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Road test | Cadillac Escalade-V: was it necessary?



At a time of climate emergency, Cadillac has set out its serious ambitions in electrics. Its Lyriq crossover and its spectacular large Celestiq sedan bear witness to a real desire to breathe new life into the legendary luxury brand by electrifying it. At the same time as these announcements, the Escalade, its large SUV, puffs out its chest with a new ultra-powerful livery whose relevance, in the current context, can no doubt be called into question.



The 2023 Cadillac Escalade-V sports a colossal gloss black mesh grille superimposed on a fascia with other black accents.

The Escalade-V, for it’s full name, is nothing less than the most powerful full-size SUV ever. But, above all, the 3000 kg juggernaut lays the stylistic foundations of the exercise with additions that only the discerning eye will recognize. This is essentially played out in terms of the colossal grille with gloss black mesh superimposed on a shield sporting other black accents. 22″ wheels complete the sideways look with large V logos affixed to the front doors. We also find this logo on the large rear hatch above a bumper remodeled to accommodate four exhaust pipes. Whether we like it or not, it is certainly spectacular. In the extended ESV version tested, it is almost 1.2 m longer than a Toyota RAV4 and 24 cm higher than the latter. Its width also exceeds 2 m.

On board


The interior of the 2023 Cadillac Escalade-V

A positive consequence of this bulk: the interior space of this Escalade would make many owners of single-family homes envious. Comfort, however, is mixed in the rear seats. The support is lacking and the padding remains rather firm. The massaging and infinitely adjustable front seats are much more welcoming. To stand out from its cousins ​​at Chevrolet (Tahoe) and GMC (Yukon), the Escalade takes the interior presentation up a level of luxury. The leathers and the zebra wood moldings combine to give a beautiful homogeneity to the whole. There is attention to detail. We also cannot silence the presence of the impressive large OLED screen which is in fact the result of the superposition of two screens, thus giving texture to the rendering.

Under the hood


The Escalade-V’s powerful and very fuel-efficient V8 with a supercharger produces 682 hp, 14 hp more than the CT5-V Blackwing sedan with which it shares it.

It is by lifting the hood that the exuberance of this Escalade-V reaches parodic levels. There is a supercharged 6.2 L V8 supercharged by volumetric compressor. This mechanism is also used by the Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing. By using a larger compressor (2.65 L), its power increases here to 682 hp. If the Sport drive mode is activated at start-up, the Escalade-V makes the presence of this entire cavalry felt with a roar as quiet as a NASCAR racing car throbbing at idle. It is also the auditory aspect that leads the experience, while the gear changes are accompanied by detonations. The attention generated by such a noisy vehicle is also not rewarding.

Behind the wheel


On a rolling start, the big SUV leaps with confidence, controlling its attitude and traction convincingly.

One obviously wonders about the effects that such a gain in power can have on such an imposing ladder frame vehicle. The cons-employment becomes immediately apparent at the first request of the accelerator pedal. Admittedly, there is greater aplomb than in the series livery due to the different calibration of its damping – a composition that is both pneumatic and equipped with electromagnetic shock absorbers. On a rolling start, the big SUV leaps with confidence, controlling its attitude and traction convincingly. It’s when the first bends show up – quickly – that you become disenchanted. The weight and gear ratio of the steering, which inevitably comes from the world of the van, make it clumsy and clumsy. Braking is also surprisingly effective.

Embedded technologies


The multimedia system of the 2023 Cadillac Escalade-V

As mentioned earlier, the Escalade justifies the swelling of its invoice by the presence of a custom infotainment system. It is still present in the V livery with its 97 cm (38 in) which can accommodate both the instrumentation and the multimedia space. Navigation is easy and the clarity of the image makes it one of the best in the industry today. Certainly, with increasingly varied proposals in this area, the freshness of this system is less marked than before, but its competence in terms of speed and functionality is undeniable. The optional SuperCruise autonomous driving system is undeniably one of the most capable. In terms of sound, the Escalade remains a reference with its new AKG Studio Reference system with 36 speakers: the sound quality is captivating.

The verdict


With consumption struggling to drop below 16 L/100 km in very moderate driving, there is a certain anachronism attached to this SUV.

The very existence of the Escalade-V obviously raises ethical questions. Do we need such a high-performance, fuel-guzzling and bulky vehicle? With consumption that struggles to drop below 16 L/100 km in very moderate driving, there is a certain anachronism attached to this SUV, the raison d’être of which essentially comes down to a rigorous reading of the laws of the market without being too concerned. ask about the effects. The few who can afford to set their sights on this detailed variant at nearly double the price of a production Escalade (nearly $178,000) will ultimately benefit from an SUV that is extremely fast in a straight line, but whose dynamics driving struggles to stand out from its other versions. One question: was it necessary to involve him in a power war?



Limo comfort

With the juxtaposition of electromagnetic shock absorbers and air springs, this Escalade-V has nothing to envy in terms of comfort to many large European sedans. However, the rear seats should be reviewed to ensure greater competition.

Relatively competent automatic transmission

As is often the case with this 10-speed transmission developed with Ford, the Escalade-V is much more comfortable when you avoid using manual mode, which reveals a relative slowness.

Permanent all-wheel drive

Unlike other versions of the Escalade, the Escalade-V has its all-wheel drive permanently activated to avoid a sudden loss of control. This is undoubtedly a good thing.

Acceleration worthy of a sports car

Cadillac estimates 0-97 km/h in 4.4 seconds, which is comparable to many sports cars currently offered.

It tows a little less

With a maximum towing capacity of 3175 kg, the Escalade-V can tow almost 500 kg less than an Escalade equipped with the naturally aspirated 6.2 L V8.

Technical sheet

Model tested: Cadillac Escalade-V ESV

Engine: 6.2L V8 ACC supercharged by supercharger

Power: 682 hp at 6000 rpm

Torque: 653 lb-ft at 4000 rpm

Transmission: 10-speed automatic with manual mode

Drivetrain: Front transverse engine, all-wheel drive

Consumption (EnerGuide): 18.6 L/100 km (premium gasoline)

Price (with options, transport and preparation): $183,873

Competitors (Escalade-V): None

New in 2023? : New version (Escalade-V)

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