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Cadillac’s full-bodied Escalade Sport is super-sized luxury

by Howard Walker

Until just a few short weeks back, if you were piloting the latest, blacked-out Cadillac Escalade Sport, you were helming the most-athletic Caddy sport-ute out there. 

Courtesy of its honking 6.2-liter 420-horse V8, its quick-shifting10-speed automatic, and roll-quelling magnetic-ride suspension, it definitely put the “sport” in sport-utility. Well sort of. 

But all that changes with the latest announcement of the ultimate “bad boy” ‘Slade, the 2023 Escalade-V. That’s “V” as in Velocity. Or maybe “Vroom”. 

The tall, vertical, rear light signature continues on the new 2021 Escalade but adds deep three-dimensional layers and finishes with detailed etching.

Now under that Kansas-sized hood lurks a hand-built, 6.2-liter V8 complete with supercharger and enough horseys to form a cavalry; 682hp to be precise, along with 653 torques. It’s a beast.  And the most powerful production Cadillac motor in history.

According to the folks at Caddy, the V8 has the muscle to rocket this 6,200-pound lump of lard from standstill to 60mph in just 4.4 seconds. Ten-to-the-gallon fuel economy? Who cares? 

The new 2021 Escalade comes with standard 22” wheels.

If you thought General Motors had committed itself to a zero-emission, all-electric, more earth-friendly future, the Escalade-V kinda suggests otherwise. The only green here is the ludicrous $149,900 sticker price.

At around $60,000 less expensive, the stealthy-gray Escalade 4WD Sport ($90,595) I’ve just spent the week wrangling – and trying to squeeze into parking spaces – is a slightly more sensible alternative to 682 horsepower V-power. 

The 2021 Escalade showcases the first curved OLED in the industry with over 38 inches diagonal of total display. Featuring twice the pixel density of a 4K television, this technology enables bold imagery, perfect blacks and the largest color range available in the automotive industry.

That said, with a 14mpg/City and 16mpg/Combined thirst, it still drinks harder than Gary Busey on a bender. Just remember that at Florida’s $5.20-a-gallon average for premium, filling up the Sport’s 28-gallon tank will cost you over $145. 

But if you love Escalades, love the interior space, love the luxury, the towering driving position, and the ability to tow the Queen Mary, you’ll love this latest Sport.

The OLED display in the 2021 Escalade includes a 16.9” diagonal infotainment screen that displays and controls navigation, music, and many other functions of the vehicle, including HD Surround vision, which uses multiple camera angles to display an overhead image of the area round the vehicle.

For starters, it looks mighty impressive with all that blacked-out chrome and truly massive, gloss-black honeycomb grille. The back-to-black treatment also stretches to the front spoiler, the roof rails, the running boards, and exhaust tips. There’s more black here than in Ozzie Osbourne’s wardrobe.

The Sport trim also includes huge 22-inch 12-spoke black-and-polished-aluminum rims that wouldn’t look out of place on a Peterbilt. 

See it in the metal and it all looks cartoonishly big. From the driver’s seat, a six-year-old could stand in front of the grille and be completely invisible to the driver. 

The OLED display in the 2021 Escalade includes a 16.9” diagonal infotainment screen that displays and controls navigation, music, and many other functions of the vehicle, including HD Surround vision, which uses multiple camera angles to display an overhead image of the area round the vehicle.

Thankfully, the Sport is equipped with a suite of hi-def cameras that can create a clever digital overhead image of the truck. It appears on a center screen at slow speeds when you select Drive or Reverse. 

Haptic sensors in the driver’s seat also vibrate when you’re pulling out of a parking space and there’s a pedestrian within striking distance. But still, the sheer height of the hood off the ground is ridiculous. 

In truth, badging this version of the Escalade a “Sport” is all a bit silly. It’s the equivalent of sticking a “Sport” badge on the hindquarters of Dumbo the elephant. 

The new curved OLED display is the centerpiece of the interior, enabling designers to integrate and customize the entire environment. The result is a completely fresh, integrated cabin look that seamlessly blends the technology with handcrafted details.

Yes, our tester came with a standard electronic limited-slip differential and magnetic-ride suspension, along with optional Air Ride adaptive springing. But it’s the truck’s sheer size on the road that restricts its athleticism. 

Driving it briskly along any twisty backroad feels as if you’re trying to defy physics. Pulling out to pass slower traffic is not for the faint-hearted. 

Better to sit back and enjoy the Sport’s tremendous space and luxury, and crank up the optional AKG Studio sound system, with its 3-D surround sound and 36 speakers.

And the Escalade’s curved OLED instrument display on the dash is still a sight to behold. With its 38-inch diagonal glass panel boasting twice the pixel density of a 4K TV, it is simply a piece of technical beauty. 

Take your pick from a standard wheelbase Sport or crazy-long ESV stretched-wheelbase. There’s even a high-torque turbo-diesel version when you have big things to tow.  

Me? I can’t wait for a smaller, all-electric Escalade. It’s time.

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