The 2018 Cadillac Escalade ESV full-size sport utility vehicle is powered by 6.2-liter V8 engine producing 420 hp and 460 lb-ft of torque. That is mated with a 10-speed automatic transmission and feeds power to the rear wheels or to all four wheels. The eight-cylinder powerplant offered more than enough grunt and did not feel sluggish at all. For a vehicle this size, it was impressive to reach 60 mph from a standstill in less than six seconds. Torque was generous at the low-end of the rev range and it did not hesitate when the throttle was opened up. Considering its massive footprint and hauling capabilities, it was still poised in its handling as long as it’s within reasonable cornering speeds. Body roll wasn’t a distraction and it had enough grip to stay on the lane. The steering helped in maneuvering around because of its accuracy and initial response. However, it felt cumbersome throughout the motion of changing direction. The brakes performed decently and offered a predictable stopping force. The front lurched forward under intense braking, which is expected of a vehicle this big. The pedal felt soft and while the stroke is long, there was no abrupt response from the brakes.
The base trim comes standard with an adaptive suspension, LED headlights, rain-activated wipers, a hands-free power liftgate, remote start, automatic climate control, a power-adjustable heated steering wheel, power-adjustable pedals, power-adjustable heated and ventilated front seats, driver-seat memory settings, heated rear seats, Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, 4G LTE, Wi-Fi, a digital instrument cluster, navigation, wireless charging, five USB ports and an infotainment system with an 8-inch touchscreen and a 16-speaker Bose sound system. The Luxury trim adds power-folding second-row seats, a heads-up display, and a camera-based rearview mirror. The Driver Awareness package includes several advanced safety and driver aids. The Premium Luxury trim adds a rear-seat entertainment system and more advanced safety and driver aids. The top-of-the-line Platinum trim adds power-retractable running boards, a massage function for the power-adjustable front seats, a cooled front-seat center console and more displays for the rear-seat entertainment system.
The 2018 Escalade ESV was tested by the National Highway Traffic and Safety Association (NHTSA) and it received four stars for the frontal crash test, five stars for the side crash test, and three stars for the rollover test. Overall, it received a four-star safety rating from the NHTSA. The advanced safety features that come standard with the base trim include front and rear parking sensors, automatic parking assist, and a 360-degree camera. More features are added through packages including automatic high beams, blind-spot monitoring, lane departure warning and intervention, rear cross-traffic alert, collision warning and mitigation, forward and reverse automatic braking, and adaptive cruise control.
The 2018 Escalade ESV has a length of 224.3 inches, a width of 80.5 inches, a height of 74 inches, and a wheelbase of 130 inches. With its distinct angular looks and the shield-like front grille, the Escalade is easily recognizable from a distance. The front fascia has an edgy look along with its heavy use of chrome. The side panels and rear bumper contrast this by looking simple and minimal. The base trim comes standard with 20-inch wheels while the higher trim levels come with 22-inch wheels. The panoramic sunroof is only available starting with the Luxury trim. Roof rails are standard for all trims.
The running boards were helpful in stepping up into the cabin of the Escalade ESV, although passengers whose height are below average still felt it was a stretch to reach up. All three rows offered more than enough legroom and headroom for the majority of passengers. The three rows of seats can accommodate up to seven people on board. The seats were decently comfortable but passengers felt a slight discomfort during long drives, especially for the second and third rows. The leather upholstery was finished well and the additional functions (massage, heating, and ventilation) worked as expected. The ride over smooth surfaces was stable but impacts from rough patches were felt more compared to a crossover SUV. The adaptive suspension helped in alleviating and dispersing the harshness but the smaller 20-inch wheels would feel less harsh. Road and wind noise was kept to a minimum and the interior ambiance was quiet and relaxed.
There is 39.3 cu-ft of space behind the third row of seats, folding them down opens up 76.7 cu-ft of space. With the second and third row of seats folded down, there is 120.9 cu-ft of space available for cargo.