The luxury SUV segment is still strong despite last year’s spike in gas prices and an overall move in the market toward smaller, more efficient vehicles. The 2010 Cadillac Escalade continues on as one of the leaders of the segment, carrying over from the 2009 model year largely unchanged.
It’s available in either standard or extended length, with the longer version offering a 21-inch increase to boost seating capacity up to eight adults. As in years past, the Escalade shares its basic mechanical underpinnings with the GMC Yukon and Chevrolet Tahoe SUVs. Changes for the 2010 model year include an ironically-named new Silver Lining exterior color, replacing both Quick Silver and Blue Chip, plus a USB connection in the center console, Side thorax air bags added to the front outboard seats, a revised inner door design for enhanced safety and a revised parking brake release.
Carrying forward last year’s debut of a 6.2-liter, V-8 engine capable of burning E85 fuel, the 2010 Cadillac Escalade also features Magnetic Ride Control suspension matched with a range of 22-inch wheel/tire combinations. For those that face strong winters, all-wheel drive is available, while milder climates can choose rear-wheel drive. Fuel consumption is cut with help from a six-speed automatic transmission and Active Fuel Management, but the Escalade still gets relatively poor fuel economy figures of 12 mpg city across the entire lineup, though things pick up to either 18 or 19 mpg highway, depending on the model. Start hopping from stoplight to stoplight in the real world, and mileage can easily dip into single-digit territory, as our editors have observed.
Power is never lacking, however, with even steep grades and full loads failing to blunt the 2010 Cadillac Escalade’s willing acceleration. The six-speed automatic transmission is smooth, rarely hunting for the right gear. Handling is what you’d expect from a large SUV, though it’s still one of the most fun-to-drive in the segment. Its brakes are powerful enough to slow it safely, and the ride remains smooth and compliant in the process. Aside from some minor engine noise, the cabin is quiet and peaceful.
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