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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

Muscle Cars & Trucks was founded by Manoli Katakis - an automotive media veteran that has been covering the latest car news since 2009. His journalism has uncovered dozens of major product changes, updates, plans, and cancellations long before automakers were ready to make things official.

Some highlights over the years of his reporting include the uncovering of the Zora trademark before anybody else reported on the coming of a mid-engine Corvette, as well as the dead-accurate reporting of the coming of the Chevrolet Colorado ZR2, two years before it hit the market, and even before the debut of the concept vehicle. This type of reporting has immediately continued here, with reports of the original seventh-generation Camaro plans being shelved, as well as what's in store for the Chevrolet Silverado.

Some of his work can be found on massive automotive media outlets, such as Motor1. He also has been a guest on the 910AM Radio Station with Detroit News auto critic Henry Payne, as well as the enthusiast-oriented Camaro Show podcast.

Over the years, Manoli has interviewed various automotive industry titans, leaders, and people that make things happen otherwise. These include figureheads such as GM CEO Mary Barra, GM President Mark Reuss, automotive aftermarket icon Ken Lingenfelter, Dodge firebrand Tim Kuniskis, along with various chief engineers of vehicles such as the Ford F-150 & Mustang, Chevrolet Camaro & Corvette, and many more.

At MC&T, Manoli is taking his journalism expertise, deeply planted sources, driving abilities, and automotive industry knowledge to new levels, covering more vehicles and brands than ever before. This is the place where you will continue to read groundbreaking stories about American performance vehicles, pickup trucks, and sport utility vehicles. Here is where you’ll also read insights and quotes from various automotive subject matter experts on the latest relevant products, as well as some of the latest official news from their manufacturers.

Fun facts: he also once beat Corvette Racing driver Tommy Milner in an autocross with a Chevrolet Bolt EV. The biggest vehicle he’s ever driven is a John Deere mining truck. Besides a go-kart, the smallest vehicle he’s driven has been a Hyundai i10. He’s also spent time in the cockpit of various American performance vehicle icons, including the fifth-generation Chevrolet Camaro Z/28, Dodge Challenger Demon, and Ford Mustang GT350R. He has reviewed dozens of trucks, SUVs, and performance vehicles over the years.

One of his favorite new vehicles on the market today happens to be the Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Bison. He is also a card carrying member of the Sports Car Club of America, and regularly participates in Detroit Region autocross events.

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