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2018 Cadillac Escalade ESV Platinum Test Drive Review

When the Cadillac Escalade originally made its debut in 1998, it was the brand’s answer to the widely victorious Lincoln Navigator. However, after Ford went forward with the Navigator in a lackadaisical manner, the Cadillac Escalade managed to grab the crown, becoming the leader of the full-size luxury SUV segment.

Well, now there is a new Lincoln Navigator in town and it’s garnering a lot of buzz. With that in mind, we decided to spend a week with the Cadillac Escalade and see if the large luxury behemoth can still hold onto its title as the king of the full-size luxury SUV segment. Much to our surprise, when the 2018 Cadillac Escalade ESV showed up at our front door — we realized we got much more than we bargained for. So let’s take a closer look at the 2018 Cadillac Escalade ESV Platinum.

Cadillac Escalade

2018 Cadillac Escalade ESV Platinum Exterior

The fourth-generation Cadillac Escalade received a major exterior redesign during its 2015 model year and that designed has carried on into the 2018 model year. In our opinion, it’s one of the best looking full-size luxury SUVs on the market.

The 2018 Cadillac Escalade has an extremely bold front end that offers the ideal balance between looking elegant and sleek. The massive grille nicely compliments the vertical LED headlamps which actually have the Cadillac script branded in the bezel. The new and improved Cadillac shield also gives the front end a lot of character. The rear LED taillamps extend from the top of the roof to the rear bumper and are divided by a chrome bar that pays homage to the brand’s history.

Our 2018 Cadillac Escalade ESV Platinum is remarkably large and we highly recommend finding a parking spot that’s big enough for this beast if you’re considering purchasing one. The Escalade ESV sits on a wheelbase that measures 130-inches with an overall length of 224.3 inches — that’s about 20-inches longer than the regular Escalade. The width of both Escalade models stretches at 80.5 inches while the height stands at 74 inches. Now, while that extra 20 inches makes for a much larger exterior body but it also gives you ample interior space which we’ll get into later.

Overall, the 2018 Cadillac Escalade’s exterior is unmistakably timeless. Even though the new Lincoln Navigator has a stellar exterior design, there is just something prestigious about the Escalade that its opponents can’t seem to match.

Cadillac Escalade

2018 Cadillac Escalade ESV Platinum Interior

As mentioned above, the extra 20 inches of overall length in the Cadillac Escalade ESV, give it much more interior volume over its regular-sized sibling. Both offer a seating capacity of seven to eight passengers, but in the ESV, those passengers enjoy additional legroom. The 2018 Cadillac Escalade ESV offers a total of 39.7 inches of legroom for second-row passengers and a total of 34.5 inches of legroom for third-row passengers (compared to 25 inches in the regular Escalade). Since the Escalade ESV has more room to play with, it also gets a total cargo volume of 39.3 cubic feet behind the second row as compared to 15.2 cubic feet in the regular model.

Our 2018 Cadillac Escalade ESV Platinum came with almost every tech option imaginable. All Escalade models come standard with a surround vision camera, an 8-inch touchscreen display that houses the Cadillac CUE infotainment system, five USB ports, navigation, Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, wireless smartphone charging, OnStar 4G LTE with a WiFi hotspot, a sixteen speak Bose sound system, heated and cooled front seats, heated steering and a range of driver asset technologies that we’ll get into later. Our 2018 Cadillac Escalade ESV Platinum also came with a rear seat entertainment system that includes 9-inch screen, DVD player (Blu-Ray capable), remote controls, wireless headphone, MP3 playback, HDMI and USB inputs, and much more. We also had a refrigerator in the center console that we used to keep our water bottles cool while we enjoyed the front-row massaging seats.

Overall, the interior of the 2018 Cadillac Escalade ESV Platinum is a fabulous place to be. We wouldn’t really mind taking this luxurious beast camping and spending a night in it. I mean we basically have everything we need at the tip of our fingers including a refrigerator, massaging seats, WiFi, entertainment, tri-zone climate control, and more.

Cadillac Escalade

2018 Cadillac Escalade ESV Platinum Performance

The 2018 Cadillac Escalade ESV is notably heavy. Weighing in at 6,040 pounds for the four-wheel-drive model, the engine has to be powerful enough to move this thing along on the highway. With that in mind, Cadillac fitted the Escalade ESV with a giant 6.2-liter V8 that pumps out 420 horsepower with a maximum torque of 460 lb-ft. The engine is mated to a new 10-speed automatic transmission for the 2018 model year, which helps move the Escalade ESV from zero to 60 mph in just 6 seconds. Towing capacity for the 2018 Cadillac Escalade ESV four-wheel-drive comes in at 7,900 pounds.

Get ready to spend some big bucks at the pump because the 2018 Cadillac Escalade ESV four-wheel-drive averages an EPA-rated fuel economy of 14/20 mpg* (city/highway).

Overall, the ride quality is extremely smooth. There is no harshness and the Escalade soaks up bumps and potholes with ease. It is a bit tricky to maneuver at high speeds but that’s true with anything of this size.

Cadillac Escalade

2018 Cadillac Escalade ESV Platinum Safety

Since the 2018 Cadillac Escalade is already a ginormous vehicle, it comes standard with a range of driver assist technologies that would otherwise be available as a part of a package. Standard driver assist features include front park assist, rear park assist, blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and lane change alert. The optional Driver Assist Package will give you some extras like adaptive cruise control, front and rear automatic braking and seat belt-tightening.

2018 Cadillac Escalade ESV Platinum Overall

So, is the Cadillac Escalade still king of the full-size luxury SUV segment? We certainly think so. It will take a lot of power and credibility to dethrone the Escalade from its spot and as other automakers rush to catch up, the Escalade just keeps getting better and better. Prices for the 2018 Cadillac Escalade start at $78,990** for the base Escalade model and go all the way up to $98,090 for the Escalade Platinum. Visit your local AutoNation Cadillac dealer for a test drive today.

*Based on EPA mileage ratings. Your mileage will vary depending specific vehicle trim, how you drive and maintain your vehicle, driving conditions, and other factors.

**MSRP excluding tax, license, registration, destination charge and options. Dealer prices may vary.

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