2012 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid Platinum Edition – Road Test and Review

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DRIVING THE ESCALADE

The Escalade’s size and heft became immediately apparent as I got onto I-285 and quickly realized that the new limits of the truck-based SUV were different from my BMW. Since the Escalade’s hybrid system is a “mild” hybrid, the electric motor boosts the 6.0-Liter gas-powered V8, but there are still gears, and the car feels much like a normal car would while driving, and quite well in fact. The 150 mile drive northeast to Greenville, South Carolina proved easy, with no trouble keeping up with competing traffic, little fatigue and gas mileage a more than satisfactory 21 miles per gallon (11.8 l/100 km).

Two 60-kilowatt electric motors assist the 6.0-liter 332 horsepower V8 to accelerate the vehicle from 0-60 in 8.2 seconds, which, while slower than the standard 403 horsepower V8 powered Escalade, returns five more miles per gallon combined.  The hybrid shines in stop and go traffic, where the most fuel is typically wasted. The instant-on availability of torque makes the car feel faster than it is, and the car’s ability to automatically shut off the gas engine while stopped (as at a light) was easy to appreciate.

In the suburban super-duty circuit of Greenville, South Carolina, consisting of 0-70 mph (0-115 km/h) sprints from stoplights and coping with heavy traffic, the Escalade never returned less than 17 mpg (13.2 l/100 km), which is not only superior to any SUV I had previously driven, but was better than what my much smaller BMW 3 Series had managed in the same environment over the course of several years.

I had always considered the Escalade to be more or less interchangeable with its platform stable mates, the Chevrolet Tahoe and  GMC Yukon, but, after driving it for a week, I found that this wasn’t the case except for dimensions. There are two good reasons for this: the Cadillac uses the similar Magnetic Ride Control that is found in the Corvette to provide an incredibly smooth and confident ride, and the V8-hybrid provides more power than its siblings’ electric-assisted motors.

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