2018 Cadillac Escalade raises the luxury bar further with new 10-speed automatic transmission and bold new interior and exterior color options
The Escalade has long defined spacious luxury driving, with its modern design, powerful capabilities and sumptuous amenities that keep luxury firmly in the driver’s seat.
The 2018 Escalade includes a new standard 10-speed automatic transmission with an even wider 7.39 gear ratio spread. Coupled with the 6.2L engine, the Escalade is powerful enough to enable 0-to-60-mph performance in less than 6 seconds – 5.96 seconds for Escalade 4WD and 5.98 seconds for Escalade ESV 2WD.
The 6.2L engine also delivers an EPA-estimated 22 mpg on the highway in Escalade/ESV 2WD and 20 mpg on the highway for Escalade/ESV 4WD.
New inside the 2018 model is the addition of Shale with Maple Sugar and Jet Black accents, offered with Platinum models.
Performance — Powerful and efficient engine enhanced with new 10-speed transmission
Escalade performance is highlighted by the powerful and efficient 6.2L V-8 engine, rated at an SAE-certified 420 horsepower (313 kW) and 460 lb-ft of torque (623 Nm). The 10-speed transmission is an all-new design and the first introduced into a luxury SUV.
The 10-speed has four simple gear sets and six clutches: two brake clutches and four rotating clutches. That’s only one more clutch than the eight-speed, despite having two more forward gears, contributing further to the compact packaging, while also improving spin losses to enhance fuel efficiency.
- Precise and smooth shift feel. Shorter steps between gears and proprietary controls provide a quick, seamless shifting experience for the Cadillac customer.
- Improved efficiency. Because of the wider overall ratio spread of the 10L80, the new 10-speed allows the engine to run at lower rpm on the highway, achieving an EPA-estimated 23 mpg on the highway (2WD) — an approximately 5-percent improvement over the previous 8-speed automatic.
- Quicker shifts for better performance. The 6.2L Small Block’s 420 horsepower and the 10L80’s quick shifts help it achieve a X second improvement in 0-60 over the previous 8 speed. (In anticipation of improvement – need to investigate).
Exclusive to the Escalade is the six-piston Brembo brake system with red Calipers and a special-edition Cadillac logo.
Escalade’s performance is channeled to a sophisticated chassis and suspension system, engineered for a great feeling of solidity and a smooth, quiet ride. A fully boxed frame, composed of more than 75 percent high-strength steel, is the foundation for its ride quality.
Chassis and suspension highlights include:
- Shear-style body mounts, which reduce body shake and enhance the feeling of structural stiffness, improve damping performance when compared with previous compression mounts
- A cross-axis ball joint on the frame-side of the rear suspension lateral link that enhances steering precision
- Third-generation Magnetic Ride Control is standard, with two selectable modes. Its dual-electric-coil design enabled engineers to tune with more resolution to handle quickly changing road conditions.
- Electric variable-assist power steering system enhances fuel economy and tailors steering assist to vehicle speed
- Four-wheel-disc brake system with Duralife™ brake rotors that offer up to double the service life
- Standard automatic locking rear differential that provides greater traction when needed and greater driving comfort when it’s not.
The available four-wheel-drive system enables the driver to select an Auto mode for set-it-and-forget-it automatic activation. When conditions call for extra traction assist, a separate 4 HI mode offers the most capability for more challenging conditions. Drivers can select 2 HI for best fuel economy, or 4 L for heavy duty trailering and a Neutral for dingy towing.
Cadillac’s Magnetic Ride Control, the world’s fastest-reacting suspension system, is standard, delivering precisely controlled driving performance. At its core, Escalade is an SUV with the capabilities of a full-size truck, enabling a trailering rating of 8,300 pounds on the standard model and an 8,100-pound rating on Escalade ESV – more than Mercedes-Benz GLS550 (7,500 pounds), Lexus LX 570 (7,000 pounds) and Land Rover Range Rover (7,716 pounds).
Interior Design – Style enrichments exude luxury and craftsmanship
Inside the 2018 Escalade, the highest level of craftsmanship defines the passenger spaces with technology seamlessly integrated throughout the luxurious interior. Real wood combined with premium cut-and-sewn materials and suede accents, along with ambient lighting, add elegance to the interior design. Precise controls and triple-sealed doors were engineered and designed to reinforce a feeling of quality. The 2018 additions include Shale with Jet Black and Maple Sugar with Jet Black accents.
