Already in a distinctive class by itself, the Cadillac Escalade Hybrid takes eight-passenger full-size Sport Utility Vehicle luxury to a new gold standard. Cadillac introduces its top-of-the-line “Platinum” model to the large SUV segment. And it is a rare breed.
The Cadillac Escalade Platinum Hybrid is extremely large, highly fuel efficient, technologically advanced and uber-luxurious. It also comes with a big price tag: $85,225 for the 2WD model and $88,675 for the 4WD. As sales in the truck market segment begin to gain steam again, vehicles like this don’t seem so out of place to the types of buyers who have worked really, really hard to recover their businesses from the recession period and can reward their growth with a conscientious purchase of a large hybrid sport utility.
The Escalade Hybrid is an entirely different animal from the Escalade. So different, it almost makes sense to give the hybrid SUV a name that doesn’t have Escalade associated with it. But alas it does, so it’s natural for buyers to make comparisons. Basically, the only thing the same is the architectural design.
The base version of the rear-wheel drive Escalade starts at $62,495; runs on premium fuel (recommended, not required); is powered by a 403-horsepower, 6.2-liter V-8 engine with 417 lb.-ft. of torque; can tow up to 8,300 pounds; and burns through gasoline at the rate of 10 miles per gallon in the city, 16 mpg highway.
On the opposite side of the coin is the Escalade Hybrid, which delivers twice the rate of fuel efficiency as the Escalade at 20 mpg city — and that’s on regular unleaded gas, premium fuel is not even needed. The Escalade Hybrid, however, is not as powerful in the capabilities department. It tows as much as 5,800 pounds, produces 332 horsepower and 367 lb.-ft. of torque from a 6.0-liter V-8 engine, and it weighs about 400 pounds more than the Escalade.
The Escalade Hybrid is the Escalade that makes sense for full-size luxury SUV buyers who don’t need performance for towing — and who can make peace with the more than 22k price point spread in exchange for hybrid technology that results in a 20/21 mpg return as opposed to a 10/16 mpg return.
The hybrid technology GM employs on the Cadillac is Two-mode Electrical Variable Transmission with a 300-volt nickel-metal-hydride Energy Storage System. The hybrid system lets the Escalade drive on electricity at low city speeds, and allows the Active Fuel Management system (cylinder deactivation) of the V-8 gas engine to run in the four-cylinder economical mode for longer periods of time. These hybrid factors contribute to the good fuel ratings of 20/21. Remember, too, this is a full-size SUV with an extremely girthy curb weight of over 6,000 pounds.
The Platinum model is truly the ultimate in luxury SUV hybrid ownership. The Package includes distinctive 22-inch chrome wheels, Magnetic Ride Control for a fast-reacting motion control suspension system, unique headlamps, and handcrafted interior appointments.
No luxurious detailed amenity is overlooked. The Platinum owner is richly wrapped in special Aniline leather seating with French seams featuring contrasting color stitching. The instrument panel, doors and console storage are also hand-stitched. Platinum-specific door sills and floor mats are monogrammed on the Escalade Hybrid, plus there’s the customary inclusion of heated steering wheel, heated/cooled cupholders, and the power-button rear liftgate. When something has gone platinum you know it’s golden. The Escalade Hybrid lives up to the Cadillac crest. — Connie Keane, Motor Matters
2010 CADILLAC ESCALADE HYBRID PLATINUM
VEHICLE TYPE_________________ 8-passenger 4WD full-size SUV
BASE PRICE___________________ $87,725 (as tested: $88,675)
ENGINE TYPE__________________ OHV 16-valve V-8 w/SFI
HORSEPOWER (net)_____________ 332 at 5100 rpm
TORQUE (lb.-ft.)_____________ 367 at 4100 rpm
TRANSMISSION_________________ 2-mode electric hybrid
WHEELBASE____________________ 116.0 in.
OVERALL LENGTH_______________ 202.5 in.
TURNING CIRCLE (curb-to-curb) 39.0 ft.
FUEL CAPACITY________________ 24.5 gal.
EPA MILEAGE RATING___________ 20 mpg city, 21 mpg highway
Copyright, Motor Matters, 2010