The 2016 Cadillac Escalade features a modern design, powerful capability and sumptuous amenities that keep luxury firmly in the driver’s seat.
Enhanced technologies and new exterior colors distinguish the latest edition of the brand’s signature SUV, complementing cut-and-sewn materials and wood trim – chosen for elegance and authenticity – and the latest technologies to convey an exceptional level of luxury.
Among the 2016 updates are enhancements that make CUE faster and more intuitive, including navigation functionality and phone integration technology via Apple CarPlay. Lane Keep Assist is also offered, adding to Escalade’s comprehensive safety technologies.
The product line includes the standard Escalade and the extended-length ESV edition, which offers a 14-inch-longer (355 mm) wheelbase and approximately 20 inches (508 mm) more in overall length, maximizing space for third-row passengers and nearly double the cargo space behind the third-row seat.
Luxury, Premium and Platinum collections are available in addition to the standard models, offering higher levels of content and technology – and all models are offered with 2WD and 4WD drivetrains, powered by a 6.2L V-8 engine backed by an eight-speed automatic transmission.
It’s a combination powerful enough to enable 0-to-60-mph performance in less than 6 seconds – 5.96 seconds for Escalade 4WD and 5.98 seconds for Escalade ESV 2WD.
The 6.2L engine also delivers an EPA-estimated 22 mpg on the highway in Escalade/ESV RWD and 21 mpg on the highway for Escalade/ESV 4WD.
Cadillac’s Magnetic Ride Control, the world’s fastest-reacting suspension system, is standard, delivering precisely controlled driving performance. And at its core, Escalade is an SUV with the capabilities of a full-size truck, enabling a trailering rating of 8,300 pounds on the standard model and an 8,100-pound rating on Escalade ESV. That’s more than Mercedes-Benz GL550 (7,800 pounds), Lexus LX 570 (7,000 pounds) and Land Rover Range Rover (7,716 pounds).
Escalade design and exterior features
Escalade’s design provides a signature look of quality, elegance and capability. The styling cues combine sculpted surfaces and high-technology embellishments to give Escalade a unique and stand-out appearance.
Dynamic front styling cues are enhanced by a highly detailed Galvano chrome grille that has a unique, almost brushed appearance. It is accented by full light-emitting diode (LED) lighting in the front and rear that creates unique, razor-like vertical light signatures. LEDs provide even, steady and very bright illumination, while delivering longer life and using significantly less energy than conventional lighting.
The headlamps incorporate the industry’s first Total Internal Reflection LED high-beam function, which consists of four vertically stacked crystal lenses and LEDs. The low beam consists of five crystal lenses and LEDs that create the light pattern. The Cadillac script is branded in the headlamp bezel. Tall, thin vertical LED taillamps reach to the top of the Escalade and feature the brand’s crest insignia, which illuminates in the dark.
Inlaid doors fit into the body side openings to provide a quiet interior and smooth aerodynamics – an attribute that helps Escalade slip through the air on the highway with minimal drag and greater efficiency. A lightweight aluminum hood and aluminum liftgate panels also contribute to efficiency.
Additional exterior features include:
- The rear is dominated by signature LED lighting extending full-height, from the fascia to the roof. The twin, light-blade taillamps recall Cadillac’s design heritage
- Chrome-accented side assist steps are standard, with power-retractable assist steps with light-pipe technology available on the Premium and Platinum Collections
- Illuminated door handles are included with the Premium and Platinum Collections
- Standard heated, power-adjustable and power-folding outside mirrors
- Standard hands-free, power-programmable liftgate
- The standard rear spoiler on the liftgate houses a rear window wiper that is hidden when not in use
- Capless fueling
- Twenty-inch aluminum wheels are standard on the standard model, Luxury and Premium Collections; and 22-inch aluminum wheels are standard on the Platinum collection and available on other models.
Ten exterior colors are offered: Gray Silk Metallic, Red Passion Tintcoat, Crystal White Tricoat, Dark Emerald Metallic (late introduction), Majestic Plum Metallic, Radiant Silver Metallic, Black Raven, Silver Coast Metallic, Terra Mocha Metallic and Dark Granite Metallic.
Interior craftsmanship and features
Craftsmanship defines the Escalade’s passenger space, which is designed to be one of the industry’s most authentic and luxurious cabins – with seamless technology integration for today’s connected luxury customers. And like the exterior, there’s harmony with Cadillac’s other vehicles in the cabin’s appearance, amenities and controls.
Real wood combined with premium cut-and-sewn materials and sueded accents, along with ambient lighting, add elegance to the interior design. Tight tolerances of the instrument panel and door panels, precision controls and triple-sealed doors were engineered and designed to reinforce a feeling of quality.
The seats are sculpted in appearance and feature a reclining second row. The design incorporates dual-firmness foam that ensures long-trip comfort and helps retain appearance over time.
Additional interior features include:
- Standard keyless entry and push-button start
- Standard electric telescoping/tilting steering column
- Standard heated, leather-wrapped steering wheel with wood accents
- Standard wireless phone charging provision on the center console
- Concealed center-stack storage with motorized door
- Standard tri-zone climate control
- Fold-flat second- and third-row seats, with standard power-folding third row
- Heated and cooled seats are standard in front and second-row bucket seats have standard heat.
Additionally, the 12.3-inch instrument cluster features a reconfigurable, high-resolution digital driver information center (DIC) display paired with the CUE infotainment system, with data also shown on an available, four-color head-up display on Luxury and Premium Collections. Along with vehicle systems information, the DIC provides details on the audio, Bluetooth phone and navigation systems, which can be adjusted via steering wheel controls.
When it comes to interior colors and seating appointments, the Escalade offers a range of choices:
- The standard model, as well as the Luxury and Premium collections, come standard with leather seating surfaces with mini-perforated inserts, offered in Jet Black or Shale with Cocoa accents
- Luxury and Premium collections are available with full-leather seats with mini-perforated inserts in Kona Brown with Jet Black accents
- The Platinum Collection features with semi-aniline leather seating surfaces with mini-perforated inserts in Tuscan Brown or Jet Black with Jet Black accents.
Escalade also offers a quiet environment, thanks to a strong body structure, and enhanced use of noise-attenuating materials and processes, including triple-sealed doors and acoustic-laminate glass and Bose® Active Noise Cancelation technology. Even the exterior mirrors were carefully shaped in the wind tunnel to reduce wind noise.
CUE and OnStar 4G LTE connectivity
Technology is integral to the Escalade’s driving experience and CUE – Cadillac User Experience – is standard. It is an advanced system for connectivity and control, featuring state-of-the-art voice recognition with touch controls common with the world’s most popular tablets and mobile devices. The eight-inch center screen uses capacitive touch technology and gesture recognition, enabling tapping and swiping common to smartphones and tablets.
The system also uses proximity sensors to activate common options and controls as the user’s hand approaches. An expanded “favorites” section offers quick access to phone contacts, navigation destinations – even digital music – in the same one-touch form as traditional radio presets.
Upgrades and enhancements for 2016 include improved system speed and performance, faster, more accurate map loading and voice command execution, faster service reprogramming, redesigned navigation interfaces, single-press mute navigation voice/cancel route, expanded cities with 3D maps, route information and next maneuver and BT Media browsing.
Complementing CUE to enhance Escalade’s connectivity is OnStar with 4G LTE connectivity with a Wi-Fi hotspot. It provides a mobile hub for drivers and passengers to stay connected. The hotspot supports up to seven mobile devices and is on whenever the vehicle is on and comes with a three-month/three-gigabyte data trial.
Connectivity features also include Text Messaging Alerts for smartphone users with Bluetooth profile (M.A.P.), which reads incoming texts through the vehicle’s speakers, and Siri Eyes Free for iPhone iOS 6 and iOS 7 users to enhance connectivity and convenience. Each enables voice-controlled connectivity, to help keep phones safely stowed and hands on the wheel.
Phone integration technology
Cadillac’s CUE system with an eight-inch-diagonal multi-touch screen is compatible with Apple CarPlay, a phone integration technology that puts iPhone features (iPhone 5 and later) on the display in a smart, simple manner. Many features can be controlled via voice commands through a steering wheel button, helping drivers spend more time with their eyes on the road and hands on the wheel.
Apple CarPlay takes the iPhone features most owners want to access while driving and puts them on the vehicle’s display to allow drivers to make calls, send and receive messages and listen to music right from the touchscreen or by voice via Siri. Apple CarPlay-supported apps include Phone, Messages, Maps, Music and compatible third-party apps. A full list of those apps can be found at Apple.com/ios/carplay.
Android Auto compatibility will be available later in the 2016 model year.
Bose® Centerpoint® audio system
The 2016 Escalade features the Bose Centerpoint® surround sound system that is the most advanced ever in a Cadillac. Customized exclusively for the Escalade, it features new technologies that help heighten the sophisticated in-vehicle experience.
Proprietary technologies and 16 strategically placed speakers create a concert-like experience throughout the cabin. Five custom-tuned speakers placed across the instrument panel and front doors, combined with Bose Advanced Staging Technology, help reproduce expansive sound with exceptional precision and clarity.
