2019 Cadillac Escalade ESV Platinum 2WD Test Drive

“2019 Cadillac Escalade ESV Platinum 2WD ”
Top of the Line Full Size Luxury SUV
The Cadillac Escalade was first introduced in 1999, quickly setting a high standard among luxury SUVs with its blend of a bold expressive design, performance capability, functionality and luxurious attributes. The 2015 Cadillac Escalade and Escalade ESV launched the marque’s fourth generation, taking design elements and technical advancements from Cadillac’s impressive product expansion to new heights. The 2019 Cadillac ESV is a long wheelbase, three row, eight passenger Luxury SUV.


The exterior of the Escalade presents a sharp, edgy artistic persona all around, while retaining its instantly recognizable Cadillac identity. The interior is equally impressive with its custom “cut-and-sewn” materials and wood trim that reflects opulence and elegance for an exceptional level of luxurious appointments.
Both the Escalade and Escalade ESV feature sophisticated, state-of-the-art technological advancements and hand-tailored craftsmanship to their portfolio. The Escalade represents the standard model, while the ESV offers an extended length edition, with a 14-inch longer wheelbase and approximately a 20-inch increase in overall length, that provides added space for third-row passengers and nearly double the cargo space behind the third-row seating.

Four trim levels are available: the base Escalade, Luxury Escalade, Premium Luxury and Platinum. Available drive configurations include 2WD (rear) and 4WD.

Power for the Cadillac Escalade ESV is provided exclusively by a 6.2-liter, EcoTec3 OHV, 16-valve, V8 engine with Direct Injection and Active Fuel Management. The powerful V8 delivers 420 horsepower at 5,600 rpm along with a healthy 460 pound feet of torque at 4,100 rpm. Motive energy from the longitudinally mounted front engine is transmitted to the driving wheels via a ten six-speed automatic transmission with a manual tap up/down shift switch located on the gear selector stalk, which also has a trailer tow/haul mode feature. The big V-8 is powerful enough to enable 0 to 60 mph performance in 5.98 seconds for Escalade ESV 2WD. It also delivers an EPA-estimated 23 mpg on the highway.

Cadillac’s Magnetic Ride Control is a fast-reacting suspension system, and comes as standard fare, providing precisely controlled driving performance. At its core, Escalades are first a truck (or SUV if you prefer) and second, a Cadillac, with full-size truck capabilities, enabling a trailering rating of 8,300 pounds for Escalade and 8,100 pounds for Escalade ESV.


Returning to Escalade’s curb appeal, the design form provides a look of quality, elegance and capability, with styling cues combining sculpted surfaces and high technology embellishments that give it a unique standout appearance.
The highly detailed Galvano chrome grille displays an almost brushed appearance, enhancing the dynamic frontal impact. Full LED lighting highlights the front and rear, creating unique, razor-like vertical light signatures with crystal clarity The headlamps incorporate Total Internal Reflection LED high-beam function, which consists of four vertically stacked crystal lenses and LEDs. The low beam consists of five crystal lenses and LEDs that create the light pattern. The Cadillac script is branded in the headlamp bezel. Tall, thin vertical LED taillamps reach to the top of the Escalade and feature the brand’s wreath-and-crest insignia, which illuminates in the dark.
Inlaid doors fit into the body side openings instead of over the top of the body, significantly improving the quietness of the interior and contributing to improved aerodynamics. L:ightweight aluminum hood and aluminum liftgate panels aid in reducing weight and overall mass.
Other exterior features include: Signature LED lighting extending full-height from the fascia to the roof; standard chrome-accented side assist steps, with power-retractable assist steps with light-pipe technology. The standard rear spoiler on the liftgate houses a rear window wiper hidden when not in use; and capless fueling. There’s also a trailer hitch receptacle cover in body color when not towing. Twenty-inch dual seven-spoke chrome aluminum wheels are standard and 22-inch aluminum wheels are available.

Entering the cabin, the interior ambience showcases real wood combined with premium cut-and-sewn materials and sueded accents, along with ambient lighting, all designed to add an air of elegance. Seats have been designed to be ultimately comfortable and are sculpted in appearance with a reclining second row.
Additional interior features include: standard keyless entry and push-button start; standard electric telescoping/tilting steering column; standard heated, leather-wrapped steering wheel with wood accents; concealed center-stack storage with motorized door; standard tri-zone climate control; new fold-flat second- and third-row seats with standard power-folding third row; standard heated and cooled seats with a massage function in front and second-row bucket seats with standard heat.
The Escalade ESV presents a quiet environment, thanks to a strong body structure, enhanced use of noise-attenuating materials and processes, including triple-sealed doors, acoustic-laminate glass and Bose® Active Noise Cancellation technology. Even the exterior mirrors have been carefully shaped in the wind tunnel to achieve a reduction in wind noise.

