2012 Cadillac Escalade Comfort & Quality

9.0
Comfort & Quality

You might think of the Escalade as an ungainly truck from the outside, but inside it all pays off. The interior is roomy, comfortable, and reasonably quiet.

Seats are generously sized, whether you're sitting in the first or second rows, and there's enough comfort for long hauls. Abundant elbow and shoulder room means that there's an airiness about the cabin you won't find in even somewhat smaller crossovers.

The 2012 Cadillac Escalade lacks refinement in some ways, and isn't as versatile as modern crossovers, but its lavish interior is supremely comfortable.

In front, the high driving position is a refreshing departure from many newer, somewhat claustrophobic and high-shouldered crossover designs, and the Escalade's instument panel sits low, helping make it feel more accessible and carlike from the driver's seat. Throughout the Escalade model line, the second row is barely a downgrade from the front; and in the 2012 Escalade ESV, the third row is spacious enough, though getting back there can be difficult. A power-release feature helps make getting back there quite a bit easier, though.

Storage-bin space is, if anything, one area where the Escalade is a little lacking, but for 2012 the center-console lid has an improved design. But if there's one more significant thing that the Escalade lacks, compared to modern crossovers, it's cargo versatility. There are no fold-flat third rows here; in the Escalade, you need to remove and store the third row with muscle--and ideally, at least one other helper.

The Escalade's interior is one of the best-hushed of the large SUVs (in recent years, new weatherstripping and a laminated windshield have made it even better), though you will hear the rumble of the engine whenever you accelerate. Ride comfort is impressive--especially when the surface gets pockmarked (or gravely), and the Magnetic Ride Control system soaks up the irregularities without losing any amount of control.

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