The seats are sculpted in appearance and feature a reclining second row. The design incorporates dual-firmness foam that ensures long-trip comfort and helps retain appearance over time. Platinum-spec vehicles include a massage feature for the front seats, including an anti-fatigue setting for the driver’s seat.
Additional interior features include:
- Remote Keyless Touch Pad and push-button start
- Standard electric telescoping/tilting steering column
- Standard heated, leather-wrapped steering wheel with wood accents
- Standard wireless phone charging provision on the center console
- Concealed center-stack storage with motorized door
- Standard tri-zone climate control
- Fold-flat second- and third-row seats, with standard power-folding third row
- Heated and cooled seats are standard in front and second-row bucket seats have standard heat.
Additionally, the 12.3-inch instrument cluster features a reconfigurable, high-resolution digital driver information center (DIC) display paired with the next-generation Cadillac user experience infotainment system, with data also shown on an available, four-color head-up display on Luxury and Premium Luxury models and Platinum Along with vehicle systems information, the DIC provides details on the audio, Bluetooth phone and navigation systems, which can be adjusted via steering wheel controls.
When it comes to interior colors and seating appointments, the Escalade offers a range of choices:
The standard model, as well as the Luxury and Premium Luxury models, come standard with leather seating surfaces with mini-perforated inserts, offered in Jet Black
Luxury and Premium Luxury trims are available with full-leather seats with mini-perforated inserts in Kona Brown with Jet Black accents
The Platinum Collection features semi-aniline leather seating surfaces with mini-perforated inserts in Maple Sugar with Jet Black accents
Escalade also offers a quiet environment thanks to a strong body structure and enhanced use of noise-attenuating materials and processes, including triple-sealed doors, acoustic-laminate glass and Bose® Active Noise Cancelation technology. Even the exterior mirrors were carefully shaped in the wind tunnel to reduce wind noise.
Exterior Design – A clearly defined luxury SUV with sleek aesthetics
Escalade’s design provides a signature look of elegance and capability. The styling cues combine sculpted surfaces and high-technology embellishments to give Escalade a stand-out appearance. New for 2018 is the Satin Steel Metallic exterior paint color.
Dynamic front styling cues are enhanced by a highly detailed Galvano chrome grille that has a unique, almost brushed look and feel. It is accented by full LED lighting in the front and rear that creates razor-like vertical light signatures. LEDs provide even, steady and very bright illumination, while delivering longer life and using significantly less energy than conventional lighting.
The headlamps incorporate Total Internal Reflection LED high-beam function, which consists of four vertically stacked crystal lenses and LEDs. The low beam consists of five crystal lenses and LEDs that create the light pattern. The Cadillac script is branded in the headlamp bezel. Tall and thin vertical LED taillamps reach to the top of the Escalade and feature the brand’s crest insignia, which illuminates in the dark. A total of 142 LEDs are used throughout the exterior lighting.
Inlaid doors fit into the body side openings to provide a quiet interior and smooth aerodynamics – an attribute that helps Escalade slip through the air on the highway with minimal drag and greater efficiency. Aluminum hood and liftgate panels also contribute to efficiency by reducing overall vehicle weight.
Additional exterior features include:
- The rear is dominated by signature LED lighting extending full-height, from the fascia to the roof. The twin, light-blade taillamps recall Cadillac’s design heritage
- Chrome-accented side assist steps are standard, with power-retractable assist steps with light-pipe technology available on the Premium Luxury and standard on the Platinum
- Illuminated door handles are included with the Premium Luxury and Platinum
- Standard heated, power-adjustable and power-folding outside mirrors
- Standard hands-free, power-programmable liftgate
- The standard rear spoiler on the liftgate houses a rear window wiper that is hidden when not in use
- Capless fueling
- Standard 20-inch aluminum wheels on the 2018 Escalade model. Upgraded 22-inch wheels are standard on Luxury, Premium Luxury and Platinum models.
Eight exterior colors are offered: Red Passion Tintcoat, Crystal White Tricoat, Radiant Silver Metallic, Black Raven, Dark Adriatic Blue Metallic, Bronze Dune Metallic and Dark Granite Metallic.
Bose® Centerpoint® Audio System – Advanced 16 speaker system provides concert-like sound
The 2018 Escalade features the Bose Centerpoint® surround sound system. Customized exclusively for the Escalade, it features new technologies that help heighten the sophisticated in-vehicle experience.
Proprietary technologies and 16 strategically placed speakers create a concert-like experience throughout the cabin. Five custom-tuned speakers placed across the instrument panel and front doors, combined with Bose Advanced-Staging Technology, help reproduce expansive sound with exceptional precision and clarity.
