Cadillac last night unveiled the all-new 2021 Escalade in Hollywood, an SUV that is longer than Scorsese’s Irishman, and likely far more enjoyable. With (thus far) exclusive technology including a curved Organic Light Emitting Diode (OLED) screen, the first AKG automotive audio system and Cadillac’s Super Cruise driver assistance technology. The fifth-generation of Cadillac’s flagship will expand – it’s hoped – on its more than 20 years of enriching GM’s coffers.
Launching in the third quarter this year in North America, the 2021 Escalade built in Texas – as befits its size – has been redesigned to deliver improved driving dynamics and significantly greater passenger and cargo capacities.
Large increases in passenger and cargo space are due primarily to a longer wheelbase and longer overall vehicle length compared to the previous model, as well as a new independent rear suspension, which enables a lower interior floor. These not only expand the Escalade’s roominess, but improve comfort by allowing easier access to the second and third rows, as well as creating a “more natural seating” position for third-row occupants.
Third-row legroom increases more than 10 inches, giving Escalade one of the roomiest third rows in the segment, while the lower floor and increased vehicle length allow cargo space to expand.
Escalade’s industry-first curved OLED display offers more than 38 inches of total diagonal display area, with twice the pixel density of a 4K television. The technology delivers the largest color range of any automotive display in production today.
The system includes three screens: a 7.2-inch-diagonal touch control panel driver information center to the driver’s left, a 14.2-inch-diagonal cluster display behind the steering wheel and a 16.9-inch-diagonal Infotainment screen to the driver’s right. The OLED is paper-thin, and its curvature positions the displays for optimal visibility.
The Escalade has several other advanced, vision-oriented items, including:
- All-new, optional Augmented Reality-enabled navigation, which uses live street views with directional overlays.
- Surround Vision, a standard detail that employs four exterior cameras to provide a 2-megapixel bird’s-eye view of the scene around the vehicle.
- An optional Trailering Integration Package, which has up to nine camera views (including rear camera guidelines) to support easier hitching. The package also includes an integrated trailer brake controller and a trailering app that offers trailer profiles, tire pressure and temperature monitoring, and an Extended Side Blind Zone Alert.
- Rear Camera Mirror, an optional feature that streams a rear-facing camera view on the conventional inside mirror screen.
- Night Vision, an optional feature that uses infrared technology to enhance forward visibility, including detection of pedestrians and large animals, projected on the center cluster display.
- New rear-seat entertainment has a pair of 12.6-inch-diagonal independent touch displays with navigation as well as streaming capability to play games, music and videos through HDMI and USB inputs. The screens can also mirror Android smartphones. Additionally, destination “suggestions” can be “sent” by rear passengers to the front navigation screen, for the driver to accept or decline. This adds a whole new dimension to “back-seat driving.
- Vehicle communication is improved for front and rear passengers as their voices are captured by embedded microphones and reproduced in the designated zone using the 36-speaker system.
The 2021 Escalade hints at automobility as the first full-size SUV with Super Cruise driver assistance technology. It enables hands-free driving on more than 200,000 miles of compatible highways in the United States and Canada, using LiDAR map data, high-precision GPS, a state-of-the-art driver attention system and a network of cameras and radar sensors.
The 2021 Escalade has a new 6.2L V-8 engine offered as standard. With variable valve timing, stop/start and Dynamic Fuel Management technologies, it balances performance – 420 horsepower (313 kW) – with some relative efficiency. EPA ratings await publication.
For the first time, the Escalade is also offered with an optional 3.0-liter turbo-diesel engine, which is designed to produce strong torque across the power band for confident performance and trailer capability. In fact, its 460 lb.-ft. (623 Nm) of peak torque matches the 6.2-liter V-8. Both engines come with a 10-speed automatic transmission with electronic shift control. A trailer package is standard on all models.
Escalade’s optional combination of Magnetic Ride Control, Air Ride Adaptive Suspension and eLSD offers – it’s claimed – exceptional body control and remarkable agility for a vehicle of its massive size. Four-wheel drive is optional on all models.
Escalade’s new multilink independent rear suspension is composed of three lateral arms, a large longitudinal arm, coil springs and a gigantic stabilizer bar, all of which – it’s claimed “enable the ride sophistication and isolating characteristics typically associated with smaller vehicles but scaled for the superior capability requirements of a full-size luxury SUV.”