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2021 CADILLAC ESCALADE: EVERYTHING WE KNOW

Are You Ready For The Next Chapter Of An American Icon?

In 20 short years, the Cadillac Escalade smashed through the monotony to become an American automotive icon. And whether or not this heaping portion of extroverted luxury is your kind of thing, there’s no denying its impact on American car culture, pop culture, rap culture, sports culture, and beyond. Soon, the Escalade story will continue with the next-generation model on the General Motors T1 platform. And before that happens, we’ve put together a comprehensive guide for what you can expect from the 2021 Cadillac Escalade when everything gets officially official.

Mechanical

As with the 2021 Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban, the base engine of the 2021Cadillac Escalade will follow a familiar formula: a 6.2L small block V8 engine with Dynamic Fuel Management affixed to a 10-speed automatic transmission. However, Cadillac will offer two unique power units of extreme dichotomy above the L87 V8: a supercharged LT4 V8 engine (as first seen in the C7 Corvette Z06, the sixth-generation Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, third-generation Cadillac CTS-V) and a fully electric system that turns the massive body-on-frame SUV into a zero emissions vehicle (as first seen nowhere). However the range for the BT1 Escalade is still a mystery. Look for the high-performance and zero-emission variants of the new Escalade to debut within the next model-year or two of the base model.

MC&T was first to report that the Escalade will offer the LT4 several months ago.

We don’t know what these variants will be called at this time, but we expect Escalade-V to make an appearance. The 4.2L twin-turbo DOHC “Blackwing” V8 found in the Cadillac CT6-V is staying on the shelf. But like the Chevrolet SUVs, the 2021 Cadillac Escalade will also offer a 3.0L Duramax diesel engine.

Dare Greatly, etc.

Keeping the ride comfortable will be a new independent rear suspension that will both improve the vehicle dynamics as well as unshackle the interior from working around a live truck axle that was in every previous Escalade generation.

The green light bar on the steering wheel is indicative of Super Cruise.

Technology

Cadillac teased today that the 2021 Escalade will debut an industry-first 38-inch long OLED screen that merges the instrument panel with the center infotainment screen that was first teased in the Escala concept, and was then leaked on social media last week from some very up-close photos of the new Escalade’s interior in what we’re told is a mock-up room in the Warren Tech Center. Things don’t stop there, however.

The 2021 Cadillac Escalade will also, finally, introduce Super Cruise to another vehicle other than the CT6, and this will mark another industry milestone as the largest vehicle with semi-autonomous technology. This technology alone should be enough to spark interest from customers otherwise shopping a Range Rover, Mercedes-Benz G-Class, or Lincoln Navigator.

In the second row, look for a trio of infotainment screens, much in the same style as the higher-trim 2021 Tahoe and Suburban SUVs.

These massive gains in technology are only made possible with the integration of GM’s Global B electronics architecture. With it comes the processing power of 4.5 terabytes per hour, encrypted levels of cybersecurity, and by-wire driver inputs.

The official Cadillac Escalade interior teaser.

Interior

By its own standards, the new Escalade will be the nicest it’s ever been. However, based on previous remarks to us from Cadillac officials, the 2021 Escalade will not stray too far from its current formula. That means materials, fit and finish, and overall quality will improve, but only as much as its pricing structure will allow it. The all-new 2021 Cadillac Escalade will not break into the upper echelon of luxury SUVs, currently occupied by the opulent Bentley Bentayga and the elite Rolls-Royce Cullinan. We consider this to be a mistake, but if we were to frame it another way it would be this: the extremely nice Lincoln Navigator is going to have to watch its back.

As evident from the leaked image, the new Escalade won’t feature a push-button shift cluster like the 2021 Tahoe and Suburban. Instead, it will utilize a digital shifter as seen in other Cadillacs.

The not so official teaser.
Thoughts?

Exterior

As with the interior, an exterior photo of the 2021 Cadillac Escalade has also made its way to the internet. The front fascia design apes what the XT6 started with a new design language, forgoing the vertical headlamps for squinted horizontal ones. A massive chromed grille is naturally present and accounted for. We’ll withhold judgement until we at least see it in person, which will be…

Official Reveal

The 2021 Cadillac Escalade will debut on February 4, in Beverly Hills, California. Just in time for The Oscars.

Aside: Do people still watch The Oscars? Should Cadillac even pander to those who do? Better than the opposite, we suppose.

Price

As we previously eluded – do not look for the 2021 Cadillac Escalade price to be too far off from where it is now. Nevertheless, a full loaded Escalade Platinum will easily cross into the six-figure threshold. GM’s bookkeepers like this.

Assembly And Launch

The 2021 Cadillac Escalade will be built at GM’s Arlington, Texas Assembly plant alongside the 2021 Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban, as well as the 2021 GMC Yukon family. It will launch in the summer of 2020, just before the new Chevrolet and GMC SUV models.

Written by Manoli Katakis

Detroit Region SCCA Member and founder of MC&T. Automotive Media Jedi Knight. Not yet the rank of Master.

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