Further enhancing the audio system is Bose Centerpoint 2.0 signal processing technology, which enables a surround sound experience across all rows and SurroundStage® signal processing circuitry, which compensates for off-center vehicle seating to create 360-degree sound for every occupant.
An available Blu-Ray DVD rear entertainment system is built into the audio system and includes a nine-inch, roof-mounted screen on Escalade and two nine-inch screens on Escalade ESV. Platinum models also feature screens mounted into the back of the front seat headrests. The overhead system also includes built-in remote storage, USB and HDMI inputs, and a USB port that charges devices at 2.1 amps.
Technology and Connectivity – Enhanced technology for innovative connectivity and convenience
Technology is integral to the Escalade’s driving experience. The 2018 model includes the availability of Cadillac’s industry-leading Rear Camera Mirror. Utilizing a wide-angle camera mounted on the rear of the vehicle, the Rear Camera Mirror system improves field of vision by an estimated 300 percent, or roughly four times more than a standard rearview mirror. Using streaming video to the function of a traditional rearview mirror, removing obstructions of passengers, headrests, rear seat infotainment screens and the vehicle’s roof and rear pillars.
The next-generation Cadillac user experience infotainment system, with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration, is standard on all Escalade models. The eight-inch center screen uses capacitive touch technology and gesture recognition, enabling tapping and swiping common to smartphones and tablets. The system also uses proximity sensors to activate common options and controls as the user’s hand approaches. An expanded “favorites” section offers quick access to phone contacts, digital music and navigation destinations in the same one-touch form as traditional radio presets.
Complementing the infotainment system is OnStar with 4G LTE connectivity and a Wi-Fi hotspot, providing a mobile hub for drivers and passengers to stay connected. The hotspot is on whenever the vehicle is on, supporting up to seven mobile devices. It comes with a three-month/three-gigabyte data trial.
Cadillac infotainment provides owners a smart and simple way to access both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay™. A “Projection” icon on the screen is visible when a phone is not connected, then changes to indicate either Apple CarPlay or Android Auto (whichever is applicable) when a compatible phone is connected via USB. Android Auto requires a phone running the Android Lollipop 5.0 operating system or higher, while Apple CarPlay requires an iPhone 5 or later. The user interfaces themselves are designed and developed by Apple (for Apple CarPlay) and Google (for Android Auto).
Tire Fill Alerts are another smart addition, helping drivers know when tires are at max capacity via an audible alert.
Safety and Security Features – Advanced safety technology to assure a comfortable peace of mind.
Escalade’s technologies include active safety features to help protect occupants before, during and after a collision, such as front and rear automatic braking, which relies on short-range radar technology on Premium Luxury and Platinum models or a camera-based system on Luxury models along with ultrasonic sensors to help the driver avoid front and rear low-speed collisions via a progression of alerts that extend to complete braking, if necessary.
The availability of Automatic Parking Assist can also be found in 2018 Escalades, which enables the car to park itself in parallel and perpendicular spaces. It uses ultrasonic sensors to locate a suitable space and maneuver the car into the space, with the driver only required to select the gear and apply the accelerator and brake pedals.
A Surround Vision system is standard on all models and uses cameras to provide a 360-degree bird’s eye view of the Escalade via the color display screen.
A Driver Awareness package on the Luxury trim level includes Lane Keep Assist with Lane Departure WarningAssist, Forward Collision Alert, IntelliBeam headlamps and the patented Safety Alert Seat, which pulses the left, right or both seat cushion bolsters to alert the driver of a dangerous situation. IntelliBeam headlamps automatically adjust the high-beam lamps when oncoming traffic is detected. The aforementioned Front Automatic Braking is also now standard on the Luxury for 2018.
A Driver Assist package is offered with the Premium Luxury and Platinum trims, including all the features of the Driver Awareness package along with Adaptive Cruise Control, Front and Rear Automatic Braking and Automatic Safety Belt Tightening.
Additionally, Front Park Assist and Rear Park Assist are standard on all models, while Side Blind Zone Alert, Rear Cross-Traffic Alert and Lane Change Alert are standard on Luxury, Premium Luxury and Platinum models.
Escalade also offers the segment’s only Front Center Air Bag. It deploys from the inboard side of the driver’s seat and inflates between the driver and front passenger, providing added protection for both front occupants in side-impact crashes.
Additional standard air bags include:
- Dual-stage frontal air bags (driver and front passenger)
- Seat-mounted side-impact air bags for thorax and pelvic protection (driver and front passenger)
- Head-curtain side air bags for front and rear outboard seating positions