First Impressions – 2015 Cadillac Escalade

It’s been over 10 years since Lil Wayne first coined the term ‘Bling Bling’ and the related song has been a hit ever since. So much so that many dictionaries now officially recognize the word, defining it as ‘flashy, ostentatious, especially relating to jewellery’. OK so maybe Weezy didn’t officially invent the word but he made the term popular in hip hop circles, even extending the term to refer to automobiles.

Consider the Cadillac Escalade the automotive definition of bling-bling.

Since its introduction, the Escalade has ruled the roost as far as being the primary vehicle for rap moguls and reality stars. Dripping with chrome and personality, the Escalade is a worthy contemporary to tell the world you’ve made it in ostentatious and excessive style when a Range Rover just won’t cut it. To keep the Escalade at the top of its game, Cadillac has redesigned its moneymaker and instead of messing with success, GM’s luxury arm sought to address shortcomings of the GMT900 model and further distance it from its YukoTahBurban siblings.

Based on the brand new GMT K2XX platform that also forms the foundations for the new Silverado/Sierra trucks, the new Escalade still sports the same bold, in-your-face styling but takes visual cues from its smaller ATS/CTS/XTS stablemates. Headlights are now all-LED fixtures and the enclosures flow into the front-fenders a-la` ATS, while the massive grille and lower openings are reminiscent of the new CTS. The doors are inset into the body, a feature first introduced on the Silverado/Sierra trucks, that in concert with a Bose Active Noise cancelling system will quell wind noise. The lines along the sides are tauter and at the rear, the tail lights extend vertically up the length of the tailgate, from the bumper to the top in all-LED fashion. Want more bling? In addition to other exterior LED cues, the wreath and crest logo will even glow in the dark(!) Yup, no mistaking this for anything but an Escalade and the familial resemblance will be instantly recognizable as a Cadillac. Unlike its predecessor, the lines are more artfully designed and, with additional bling, enhances the Escalade’s, er, bling-factor.

The chassis itself is fully boxed and features a stiffer frame with better fitting body panels and tighter gap tolerances. GM’s Magnetic Ride Control system with Sport and Tour modes is standard equipment and with its millisecond damper adjustments, aims to give the Escalade an even plusher ride than before, despite having 20″ wheels (even larger 22″ dubs are optional). Wider front and rear tracks give the new Escalade a commanding stance on the road while a new coilover front suspension and a five link solid rear, coupled with variable electric assist power steering make the Escalade easier to pilot. Powering the beast is a redesigned version of GM’s 6.2 liter V8 dubbed ‘Ecotec3’ featuring direct fuel injection and active fuel management (shutting off four cylinders during low power periods). A six speed automatic will channel the V8’s 420hp and 460lb-ft of torque through either two or four wheel drive systems.

Inside is where Cadillac spent the greatest effort to differentiate the Escalade from its platform-mates. A sweeping dashboard with high-end materials feature’s Cadillac’s characteristic waterfall design and the center console neatly incorporates an 8 inch touchscreen featuring CUE (Cadillac User Experience). A 12.3 inch high definition screen displays the driver’s gauge clusterĀ  and can be reconfigured to show a variety on data. The front seats were also redesigned to be more comfortable, more supportive and plusher while featuring standard heated/cooled surfaces and the cabin improves on interior space for passengers and cargo alike. Cadillac has also blessed the Escalade with the full range of technology and driving aids, some of which include adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, emergency braking and blind spot monitoring. The 2015 Escalade will also be offered in standard wheelbase and long wheelbase ESV versions. No EXT (aka Avalanche) version will be offered, but if you need a luxury pickup, GM would be happy to sell you a Sierra Denali…

No pricing has been announced but expect the base price not to stray too far from the 2014 Escalade. Figure around $70,000 with optional features and trim carrying the price to around $90,000. So fear not TV stars and fashion moguls, when a Tahoe or Yukon (or even a Range Rover) isn’t flashy enough, Cadillac has your new and improved ride coming to a dealer near you early next year, in all its bling-bling goodness.

Images courtesy of Cadillac

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