- Macho exterior contrasting with plush, cushy interior
- V-8 is a torque monster
- Handles well for such a tall, heavy rig
- So, so thirsty
- Third row doesn't fold neatly
- Surprisingly few high-tech options
The 2010 Cadillac Escalade is big, brawny, and very thirsty; yet with segment-leading performance and unrivaled style, the Escalade is hard to beat.
The 2010 Cadillac Escalade comes in two guises, including standard or extended length. The extended-length variant provides a 21-inch increase in size with seating capacity for up to eight adults. The Escalade shares its platform and mechanical layout with the GMC Yukon and Chevrolet Tahoe SUVs.
For 2010, the Escalade’s 6.2-liter, V-8 engine returns and is still capable of burning E85 fuel. The Escalade also retains the Magnetic Ride Control feature, which helps absorb the bumps and jolts that go with having 22-inch wheel/tire combinations. Once again the Escalade will be available as either a rear- or all-wheel-drive model; also returning will be the terrible fuel consumption—despite being partnered with a six-speed automatic transmission and Active Fuel Management to help reduce fuel use during cruising or coasting, the Escalade still gets dismal fuel economy figures of 12 mpg city across the entire lineup and either 18 or 19 mpg highway, depending on the model. Real-world city driving can easily result in single-digit mileage numbers, as TheCarConnection.com editors have observed in the past.
The poor fuel economy is a result of the enormous engine and the even more intimidating size of the Escalade itself. Even on steep inclines with full loads, the engine powering the 2010 Cadillac Escalade provides plenty of power to make the big, heavy wagon feel perky, while the six-speed automatic transmission has no problem sorting out the right gear when it's needed. Stopping power is provided by large, powerful brakes, and although the Escalade isn't the most nimble vehicle on the road, it's one of the best of the biggest truck-based SUVs; the ride remains even-keeled and absorbent on the road, and the interior stays impressively silent except for a bit of engine noise.
On the inside, the Escalade is virtually unbeatable for elbow and shoulder room thanks to its wide cabin. Seats are among the most ample and supportive of any vehicle we've seen, and in both models, the second row is nearly as comfortable as the first. In the ESV, the third row is quite roomy, though a bit difficult to access. Despite its high, trucklike driving position, the 2010 Cadillac Escalade is graced with an attractive instrument panel that wouldn’t look out of place in a luxury sedan.
Head-curtain side airbags covering all three rows are standard on the 2010 Cadillac Escalade, as are front side airbags; new for 2010 are standard side thorax airbags. The StabiliTrak stability control system includes rollover mitigation to help avoid situations that might lead to a rollover. On that note, the Escalade gets a low three-star rating for rollover likelihood from the federal government (largely for its high center of mass), but the Escalade earns top five-star ratings in the tests for frontal and side crash protection, and the 2010 model now features a revised door design to further improve side-crash protection.
Equipment carried over from the 2009 model includes a power-tilting steering wheel, express-up power windows for the front row, a new light Cashmere/Cocoa interior color combination, and rear-seat audio jacks standard on all models. Other features include an eight-inch touch-screen navigation system, a Bose 5.1 Digital Surround Sound system, cooled front seats, and power-actuated running boards. The maximum tow rating is 7,800 pounds when properly equipped.
Features especially cater to the executives and VIPs who, it seems, all need a 'Slade in their stable. The center console is wide enough to set a laptop on, and the 2009 Cadillac Escalade includes standard heated power seats, tri-zone climate control, power-adjustable pedals, and a magnificent-sounding Bose system. New features for 2010 include a locking steering column, a USB port in the center console that can play stored audio files, and a new battery-saver mode that helps preserve battery life. There is also a clock as standard in all models, rather than just the Platinum-edition Escalade, and a new exterior color named Silver Lining replaces Quick Silver and Blue Chip.