Now in its fifth generation, the 2021 Cadillac Escalade is all-new. The luxury SUV now has an independent rear suspension, updated styling, new interior tech, and a diesel option. The General Motors team took components from the Escala concept car of 2016 to update the Escalade and make it an appealing luxury SUV with a hefty price tag.
But is the 2021 Cadillac Escalade worth more than $100,000? According to GM, 43 percent of buyers so far think so.
The 2021 Cadillac Escalade at a glance
The team at Car and Driver doesn’t find it surprising that people are willing to pay so much for the 2021 Cadillac Escalade. GM confirmed to Car and Driver that almost half of Escalade buyers forked over more than $100,000.
The Escalade’s redesign is extensive. It includes a 38-inches display screen, the new suspension, and new fuel-saving cylinder deactivation technology. You can get an Escalade with a 6.2-liter V8 or the new Duramax turbodiesel 3.0-liter inline-six at no extra cost, paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission. You can also choose rear- or all-wheel drive to meet your needs.
The 2021 Escalade also boasts a brand-new platform combined with the new suspension setup for a refined ride. Higher trims offer an air suspension using adaptive dampers with digitally managed shock absorbers.
The latest Escalade starts at $77,490. That’s $1,000 more than the previous model year. The largest ESV models start at $80,490.
The Escalade’s levels of luxury
According to GM’s 2020 fourth-quarter sales report, the Escalade took the lead in its class. Deliveries were up 19 percent. Unlike its peers, the 2021 Cadillac Escalade has multiple trims that start at more than $100,000. And according to Car and Driver, some lower trims easily hit six figures.
There are five trim levels. The base is the Luxury, followed by Premium Luxury, Sport, Premium Luxury Platinum, and Sport Platinum. The V8 engine with rear-wheel drive is standard across the lineup. You can upgrade any model to four-wheel drive and select the extended-wheelbase ESV model. Both options cost $3,000. You can also select the diesel engine at no extra cost.
You can find most of the available infotainment technology and a good number of driver-assist features in the base models. But you can’t get many of the luxury features at the base level, such as leather seats and rear-seat entertainment.
The Premium Luxury models start at $82,995 and add genuine leather upholstery, along with other luxurious and active safety features. Driver Assist Tech and Performance packages are also available at this level. The latter includes Magnetic Ride Control adjustable suspension, electronic limited-slip differential, and towing goodies if you want to put your Escalade to work.
The Sport models start at $85,595 and offer everything in the Performance package and distinctive outer styling. You can also get available features on the Premium Luxury trim. The Premium Luxury Platinum and Sport Platinum start at $99,995 and offer primarily exterior styling cues.
Why pay so much for an SUV?
For consumers with the means, the brand name is reason enough. Cadillac has an extensive following that goes back decades.
Performance is also an important consideration. Most mass-produced vehicles strive to strike a balance between performance and fuel-efficiency while keeping costs down. Higher price tags allow designers to create better machines with higher performance. And many buyers are willing to pay extra for those benefits.
Finally, the more you’re willing to pay for a vehicle, the more you can customize it.
The newly redesigned 2021 Cadillac Escalade is a top contender in the large luxury SUV class. With appealing exterior styling, a handsome cabin, and a posh ride, it will likely remain the go-to for those seeking a high-end full-size SUV.