First drive: 2015 Cadillac Escalade in the UAE

First drive: 2015 Cadillac Escalade in the UAE


The Escalade is a huge seller for Cadillac. Popularised over the past decade as the vehicle of choice for rappers, it started life as just a warmed-over Chevy Tahoe, but has progressed over the years to become a fairly clear-cut model. At first glance, the all-new 2015 Escalade looks a lot like its plebeian cousin, but a closer look reveals that many of its exterior panels, and indeed most of the interior elements, are unique.

The blocky new styling is distinctive, attractive even, if you aren’t overwhelmed by its sheer size. You’ll need a keen eye to spot that it’s a new model, but maybe more of the same is the right formula for this lucrative segment.


Opening the door is an event unto itself, with an electric side-step automatically flipping down. Stepping inside carefully so as not to scratch the chrome strip on the step, you’re greeted with a nice stitched-leather interior, with mostly padded surfaces and tons of space.

It’s not quite Range Rover-grade inside since, if you look hard enough, there’s traces of its siblings. Also, third-row passengers are treated to cramped hard-plastic surroundings, while up front, you make-do with a basic column-shifter. Still, at least it has an easily-accessible third row that folds down. There’s lots of modern cabin tech, the second-row captain’s chairs are a nice option, and the amount of overall space has the Range Rover beat.


Powered by a beefy 420 hp 6.2-litre, mated to a 6-speed automatic and all-wheel-drive, it’s not an eye-popper, but there’s more than enough go for all your show. It also burns no more fuel than any of its typical steel-bodied V8 rivals, such as the Lexus LX or the Mercedes-Benz GL. And the brakes are fairly good too.

Parking isn’t as much of a hassle as you’d think, thanks to cameras and sensors, although you have to make sure that it fits in the first place.


Riding on adjustable “magnetic” suspension, GM has done well to refine a body-on-frame SUV, but a mild jitter on many road surfaces and generally vague steering hint at its truckish origins. Still, it’s easy to get the Escalade to hustle once you’ve come to terms with its body movements, as body roll is noticeable but well-controlled, and smooth steering inputs are rewarded with pretty good speeds around long corners, at least for a 2500-kg SUV. And it does so very quietly, with an occasional muffled V8 growl.

The Escalade wasn’t meant to be driven in haste or even off-road, but what it does do, it goes about it a lot better than any GM trucklet we’ve driven before. In its latest iteration, Cadillac’s bling-mobile is very competitive indeed.

For prices and specs, visit the Cadillac buyer guide.

What do you think?



  1. Looks very much like Chevrolet Tahoe’s 2015 model from the sides and back. No one wants to put any efforts on their own design nowadays

  2. i think when it comes to “brands” like the tahoe/ escalade, the designers purposefully change as little as possible.. heritage..

  3. Was waiting ages for your review on this new escalade. You are the only one to tell the honest review.

  4. I’ll forever be mesmerized by that black piece that serves as the antenna on top that’s not even centered. *sigh*

  5. Those back lights are freakishly long

  6. An upscale interior regardless of the long gear stick,, but when it comes to the back lights, seriously?

  7. Ugly back >_<
    Box shape + Volvo style lights

  8. The Escalade, Yukon and Tahoe are basically the car vehicle trimmed to suit different tastes.

    For the same vehicle experience one can get the Tahoe in LT trim with the convenience package with about 100000 AED in savings compared to this.

    For the same vehicle and engine combo with the interior bits the GMC Yukon Denali is the best bet with a significant savings compared to the Escalade and IMHO looks better too.

    I wish GM would provide 5 years warranty with their products, if that was the case a mid trim Tahoe or yukon would have been much better that the patrols and LC’s that skim so much on equipment and are over prized.

    Mash how would you compare a Base LS Tahoe to a VXR Prado on price points and equipment. I know they are different kind of cars but how many people actually offroad a 185k Prado? Your views please.

  9. Not worth the money go for Yukon Denali

  10. Styling has improved, although from the back it looks like a hearse, especially in black.Interior looks way better than the old ones, which were only good to see in rap videos, the interiors were that low rent. Still, I find the Tahoe more attractive than this.

  11. Interesting looks (significantly better than the Tahoe, in my opinion, the headlights of the Tahoe, it probably has to grow on me still). I’m keen on the Tahoe, though, interested in the 3seat bench option (for the front row), you never know when it comes in handy (imagine being able to seat 9 passengers with seatbelts!)!

    I had driven the 2013 Escalade ESV and found the length to be not much of a challenge (ofcourse we’ve to pay a lot more attention).

    The price point of the new ESV would certainly be a challenge, though I heard that the Platinum version will have 8gears, this is something I’d be willing to shell out more. Your views Mash?

    • Author

      The ESV costs only 20k more than this one, at least before dealer mark-ups. Driving it is easy, it’s parking in tight spaces, while still being able to open the doors, that’s a challenge.

  12. Dear Mash,

    The reason I’d rented the ESV was the same, to see where all I would find difficulty (especially in parking). 99% of the places I’ve been to, had no issues. At home (which I thought would be the biggest challenge), the entrance to the basement parking garage is a 90 degree turn (curved ofcourse, though a very tight radius), but this was done without scraping the rims, etc. Hence I’d found it ok. The space was tremendous and the 2015 would be even better. I checked the dimensions and the 2015 is slightly longer than the 2014 models.

    The width didn’t prove much of a challenge (opening doors), but I was quite disappointed about the 6speed auto in the 2015 model, though I heard that the Platinum version would be an 8speed auto.

    This brings to question the 2017 Lincoln Navigator (expected to be significantly cheaper, also much lighter-with aluminium body and rumoured to have 10speed auto)…Does it make sense waiting. I’ve got my fourth child (with GOD’s Grace ofcourse), coming up and I’m concerned about the rumours of a new rule that children would need to be seated using the child seat….unless you think there would be some delay in this (and I probably can wait till the 2017 Navigator). Your views…

  13. Please consider doing a comparison with the Infiniti QX80, as its the only real competition in the (luxury full size SUV) segment,price-wise.Thanks.

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