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2017 Cadillac Escalade Platinum Test Drive Review

The Cadillac Escalade certainly didn’t create the luxury SUV market, but it sure made this segment popular. Since debuting almost 20 years, the Escalade has become a status symbol for celebrities and athletes alike, and the 2017 Cadillac Escalade shows no sign of slowing down.

Since going on sale for the 2015 model year, the fourth-generation Escalade is Cadillac’s best attempt yet at being distinguished from the other GM SUVs like the Chevrolet Tahoe and GMC Yukon in terms of style, performance, price and, of course, luxury. Over the years, I’ve driven every generation and almost every version of the Escalde (including the ESV and Hybrid), but my recent time with the 2017 Cadillac Escalade Platinum 4WD shows that Cadillac can still give Mercedes-Benz and Land Rover a run for their money.

2017 Cadillac Escalade Platinum Exterior:
Where previous Escalade designs were only lightly differentiated from other GM SUVs, the 2017 Cadillac Escalade has a unique look that is bold and elegant while still using most of the same body panels. The face of the Escalade features an oversized chrome grille flanked by full LED headlights, and like other Cadillac models, the LED strips for daytime running lights continue into the lower part of the fascia. Lighting is also a key element for the rear view of the 2017 Cadillac Escalade where the tall LED “light blade tallights” extend from the bumper up to the roof. The Escalade also gets illuminated, chrome-accented door handles, chrome door molding and chrome window trim. Stepping up to the Platinum trim level adds power retracting running boards and 22-inch wheels, and this tester came with add-ons like the $500 Red Passion Tintcoat paint job and $135 chrome exhaust tip.

2017 Cadillac Escalade Platinum Interior:
Step inside the 2017 Cadillac Escalade Platinum, and you’ll see why this SUV is on the verge of a six-figure price tag. This package adds stylish Tuscan Brown leather throughout the interior (including on the instrument panel) as well as black suede material on the headliner and pillar trim and rich, matte wood accents. For added comfort, the Platinum comes with 18-way power adjustable front seats, a cooler mounted in the center console, dual DVD displays mounted in the back of the front seat headrests and a flip-down Blu-Ray DVD entertainment system mounted in the headliner. All Escalade trim levels come with a 16-speaker Bose Centerpoint audio system, OnStar with 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot and smartphone integration through Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.

Although the 2017 Cadillac Escalade offers seating for up to eight passengers, this tester had second row captain’s chairs for a little added space. Speaking of space, the Escalade can accommodate 15.2 cubic feet of space behind the third row (not including a small hidden compartment under the rear cargo floor) and 94.2 cubic feet with the rear two rows folded flat. If even more space is required, Cadillac also offers the extended-wheelbase Escalade ESV – Cadillac’s version of the Suburban and Yukon XL.

2017 Cadillac Escalade Platinum Powertrain:
Unlike its Chevrolet and GMC counterparts, the 2017 Cadillac Escalade comes exclusively with one powertrain combination: the powerful 6.2-liter V8 paired to an eight-speed automatic transmission. The engine benefits from direct injection and Active Fuel Management cylinder deactivation to balance its 420 horsepower and 460 lb-ft of torque with EPA-rated fuel economy estimates of 15 mpg in the city and 20 mpg on the highway. Combine these ratings with the 26-gallon gas tank, and the Escalade will be able to stretch a road trip with a range of 520 miles. This setup also gives the Escalade a max towing capacity of 8,100 pounds.

Further distinguishing the Escalade from other luxury SUVs is GM’s innovative Magnetic Ride Control that gives this full-size SUV surprisingly smooth ride quality and nimble handling. The overall ride is impressive for a body-on-frame SUV that tips the scales at almost three tons. Even better, the cabin is remarkably quiet at highway speeds allowing for easy conversation between the front occupants and the rear row.

2017 Cadillac Escalade Platinum Safety:
While the 2017 Cadillac Escalade Platinum is all about luxury, this big SUV keeps its passengers safe, too, with numerous safety technologies. The Platinum trim level comes with a long list of standard safety features such as Adaptive Cruise Control, Front and Rear Automatic Braking, Automatic Safety Belt Tightening, Lane Keep Assist with Lane Departure Warning Assist, Forward Collision Alert, IntelliBeam headlamps, Safety Alert Seat, Front Park Assist, Rear Park Assist, Side Blind Zone Alert, Rear Cross-Traffic Alert, Lane Change Alert, Surround Vision and the segment-exclusive Front Center Air Bag. This airbag inflates between the front seats to provide additional protection for both front occupants during side-impact crashes. When it comes to ratings, the 2017 Cadillac Escalade Platinum receives a four star crash rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, but it has yet to be tested by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

2017 Cadillac Escalade Platinum Overall:
As if the 2017 Cadillac Escalade wasn’t already nice enough, the Escalade Platinum pushes this full-size luxury SUV to new heights. All of these tech and luxury goodies don’t come cheap, though, as this 2017 Cadillac Escalade Platinum came with an as-tested price of $96,500*, which is considerably higher than the base $73,395* Escalade but still in the same ballpark as the Land Rover Range Rover and the Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class.

Make sure to visit your local AutoNation-affiliated Cadillac dealership and test drive the 2017 Cadillac Escalade today!

*MSRP excludes tax, license, registration, destination charge and options. Dealer prices may vary.
**Based on 2017 EPA mileage ratings. Your mileage will vary depending specific vehicle trim, how you drive and maintain your vehicle, driving conditions, and other factors.

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