2021 Cadillac Escalade puts over 38 inches of OLED screens in the dash
Now that Elon's changed the game, new cars need big ol' screens to look like they've been made this century. The new big Caddy-wagon puts acres of curved, high-definition OLED goodness in the dash, all pointed squarely at the driver.
Not a sausage for the poor passenger, mind you, who has to sit there awkwardly examining their fingernails as the driver luxuriates in a vast sea of sparkling pixels from a 7.2-inch touchscreen to the left of the wheel, a 14.2-inch extravaganza in the middle, and a 16.9-inch infotainment panel to the right. The lattermost extends well beyond the midline of the car but, in what Cadillac highlights as an industry first, the display itself curves subtly toward the driver in such a way as to put the passenger in their place, like a grasper shouldering somebody out of a conversation at a party.
It's an all-new Escalade for 2021, reveling in grandiose, super-sized American largeness. The motor is a huge 6.2-liter V8 making 420 horsepower – unless you're a whimpering communist and decide to go for the 277-hp, 3-liter Duramax turbo diesel, which Cadillac has elected to offer for the first time to appease coastal liberals. The transmission is a 10-speed auto, which should be enough gears to keep most folk amused.
It puts all its manifold screens to terrific use, offering neat touches like augmented-reality navigation, bird's eye surround vision for parking, and infra-red night vision. In terms of driver-assist, the highlight is probably the Super Cruise function, which offers hands-free highway driving, complete with automatic lane changes on request, and alerts to wake you up when you need to take the wheel back again.
Chassis tech includes independent rear suspension, with fast-reacting, magnetically-actuated semi-active damping. You can bump your options list up with air ride adaptive suspension, which constantly adjusts your ride height at each wheel, and an electronic limited-slip differential that may prove handy in limited grip situations. There's also an optional 4WD system if you plan to take this luxury tank out stump jumping.
It's biggerer inside, with some 40 percent more legroom in the third row of seats than previous models, and nearly 70 percent more luggage space at 722 liters in the standard model. The interior is trimmed in magnificently named Gideon Whisper Beige, which makes me wonder how beige a Gideon's whisper really is. There's only one way to find out, hold my beer.
The AKG sound system sounds truly amazing, with up to 36 speakers peppered about the cabin, split into an astonishing 28 channels through three amplifiers. That's the fancy Studio Reference audio option, and it also includes microphones around the car that literally amplify conversations so that a back seat passenger can speak to the driver in civil tones instead of hollerin' like a fish-market cod-slinger. What a terrific idea.
Price is TBA. Availability begins late this year, and manufacturing will be handled in Arlington, Texas, where they know a thing or two about bigness and will give the new Escalade a double helping.