2023 Cadillac Escalade V fueled by power, money

James Raia

There was a time when the epitome of success for many automobile consumers was ownership of a Cadillac Eldorado or a Cadillac DeVille. The former was a personal luxury coupe and lasted 50 years and 12 generations from its 1952 debut. The DeVille, a full-size luxury sedan, lasted 46 years and eight generations until its 2005 demise.

The brand has evolved with smaller, non-land-yacht offerings except for the 2023 Cadillac Escalade V. The 2024 model marks the monstrous sport utility vehicle’s 25th year.

The 2023 Cadillac Escalade is powerful, plush and pricey.
The 2023 Cadillac Escalade V is powerful, plush and pricy. Images courtesy of Cadillac.

The auto industry is steadily addressing environmental concerns. Projected sales of electric vehicles in the United States this year may reach one million for the first time. It’s still a small percentage of total sales, with one reason being the loyalty for large, powerful fuel-guzzling SUVs including the Escalade.

Named after a French term translated to suggest “climb or scaling a fortified wall,” the Escalade is part of the hard-to-understand segment that also includes the Lincoln Navigator, Ford Expedition, GMC Yukon and a half-dozen others.

In 2021, the debut of the current generation, and last year, sales of the Escalade were nearly identical, just surpassing 40,000 — the best numbers in the vehicle’s tenure.

The 2023 Cadillac Escalade V is a comfortable, powerful road behemoth.
The 2023 Cadillac Escalade has lots of leather and is a comfortable road behemoth.

The 2024 model is nearly identical to the 2023 model, which marked the debut of the V trim. It’s Cadillac’s version of doubling down. Minus the V, the Escalade trims include a 6.2-liter V8 with 420 horsepower and rear-wheel drive. Optional are a six-speed diesel and four-wheel drive. For power glutens, the V includes a 6.2-liter V8 with 682 horsepower and a specialized all-wheel-drive system. All Escalade trims include 10-speed automatic transmissions.

As if a performance trim is needed, the 2023 Cadillac Escalade V also features six-piston Brembo front brakes and an exhaust note surely to wake up nearby neighbors. Is the sound of a muscle car a coveted quality in a three-row luxury SUV? It must be a logical progression for behemoth vehicle enthusiasts. Despite its nearly 6,000-pound massive, the Escalade V advances from 0-to-60 miles per hour in 4.4 seconds

The Escalade’s comfort, quality craftsmanship and lengthy feature list must also account for much of the vehicle’s popularity. Its high-quality leather seating and trim and its high positioned, seating-for-eight perches make the SUV an uber-luxurious beast powering down the open road.

Super Cruise, the semi-autonomous driving system, allows for hands-free driving and automatic lane changes, and is a $2,500 option. In case a symphony is desired on the highway, it’s offered with a top-line choice: a 36-speaker AKG Studio Reference system. For additional necessities, there’s an optional $700 refrigerator/freezer unit on the console.

The popularity of SUVs remains on the upswing, with family and work versatility as two of the major reasons regardless of price. The 2023 Cadillac Escalade V is in line with the other largest offerings in the segment. Despite their girth and weight, the second and third-row seats maneuver easily.

The extensive list of standard convenience features includes a blind spot system, power panoramic sunroof, surround-view camera, adaptive cruise control, remote engine start, parking sensors and multi-zone climate control.

With all of its wonders, the 2023 Cadillac Escalade V is a prime choice, but only if its two major issues aren’t issues for potential owners. With its options and taxes, the price is as massive as the vehicle, $154,856. Gas mileage averages are putrid, 11 miles per gallon in city driving, 16 mpg on the highway.

Cadillac enthusiasts may rejoice regardless. The Escalade has a 25-year legacy and the V trim will likely only enhance the brand’s reputation. It’s still about prestige, not dollars and sense.

Article Last Updated: September 15, 2023.

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