Is the 2021 Cadillac Escalade Diesel Worth Buying Over the V8?

Throughout its various generations, the Cadillac Escalade has often shared many of its main components with the Chevy Tahoe and GMC Yukon. However, for the 2021 model, the Escalade seems to break away, offering more luxurious features than ever before. Despite this, the newest generation introduces a powertrain we’d normally see in a pickup truck. Today we’ll be looking at if the diesel-powered version is worth it.

What is so great about the 2021 Cadillac Escalade?

A photo of a 2021 Cadillac Escalade parked outside.
2021 Cadillac Escalade | Cadillac

Before we dive into the diesel model specifically, let’s look at where the Cadillac Escalade excels. For starters, the full-size luxury SUV gets a brand-new independent rear suspension. According to Roadshow, the redesigned suspension allows the SUV to offer a smoother ride and considerably increases interior space.

Look at the Escalade’s dashboard, and you’ll be met with a trio of high-quality OLED screens stacked on top of one another. According to Motor1, the first is a 7.2-inch display to the left of the driver. Directly in front, you’ll find a 14.2-inch digital instrument cluster that is highly configurable. However, the crown jewel is the center 16.9-inch infotainment screen, one of the largest in the auto industry.

While aesthetics are highly debatable, the 2021 Cadillac Escalade becomes boxier than ever, offering some serious road presence. The front grille is significantly larger than the previous generation. In the rear, the vertically oriented taillights remain. All in all, the brand-new Escalade is off to a promising start.

Which diesel-powered engine lives under the hood?

An image of the turbo-diesel engine that lives under the Cadillac Escalade's hood.
2021 Cadillac Escalade | Cadillac

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Now that we’ve covered the basics let’s dive into the brand-new diesel engine. The turbo-diesel in question is the 3.0-liter you’ll typically find under the hood of the Chevy Silverado and GMC Yukon. According to RoadShow, the total power output comes out to 277 hp and 460 lb-ft. The only transmission option available is the 10-speed automatic you’ll find in other Escalade models. RoadShow also points out that the turbo-diesel engine matches the torque output of the largest V8 engine available.

Despite tipping the scales at around 5,700 lb, RoadShow found that the turbo-diesel had more than enough grunt to move the large SUV around. More importantly, RoadShow notes that the 3.0-liter engine only enhances the driving experience. This is largely due to its smooth and quiet power delivery. As a result, RoadShow notes that you get all the punch you need smoothly and luxuriously.

The main benefit over the 6.2-liter V8-powered Cadillac Escalade is the torque figure. According to RoadShow, you get all of the available torque at just 1,500 rpm. As a result, you don’t have to rev up to 4,100 rpm to get going as you do with the V8 truly.

How much more fuel-efficient is it?

The 2021 Cadillac Escalade Sport
The 2021 Cadillac Escalade Sport | Cadillac

Aside from the power delivery, you’ll likely want to look at the Cadillac Escalade for its fuel efficiency figures. According to RoadShow, the Escalade Diesel has an estimated fuel consumption of 21 mpg in the city and 27 mpg on the highway for a combined total of 23 mpg. In contrast, RoadShow reports that the larger V8 consumes an estimated 15 mpg in the city and 20 mpg on the highway for a combined total of 17 mpg.

In terms of pricing, the base model Escalade starts at $76,195. However, the Diesel model’s main benefit is that it won’t cost you any extra if you want the brand-new powertrain. As a result, you won’t have to pay up for a powertrain that supersedes the V8 model in many areas. Based on RoadShow’s review, the Diesel model may be the one to get.