In the sage words of Julie Brown in the 1988 film “Earth Girls Are Easy,” “I like ’em big and stupid.” This statement perfectly summarizes the new 2023 Cadillac Escalade-V, the largest, most powerful SUV Cadillac has ever created. At last, Cadillac has combined the brute power of V performance with its signature bold design. And although this may be the last new internal-combustion-powered Cadillac you ever see, with Caddy’s electric strategy set to replace gas-powered models, you will want to advantage of the opportunity to go out with a bang!
The power I experienced from the 682-horsepower, supercharged V-8 engine of the Escalade-V was genuinely remarkable. The luxurious cabin design and advanced technology made for an unforgettable driving experience. Not only that, but the vehicle handled exceptionally well as I navigated my way through the congested streets of Los Angeles and the winding roads of Malibu, out along the stunning coast. After all my time spent behind the wheel, it’s clear that the Escalade-V is the perfect blend of luxury, power, and performance.
Introducing the Escalade-V and its integrated powerhouse — the hand-built, supercharged 6.2-liter V-8 engine tucked under the long hood. Already producing 682 hp and 653 pounds-feet of torque, this engine is even mightier than the one in the CT5-V Blackwing sedan, producing a thundering roar that will take your breath away on start-up! With this sound, you’ll quickly become the talk of your neighborhood and draw phone calls from the local HOA. Feel the power of the Escalade-V and let its incredible sound set you apart from the pack.
Feel the sheer power of the Escalade-V as it roars from 0-60 mph in an astonishing 4.4 seconds. The button just ahead of the shifter will activate V-Mode and unleash incredible performance. Throttle, suspension, shifting, exhaust — all will respond with maximum intensity for an exhilarating driving experience. Instantly transform the Escalade-V from a sedate luxury touring SUV to a canyon-carving sports machine ready to tackle any terrain. Don’t let its portly size fool you — this massive engine is ready to roar with fury.
The acceleration of the Escalade is fierce, but it comes on with a smooth rush of power. No gut punch as you get in some electric vehicles, just a hang-on-for-dear-life experience for you and your passengers. The six-piston Brembo front brakes repeatedly bring this powerful car to a solid and immediate halt, no matter the braking power you’re deploying.
If you’re driving through a mall parking lot or along a long, winding road, the typically numb and light steering can increase responsiveness when you press the “V” button. You will now get a better sense of what the large 22-inch wheels and tires are doing as you go around corners and have a genuine joy in driving the Escalade. Despite its tendency to push and understeer when taking corners, you can charge surprisingly aggressively, as a small press on the gas will help it rotate and maintain its course.
The Escalade-V truly is a remarkable machine – a combination of superior sporting performance and stunning cabin luxury. Every interior detail has been carefully crafted with the best materials, and it shows. Rich leather covers the seats in all three rows, while lavish “zebra wood” trim adds extra luxury. Comfort is ensured for all passengers with relaxing seating positions. And the entertainment experience within the cabin is unparalleled, thanks to the jaw-dropping AKG Studio Reference 36-speaker sound system and the enormous 38-inch curved OLED dash display with sharp visuals and reconfigurable controls.
The cabin of my test vehicle was adorned with a stunning deep burgundy hue, an interior color not often seen in today’s vehicles. It looks just as eye-catching as it did in Cadillacs of the past. I had just one issue: the Platinum trim interior, which is available in the regular Escalade, needs something that sufficiently distinguishes it from the Escalade-V. Yes, the interior earned the Escalade the honor of being named Best Luxury Car of 2022, yet when considering the price premium of an Escalade-V compared to a loaded Escalade Sports Platinum, one would expect something more from the interior to justify the difference.
Ah yes, the dreaded “fuel economy” topic. It’s not something we’re concerned with in a vehicle like this — the Escalade-V is all about size and power, after all. It’s no surprise that my weekend with the truck yielded an abysmal 11 mpg; the EPA rating of 11/16/13 mpg city/highway/combined already indicates that the Escalade-V doesn’t have the best fuel efficiency out there. Nonetheless, that doesn’t take away from the fact that it’s a powerful and capable vehicle.
Still, the most astonishing number is yet to be revealed: $152,590, which is the starting price of the Escalade-V, including destination and a required three-year OnStar package. This is a whopping $40,000 premium over the Sports Platinum trim, which – although not as fast or athletic – has visually similar aesthetics and equal interiors. Does the Escalade-V’s supercharged V-8 engine, enhanced brakes, ultra-loud exhaust, and specific tuning for the suspension and other systems warrant this expensive price tag?
If you’re a fan of the Escalade and intend to spend more than $100K on a Sports Platinum model, the Escalade-V is worth considering. Its plush, spacious interior provides far more room than comparably priced European competitors like the Mercedes-AMG GLS63, BMW Alpina XB7, and Land Rover Range Rover Autobiography. Still, these cars offer superior performance and agility. The Escalade-V isn’t a wrong choice, but you should consider the other possibilities before purchasing.