2023 Cadillac Escalade V
Going Where Cadillac Has Never Gone Before
Sport utility vehicles continue to gain in their popularity primarily because of their practicality and sensibility. But every once in a while, an SUV comes along that’s not really all that sensible at all, but a whole lot of fun. So, let’s see what happens when Cadillac puts the V in Escalade.
Seeing a V badge on a Cadillac has meant various levels of high performance over the years. But, no doubt Caddy went above and beyond with the CT5-V Blackwing; a Drivers’ Choice winner for us, and a car that will easily go down as one of the most incredible American sport sedans ever. How did Cadillac decide to follow that up? With their first ever V-Series SUV, the 2023 Cadillac Escalade-V.
Getting right to the heart of the matter, under this ferocious beast’s tall hood lies a supercharged 6.2-liter V8, similar to the one found in the CT5-V Blackwing; only it gets an even bigger supercharger, and outputs an incredible 682-horsepower and 653 lb-ft. of torque. That’s 14 more horsepower than in the CT5, and a whopping 262 more than you could previously get in an Escalade.
You’ll get clued in that this is something special right at startup. It comes to life with an obnoxious roar, before settling down to a gentle rumble. The Escalade’s 10-speed traditional automatic is recalibrated to properly manage the additional power, and Cadillac’s full-time active all-wheel-drive system is in place to transfer all to the pavement.
On the well-prepped pavement of our Mason Dixon test track, this Escalade was everything we’d hoped it would be. Initiate launch control, and the V explodes off the line with a tsunami of torque, hitting 60 in 4.4-seconds. Gear changes in the automatic trans hit harder than a few dual-clutch units we’ve tested. It will rev to 6,200 RPM, but since torque plateaus at 4,400 there’s no real reason to run it up that high; and the Escalade-V seems to know this, short-shifting at around 5,500 throughout the 12.7-second ¼-mile at 111 miles-per-hour. The sound? Pure automotive bliss!
Cadillac will build you an Escalade-V in either the standard or extended wheelbase ESV; our standard-length tester weighs in at 6,200-lbs. And, while not quite a one-trick-pony, acceleration is clearly the star of this rig’s show. Both magnetic ride control and Air Ride Adaptive Suspension are standard with upgraded programming. But, the actual suspension hardware is upgraded too. Plus, customizable performance settings are available at the touch of the console-mounted V-button.
Excellent steering feel, and GM seems to have dialed back the eagerness of this platform’s stability control system; all without having to pay a harsh ride penalty. There are new 6-piston Brembo calipers on the front wheels, and it only took 107-feet to stop us from 60.
We think Cadillac did a great job making this V looking unique with upgraded front and rear fascias, 22-inch rims, quad exhaust tips, and of course multiple V-logos outside and in; without being too over the top. It’s not quite a sleeper, but pretty close. Sitting at the top of the Escalade’s heap means Platinum trim is the starting point, with Zebra wood trim, 36-speaker AKG Studio Reference audio, and leather seating for all 3-rows. As in all Escalades, a 38-inch curved display sits atop the dash, segmented into sections for the gauges, infotainment, and a small control panel.
There are acres of space for each of the 3-rows of passengers. However, this is still a body-on-frame truck. So, there’s not quite the user-friendliness buyers have gotten used to in crossovers. But of course, no unibody can haul as much cargo, with 25.5 cubic-ft. of space behind the 3rd row, 72.9 behind the 2nd, and a max of 121; while matching the Escalade-V’s 7,000-lbs. tow rating.
Everything inside looks great, and all of the tech is certainly up to date; but the Escalade still doesn’t have that upper-class feel that you get in many European performance utilities. Still, as for the actual driving, daily comfort, and the great V8 sounds this thing puts out, nothing from across the pond comes close.
Government Fuel Economy Ratings for our standard-length V are 11-City, 16-Highway, and 13-Combined. As awesome as the Escalade-V is, it’s hard not to be a little disconnected when you see the price, $150,990 to start; $153,990 for the Suburban-sized ESV.
Would we spend that much for a GM truck-based utility vehicle, even one as amazingly monstrous as this 2023 Cadillac Escalade-V? Good question. Probably not. But, it might just be the future collectible of the year! So, we wouldn’t blame anyone for grabbing one, and might even ask to borrow the keys every once in a while.
