Is the 2021 Cadillac Escalade Returning to the Full-Size SUV Throne?

Look, like it or not, the Cadillac Escalade has been the King of the full-size SUV kingdom since before it was even made. Spiritually it has always been there. When the Escalade came out in 1998, it just clicked. People had no problem working it into their lives. We knew exactly what it was for, and we needed no convincing or explanation. Although Rolls Royce and Bently and any other luxury brand you can imagine have a massive SUV out in the market, the Cadillac Escalade is sitting back on its throne with the 2021 model.

The Cadillac Escalade is King–long live the king

The throne to the SUV kingdom has been highly contested over the last decade. Every marque has thrown down the gauntlet, and though there have been some strong contenders like the Kia Telluride and the Lincoln Navigator, none have been able to top the 2021 Cadillac Escalade’s newest updates. 

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

What’s new for 2021

It’s a Cadillac. Only one thing really matters; the interior.  According to MotorTrend,  after long last, GM has finally given Cadillac the reigns to design a fully formed,well-designed, and beautiful interior for the 2021 Cadillac Escalade. 

There’s nice, then there’s Cadillac nice

This interior is lovely. MotorTrend starts by pointing out the woven, almost linen-like material used to line the inside of the doors and the lower dashboard. Cadillac worked in detail and luxury, where many automakers might throw slabs of plastic around to fill overlooked places. 

The new 2021 Cadillac Escalade showcases an industry first 38” diagonal curved OLED display and available Super Cruise.
The new 2021 Cadillac Escalade | Cadillac

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I typically think wood on car dashes looks cheesy and cheap. And that usually because it is cheesy and cheap. The laminated wooden strips sprinkled throughout the Cadillac Escalade have both a classiness and simultaneously remind me of old wooden surfboards from the days of Endless summer. Such a cool idea that shows serious care and attention to detail. 

The top of the heap for new features in the interior is the literal TV-sized infotainment screen that stretches and wraps around the dash for a total of 38 inches. MotorTrend reports that the screen is huge and gives a clear and crisp image with great software behind the scenes. 

Some classic touches

The airy tan leather is said to be the best quality of any leather Cadillac has used in a long time, according to MotorTrend. Some nice holdovers from models past are the headrest speakers, heated and cooled seats, as well as the heated steering wheel, and more than plenty of legroom no matter where you choose to spread out. 

The new 2021 Escalade
The new 2021 Escalade | Cadillac

The downside of the 2021 Cadillac Escalade

Although the interior is mostly perfect, there were a few old bits from other GM trucks found throughout the cabin. The shifter, a few buttons, and other odds and ends were lazily put in the much pricier truck. Lastly, fuel efficiency has gone in the wrong direction for the new Escalade. MotorTrend says the Cadillac Escalade went from 17 mpg to a disappointing 16 mpg, which is odd given the amount of fuel-saving tech that’s out these days. 

The editors at MotorTrend were pretty harsh with their critiques of the ride. They said in sport mode with sportier driving, it handled its massive weight surprisingly well in the corners, but in Touring Mode, they said it drove like a “garbage truck” when on rough roads. 

Even with the few missteps, Cadillac seems to have gotten pretty dang close to a bullseye here. Even still, the Escalade is King.