The third generation Cadillac Escalade was a huge step up from the previous generation, which suffered from normal luxury SUV issues. Mainly build quality. However, with this generation, the Cadillac Escalade became more than just a re-badged Tahoe for a crazy price. It became something that could easily compete with Land Rover, BMW, and Mercedes. And as far as road presence goes, it blows them all away. And I have a confession to make… I’ve always had a thing for the Escalade. Just don’t tell my Range Rover because it’ll probably break out of anger.
While the Suburban had the automatic running boards, it just feels so much better on the Escalade. It’s hard to explain, but there’s just a much better feeling of walking up to your luxury SUV and automatic running boards coming down rather than walking up to your average soccer mom mobile.
I’ve also always loved how MASSIVE the wheels are on this generation Cadillac Escalade. Yeah, it’s a bit show-offy, but come on. Nobody buys a luxury SUV like this because they want to go unnoticed. You buy one because your wallet is almost as big as your ego. And I like it that way.
I also love the front grill on the Escalade. It gives this thing a road presence, unlike any other luxury SUV. When this tank comes up behind you, you know what it is. There’s no doubt that you’re about to be run over by an Escalade.
Some things I don’t like about the outside, though, are the cheap plastic they used throughout the car. I get it – it’s an American car, and while it’s hard to complain about a vehicle built in 2012, it’s not quite as well built as the German competition. Also, on this particular one, the paint is a little bland. It stands out because it’s different, but it’s not the most desirable color if you’re in the Kar-flashian club.
Moving onto a little detail that might surprise you, though, is the power life and close tailgate. I don’t know what it is, but these just sell the entire thing for me. I love the split tailgate design on my Range Rover, but let’s be honest. I don’t know why Land Rover couldn’t put a power lift option on it in the same year. Even the Escalade has it, and it was MUCH cheaper new. Funny, enough, though, it’s still held its value better…
Let’s go ahead and take a look at the inside of the Caddy.
I’m going to start with things I don’t like just to get them out of the way. Because truthfully, I LOVE the interior on these. I just have a few little complaints.
First off is the ridiculous gear selector straight out of the 90s. For some reason, GM has stuck with such an outdated and overbearing gear selector in the luxury SUV. And there was certainly a better way to do it. On top of that, there’s a lot of wasted space on this MASSIVE dashboard. But now that those are out of the way, we can talk about everything else that’s good.
There’s wood, leather, luxury, and space everywhere you look in the Cadillac Escalade. Everything is wrapped in a fine material that truly makes the Escalade feel brand new to this day. In fact, the interior hasn’t changed TOO much aside from some updates in the new generation. But that’s okay because it works for this car.
You feel relaxed and at ease behind the seat of the Escalade. And that’s what driving a luxury SUV is all about. It’s not fast by any means. It can get you there, but it’s not going to be too quick about it. And I like that. I don’t like how modern SUVs are all about having a million horsepower and 0-60 times. I appreciate Cadillac for keeping it simple and powerful but not making it a sports car.
You also have more seats than you get in a Range Rover, so if you have… I don’t know… more than two friends of members of your family, they can actually fit in your car. The four captains chairs at the front are comfortable and easy to get in and out of. The seats in the back are there, and they get the job done for short journeys. I just wouldn’t want to spend more than an hour back there. Then again, it’s perfect for a smaller kid.
Another thing I really love about the interior is all of the storage. My biggest complaint in the Rover is that it always has felt small compared to the competition. And what’s crazy is that the Rover has so much wasted space in the inside. It’s a little too simple. The Escalade is actually something you could use daily with multiple people.
The seats have also held up much better than the competition. The Germans and Brits have much nicer leather, but the leather in this has actually stood the test of time.
I love the gauge cluster in the Cadillac Escalade as well. It’s simple, and it may be too simple and lack a lot of features that other SUVs of the time had, but it’s elegant. More than I can say about an X5’s gauge cluster with its overwhelming amount of information.
The ride quality in the Escalade is great, although I prefer the ride in the Range Rover. There’s far from anything wrong with the ride quality, but it’s more of a matter of taste. It’s comfortable, smooth, and absorbs road imperfections perfectly.