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The New Escalade Is Right At Home Parked Next To Fellow Yachts

2021 Cadillac Escalade Premium Luxury
Photo copyright Matheus Pach, Muscle Cars & Trucks

Large Cadillac sedans that have come and gone through recent decades all faced a similar critique: they don’t seem to capture the magic of those majestic land yachts that the brand continues to be measured by. But maybe it’s only because this magic hasn’t left Cadillac, but has actually evolved from 17-foot personal limousines and into a full-size SUV. There’s plenty of data to support that the Cadillac Escalade is the most iconic product the brand has made over the past two decades. Whether it’s by the myriad references of the Escalade in pop music, the high asking prices, or whether because it enjoys the youngest and most affluent customer base of the entire brand portfolio, the Escalade has emerged as the market driven, modern flagship of American luxury vehicles. The 2021 Cadillac Escalade continues this pedigree, and does so with levels of such poise and confidence that its brand stablemates only wish they could capture.

In short, the Escalade is everything Cadillac needs to be, from our vantage point. It’s large, it’s expensive, it’s powerful, it’s boldly designed inside and out, and most importantly: it’s memorable. There have been plenty of vehicles out there, even at the price point of the Escalade, that check off all quantifiable targets in focus groups, such as an appealing design and abundant technology. But the finished product is too often a sterile one. They just check the boxes. They’re a flavorless smoothie with all of the essential vitamins and minerals one may need. But that’s just it, flavorless. The 2021 Cadillac Escalade is a 32oz ribeye steak dinner. It’s satiating, it’s rich, and if you’re lucky, it may offend somebody. Go figure that the Escalade is built in Texas.

We’ll let the photo gallery do the talking from here. We spent 36 hours with a 2021 Cadillac Escalade Premium Luxury. While not even the top of the range (it didn’t even have four-wheel-drive), this particular machine carries an MSRP of $100,685 as tested. Over $16,000 in total options, highlighted by the anticipated 36-speaker AKG sound system ($4,300). The Driver Assist Tech Package ($3,650) adds floaty air ride suspension, illuminated sill plates, soft-close doors, adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, reverse automatic braking, and auto seat belt tightening. The Performance Package ($2,700) adds an electronic limited slip differential and magnetic ride control dampers. Rounding things out are the Brandy/DK Atmosphere accents ($2,000), the First Class rear seat entertainment system ($1,995), and power assist steps with perimeter lighting ($1,750).

We chose a boat marina as the location to photograph the 2021 Cadillac Escalade Premium Luxury, because it only made sense to park a land yacht next to an equivalent marine vessel.

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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