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2019 Cadillac Escalade ESV Review By John Heilig


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THE AUTO PAGE
By John Heilig
Senior Editor and Bureau Chief
Mid-Atlantic Bureau
The Auto Channel

REVIEWED MODEL: 2019 Cadillac Escalade ESV
ENGINE: 6.2-liter V8
TRANSMISSION: 10-speed automatic
HORSEPOWER/TORQUE: 420 hp @ 5,600 rpm/450 lb.-ft. @ 4,100 rpm
WHEELBASE: 130.0 in.
LENGTH X WIDTH X HEIGHT: 224.3 x 80.5 x 74.0 in.
TIRES: P285/45R22
CARGO CAPACITY: 39.3/76.7/120.9 cu. ft. (3rd row seats up/down/all seats down
ECONOMY: 14 mpg city/21 mpg highway
FUEL TANK CAPACITY: 31.0 gal.
CURB WEIGHT: 5,831 lbs.
TOWING CAPACITY: 7,900 lbs
COMPETITIVE CLASS: Lincoln Navigator, Infiniti QX80, Lexus LX
STICKER: $96,490 (includes $1,295 delivery, $4,000 options) 
BOTTOM LINE: The Cadillac Escalade is big and comfortable. However, because of its size, it isn’t fun to drive in traffic.

There’s big, and there’s very big. The Cadillac Escalade ESV is very big. Built on a 130-inch wheelbase, the Escalade EXV is 19 feet long. While the size is great for carrying capacity, it does make driving the Escalade difficult in some situations.

For example, the Escalade has a 43-foot turning circle radius   that can make turning difficult in tight situations. Exiting my favorite coffee shop there’s a tight turn. I had to be careful or I might have fallen into a gully. 

Styling is conservative, with a couple of Cadillac flourishes. The headlight array is five projector beam lights that are echoed by vertical LED taillamp that bring back memories of Cadillac fins. 

Inside, there’s a nice brown interior to go with then black dash and wood trim. However, I’m not a fan of the dashboard array. There are sliding controls for audio volume, HVAC temperature, fan speed, etc. They are difficult to use or fine tune. They look great! But….

We eventually turned the audio off because of the difficulty in tuning, etc. The HVAC system was good, but again it was a pain in finding the ideal temperature. Heated and ventilated seats are great, but they automatically turn on when you enter the car, so if your butt starts getting cold, check the buttons.

Under the hood is a huge 420 horsepower 6.2-liter V8 with a 10-speed automatic transmission. There’s plenty of power to move the 5,831-pound Escalade at a good clip, almost too fast sometimes. Entry and exit are aided by running boards that automatically extend when you unlock the doors. In addition, the front passenger and rear passengers have assist handles on the pillars.


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Front seats are comfortable with multiple power adjustments to find an ideal comfort level. As I mentioned above, they’re heated and ventilated. Second row captain’s chairs offer excellent legroom. First and second row seats recline. The second row has its own HVAC controls. In addition, an entertainment screen unfolds from the roof. Additional screens unfold for third row passengers. Third row legroom is decent. My son-in-law has a similar-sized Chevy Suburban and uses it to transport his three grown children and athletic equipment all over their town.

The Escalade shares one of GM’s best inventions, a rear seat warning. When you shut down, the dash beeps and an advisory comes up telling you to check the rear seat. It is triggered when you open the rear doors for any reason. 

The driver faces a clear instrument panel. Four-wheel drive controls are on the dash in a panel by the driver’s left knee. I would suggest taking some time to acquaint yourself with all the controls and their locations, ideally not while you’re driving. 

Besides the huge cargo capacity, there’s a lot of internal storage. The center console/arm rest has a Qi charger on top with warning labels advising you not tempt keys there, only phones.  Overall, the Cadillac Escalade is practical and luxurious. I do not like the dash, even though it looks nice. It’s too confusing.

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