GM has been producing the Cadillac Escalade since the late 1990s, and over the years, the full-size SUV has gotten some major upgrades. For 2021, Cadillac has given the Escalade a new look, larger interior, and boatloads of tech. However, a recent review by Motor1 pointed out a crucial drawback with the Escalade’s interior, its seats.
What’s new in the 2021 Cadillac Escalade?
In short, a lot. The 2021 Cadillac Escalade is a massive upgrade over its predecessor. While the overall aesthetic is certainly evolutionary over revolutionary, it looks classier than ever.
As standard, the Escalade comes equipped with a 6.2-liter V8 producing 420 hp. An optional 3.0-liter turbo diesel joins the lineup as well. Both engines route their power via a 10-speed automatic transmission. The Escalade’s ride quality benefits from GM’s Air Ride Adaptive Suspension and Magnetic Ride Control. Combining these systems allows the Escalade to read the road and automatically adjust to compensate for imperfections to the benefit of ride quality.
The largest physical change, however, has to do with the suspension architecture. The 2021 Escalade is the first year to offer an independent rear suspension setup. Combine this with a larger chassis, and Cadillac’s newest SUV is roomier than ever. The 2021 Escalade now offers 40 percent more third-row legroom and a 68 percent increase in maximum cargo space behind the third row.
What good is a silky smooth ride with uncomfortable seats?
In theory, the Cadillac Escalade should offer endlessly adjustable and immensely comfortable seats. Cadillac’s entire brand identity is based on being comfortable almost above all else. However, this new Escalade appears to be a bit lacking in that department. According to Motor1, the seats are difficult to get into a comfortable position.
As standard, the 2021 Cadillac Escalade includes 12-way adjustable front seats and 16-way adjustable seats as an option. Motor1 noted that the even the range-topping Escalade Premium Luxury Platinum lacked both thigh and back support. The result was that despite covering over 200 miles of testing in a day, a comfortable seating position was not achievable.
Oddly enough, Motor1 also noted that both the Chevy Tahoe and GMC Yukon did not suffer from this issue, despite sharing many components. A potential explanation could be that Cadillac chose a different seat architecture to differentiate the Escalade from its GM siblings and made them worse.
Given all of the major improvements to overall ride quality, uncomfortable seats are a major drawback. An Escalade should be the ultimate road-trip vehicle, and sadly, it seems the new version is not.
Is the rest of the Escalade any good?
Yes! Aside from the good looks and suspension updates mentioned earlier, the Cadillac Escalade benefits from a tech-filled interior. If analog gauges are not your thing, then the Escalade has a lot to offer with many new screens.
The absolute crown jewel of the Escalade’s interior is its 16.9-inch OLED infotainment screen. Most notably, the OLED technology is rare in passenger vehicles and offers incredibly accurate colors. There is a 14.2-inch digital instrument cluster with a 7.2-inch control panel to its left in front of the driver. In total, the three-screen setup means the Escalade feels incredibly futuristic.
If the rest of the Cadillac Escalade is anything to go by, it has the makings of a great full-size SUV. These improvements make the uncomfortable seats all the more frustrating. The result is that a great product could potentially be let down by one of its most basic parts.