Cadillac was so interested in gaining social media exposure that they sold a base Escalade to Enterprise, probably at cost, so that I could rent it with airline miles and go to Yellowstone National Park!
I previously owned a 2011 Yukon, so I had some preconceived notions. I also owned a 21 foot boat, which helped me hone the required parking and maneuvering techniques. My experience with tropical diseases, violent crime, natural disasters, and other GM products provided realistic expectations for this, the Bedazzled Tall Wagon.
Power: Never enough, of course. I thought the bump from my previous Yukon 5.3 would be noticeable, but was probably negated by the 6 people and 3000 lbs of luggage it was hauling.
Tunes: Meh. The speaker grills said “Bose”, which is French for “brand recognition is good enough, right?”. I couldn’t figure out how to access the equalizer, so the boomy sound may have been fixable by a smarter operator.
Off-Road Prowess: Excellent, as long as you don’t go anywhere more extreme than a truck stop parking lot. The front air dam has just enough ground clearance for a Skittle.
Fuel Efficieny: Irrelevent if you are driving an Escalade. Very diasappointing, however, was the massive gas tank and 600 mile range. My children now know that we have to stop every 67 minutes so I can pee, not because we need fuel. Also, Cadillac assumes their buyers don’t live in a neighborhood where someone will siphon your gas or put stuff in your tank for fun, as there is a flappy valve instead of a gas cap.
Grill Bug-Catching Capacity: Tremendous. Obviously this, and not aerodynamics, was the goal of the designers.
Annoying Technology-for-the-sake-of-Technology: Would you like to open the glove box? Simply press this button on the center stack, which is nowhere near the glove box. FFS, just put a push-button latch on it.
“Gee whiz Wally, technology sure is neat” features: It is now apparent to me that my newest car is 7 years old, so many of these cool features are probably standard on rental-spec Sentras, but I was impressed. For example, after stuffing the cargo area with the afore-mentioned 3000 lbs of luggage, I still occasionally desired to look behind me. With a flip of a switch, the rear view mirror converts to a rear view camera! Neato! Next thing you know someone will invent a portable device that lets you communicate with friends and family at great distances....
Quirks, regrets, and closing thoughts: The Escalade is very effective at devouring highway miles. Gravel road miles, not so great- but those aren’t my 22 inch rims so who cares. I also was able to get a troubling waft of aroma from the transmission after descending Teton Pass - a 10% grade - in second gear at 4000 RPM; I detected scents of formaldehyde with a hint of acetone. Not sure if that’s common with this vintage, but otherwise the 8 speed transmission was smooth and refreshing.
An unexpected benefit was the freedom to pull dick moves and not surprise anyone. For example, I was stuck at a T intersection behind people trying to turn left. Did I wait my turn so I could turn right? No, no I did not. I hustled those chrome 22’s right into the ditch, passing everyone on the right, and made my turn. Because that’s what people driving Escalades are supposed to do, bro. That is probably the thing this Caddy does best, and what really separates it from its Yukon and Suburban siblings.