The Cadillac Escalade’s total driving experience is enhanced by enhanced infotainment and connectivity through CUE (Cadillac User Experience) featuring voice recognition with touch controls sharing a commonality with most popular tablets and mobile devices. An eight-inch center screen utilizes capacitive touch technology and gesture recognition, enabling tapping and swiping familiar to smartphones and tablets. The instrument cluster features a reconfigurable, high-resolution 12.3-inch digital driver information center display paired with Cadillac’s CUE infotainment system, with data also shown on an available, full-color head-up display. Connectivity includes a new Text-to-Voice feature for smartphone users with Bluetooth profile, which reads incoming texts through the vehicle’s speakers, and Siri Eyes Free for iPhone users to enhance connectivity and convenience.

My test 2019 Cadillac ESV was a 2WD version in Platinum trim. The exterior wore a Black Raven finish with the interior done in Jet Black with Jet Black trim accents. The bas price was set at $97,295., with optional fare and destination charge elevating the final sticker total to $98,840.


The 2019 Cadillac ESV looms large – very large in fact, but it handles and performs more on the order of a luxury sedan. Handling characteristics are surprisingly nimble and athletic for a vehicle considering its two-ton plus mass, thanks to the electric variable assist power steering system, and the ride quality is quite comfortable – plush, but not mushy, and firm, but without any harshness. Body roll is minimal during more spirited maneuvers, thanks to a wide track that results in an impressively planted stance.

The healthy V8 certainly delivers more than ample doses of power on demand, while also delivering relatively satisfactory fuel economy. The Active Fuel Management system is capable of cutting cylinder operation in half, even when cruising at highway speeds up to 80 mph.
The Escalade ESV provides overall comfort, convenience, functionality and versatility, all at optimum levels. The power second and third row seats allow for easily reconfiguring passenger and cargo accommodations at the touch of a switch.

Safety and security features abound in the Escalade ESV, including: the front-seat center air bag;; a Driver Awareness package with Forward Collision Alert, Lane Departure Warning System, and the Safety Alert Seat, that pulses the left, right or both seat cushion bolsters alerting the driver of a dangerous situation; a Driver Assist package with Full Speed Range Adaptive Cruise Control, Front and Rear Automatic Braking; Automatic Collision Preparation; and Automatic Safety Belt Tightening. Additionally, Side Blind Zone Alert, Rear Cross Traffic Alert and Lane Change Alert are standard on Platinum models.
The Escalade ESV also features security features to ward off theft attempts, including glass breakage sensors, motion detectors and a self-leveling inclination sensor that sounds an alarm if a thief attempts to steal wheels or tires, or tow or lift the vehicle onto a flatbed truck. The advanced theft protection package also includes door shields in the driver’s door, which help block access to those using a “slim jim”-type unlocking device. Additional anti-theft features include enhanced door security, laminated windshield glass and a steering column lock.


Bottom line, the 2019 Escalade ESV is truly the best yet. It delivers everything one could possibly want in a full-size luxury SUV, and it does it in luxurious style including a 4G LTE hotspot and wireless charging for personal connectivity devices.

SPECIFICATIONS: 2019 Cadillac Escalade ESV Platinum 2WD 

Base Price: $97,295.
Price as Tested: $98,840.

Engine Type and Size: 6.2-liter V-8 OHV, 16-valve V8 with Direct Injection and Active Fuel Management.

Horsepower (bhp): 420 @ 5,600 rpm
Torque (ft./ lbs.): 460 @ 4,100 rpm

Transmission: Ten Speed automatic.

Drive Train: Longitudinally mounted front engine / Rear-Wheel Drive.

Suspension: Front – Independent coil-over-shock; 36mm hollow stabilizer bar; and Magnetic Ride Control.
Rear – Solid axle with five-link location and coil springs; 28mm hollow stabilizer bar; and Magnetic Ride Control.

Brakes: Power-assisted, four-wheel disc, four-wheel ABS, with Duralife™ rotors; vented front and rear rotors and All-speed Traction Control.

Tires: Bridgestone dueler H/L Alenza 285/45 R22 110H M&S mounted on9-spokesilver painted alloy wheels with open chrome inserts.

Wheelbase: 130.0 inches
Length Overall: 224.30 inches
Width: 80.50 inches
Height: 74.0 inches
Curb Weight: 5,311 lbs.
Turning Circle: 43.0 ft.
Ground Clearance: 8.0 ft.
Fuel Capacity: 26 gallons – approx.
EPA Mileage Estimates: 14 mpg city / 23-mpg highway
Drag Coefficient: Not listed
0 – 60 mph: 5.98 seconds

Arv Voss is a Northern California based freelance motoring Journalist and member and past officer of several noted Automotive Journalist organizations who contributes regularly to a number of national and international media outlets. He reviews not only cars, trucks and SUVs, but motorcycles and unusual wheeled vehicles as well.

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