What do you get when you cross a hippie with a rapper? The Cadillac Escalade Hybrid of course. I remember when my dad, after emigrating to Chicago from Europe and after countless hours of toil, finally made it in America. The first thing he did was reward himself by buying a massive Cadillac Eldorado.
Thirty some years later and somethings are still the same. Just like that Eldorado that my dad bought in 1978, the 2009 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid has that almost magic American quality of being bigger on the outside than on the inside.
After driving the Escalade for a week, I finally get why my dad bought that Eldorado. Just like the Eldorado, the Escalade is big shouldered, brash and very American (or is it Texan) in-your-face-sort of a ride.
For instance, I could drive a Prius from Denver to Nebraska tailgating “that” car doing 55 mph in the fast lane and it would never budge an inch. On short trip down the local highway, the Escalade parted the slow-moving traffic in front of me like Moses on a righteous tear.
And let’s face facts. While the Escalade may not be the most expensive Luxury SUV, when sitting behind the wheel of this 7,000-pound Gorilla it is all-too-easy to feel, and sometimes act, like you own the road. You look down (I mean it you literally look down) on drivers in their “itty-bitty” Porsche Cheyenne Turbos and Land Rovers. It can be easy to feel sorry for these “poor” folks who could not afford a SUV with 22-inch wheels with an electric and gas engine.
The Escalde Hybrid says (in no uncertain terms) to everyone within crushing distance that you’ve made it, and as a bonus you even care enough to do your small part for the environment.
So let’s say that you are a successful hippie, or rapper, or just in the market for the current American king of SUVs. Now we get to one of those is the glass half full or half empty dilemmas? During my week with the Escalade Hybrid, I averaged 17.8 mpg in mostly city driving.
Some of you might think that 17.8 mpg is pretty miserable from a hybrid — the glass is half empty.
The new Prius will easily get 50 mpg all day long, and probably much more should you care to drive a bit more judiciously.
Others may point to the fact that the non-Hybrid Escalade is rated at closer to 12 mpg in city driving which means that the hybrid version gets substantially better gas millage. And those same readers will point out that over the life of the big Caddy the hybrid version will save hundreds, if not thousands, of gallons of gas and CO2 — the glass is half full.
I will only point out that hybrid Escalade is almost $10,000 more expensive than the non-hybrid 2WD version of the SUV. I would also be remiss not mention I’ve recently driven two cars — the Aston Martin Vantage the Chrysler 300C SRT8 — that both get substantially worse gas millage. Neither of those vehicles are anywhere near as practical and useful as the seven-seat, 17,000-pound, 17 miles-to-the-gallon Cadillac.
2009 Cadillac Escalade Facts & Figures
Price as Tested: $72,865.00 Engine, Transmission: Vortec 6.0L V8 SFI with 2-Mode Hybrid propulsion w/300v energy storage system; Horsepower: 332; Towing capacity: 5800 pounds: PocketDyno Test Data: 1/4 Mile, 17.61 seconds at 81.55 mph; 0-60 mph: 9.81 seconds; Max Acceleration: 0.43 g’s EPA Fuel Economy Estimates: 20 mpg (city), 21 mpg (hwy); 20 mpg (combined), 17.8 mpg (as tested); CO2 per year: 11,738 lbs.
To read more of Roman Mica’s car reviews, visit: www.tflcar.com.
Article Last Updated: June 2, 2009.
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A sports, travel and business journalist for more than 45 years, James has written the new car review column The Weekly Driver since 2004.
In addition to this site, James writes a Sunday automotive column for The San Jose Mercury and East Bay Times in Walnut Creek, Calif., and a monthly auto review column for Gulfshore Business, a magazine in Southwest Florida.
An author and contributor to many newspapers, magazines and online publications, James has co-hosted The Weekly Driver Podcast since 2017.