When it comes to large luxury vehicles, there’s basically only one king in this court: the Cadillac Escalade. The Cadillac brand has gone from an old-timey person’s vehicle to the absolute top of class and style. You would definitely not say an Escalade is what your grandma drove these days (unless she did, and I stand corrected). If anything, we associate this vehicle with the celebrities of the world, from pop and hip hop stars to world-class athletes and actors. You could also add in the rich soccer moms that have to cart around a whole family but like to do it in style. All of that being said, what can you expect from the 2021 Escalade at your local Cadillac dealership?
Well, at the moment, we’re not quite sure, but we definitely have a few guesses. The official debut/release isn’t going to happen until February 4th, which, at the time this article is being written, is still about a month away. So, for now, we’re looking at every piece of news coming out about the 2021 Escalade and piecing together what we think we’re going to see.
First off, we already mentioned the debut will happen in February, but that’s just a look at the vehicle. You’re most likely going to see a few of them at the Oscars where Cadillac has a great opportunity to get in a nice bit of marketing and publicity as A-list celebrities get out of all-new Escalades (definitely not a coincidence on the debut). But, sales for the general public probably won’t start until the end of 2020. Until then, we’ll all be relishing the thought of taking one out for a test drive. Unless it’s an absolute bust on its debut, which is quite likely.
What Can We Expect?
Again, we don’t know much, but there are a few surefire things we can expect. Some of them are specific, while a lot of it will be general expectations. We’ve seen some leaked photos popping up around the web, and Cadillac has released one semi-cryptic teaser on social media showing off a 38-inch curved OLED screen that seems to be integrated into the dashboard (in the video you can see it behind the steering wheel). Cadillac claims it as “the first curved OLED in the industry.” Honestly, that doesn’t come off sounding as important as the luxury car company may have hoped, at least not to me. It’s definitely cool, don’t get me wrong, but being the first for having a curved OLED screen? I’m not sure that’s a huge milestone to be achieving. Again, very cool, though, which is probably more important for Escalade customers anyway.
However, the huge part (literally) of this is the actual screen itself. In the video, you can see it stretch all the way to the left side of the dashboard (left of the steering wheel) to the right of the steering wheel and where you would normally find a cluster of buttons. It’s pretty big. Definitely not as big as most TVs you’d find in a home, but considering this isn’t a home, that doesn’t really matter. Also, this display might even be better than most TVs people have in their homes.
If you don’t know what a curved OLED is, or even just an OLED, then let’s give you some brief instruction. Cadillac themselves stated in a GM press release that this display will have “twice the pixel density of a 4K television” and “perfect blacks and the largest color range available in the automotive industry.” To be honest, a lot of people might not even have 4K TVs in their homes. To say that this is even better than a 4K TV, which a lot of people may not own, is basically just driving home the point that the quality on this display is really, really good. And you would hope it would be considering this is now where you’re going to see all of the information you would normally see in a display behind the steering wheel, like your speed, fuel economy, etc.
Another big feature is the inclusion of Cadillac’s Super Cruise Semi-Autonomous technology. While not everyone will be excited about hands-free driving technology, there are plenty of people who are. Cadillac’s Super Cruise allows drivers to take their hands off the wheel completely (hence the hands-free), but strongly states this feature is “no substitute for the driver’s responsibility to operate the vehicle in a safe manner.” Basically, it’s not awareness-free or eyes-free driving as well. You still need to pay attention, as always.
Super Cruise will follow detected vehicles in front of your vehicle at a selected distance while cameras and sensors help to keep you in your lane. This feature will only work on compatible highways. You can tell if it’s available for use when the Super Cruise symbol illuminates in white on the instrument cluster (we assume it will be similar on the 2021 Cadillac Escalade’s OLED display). You will then be able to press the Super Cruise button on your steering wheel, but you should only remove your hands when it seems safe to do so, and the light bar across the top of the steering wheel turns green. Pressing the brake or the Super Cruise button again will disengage it, just like your normal Cruise Control.
Other features will most likely include a slew of the new features you can see on vehicles like the Chevy Tahoe and Suburban since they’re all under the same parent company (GM). You may even see elements that look similar to other Cadillac vehicles. The @allcarnews account on Instagram shows leaked photos of the upcoming Escalade and comments that the “Interior = good” while the “Exterior = COME ON CADILLAC.” They did not seem to enjoy the fact that the side profile is too similar to the Tahoe/Suburban and the front just looks like a “blown up XT6.”
For me, the interior (that we’ve seen anyway) definitely looks quite nice and stylish, especially with that big screen. It’s what you would expect from Cadillac. Apparently, not changing the exterior too much seems like too safe of a move, though. There’s a lot of competition coming in against the Escalade, like the Lincoln Navigator, so it might not always work out if you play it too safe.
The Wrap Up
Whether Cadillac has actually played it safe or not is still up for debate. Once the debut happens, we’ll be able to tell a lot more, and they’re sure to release more and more details as we get closer to the actual sales launch. Still, we’re going to need a little more to keep us interested apart from a nice-looking display. It’s interesting, but is that going to be the main draw for a large luxury SUV that keeps getting closer and closer to $100,000? I would hope not.
We know there’s still more to come, including an all-electric Escalade in the near future, although realistically, it’s probably still a few years out. But first, we’re excited to see if the 2021 Cadillac Escalade can live up to the hype of being the most luxurious of luxury SUVs. I guess we’ll see when it starts to hit the Cadillac dealerships.