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MOTORING

2021 Cadillac Escalade car review

Words by Nathan Irvine

Large and in charge

It's strange how much the 2021 Cadillac Escalade reminds me of a private jet. Not that I've ever been on one, mind, but I've seen many a picture of celebs getting in and out of them to get a decent idea. The interior of this US classic is so vast that it has its own aisle between the first row of seats in the back. You have to totter between the luxury leather seats to get to the rear three, and no matter what spot you find yourself in, there's ample space around you.

But obviously, I spent most of my time at the wheel rather than enjoying the cavernous room and OLED screens in the back (more on these later). And thankfully, it's just as luxurious up front as it is in the first class cabin.

The 2021 Cadillac Escalade takes all of the things that have made its predecessors great - the aforementioned space, ride and as time has motored on, the technology - and simply made them better. A number of sensors and cameras around the vehicle make it incredibly safe and, brilliantly, easier to park. Out on the road, it's no slouch either - quickly zipping up to speed with solid handling to match that can leave much smaller, sportier cars in its wake.

In terms of tech upgrades, the biggest is easily the augmented reality screen. It replaces the traditional dials behind the steering wheel with a real-time digital display of what you can see out of your windshield. The difference here of mirroring the road ahead is that it gives you sat-nav cues so you don't have to keep glancing to your left or right. It takes a few drives to get used to it, but it eventually feels jarring going back to anything else afterwards.

In Pictures. 2021 Cadillac Escalade

Photos.

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Luxury seating to keep you comfortable

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Luxury seating to keep you comfortable

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Cameras and sensors around the vehicle make it easy to park

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That front grille is instantly recognisable as a Caddy

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That front grille is instantly recognisable as a Caddy

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OLED screens for the backseat passengers

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Plenty of room in the back for family and friends

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Plenty of room in the back for family and friends

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Although it's a big beast, it handles very well

2021 Cadillac Escalade Specifications

Engine

6.2l V8

Power

420 hp @ 5600 rpm

Torque

460 lb-ft @ 4100 rpm

Transmission

10-speed automatic

0-100 kmh

6 seconds

Top Speed

247 kmh

Price

From AED 325,000

Screen time

Alongside the lush leather trim that's present throughout the whole vehicle, there are even more screens stitched into place and various features to play with. The crystal clear infotainment panel instantly connects to smart devices, and is packed with more features than you actually need. Car info, navigation (again), phone, rear climate and even unique loadouts for each new driver are all available at your fingertips.

In the back, friends and family members can enjoy the OLED screens to help any journey go by in a flash, and without so much as a "are we there yet?" from any of them. Oh, and although this might seem like an incidental feature, the fact that the 2021 Cadillac Escalade has its child seat connectors exposed is a massive plus for families with small children. We've never understood why manufacturers hide these things inside tiny slots in the fabric/leather, but Caddy's little gesture goes a long way.

It really is hard to find anything to grumble about... but not impossible. It's pricier than its rivals, but then if you can afford one, you probably won't care as this really is a benchmark for luxury SUVs. And it's a thirsty beast. If you're using it as an everyday car, then you'll likely be on a first-name basis with your local petrol pump staff.

Still, as a complete package, it's hard to beat the 2021 Cadillac Escalade. It looks stylish, drives great, is packed cutting-edge tech and has a ton of space. It really is a first class experience.

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