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2021 Cadillac Escalade ESV: What's the big deal?

April 28, 2020

The 2021 Cadillac Escalade ESV extended version addresses the biggest shortcoming of the full-size luxury SUV: more cargo room. Following the redesign of the standard wheelbase 2021 Escalade, the ESV (Escalade Stretch Vehicle) grows in proportion to increase cargo volume by 18.1% over the outgoing model, Cadillac announced last week.

But how much space does that $3,000 upcharge get you over the regular Escalade? The smaller 2021 Escalade based on the GMC Yukon and Chevy Tahoe is plenty big. It grew by seven inches in length to nearly 212 inches, which added 10 more inches of legroom to the third row and boosted cargo volume behind it from a tiny 15.2 to 25.5 cubic feet. The ESV is 15 inches longer than the 2021 Escalade, with nearly two inches more leg room in the third row and 41.5 cubic feet in back. The only challenge it should face space-wise is fitting itself in a standard garage. 

Seriously. The average American two-car garage is between 20 feet (240 inches) and 24 feet (288 inches) deep. A 20-foot garage leaves very little room for the 2021 Cadillac ESV. Here's how the competition measures up in key stats:

Length (inches):

2021 Cadillac Escalade: 211.9

2021 Cadillac ESV: 227

2020 Lincoln Navigator: 210

2020 Lincoln Navigator L: 221.9

2020 Chevy Suburban: 224.4

The 2021 Cadillac ESV is the longest in the class, and most of that translates to more cargo volume, as illustrated below. The space for people is still pretty close to that of the 2020 Lincoln Navigator, in both normal and extended versions. 

2021 Cadillac Escalade vs. 2020 Lincoln Navigator

2021 Cadillac Escalade vs. 2020 Lincoln Navigator

Leg room 1st/2nd/3rd:

2021 Cadillac Escalade:  44.5/41.7/34.9

2021 Cadillac ESV: 44.5/41.7/36.7

2020 Lincoln Navigator: 43.9/41.1/36.1

2020 Lincoln Navigator L: 43.9/41.1/36.1

2020 Chevy Suburban: 45.3/39.7/34.5

While the leg room in the Navigator is the same in either wheelbase, the 2021 Cadillac Escalade ESV offers more third-row leg room, for the largest in the class. This could make a big difference for the growing family of five or more with teens to haul around. 

Cargo volume (up to 3rd/2nd/1st): 

2021 Cadillac Escalade online configurator

2021 Cadillac Escalade online configurator

2021 Cadillac Escalade: 25.5/72.9/121

2021 Cadillac ESV: 41.5/94.1/142.8

2020 Lincoln Navigator: 19.3/57.5/103.3

2020 Lincoln Navigator L: 34.3/73.3/120.2

2020 Chevy Suburban: 39.3/76.7/121.7 

Cargo volume can seem like an arbitrary measure, but carry-on bags provide an interesting baseline. The average carry-on take up about 1.5 cubic feet. The regular Escalade could theoretically fit 17 carry-ons, with perfect Tetris packaging. The ESV carries more than 27 carry-ons. That's nearly five more bags than the long-wheelbase Lincoln Navigator. 

2018 Lincoln Navigator L in Black Label Destination trim

2018 Lincoln Navigator L in Black Label Destination trim

Starting price (including destination fees):

2021 Cadillac Escalade: $77,490

2021 Cadillac ESV: $80,490

2020 Lincoln Navigator Reserve: $83,665 (base model is $78,125)

2020 Lincoln Navigator L Reserve: $86,865 (L is not offered with base trim)

2020 Chevy Suburban: $53,490

For shoppers who must maximize available space, the 2021 Cadillac Escalade ESV does it better at a better price. 

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