Seat Time: 2016 Cadillac Escalade Platinum – Pros & Cons

August 8th, 2016 at 11:51am

2017 Cadillac Escalade Platinum

Seat Time is a chance for us to share our impressions of vehicles being tested in the Autoline Garage and at media previews from around the globe.

Reviewer: Sean McElroy
Vehicle: 2016 Cadillac Escalade Platinum
Price: ~$93,600 (as tested)

Final Impression:

My biggest take away from time spent in the Cadillac Escalade is that, with Magnetic Ride Control suspension, it’s the best-riding, modern-day body-on-frame (BoF) vehicle I’ve ever been in. It’s just very smooth over nearly any kind of road surface. If you’re coming from a BoF vehicle and didn’t care for the experience, I say give the Escalade with magnetic ride a shot. Heck, even if you’re coming from the previous model year, I say try it out. There’s all kinds of new tweaks, including fancy new body mounts, that contribute to an overall good driving experience. I must note, however, the suspension system performed poorly on washboard dirt roads. The shocks seemed to get too stiff and the vehicle just kind of danced across the road, all while shaking the heck out of me and my passengers. I’ve driven the same set of roads in vehicles without magnetic shocks that didn’t have the same reaction.

While this was my biggest take away, here are my other thoughts on the newest ‘Slade. And while the version I drove was a Platinum model with nearly every option, the remainder of my observations could be applied to any trim level. For example, while John noted the new CT6 with 4-wheel steer has a 2-foot narrower turning radius than the Escalade, the big SUV actually beats out a lot of its competitors with a 39-foot radius. It grabbed my attention how nimble it was turning in and out of parking spaces.

Another note is that the Escalade has a high load height with the rear seats folded flat. I noticed while piling mine up with a bunch of sand for a sand box. It was taxing to have to sling all those bags up onto the floor.

2017 Cadillac Escalade

The brake pedal also wasn’t as responsive as I would have liked. I had to hit the pedal harder at times than I was expecting I would have to. It’s possible that’s just how the system is calibrated and everything is fine. But I would not be surprised if brakes wear out quicker than other vehicles on these new Escalades.

And speaking of things not living up to my expectations, I found the engine to be a little unrefined. There was a minor flutter at idle. While not terrible, it was there. And after I noticed it, it was hard to get out of my head. Now, I will say I have no way of knowing what kind of gas was in my test vehicle. I figure this to be a possible reason for the flutter and one of the only unknown factors at play. It’s possible the truck could have had poor low-grade fuel in it at the time. But let’s for a moment say it did, I still think it’s important to note how it might perform with low-grade gas. Many people fill up with whatever is cheapest and it’s possible it could cause an engine flutter. I’d love to get another and fill it up with gas myself to see how it reacts.

While it may seem like I’m bashing the Escalade a bit, I actually liked my time in it and I’d recommend testing one out to someone who’s in the market for a nice luxury SUV. But if strongly considering one, I’d also recommend a good background check with current owners to see how they’re holding up.

2016 Cadillac Escalade

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