Sunday, 03 December 2023

2021 Cadillac Escalade is big in every way, at forefront of self-driving tech Featured

Posted On Sunday, 29 August 2021 23:50 Written by
Rate this item
(1 Vote)
The front grille of the 2021 Cadillac Escalade is one of its most dominant features. The front grille of the 2021 Cadillac Escalade is one of its most dominant features. Photo by Matt Myftiu/


Long a symbol of success and a favorite among those with the means to afford it, the Cadillac Escalade was about due for an update to keep up with growing competition in the luxury SUV realm; And that’s exactly what Cadillac did for 2021.

Completely redesigned to be longer than the previous model, with additional space for passengers and cargo and a bevy of new tech features including GM’s Super Cruise, the 2021 Escalade lives up to the hype and continues the legacy of this signature vehicle.

I recently spent some time in a 2021 Escalade Platinum with 4WD, so read on for my full assessment of the latest version of Cadillac’s esteemed land yacht.


The 2021 Escalade I tested was extra large and imposing, featuring a platinum grille and an attractive Sandstone Metallic paint color on the exterior, as well as the Escalade’s signature extra long tail lights.

It featured a huge interior with versatile storage options. With all seats up, cargo space is 25.5 cubic feet, but folding down the second and third rows will get you all the way up to 109.1 cubic feet, an impressive number. If you need even more space, choosing the extended wheel-base edition, called the Escalade ESV, will boost those numbers up to 42.9 cubic feet and 126.6 cubic feet.

Another plus is that it’s extremely easy to manipulate the seats to open up the full amount of cargo space.

All passengers will find quite comfortable semi-aniline leather seating that will hold up on long trips, and the driver and front seat passenger can enjoy the optional massaging seats. All passengers will enjoy ample leg and head room, something you can’t always say about a three-row SUV.

WIth a bench seat in the second row, seating for up to 8 is available. But if you opt for captain’s chairs in the second row, the total number of seats is 7. Other interior features on the vehicle include iIlluminated sill plates, a power panoramic sunroof, heated and vented front seats, and tri-zone auto climate control.

Going back to the exterior, the Escalade offers 22-inch, 10-spoke polished wheels, and optional power assist steps to support ingress and egress to this tall ride.


There are two power plant options on the 2021 Escalade. The vehicle I tested included a 3.0-liter 6-cylinder turbo diesel engine, offering 277 horsepower and 460 lb.-ft. of torque, and was paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission.

The other option is a 6.2-liter V8 engine, offering 420 hp and 460 pound-feet. Rear-wheel drive is standard on the Escalade, but you can upgrade to 4WD.

Despite having the weaker of the two engines in terms of overall horsepower, I genuinely enjoyed driving the Escalade. It was quite responsive for such a large vehicle, and the ride proved to be more smooth and more powerful than I expected based on the numbers. 

Realistically, of course, the V8 offering will be the star of the lineup if you are seeking ultimate power.

A new independent rear suspension helps provide the smoother ride. And the Magnetic Ride Control active damping system continually adjusts how the shocks are responding to road surfaces, maximizing tire contact to improve the drive.

A heavy trailering package is offered, and the max towing capacity of the 2021 Escalade is 8,200 pounds.


First of all, we have to talk about the awesome design on the Escalade’s extra-wide infotainment screen, which stands out even against the best luxury rides.

It clocks in at 16.9 inches, and features an extremely clear OLED screen that is easy to manage. The embedded navigation system also worked well, responding to voice commands accurately and getting you where you needed to go without any issues.

A second 14.2-inch screen is found in front of the driver, and in addition to that, a smaller, third screen on the left shows even more key info. From a distance, the three screens seem to blend together, making a 38+ inch setup full of every bit of information you would possibly need to know about the vehicle and your trip.

Other strong tech features include a Head-Up Display, an optional 36-speaker surround sound system that will please music lovers, wireless connections to Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and satellite radio connectivity.

