2021 Cadillac Escalade ESV AWD’s Ride Quality ‘Goes Against the Idea of Hauling People in Luxury’

Consumers looking for luxury three-row SUVs often consider the Cadillac Escalade for its cachet, spaciousness, and high-end features. Though its interior tech is impressive, the Escalade isn’t perfect. But it comes close

MotorTrend reviewers generally like the Escalade, except for one big problem. The suspension on one configuration doesn’t work as you’d expect it to on a luxury vehicle. 

What’s wrong with the Cadillac Escalade ESV AWD’s ride quality?

According to one MotorTrend reviewer, the Cadillac Escalade ESV AWD’s drive quality is great. There’s firm control when taking turns, and the steering is responsive, making this long vehicle seem shorter. However, another MT reviewer has some harsh words for it. 

“The suspension really grates on you; these little bounces, bumps, and hops…,” the reviewer complains. They explain that a low vibration permeates the cabin. It’s so bad that it “goes against the idea of hauling people in luxury.”

The reviewer theorizes that one explanation for the poor suspension is the standard wheels and tires on MotorTrend’s test vehicle. Their Escalade has 22-inch wheels with “rubber-band” tires, making the ride bouncy.

How well does the Cadillac Escalade ESV AWD perform?

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MotorTrend’s test vehicle has a 6.2-liter V8 engine producing 420 hp and 460 lb-ft of torque. That sounds like plenty of power, but it isn’t as peppy as they expected. You can take off effortlessly, but passing or tackling steep upgrades makes it groan a bit. The only other engine option available for the Escalade ESV is a 3.0-liter turbodiesel inline-six. 

The V8 engine allows the Escalade to roar from 0 to 60 mph in 5.9 seconds. But, expectedly, its fuel economy isn’t the greatest. It gets around 14 mpg combined with the V8 engine and 24 combined with the diesel motor. 

And the only transmission available with either engine is a 10-speed automatic. MotorTrend’s reviewers have no problem with that. They even say it ran smoothly during their testing. 

What else you can expect?

The Cadillac Escalade’s interior oozes luxury, except in some materials’ quality. You’ll find some plastic pieces in the cabin that could easily break. Also, if you choose a light-colored interior, it isn’t forgiving if you happen to spill something that stains. 

However, this full-size SUV comes with impressive tech features. According to MotorTrend, the best is the huge OLED display, 38 inches long thanks to three screens. Plus, the Escalade is spacious. It provides plenty of room for adult passengers in the middle and even the last row. Cargo volume is 39.3 cubic feet behind the third row. 

According to Cadillac, standard features include a surround-vision camera, wireless charging, and a Bose 16-speaker sound system. You’ll also get a hands-free power liftgate, heated/cooled front driver and passenger seats, and a heated, leather-wrapped steering wheel. 

The Cadillac Escalade ESV is the epitome of luxury. But be prepared for some possible deal-breakers. They include the aforementioned plastic interior pieces, the annoying suspension, and even leatherette material instead of leather. Test-drive the vehicle thoroughly before purchasing.