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PERFORMANCE | 8 out of 10
For such a massive vehicle, it accelerates hard
Stable and confident in low-to-moderate speed changes of direction
Properly equipped, a rear-wheel-drive Escalade Hybrid can tow 5,800 pounds
The 2010 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid offers tremendous fuel economy benefits-as one would hope-but it retains much of utility offered by the standard Escalade.
Under the hood, "a stout 6.0-liter V-8 provides the Escalade Hybrid's gasoline power," says Edmunds, while "the electric portion of the powertrain is comprised of two 60-kilowatt motors." The Hybrid Escalade puts out 332 horsepower and 367 lb-ft of torque, less than the conventional Escalade, but reviewers are still impressed by the Hybrid Escalade's get-up-and-go. Automobile Magazine asserts, "for such a massive vehicle, it accelerates hard," posting "mid-eight second 0-60 mph times," while Cars.com remarks that the Cadillac Escalade Hybrid is "certainly not lacking for oomph." The electric motors "can propel the Escalade up to 30 mph," according to J.D. Power. And reviews read by TheCarConnection.com indicate that despite its status symbol appearance, the Cadillac Escalade Hybrid holds its own in such workmanlike tasks as towing. J.D. Power notes that the Cadillac Escalade Hybrid "will be rated to tow up to 6000 pounds with 2WD and 5700 pounds with 4WD," though the conventional Escalade can haul trailers weighing up to 7,700 pounds.
The Two-Mode Hybrid transmission is the secret to the success of the Cadillac Escalade Hybrid. Edmunds reviewers explain that this system "functions as a continuously variable transmission in light load conditions and as a fixed-ratio system (with four forward gear ratios) when loads get heavier." While the transmission provides excellent fuel economy, Automobile Magazine points out that the system suffers from the traditional CVT drawback: the engine "revs to a particular RPM and hangs there while the vehicle's speed seems to play catch-up." But for the most part, reviewers are impressed with the hybrid electric system, which J.D. Power notes is "available with rear- or 4-wheel drive."
A conventional Cadillac Escalade results in Cadillac-sized gasoline bills. Fortunately, the 2010 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid boosts city fuel economy by more than 50 percent, with EPA ratings of 20 mpg city and 21 mpg highway. In testing, ConsumerGuide reports that "an AWD Hybrid averaged an outstanding-for-the-class 20.0 mpg." And while these figures are far from the 50 mpg of other hybrids, replacing a standard Escalade with an Escalade Hybrid actually saves more total gasoline than does replacing a 33-mpg subcompact with that 50-mpg hybrid.
The 2010 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid handles as well as anyone might expect from a truck-based vehicle of its size. MyRide.com raves that this luxurious Caddy "handles smoothly and confidently for a vehicle of its size," and it boasts "a comfortable ride," according to Edmunds. Reviewers at ConsumerGuide call the Escalade Hybrid "stable and confident in low-to-moderate speed changes of direction," while the "strong brakes have [a] reassuringly firm pedal feel."
If you love the Escalade's persona and capability but can't stomach the low gas mileage, consider the 2010 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid.