Cadillac Escalade to Stand Pat For 2016 After Previous Year’s Changes

What changes will make it different?

Few American vehicles are as iconic as the Escalade. If you want to make a statement with the vehicle you drive, this full-size SUV certainly gets the job done. Although it has seemingly been around forever, it made its debut into a welcoming market in the not-so-distant 1999. The fourth-generation of the Escalade landed in showrooms in April ’14 as a 2015, so it’s unlikely that much will change with the following edition.

Why should I wait for the 2016?

Vehicles as important as this one aren’t re-engineered on a regular basis, which means there won’t be any sort of overhaul for ’16. The only new thing you might get is a slightly increased price.

Should I buy a 2015 model instead?

Nobody needs this SUV, but plenty of people want one. The ’15 version is a significant update from its predecessor, and there’s really no reason to overlook it.

Will the styling be different?

The most striking difference between the ’14 and 2015 models is the styling, so the design likely will stand pat. The third-generation of this monster had presence, but this futuristic-looking fourth-generation offering raises the bar considerably. Think of it as the SUV equivalent of an Apache helicopter.

Any mechanical changes?

You need an engine to match a vehicle this big, and the ’15 version features an all-new 6.2-liter V-8 that delivers 420-horsepower and 460 pound feet of torque. Mechanicals as intrinsic as the engine should remain in place for 2016, although we expect the Hydra-Matic 6L80 six-speed automatic transmission to eventually be superseded by an eight- or nine-speed unit.

Will fuel economy improve?

Fuel efficiency probably isn’t an appropriate word to use in relation to the Escalade. Nevertheless, considerable effort went into improving the vehicle in this area for ’15. By employing direct injection and cylinder shutoff in the new power plant, Cadillac delivered an upgrade in gas mileage of around 17 percent. A combined figure of 17 mpg may not sound great, but consider that this beast is capable of going from 0 to 60 mph in around six seconds. Look for the mileage figures to be about the same for 2016.

Will it have new features?

Cadillac has already thrown the kitchen sink at this SUV in terms of safety, connectivity and infotainment features, so we shouldn’t be greedy for ’16. Even entry-level trims now have standard equipment including leather upholstery, wood trim, 20-inch wheels, heated seats and mirrors, a power tailgate, Bose audio, magnetic ride control and Caddy’s CUE infotainment system, which brings together Bluetooth connectivity, satellite radio and navigation and controls them through the use of voice, touchscreen or steering-wheel controls.

How will 2016 prices be different?

Prices rose for the ’15 edition by around $4,000, which is quite a lot even at this level. To be fair, though, the improvements and upgrades to the vehicle can’t be denied. For 2016, we don’t expect the price to rise by more than a couple of hundred dollars.

When will it come out?

A release date in the summer or fall of 2015 seems like a safe bet.

Best competitors

Lincoln Navigator, GMC Yukon, Mercedes GL-Class, Land Rover Range Rover

What changes would make it better?

Just about everything about the ’15 Escalade is an improvement, so it’s very difficult to find fault with it. Fuel economy is always an area that can get better, but perhaps only hybrid or plug-in hybrid powertrains can significantly bolster the gas mileage of a vehicle this size and weight.

Quick hit

Although the Escalade is a true statement of opulence, it’s still based on running gear that is derived from GM’s full-size pickup truck line, meaning it’s one of the few large luxury SUVs that still has a solid rear axle. Independent suspension all-round must surely come to this vehicle eventually, but in the meantime, its newly included Magnetic Ride Control is doing a pretty good job of delivering the kind of ride you would expect.

About Chuck Giametta

This nationally recognized, award-winning writer brings to two decades of automotive testing and reporting for newspapers, books, magazines, and the Internet. The former Executive Auto Editor of Consumer Guide, Chuck has covered cars for, Collectible Automobile magazine, and the Publications International Ltd. automotive book series. This ex-newspaper reporter has also appeared as an automotive expert on network television and radio. He’s a charter member of the Midwest Automotive Media Association, the president of the Rocky Mountain Automotive Media association, and a juror for the annual Active Lifestyle Vehicle of the Year awards. Chuck writes from Colorado Springs, Colo. If you have a question for Chuck, write to him at [email protected]