Cadillac Celebrates The 20th Anniversary Of The Escalade

Cadillac is celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Escalade by taking a look at the model which made its public debut at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in 1998.

Designed to compete with the Lincoln Navigator, which was launched a year earlier, the first-generation Escalade was little more than a badge engineered version of the Chevrolet Tahoe and GMC Yukon. The styling similarities were so close that the Escalade was virtually indistinguishable from GMC Yukon Denali, aside from its Cadillac badging.

Despite the shameless badge engineering, the Escalade was a huge hit and the company ended up selling 23,897 units in its first full year on the market. The first-generation model had a relatively short life and only lasted two model years.

The second-generation Escalade was a significant improvement over its predecessor as it featured a more luxurious interior and a unique exterior styling. The standard model was also joined by new ESV and EXT variants. These changes resonated with consumers and sales climbed 35 percent in 2002 and another 55 percent in 2003.

For the 2007 model year, Cadillac introduced the third-generation Escalade. Besides featuring the usual interior and exterior updates, the model became the first vehicle to be offered with full LED headlights in the United States.  The Escalade also become the first full-size SUV to offer a hybrid powertrain as well as Magnetic Ride Control.

The current model was launched for the 2015 model year and it will soon be replaced by an all-new Escalade which is expected to arrive in 2020. The redesigned model is slated to have an independent rear suspension, a significantly improved interior and up to three different engine options.

The model will undoubtedly build on the success of its predecessors and Cadillac notes they have sold more than 836,000 Escalades in the past two decades.


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  • Salih Ahzem

    I don’t get how it’s a “game-changer” when it was (and still is) basically a high spec Tahoe with some different body panels and an upgraded engine.

    • Jay

      Actually the Tahoe and Suburban use the engine in the RST package so it doesn’t even have that to itself anymore.

      • Kash

        Learn what from the Navigator? The Navigator and Expedition are doing the same thing as this and Tahoe. The main difference between the 2 sets is their age and the fact Ford gave the Navi some fancy front seats.

        • Jay

          Indeed but the Navigator has far more differentiation from the Expedition than the Escalade does from the rest of its Family. The seats and just about every interior panel part has hardly anything alike, not to mention the excellent choices for the interior colors. The outside panels got more love as well imo.

          • charlotteharry57

            Yeah, and while you can max out a current Escalade around $85K, the Navigator will take you over $100K. Which is PURE INSANITY.

          • TrevP

            Wrong. A platinum Escalade will reach the same MSRP as the Navigator.

          • Jay

            What? A 2019 Escalade ESV Platinum with 4WD actually costs more than a Navigator L Black Label with 4×4 and that’s without any other options.

    • adbt20

      Perhaps a Game-changer from a commercial point of view for GM –max profit margins from regular Tahoe platform!

      But also, there are (A LOT) more Escalades crawling around NY today than there are Town Cars or S-class… that is also a big evolution of luxury transportation, imo.

  • TrevP

    The 3rd Gen was my favorite model. I still love the look of them.

    • Ermal Morina

      second that

    • Jay

      For me it was the 2nd gen. The exterior body cladding definitely set it’s looms apart from the Tahoe’s. The 3rd gens front was great but the rest was pretty meh to me.

      • enthusia

        the 2nd gen was ICONIC. it truly was a cultural icon that symbolized the excessiveness of the 2000’s and really made the escalade a household name. and i know a lot of people prefer the 2nd gen as well. the 3rd gen was kinda decent in the front facia but the rest of it was undistinguishable from the tahoe.

  • Mr. EP9

    Current model is ugly AF and looks like a brick.

    • Eythan Aldrich

      I’m sorry but I don’t agree with that big time….

  • Craig

    I think I might like the first one best. Look wise at least.


    • Bash

      Deal with it. lol

  • Paul

    They’ve all been good. My beef is still this though,that I wish they could give it different body panels or something so that it didn’t come off so much as just a glorified Suburban.

  • Blanka Li

    Never understood the buyers of the Escalade.

  • Perry F. Bruns

    I always laugh when “Save A Horse, Ride A Cowboy” comes on. The bridge to the second chorus goes

    And I wouldn’t trade ol’ Leroy
    Or my Chevrolet for your Escalade
    Or your freak parade…

    The Chevrolet in this case is a Silverado, which, like the Tahoe, is built on the same platform as the Escalade. Admittedly, it does have an open cargo box, but still.

    Leroy is the narrator’s horse. Different platform.

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