Road Test Review – 2024 Cadillac Escalade-V – Cadillac’s Performance SUV Trades Bling For Fun

The Cadillac Escalade has often been associated with the rich and famous especially with the copious amounts of bling that the big SUV brings to the driveway. However, it’s also a crucial piece of Cadillac’s broader sales plans with the Slade’s profits helping the brand make new EVs like the Lyriq and the recently revealed Optiq.

Cadillac recently confirmed that the model is slated to go all-electric but before it ditches its V8 for good, the American luxury brand decided to fulfill a fantasy and create a performance model, the 2024 Cadillac Escalade-V to end the party with a big bang.

Escalade-V’s exterior styling has charm but lacks spark

When you look at the exterior styling of the Cadillac Escalade-V, it’s clear that Cadillac didn’t want to rock the boat too much when it came to some of the styling changes that it made to the V. The front fascia is largely shared with the standard model but the front grille is replaced with a black mesh style piece and the lower front bumper is also slightly tweaked. This also extends to the rear of the SUV with the quad-exhaust tips being accented by a bigger rear diffuser but not much else. AT least the tall LED taillights remain a potent styling statement.

The slick red paint on our tester added some extra pop to the SUV’s styling presentation but it also shined a spotlight on the main problem we have with the Escalade-V and that’s the fact the SUV simply does not do enough to formally stand out in the performance SUV ranks. Rivals like the Range Rover SV Autobiography tend to have more visual distinction between themselves and their mainstream counterparts usually with enhanced trim elements.

The Cadillac lacks this distinction and we wish that Cadillac allowed the Escalade team to be more creative with the wheels (which are shamelessly lifted from the Sport model) since having V distinctive hoops would have allowed our tester to have a distinct identity.

 

Escalade-V interior is comfortable and versatile

The interior of our Escalade-V tester revealed that it’s still the gold standard of luxury and comfort with the dashboard being dominated by a large 38-inch curved OLED screen that sandwiches three screens together to create one massive slab of tech real estate with the CUE system playing a major role in bringing all the screens together. An augmented reality navigation system is also available and it does a good job of projecting information within the driver’s line of sight.

Visibility is good for the most part but the Escalade’s square-ish shape does force occupants to contend with impaired rear-view visibility. Thankfully, Cadillac kindly provided a standard rear-view camera that helps solve this problem and can be accessed by flipping a switch in the mirror housing.

A WiFi hotspot is also standard and second-row occupants get massive 12.6-inch rear screens with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto providing plenty of accessibility for mobile devices. The cabin is adorned with high-quality materials for the most part but there are some cheap plastics scattered about and the seats (again borrowed from the Sport model) don’t have enough bolstering to keep occupants in place during high-speed motoring. That’s a shame because the Escalade is capable of hauling an impressive amount of cargo when both the second and third-row seats are folded down.

A dragon lurks under the hood

The biggest selling point for the 2024 Cadillac Escalade-V is what lurks under the hood with all models being powered by a supercharged 6.2-liter V8 that makes 682 horsepower with Cadillac saying that it’s enough to make the sprint to 60 mph in just 4.3 seconds. The engine is a spirited monster with the supercharger delivering generous amounts of boost and low-end torque being plentiful all over the rev band. A 10-speed automatic is the sole transmission available with the unit in our tester doing a good job delivering crisp shifts while also being in sync with the engine’s bold personality.

The engine delivers strong acceleration and plenty of noise, but while the suspension has been improved when compared to the standard model. We noticed that our tester didn’t feel as agile as some of its rivals with the SUV’s bulk making us back off when pushing the SUV through sharp corners. That’s in stark contrast with the Alpina XB7 and the Mercedes-AMG GLS63 which all do a better job managing the curb weight with their more advanced suspension tuning.

With all the performance that the V brings to the table, it should come as no surprise to see that owners will pay for it when it comes time to fill the big Slade up with gas. The EPA says that the V gets a pitiful 11 mpg in city driving with freeway mileage checking in at 16 mpg. That’s less than some of its rivals, but look for the majority of V buyers to not really care about that minor caveat when they are laying rubber on their favorite driving road or even towing a trailer with models like our tester capable of lugging trailers up to 7,000 lbs.

Value Quotient

Our earlier complaints about the Escalade-V not having enough to truly stand out from the rest of its peers are highlighted by the pricing Cadillac has for the model with a base V starting at just over $154,000. Our tester arrived with a light sprinkling of optional extras which caused the final price to drift past $156,000.

When you’re spending that kind of money, you expect a vehicle that can live up to the price tag and be a style statement when cruising down the road as is the case with models like the Alpina XB7 and the Range Rover. In the case of the Escalade, it feels like an incomplete package. While the supercharged V8 delivers strong acceleration and some of the built-in driving modes do their part to make the art of having fun better, there’s also not enough here to make the Escalade feel unified in its mission.

That said, if your looking for a performance SUV that can deliver strong acceleration, V8 noises, and are willing to sacrifice some degree of poise to achieve it the 2024 Cadillac Escalade-V can confidently punch your ticket for track-ready fun.

Carl Malek has been an automotive journalist for over 10 years. First starting out as a freelance photographer before making the transition to writing during college, his work has appeared on numerous automotive forums as well as websites such as Autoshopper.com.

Carl is also a big fan of British vehicles with the bulk of his devotion going to the Morgan Motor Company as well as offerings from Lotus, MG, and Caterham. When he is not writing about automobiles, Carl enjoys spending time with his family and friends in the Metro Detroit area, as well as spending time with his adorable pets.

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