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To help members understand the latest automotive technology so they can purchase vehicles that best suit their needs, the Automobile Club of Southern California's Automotive Research Center (ARC) began testing and reviewing vehicles over a decade ago

For the 2022 edition, we include testing and ranking cars and light trucks with the latest technology, including having at least one advanced driver-assistance system (ADAS) feature. In addition to vehicle evaluation, the guide covers a number of pertinent automotive topics in detail—for example, the latest advanced safety features, how to properly maintain your vehicle, and new vehicles coming to market in the next few years.

2021 Cadillac Escalade 4WD Sport Platinum

Vehicle Type: SUV/Minivan Gasoline
 overall score
Category Ranking: 30

Vehicle Price

Base Price: $102,995
Price as Tested: $112,095

Fuel Information

Fuel Type: Premium
Fuel Capacity (gal): 24
EPA City mpg14
EPA Highway mpg19
EPA Combined mpg16

Advanced Safety Features

  • Adaptive Cruise Control [O]
  • Advanced Headlights [S]
  • Automatic Emergency Braking [S]
  • Blind-Spot Warning [O]
  • Forward-Collision Warning [S]
  • Lane-Departure Warning [O]
  • Lane-Keeping Assistance [O]
  • Rear Cross-Traffic Warning [O]
  • Reverse Automatic Emergency Braking [O]
  • [S] Standard, [O] Optional
NHTSA Rating:

Overall Observations

For 2021, Cadillac redesigned the Escalade, its full-size luxury SUV, adding exterior styling touches to distinguish it from its Chevrolet Tahoe and GMC Yukon siblings. The Escalade’s massive grille, distinctive LED daytime running lights, increased length, and tall taillights contribute to its unmistakable look. Under the hood, a 6.2-liter V8 and 10-speed automatic transmission are standard, as is rear-wheel drive. That engine’s fuel economy is low (16 mpg in combined city/highway driving); a 3.0-liter turbocharged 6-cylinder diesel engine is an option. Inside, the spacious cabin features more room than the previous version’s for rearseat occupants and cargo. Adjustable second-row seats and powerfolding third-row seating add to the interior’s functionality. Luxury interior touches abound. The attractive digital gauge cluster and infotainment screens are highlights, as is the Escalade’s nightvision system, rear-seat entertainment center, and a liftgate you can open with a wave of your foot. On the road, the independent rear suspension improves handling. The Escalade’s ride, while smooth and comfortable, lacks the refinement of class leaders. The big Caddy’s size is also a liability, making it difficult to maneuver in tight situations. And despite its 6-figure price tag, most advanced safety features are optional, not standard.
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Strengths and Weaknesses

Strong Points

  • Cavernous interior spacefor passengers and cargo
  • New, more fuel-efficientdiesel powertrain option
  • Smooth, comfortable ridequality

Weak Points

  • Poor fuel economy withstandard V8
  • High price
  • Hard to maneuver intight spaces

Vehicle Specifications

Model year tested: 2021
Number of passengers (F/R): 2/5
Curb weight (lbs): 6120.0
Exterior L / W / H (in): 211.0 / 81.0 / 76.6
Wheelbase (in): 120.9
Number of air bags: 9
Warranty (months/miles): 48/50,000
Tire manufacturer and model: Bridgestone Alenza
Front and rear tire size: 275/50 R22
Max towing capacity (lbs): 8200
Headlight type: LED
Transmission type: Auto 10-speed
Drivetrain type: All wheel
Engine/motor: 6.2L V8 VVT DI
Engine horsepower @ RPM: 420 @ 5600

Test Data

Test Vehicle Scores

Advanced Safety Features:


Fuel Efficiency:


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