There is a rear seat entertainment option, with screens behind both of the front seats for the 2nd-row passengers to use. Even cooler is that the passengers can access the navigation system and send directions to the front of the car, freeing the driver to focus on the road.

The highlight of the Escalade's safety features is the available Super Cruise system, which allows the vehicle to take over full operation of the pedals and steering wheel. Literally, the vehicle does all of the work for you, though of course you should remain at the ready to take over control if necessary (don’t start playing Candy Crush while the vehicle does its thing).

I tested this system out multiple times on Michigan’s highways, which are full of curves, with great success. I simply activated Super Cruise via the steering wheel, looked for the green light on the steering wheel, and let it take control.

Super Cruise will keep your vehicle in the lane, and make turns at speed (the first turn is a bit unnerving, as you wonder what the vehicle will do, but you quickly learn to trust it). In addition to steering, Super Cruise will brake when needed, and accelerate to reach your set cruise control speed. You can change lanes simply by putting on the turn signal, then the vehicle does the rest.. For long trips on the freeway, this system will be heaven-sent for drivers. And most importantly it is safe.

Super Cruise proved itself to be a great step closer to autonomous vehicles, but be aware that it’s not for low-speed or traffic jam situations, and won’t work on all roads.

In addition to Super Cruise, the Escalade is notable for its available Augmented Reality navigation feature, as well as its Night Vision feature.`

Other key safety and tech features in the Escalade include:
— OnStar support (a longtime GM mainstay)

— 4G LTE Wi-Fi available

— Adaptive Cruise Control 

— Auto Emergency Braking 

— Reverse Automatic Braking 

— Auto seat belt tightening 

— Rear Cross Traffic Alert 

— Enhanced Auto Parking Assist

— HD Surround Vision

— Safety Alert Seat 

— Forward Collision Alert

— Front Pedestrian Braking 

— Rear Pedestrian Alert


Official fuel mileage numbers on the Escalade’s six-cylinder turbo diesel engine are 20 city/26 highway/22 combined; Those are very strong numbers for a vehicle this size, leading the segment and beating the Escalade’s competitors.

Better yet, the numbers were accurate in my real-world testing, when I averaged just over 22 miles per gallon.

Moving up to the V8 engine, however, will drop fuel mileage as low as 14 city/19 highway (on the 4WD model), which is less impressive but expected with the power upgrade. 


The 2021 Cadillac Escalade I tested was priced at $112,465, and some models can go even higher in price. Base model is priced around $76K. This puts it up in an elite class competing with heavy hitters such as the full-size Range Rover and the Lincoln Navigator. You need to bring some serious coin to get behind the wheel of an Escalade, as both buying and leasing will be quite expensive.

Warranties include a 4-year, 50K bumper to bumper warranty; a 6-year 70K powertrain limited warranty.


The redesigned 2021 Cadillac Escalade sets a new benchmark for large luxury SUVs, with trailblazing technologies including Super Cruise, a sharp design in and out, and a smooth and powerful ride.

The price tag will put it out of most people's budgets, but if you can afford it, it's without a doubt the best offering in this class.

=== can be found on Twitter @AutoTechReview, or stay updated at the AutoTechReviews Facebook page.

Matt Myftiu can be found on Twitter @MattMyftiu.

Additional Info

  • Vehicle: 2021 Cadillac Escalade
  • Price as tested: $112,465 (starts around $76K)
  • Best feature: Super Cruise capability, interior design, storage versatility 
  • Rating: 4.5 out of five stars 
  • Who will want this vehicle?: Luxury SUV buyers wanting an extra-large, tech-savvy vehicle 
Matt M. Myftiu

Matt Myftiu has been a journalist for two decades with a focus on technology, NASCAR and autos.

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Leave a comment

Make sure you enter all the required information, indicated by an asterisk (*). HTML code is not allowed.

Search Reviews by Make

AutoTechReviews  is your home for In-depth reviews of the latest cars, trucks, and SUVs; information on all the emerging vehicle technology; and breaking news from the world of NASCAR and other motorsports.