Set to debut this month during Oscars week in Los Angeles, CA, the 2021 Cadillac Escalade comes as a refresh of the iconic SUV. The 2021 model year represents the fifth-generation Escalade, so you can understand all of the excitement surrounding its release. This is an SUV that has defined its segment and defined what luxury means in the automobile world. It’s become a cultural icon without trying and has out-sold its competitors because it’s an Escalade, and that’s just what Escalade’s do. It is expected to launch in late 2020.
Packed With New Technology
As if the next-generation excitement wasn’t enough, Cadillac has equipped this model year with a 38-inch curved organic light-emitting display (OLED) screen that has “twice the pixel density of a 4K television,” according to Cadillac. So now you know when you see an Escalade drive by, they could possibly have a better picture than your TV at home. This is something that has never been seen in the mass-market automobile world, even in the luxury SUV segment, and it’s generating quite a buzz. The massive screen will stretch from the left side of the steering wheel to the midpoint of the dashboard
Consider some of the other larger screens on the market, and it becomes even more impressive. Tesla, known for their technology and ingenuity, has a 15-inch diagonal screen in the Model 3. Ram 1500 pickups, known as well for their focus on luxury, infotainment, and comfort, have only a 12-inch diagonal screen in the highest trim level. Mercedes-Benz? The closest they come is with two 12.3-inch screens on the dashboard. So put in that kind of perspective, this is starting to sound like the beginning of a trend. Will other automakers follow Cadillac down the bigger-is-better road?
Driver Assist Features
What’s interesting about this is that the 2021 Escalade will, at some point in the 2021 model year, also get Cadillac’s Super Cruise driver assistance system. This is a system that enables you to drive hands-free on the highway. So theoretically, you could be driving down the highway while watching your favorite TV show or movie. If only there weren’t those pesky sensors in the steering wheel to make sure you are paying attention to the road.
We’ll have to wait and see if this is indeed a trend, but in the meantime, let’s take a look at some of the other features that have been leaked to the press in the build-up to the Escalade’s release
Even More Exciting Updates
As with the new Tahoe and Suburban, the 2021 Escalade will have better drivability and be more comfortable than previous generations. This is because they are switching to an independent rear suspension, which will also allow for increased passenger space and cargo volume. It will also have a longer wheelbase and larger exterior dimensions. This will give the opportunity for more space in the second and third rows, as well as increased cargo room.
The Escalade will already end 2019 as the top-seller in its segment by a wide margin, according to Cadillac President Steve Carlisle, and this is before the next-generation is introduced. Imagine how popular it will be once people see this new redesign.
“It’s kind of in a class all to itself, and that’s why I’m so excited for people to see how we’ve taken Escalade to the next level,” GM CEO Mary Barra told MotorTrend. The new technology and redesigned styling will clearly make the Escalade even more competitive in a segment where GM is already strong.
The front-seat passengers are not the only ones who will benefit from the new technology and infotainment options. The rear-seat infotainment will also be refreshed and completely reconfigured. There will be large rear screens that are better positioned in the cabin for a better experience for all. A modern interface will also be introduced that will be a significant upgrade over what’s offered currently in the previous generations.
The technology features will be based on a new digital “nervous system.” Currently, this is the GM Global A electric architecture, which will transition to Global B for the Escalade. The Cadillac CT5 and Corvette C8 currently use this new architecture, and it offers improved connectivity, a five-fold increase in processing power, enhanced cybersecurity, and over-the-air updates. Clearly, Cadillac is taking this generation seriously as the technology is not just keeping up with other luxury car manufacturers but taking the lead and setting an example for others to follow.
The powertrain will also see some changes. Standard will be a naturally aspirated 6.2-liter V8 with a 10-speed automatic transmission. Standard in the current model is a 6.2-liter V8 L86 engine with Active Fuel Management. The new Escalade, however, will feature the 6.2-liter V8 L87 with Dynamic Fuel Management, which is a more advanced version of Active Fuel Management. There will also be the option for a 3.0-liter I6 LM2 turbo-diesel Duramax engine, which will make it the only in its class to offer a diesel powertrain. There are also rumors of an electric version that can drive 400 miles on a single charge.
Cadillac aims to go full-electric over the next decade and says there will be a battery-powered SUV based on the Escalade but that it will be built on GM’s electric architecture. While this is still a few years from production, it’s definitely something to get excited about. The electric Escalade will be a similar size as the current model and will be battery powered. Barra could not provide further details at this time. “We’ve said we believe in an all-electric future, but beyond that, I’m not going to comment,” she said.
The Cost of the This Class-Leading Beauty
Regardless, Cadillac has given us plenty to get excited about. Whether you’re looking for an updated engine or a 38-inch infotainment screen, more legroom or cargo space, the Escalade appears to be an SUV that has set its sights higher than anyone expected. The starting price is expected to only increase several thousand dollars over the previous generation. If you consider the 2020 Cadillac Escalade starts at around $75,000, then you have a good idea of what you’re looking at. For a luxury vehicle with all of these added amenities and upgrades, it seems like Cadillac has another top seller on their hands.
It’s going to be hard for competitors such as the Lincoln Navigator to compete with a 38-inch curved organic light-emitting display (OLED) screen that has “twice the pixel density of a 4K television”. The more you say this out loud, the more ridiculous it sounds. We just can’t wait to see how in the world they manage to fit this onto the instrument panel or where across the dash you can squeeze 38 inches of screen. It’s been speculated that it might even be two panels, actually, and not one, though, regardless, 38 inches of screen is 38 inches of screen, and it’s doubtful anyone will be complaining.
So you’ll have to wait until later this year to buy one, but for now, you can skip the Oscars and check out the unveiling of one of the most iconic luxury SUVs on the market and see what all of the commotion is about. You won’t have to wait long to get one for yourself, though. It is set to be released in the U.S. late in the second quarter or early in the third quarter of 2020.