2009 Cadillac Escalade 4WD Hybrid review
THE AUTO PAGE
Model: Cadillac Escalade 4WD Hybrid
Engine: 6.0-liter V8 plus hybrid propulsion system
Horsepower/Torque: 332 hp @ 5100 rpm/367 lb.-ft. @ 5100 rpm
Transmission: 6-speed automatic
Wheelbase: 116.0 in.
Length/Width/Height: 202.5 x 79.0 x 74.3 in.
Cargo volume: 16.9/108.9 cu. ft. (behind 3rd row, total)
Fuel economy: 20/21/19.2 mpg (city/highway/test)
Fuel capacity: 24.5 gal.
Sticker: $75,330 (includes $950 destination charge and $1,095 in total options)
The Bottom Line: The concept of a Cadillac Escalade Hybrid is something of an anachronism, but it's still fascinating. Still, there's an increase of 8 mpg over the non-hybrid, so that's a plus. But the bogey is that the bottom line is way over $70,000, which is out of whack.
When I heard of the concept of a Cadillac Escalade hybrid I was intrigued. I've always liked the Escalade as a vehicle. After all, here's a practical SUV with all the luxury of a Cadillac. But in the era of $3.00 to $4.00 gasoline prices, the standard Escalade's non-fuel economy is a problem.
So the Hybrid was created, which results in an improvement of approximately 8 mpg to the 20 mpg range. That still isn't Prius or Insight numbers, but for a big vehicle like the Escalade, it ain't bad. What is bad, though, is the $75,330 price tag. Sure, the Escalade isn't a cheap vehicle to begin wit h, but for 8 mpg, that's a lot of money, even for a Cadillac.
Could this be GM's problem (and we'll touch on that with other vehicles)? It isn't that the vehicles they're building and offering aren't economical enough, it's just that they're pricing themselves out of the market.
Sermon over. The Escalade has so much to offer it's almost worth its exorbitant price tag. The first offering is size. There are so many times when we as a family of two simply need an enormous vehicle. Take Christmas, for example. My wife and I travel 350 miles to our daughter's every year, and we must cart presents for six adults and seven grandchildren, plus food and clothing. You can't beat the Escalade's cargo carrying capacity for something like that, even for a non-present holiday like Thanksgiving.
We found some difficulty, though. The third row seats can fold the backs on top of the seats to bake a two-t iered cargo floor. the combination can also be tipped forward, but we found more practicality with the two-tier system. Owners can, of course, easily remove the third row seats altogether.
Seating in the first and second rows is Cadillac comfortable. Captain's chairs are located in these rows, with power adjustable seats in the first row. The front row seats also have heated and cooled cushions and backrests.
Getting to the third row does not involve moving the second row seats, since they were buckets and there was a small "aisle" between them.
For entertainment we had an easily intuitive audio system that included Sirius XM, which was great for Christmas music. The large navigation screen also afforded a screen that delivered all the satellite radio information we needed, plus just about anything else we wanted to know about the Escalade and where we were going and where we were.
Entering the Escalade isn't as bad as it might seem initially for senior citizens. There's a running board that automatically deploys from the rocker panel to aid in entry when the doors are unlocked. This is a $1,095 option, but it's one that's an important one for people with somewhat reduced mobility.
Since I used the remote start feature as much as I could, the Escalade was always either warm or well on its way to being warm when we got in it.
A piece of standard equipment on the Escalade is the "side blind zone alert." This excellent safety feature advises the driver that there's a vehicle in the "blind zone" on the right and left where the mirrors don't pick up the vehicle. S light appears in the rearview mirror when there's a vehicle there. Sometimes it's disconcerting whenever a light goes on, but it only took a few instances before we learned that this was something we wanted.
Of course the Escalade offers excellent power, despite its weight, and a smooth ride. This is a comfortable car for a long ride, even if the fuel economy does not tempt you to go for them.
While the Cadillac Escalade Hybrid isn't what you'd normally expect a hybrid vehicle to be, it is an improvement on the original as far as economy is concerned. As far as the price is concerned, however, it isn't a winner.
© 2008 The Auto Page Syndicate