- Engine: 6.2L Supercharged V8
- Horsepower: 682
- Torque: 653 lb-ft
- 0-60 mph: 4.4 seconds
- 1/4 Mile: 12.7 seconds at 111 mph
- 60-0 Braking: 107 feet (avg)
- EPA: 11 City / 16 Highway / 13 Combined
2023 BMW X7
Should Keep The BMW Faithful Coming Back For More
While BMW got serious about their SUV game around the same time as most other luxury brands, it took them until just a few years ago to deliver a 3-row example. This year, that X7 is updated with new style and new tech. So, let’s see if that makes it the ultimate premium 3-row family machine.
When it comes to utility vehicles, bigger seems to be better for a lot of people. So, for BMW, there’s none bigger or better than the X7 3-row utility, which for 2023 gets a comprehensive update after just 4-years on the market. That includes a facelift to bring it more in line with the new 7-series carline, which is to say joins the more vertical, aggressive grille party. Also, the actual headlights have been moved lower in the front fascia, with squinty DRLs above for the first time on a BMW. In back, taillights take on a 3D posture, with a new chrome bar connecting them.
There are also multiple new M Sport packages to choose from to spice up the exterior, with larger air intakes up front, high-gloss black trim, upgraded exhaust, cascade grille lighting, and 22-inch wheels, as well as M Sport brakes…
…and the interior too, with aluminum trim and exclusive steering wheel. But, by far the biggest change inside for ‘23 is a new dashtop curved display that eliminates the typical BMW well-hooded gauge pod and blends 12-inch Live Cockpit Pro into the 15-inch infotainment touchscreen, which now features iDrive8. Both a Head-Up Display and a large panoramic sunroof are standard.
Whether set up for 2 or 3 passengers, 2nd row seat room remains plentiful, and though the X7 doesn’t look ungainly large like many of its competitors, access to the 3rd row is quite good. Cargo space is reached through a fairly unique, Range Rover-style, split tailgate, which is quite oddly satisfying to watch unfold. There’s room for 48.6 cubic-ft. of goods behind the 2nd row, with a max of 90.4 cu.-ft.
The base xDrive40i has always been the sensible choice, even more so now with a new inline-6 turbo getting a significant bump in horsepower from 335 to 375, and a 48-volt mild-hybrid system that results in a total of 398 lb-ft. of torque.
At our Mason Dixon test track, there was enough to blast this big beast to 60 in just 5.4-seconds. That’s only about half a second slower than the V8 did the deed back in 2019. Making that optional 523-horsepower V8 simply overkill at this point. Our best ¼-mile pass was 13.9-seconds at 100 miles-per-hour. All X7s get a quick shifting sport-tuned 8-speed automatic transmission, which adds a new Sprint Function that finds the lowest usable gear instantly and maxes electric boost with a hold of the left shift paddle. What fun!
New looks and updated tech are cool, but BMW has also addressed dynamics as well, with a retuning of all chassis systems, including the optional Dynamic Handling Package which adds adaptive suspension with roll stabilization and uses GPS and camera data to prepare for what’s coming. We’re not sure if our slalom course was anticipated, but the X7 sure felt well-equipped to handle it. All-wheel drive is standard on all X7s, along with comprehensive drive modes.
In our braking runs, the pads bit down hard quickly, stopping us from 60 in just 115-feet with very little nosedive.
Government Fuel Economy Ratings for the 6-cylinder are 21-City, 25-Highway, and 22-Combined. We averaged just 21.0 miles-per-gallon on Premium.
There’s an average Energy Impact Score; 13.5-barrels of oil yearly, with CO2 emissions of 6.5-tons.
Pricing starts at $78,845, and it’s a significant step up from there to $104,095 if you want the V8. Even more reason to stick with the 6-cylinder as far as we’re concerned.
It took the ultimate driving machine folks quite a bit of time to enter the 3-row family crossover segment, but when they did, they were able to create their largest utility ever and keep it consistent with their values. For 2023, the BMW X7 gets even more dynamic, embraces new tech, and looks better too. All things that should keep the BMW faithful coming back for more.
- Engine: I-6
- Horsepower: 375
- 0-60 mph: 5.4 seconds
- 60-0 Braking: 115 feet (avg)
- MW Fuel Economy: 21.0 MPG
- Transmission: 8-speed automatic
- Torque: 398 lb-ft.
- 1/4 Mile: 13.9-seconds at 100 mph
- EPA: 21 City / 25 Highway / 22 Combined