Further enhancing the experience is Bose Centerpoint 2.0 signal processing technology, which enables a surround sound experience across all rows and SurroundStage® signal processing circuitry, which compensates for off-center vehicle seating to create 360-degree sound for every occupant.
An available Blu-Ray DVD rear entertainment system is tied into the audio system and includes a nine-inch, roof-mounted screen on Escalade and two nine-inch screens on Escalade ESV. The overhead system also includes built-in remote storage, USB, SD car and RCA ports.
Performance and driving experience
Escalade performance is highlighted by the powerful and efficient 6.2L V-8 engine, rated at an SAE-certified 420 horsepower (313 kW) and 460 lb-ft of torque (623 Nm).
The 6.2L features state-of-the-art technologies, including direct injection, Active Fuel Management – also known as cylinder deactivation – continuously variable valve timing and an advanced combustion system, designed to make the most of power, torque and efficiency across the rpm band. Precisely controlled combustion enables Escalade to run with a high compression ratio, which delivers great power and efficiency.
The engine is matched with the Hydra-Matic 8L90 eight-speed automatic transmission with TapShift control. The GM-developed 8L90 is roughly the same size and weight as the 6L80 six-speed automatic, with a 7.0 overall gear ratio spread that provides a numerically higher first gear ratio, helping drivers start off more confidently with a heavy load or when trailering. The 8L90 also enables a numerically low 3.23 axle ratio, which reduces engine rpm on the highway – an attribute that contributes to fuel economy and quietness.
Escalade’s performance is channeled to a sophisticated chassis and suspension system, engineered for a great feeling of solidity and a smooth, quiet ride. A fully boxed frame – composed of more than 75 percent high-strength steel – is the foundation for its ride quality.
Chassis and suspension highlights include:
- A wide rear track that contributes to a confident, planted stance
- Shear-style body mounts, which reduce body shake and enhance the feeling of structural stiffness, improve damping performance when compared with previous compression mounts
- A cross-axis ball joint on the frame-side of the rear suspension lateral link that enhances steering precision
- Third-generation Magnetic Ride Control is standard, with two selectable modes. Its dual-electric-coil design enabled engineers to tune with more resolution to handle quickly changing road conditions
- Electric variable-assist power steering system enhances fuel economy and tailors steering assist to vehicle speed
- Four-wheel-disc brake system with Duralife™ brake rotors that offer up to double the service life
- Excellent brake pedal feel for more-confident braking performance
- Tires designed to enhance efficiency, ride quality, handling and stopping performance
- Standard automatic locking rear differential that provides greater traction when needed and greater driving comfort when it’s not.
The available four-wheel-drive system enables the driver to select an Auto mode for set-it-and-forget-it automatic activation. When conditions call for extra traction assist, a separate 4 HI mode offers the most capability for more challenging conditions.
Safety and security measures
Escalade’s technologies include active safety features to help protect occupants before, during and after a collision, such as front and rear automatic braking, which relies on short-range radar technology and ultrasonic sensors to help the driver avoid front and rear low-speed collisions via a progression of alerts that extend to complete braking, if necessary.
A Surround Vision system is standard on all models and uses cameras to provide a 360-degree bird’s eye view of the Escalade via the CUE color display screen. An update for 2016 allows the driver to select a front-camera-only view.
A Driver Awareness package on the Luxury Collection includes new Lane Keep Assist, Forward Collision Alert, IntelliBeam headlamps and the patented Safety Alert Seat, which pulses the left, right or both seat cushion bolsters to alert the driver of a dangerous situation. IntelliBeam headlamps automatically adjust the high-beam lamps when oncoming traffic is detected.
A Driver Assist package is offered with the Premium and Platinum collections. It includes all the features of the Driver Awareness package and adds Adaptive Cruise Control, Front and Rear Automatic Braking and Automatic Safety Belt Tightening.
Additionally, Front Park Assist and Rear Park Assist are standard on all models, while Side Blind Zone Alert, Rear Cross-Traffic Alert and Lane Change Alert are standard on Luxury, Premium and Platinum collections.
Escalade also offers the segment’s only Front Center Air Bag. It deploys from the inboard side of the driver’s seat and inflates between the driver and front passenger, providing added protection for both front occupants in side-impact crashes.
Additional standard air bags include:
- Dual-stage frontal air bags (driver and front passenger)
- Seat-mounted side-impact air bags for thorax and pelvic protection (driver and front passenger)
- Head-curtain side air bags for front and rear outboard seating positions.
Recommended retail price (MSRP) starts from $72,970