- MSRP: $63,745
- MPG City: 13
- MPG Hwy: 18
- Seating Capacity: 7 standard (8 optional)
- Rating: 8
Pros and Cons
- Luxurious, user-friendly interior
- Strong V8 engine
- Strong brakes
- Cramped third-row seating
- Heavy removable third-row seats
The luxury SUV market is a crowded one and Cadillac’s Escalade is no longer the pinnacle of its vehicle segment. However, the Cadillac Escalade retains one of the most original body styles in its class. With crossover vehicles invading the space of the true SUV market, Cadillac has competition from all angles for its full-size Escalade. 2013 didn’t bring any new updates or changes to the vehicle, but it remains standard fare in the world of the famous and well-to-do.
Critics suggest that the Escalade is due for a revamp, and at six years old the current body style could use some fresh lines. Despite the vehicle’s lack of appreciable updates, it’s still a class-act on the road, which is to be expected with any vehicle from the venerated Cadillac brand. Beyond its appeal in the luxury segment, the SUV is also a powerful presence on the road and enjoyable to drive.
- Class: 4dr RWD Sport Utility
- Trim: RWD Base
- Passenger Capacity: 7
- Passenger Doors: 4
- Transmission: 6-Speed Automatic
- Drivetrain: Rear Wheel Drive
- MPG: 14 City / 18 Hwy
- Engine: Gas/Ethanol V8 6.2L/376
- Horsepower: 403 @ 5700
- Torque: 417 @ 4300
Body Styles, Trim Levels and Options
The Escalade is every inch a full-size SUV and there are four different trim levels available for the 2013 Escalade that include: Base, Luxury, Premium and Platinum edition.
Every trim level offers seating for 7 passengers, and on the bottom 3 trims owners have the option to seat 8 passengers. For other trim options, drivers can also purchase a hybrid Escalade as well as an extended length version. All trims offer 18-inch wheels and a variety of features like a tow package, a locking rear differential, and a power lift-gate. Every Escalade driver also gets xenon headlights and fog lamps.
The interior of the Escalade offers all of the expected comfort features of a luxury SUV like climate control for three different zones, remote start, and heated seats. All Escalades also come with Bluetooth functionality, a navigation system, and OnStar access. Not surprisingly, the vehicle also comes with a Bose surround-sound system with a CD player. An auxiliary jack offers additional audio functionality as well as a USB port that can also play an iPod.
Moving up to the Luxury trim drivers will get the option to purchase a few additional perks such as a rear-seat entertainment system and power-retractable side steps. The luxury trim level comes with 22-inch wheels standard as well as automatic high beams, and a sunroof. Drivers will also enjoy a magnetically controlled adaptive suspension and a heated steering wheel.
If a driver decides to move up another trim level to premium, there are a few more additions to the package like painted wheels and a dual exhaust system. The chrome on the exterior also disappears in favor of a solid body color. The platinum edition adds still more features like LED headlights, better leather upholstery, and upgraded interior features.
One of the attractive features on the platinum edition trim is the set of cup holders that can be heated or cooled. Passengers in the rear seats can also play more than one type of entertainment simultaneously. The entertainment system in the lower trim levels allows just single movie playback.
Pricing for the base model Escalade starts at just over $63,000 while the platinum edition reaches just over $80,000. Extras and options can push those prices higher.
“If you like your luxury SUV big, menacing and powerful, the chrome-slathered 2013 Cadillac Escalade has no equal. The hybrid model is unique in this class.”
– Kelley Blue Book
“There was a time when the Cadillac Escalade was the vehicle du jour for the wealthy, famous or those keeping up appearances. Unlike the classic black cocktail dress or gentlemen’s two-button suit, however, the Escalade doesn’t enjoy a timeless status. Six years into the current generation’s run, the Escalade now looks more like yesterday’s fashion.”
“As a large SUV (or crew-cab pickup for that matter), this Caddy does an admirable job of blending coddling and capability.”
– Consumer Guide
Performance and Powertrain
Under the hood, the 2013 Cadillac Escalade offers a 6.2-liter V8 that boasts 403 horsepower and 417 lb-ft of torque. Drivers have the option of all-wheel drive; however rear-wheel drive is standard along with a six-speed automatic transmission. With all this power, the Escalade won’t impress anyone with its fuel economy. EPA estimates 14 MPG city and 18 MPG highway, which sinks to 13 MPG city with the all-wheel drive setup.
Despite the gas guzzling nature of the Escalade (which is all but expected on such a heavy vehicle), the SUV provides impressive towing capability at an estimated 8,300 pounds when fitted with the tow package. In addition, the Escalade’s zero to 60 hovers around 7.5 seconds, which is a respectable performance for a full-size SUV.
As expected, this Cadillac offers a wide array of standard safety features like a blind-spot warning system standard (except for the base trim), a rearview camera, and rear parking sensors. There are several air bags around the interior like front side-impact airbags, as well as full-length curtain airbags that also line the vehicle.
One of the areas where Cadillac could spend some time in its next update is in braking performance for the Escalade. Although government crash tests did warrant an overall safety rating of four out of five stars, the braking capability of the large vehicle is less than stellar. Additionally, government reviewers only offered the Escalade three out of five stars regarding its risk for a rollover accident.
Special Features and Interior Design
One area where Cadillac never fails to impress is with the interior, and the Escalade is no exception. When paired up against other luxury SUVs, the Escalade gives occupants a supremely luxurious feel and the entertainment system is one of the best in the industry. Cadillac has excelled with its leather upholstery and the faux-wood interior features.
Although the three row seating capacity suffers for it, the Cadillac can offer several cubic feet of cargo room when the third row of seats is removed. The third row doesn’t have a tremendous amount of leg-room anyway, so a driver might only install the seats when necessary. Without the three rows of seats, there’s over 108 cubic feet of room for storage and supplies.
Handling well under pressure, the Cadillac Escalade is a powerful beast that owns the road and offers its driver a thrilling experience. The smooth ride that marks the Escalade as a Cadillac will be envied by all passengers even though the vehicle isn’t quite as sedate as a sedan. The large size of the Escalade is jarring at first and driving around a tight parking lot won’t necessarily be the easiest maneuver, but the luxury of the Escalade will make up for it.