General Motors unveiled its 2015 Cadillac Escalade this week and said it will get a host of upgrades to its chassis, powertrain, security, and infotainment.
We’ll try to break it down briefly to spare you the marketing-speak:
Infotainment: The 2015 Cadillac Escalade gets Cadillac’s CUE infotainment system with its voice recognition and touch control surfaces similar to mobile devices like your favorite tablet. While derided by some, I’m enthusiastic that the CUE system has Linux bones because, let’s be honest, the prospect of being able to build a custom hack center stack (would that be a hack-a-stack?) someday down the road sounds really fun. The gauge cluster is actually a 12.3-inch screen that can be reconfigured with four themes, and there’s an optional full-color heads-up display to project vital info on the windshield, closer to your direct field-of-view. For rear passengers, there’s an optional Blu-Ray DVD rear entertainment system that comes with a single nine-inch, roof-mounted screen on the standard-length Escalade and two nine-inch screens on the extended-length Escalade ESV.
Chassis: The 2015 Cadillac Escalade now has Cadillac’s Magnetic Ride Control as standard equipment. Coil-over-shock single leading arm front and five-link solid rear axle rear suspension may be dressed-up trucky suspension bits, but if the Magnetic Ride Control technology is good enough for a CTS-V, we’re sure it can do good things for the nearly 6,000-pound beast known in some circles as the ‘Sclade. Those same circles will be glad to know the biggest Caddy rides on standard 20-inch or available 22-inch dubs. New electric variable-assist power steering promises to reduce parasitic drag on the engine (see below) while a slightly wider track should help give the tall Escalade slightly better handling or, as the press release put it, a “more planted stance.” A new four-wheel disc brake system includes GM’s Duralife rotors that should offer up to twice the service life of the previous rotors and a revised pedal feel. In a bit of old-school block-and-tackle chassis tuning, Cadillac reportedly fit the Escalade’s doors into the body side openings instead of on top of the body and tightened panel gaps in an effort to reduce wind noise and improve the traditionally cinderblock-shaped SUV’s aerodynamic profile. Other fuel-saving trickery is found in the form of active grille shutters and an aluminum hood and liftgate.
Powertrain: The 2015 Cadillac Escalade gets the all-new 6.2-liter V8 gasoline engine GM says is rated at an SAE-certified 420 horsepower and 460 ft-lbs of torque, representing a 5% increase in horsepower and a 10% bump in torque. The engine uses direct injection, cylinder deactivation, continuously variable valve timing, and an advanced combustion system to run happily at a higher compression ratio that helps the engine deliver the extra power and should, GM said, offer better fuel efficiency. Fuel economy numbers have not been released yet, so stay tuned for that. Meanwhile, the 2015 Cadillac Escalade puts its power down via the venerable Hydra-Matic 6L80 six-speed automatic transmission, which now gets “enhanced” TapShift control. The release from Cadillac was not clear how the feature has been “enhanced.” A new 9.5-inch rear axle comes standard with locking differential for when going gets slippery.
Security: The 2015 Cadillac Escalade gets improved security measures, including an intrusion sensor, inclination sensor, and glass breakage sensors. In addition to triggering an audible and visible alarm response, some of the systems can shut down the Escalade’s key control systems, “making it almost impossible to start or move the vehicle,” according to the press release. Backing up the security features is OnStar Stolen Vehicle Assistance, which can help the authorities locate a stolen vehicle.
The 2015 Cadillac Escalade will start production next spring at GM’s Arlington, TX assembly plant.