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To properly review the 2009 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid, TheCarConnection.com editors drove the full-size SUV multiple times and reviewed a range of articles written on this green hybrid. This combination of internal and external research enabled TheCarConnection.com to provide a conclusive opinion on the SUV that will help you make an informed choice.
- Inexpensive hybrid upgrade
- Powerful acceleration
- Drives "normally"—no hybrid quirks
- Eight-year/100,000-mile warranty on hybrid batteries
- Third-row seats short on legroom
- Hard to access third-row seats
- 22-inch tires ride roughly
As the fourth variant of the Escalade Hybrid, the 2009 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid joins the long-wheelbase Escalade EXT, the transforming SUV/pickup Escalade EXT, and the standard-wheelbase Escalade on which the hybrid model is based. For the record, these Cadillacs are all based on the same truck chassis as the Chevrolet Tahoe and GMC Yukon SUVs.
The 2009 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid isn't easy to distinguish from the standard Escalade at a distance; both offer a crisp exterior style that commands your attention with plenty of chrome. Inside, there's standard seating for eight, although legroom for the third-row seats is compromised because batteries for the hybrid powertrain are located under the second-row seats. The batteries also present an extra obstacle for climbing back to the third row. Front chairs are heated and cooled. Interior build quality and fit/finish on the examples we drove were excellent.
The real story about the 2009 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid is its advanced two-mode hybrid powertrain that consists of a specific engine and transmission. The all-aluminum 6.0-liter V-8 features Variable Valve Timing and Active Fuel Management (cylinder deactivation). The hybrid electrically variable transmission (co-developed with Mercedes-Benz, BMW, and Chrysler) utilizes two electric motor/generators and four fixed-ratio gears. Electricity for the motors is stored in a 300-volt nickel-metal-hydride battery pack.
The 2009 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid is rated at a very respectable 332 horsepower and 367 pound-feet of torque, yet the 6,000-pound-plus vehicle gets EPA ratings of 20 mpg city, 21 mpg highway—that's more than 50 percent better in the city than the standard Escalade's 12 mpg. Acceleration is powerful and immediate, thanks to a high-performance axle ratio that makes up for the 71-horsepower performance differential compared to a standard Escalade's 403-horsepower 6.2-liter V-8.