The Cadillac Escalade has always been a bit much, in just about every sense. It’s big, spacious, and audacious, all of which has been the appeal. Love it or hate it, the latest version has refined much of what detractors have griped about. From an aesthetic view, it’s still big but its conservative style has cleaned up the old blown-out design leaving it much more palatable. Cadillac has made good use of the extra interior space, making it more comfortable and easier to enter and exit than ever before. Rear seat conveniences continue to make the passenger compartment the best seat in the house, but the streamlined interface behind the Escalade’s curved glass dash does a stellar job in managing all the myriad functions that a driver has to juggle at any one time, and the easy customization options are a godsend.
Managing the physical car has also been greatly improved. Though there’s no avoiding the ESV’s sheer mass, the standard Escalade makes great use of the suspension improvements to make is a gentle cruiser, even while the beastly V8 dials on the power. Make no mistake, while it feels like driving a steam engine, it doesn’t corner “like its on rails,” but the adaptive ride control — among the other aforementioned suspension improvements — make this behemoth way more manageable than it has any right to be. The same goes for the convenience tech amplifying the awareness around the car, all of which reduce the stress of hauling such an oversized vehicle around town.
Of all of its wealth of conveniences, Super Cruise might be the most impressive, though it’s more of a showcase of technology that can come in handy on occasion rather than a daily tool to be utilized. It’s also not for everyone, so whether it’s a boon or something never to be touched boils down to the individual driver. In either case, the Escalade rolls on as a toy chest of convenience and luxury, and beating it at its own game is something rivals will continue to struggle with.