Just when you thought the full-size, leviathan-esque SUV had departed for that giant scrapheap in the sky, joining the likes of Ford’s Excursion and dearly-departed Hummer H1, along comes a thoroughly-refreshed Caddy Escalade.
If anything it’s even squarer and boxier than before as Cadillac designers focused even more intensely on their Art & Science origami-folded-paper design thinking. The edges are now so sharp and creased you’ll risk flesh wounds ever time you give it a wash.
And they’ve gone overboard with the kind of design features that are guaranteed to spin heads inside every National Football League player parking lot from LA to New York.
Just gaze upon those quite amazing headlamps, which feature four vertically-stacked crystal lenses. Just don’t call them mere lights – these are Total Internal Reflection LEDs.
And in case you are in any doubt as to the origins of this automotive whopper, that oversized Caddy wreath and crest logo on the enlarged front grille will shine bright in the dark.
Powering this 2015 ’Slade is GM’s stump-pulling 6.2-liter V8 cranking out 420 horseys and 460 lb-ft of torque. Enough to haul a impressive 8,200 pounds. If you can get the QE2 on a trailer, this puppy will drag it.
But in a bid to ensure fuel economy that at least hits double figures, the new V8 features direct fuel injection and cylinder deactivation technology so that it’ll run just fine on six cylinders most of the time.
The real advancements with this new Escalade however are with heightened luxury quota. While the last Escalade was pretty ritzy, this new one takes it up a notch or three.
The interior, for example, features cut-and-sewn trim like you see on Bentleys and Rolls-Royces, where the leather has that hand-sewn, double-stitched look. And everything, including the dash, is slathered in leather.
There are also new, more supportive seats front and rear, with standard heating and cooling up front and standard heating on the second-row buckets.
Then there’s the perceived improvement in quality from features like the Bose Active Noise Cancellation technology and the newly-standard Magnetic Ride Control suspension that smooths-out lumps and bumps and tames body roll.
As before, the big Caddy will be offered in two sizes – XL standard wheelbase, and stretched-by-14-inches XXL ESV. Production kicks off at GM’s Arlington, Texas plant early next year with sales starting in the spring.
I own-up to always being a huge fan of the old-school Escalade. Yes it’s big and thirsty and causes a gag-flex every time Al Gore sees one. But for transporting five or seven people in blissful comfort over a long distance, it’s tough to beat.