Since the Cadillac Escalade hit the automarket in 1999, it has been the iconic large SUV. The Escalade quickly found a niche in several different communities, mainly of the professional athlete and urban, rap variety. As the market and consumers have changed over the years to value features such as fuel efficiency and affordability, however, the Escalade has lost some of its national prominence. GM hopes to change this decline, though, with the unveiling of the 2015 Cadillac Escalade.
The 2015 Escalade features an EcoTec3 6.2 L, V8 engine, which delivers 420 horsepower and 460 ft.-lb of torque. While the newest version features approximately 50 more horsepower than its predecessors, GM promises that the Escalade will now be more fuel-efficient: The grill has active grill-shutters (much like many coupes/sedans these days, such as the Dodge Dart), which seek to eliminate excessive drag and improve aerodynamic performance. The Escalade also seeks to bolster its gas-efficiency through direct injection, continuous variable valve timing, and cylinder deactivation.
The outside of the vehicle is still hulking-large and is potentially even boxier than previous models. The most notable outside feature are the new headlights and tail-lamps. The 2015 Cadillac has stolen designs from its ATS and other coupes by integrating vertical headlights which run up the hood. These headlights are stacked full of LED crystals, giving the Escalade a night presence no other vehicle offers. The rear of the vehicle also features vertical lights that run the height of the vehicle.
The biggest innovations to the 2015 Cadillac Escalade comes in the inside and with driver performance. The new Escalade features foldable second and third row seating, allowing the large SUV to have even more cargo space. The dash now showcases natural wood finishings, along with an 8 inch CUE infotainment and navigation system (something like an iPad). Cadillac has also taken great lengths to make the ride of the Escalade quieter by including triple-sealed doors and active noise-control system from Bose.
Driver performance has been a focus-area of the Cadillac team. More and more luxury SUV's are starting to switch to more car-like chassis, while the Escalade still uses a truck-base. In order to help compensate for the "tougher" driving aspect of the Escalade, Cadillac has made several important changes. The suspension of the Escalade uses Magnetic Ride Control, a system which allows the SUV to adapt its suspension to the road within milliseconds. The 2015 Escalade also features adaptive cruise control, using its front motion sensors to alert the car when traffic ahead is slowing and slowing or stopping the car appropriately with its front and rear automatic braking.
The Escalade also features a driver awareness system which includes such things as collision awareness, lane-drift sensors, and vibrating seats to alert the driver of potential road hazards.
Senior vice president of global Cadillac, Bob Ferguson, stated that “Escalade’s role in the grand plan is to recapture prominence in the segment that Escalade created. And we think this fourth generation advances the formula for which Escalade is known. It has bold design, it has presence, power, capability, seating up to eight. It’s one of those special vehicles that is deserving of an equally special name.”
Cadillac sure hopes that Ferguson is correct in his assumption that this model of the Escalade will bring the SUV market of Cadillac back to national prominence. Over the past 10 years, sales of the Escalade have fallen off by 40,000 per year.
Cadillac is not worried about losing money on the Escalade, though. The profit-margin on the large SUV is 20-30%, compared to a 4-6% margin for a mid-sized sedan.
The pricing for the 2015 Cadillac Escalade has yet to be released, but one can assume it will be slightly higher than the 2014 sticker-price of $68,000.
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