac’s Magnetic Ride Control will be offered as standard on all models.
Further details such as pricing, equipment grades and fuel economy numbers are to be released at a later date, likely before the new 2015 Escalade goes on sale in spring of 2014.