2023 Cadillac Escalade V

2023 Cadillac Escalade V

Going Where Cadillac Has Never Gone Before

Episode 4209 , Episode 4225
Auto Value and Bumper to BumperTire Rack "The Way Tire Buying Should Be"

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.

Specifications

  • 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 Mazda3

2023 Mazda3

Still The Same Mazda3, Just A Bit Better

Episode 4304
Auto Value and Bumper to BumperTire Rack "The Way Tire Buying Should Be"

When the fourth-gen Mazda3 arrived for 2019, it grew a little more stylish, a lot more upscale; and loads more practical too, adding all-wheel drive into the mix for the first time. How does it get better than that? Well, for ’23 the 3 adds an engine update that promises to deliver more power and better efficiency. Time to speak truth to this power.

The Mazda3 has always been a great compact car, big on both fun and value, and has earned numerous MotorWeek Drivers’ Choice Awards over the years. This current-gen has been on the road for 4-years now, and it gets even better for 2023.

Starting with the powertrain, the base 2.0-liter I4 has been eliminated leaving just 2 versions of the 2.5-liter 4-cylinder, turbo and non-turbo. Base versions get a 5-horsepower bump to 191-horsepower, along with updates for its cylinder deactivation system. The 2.5 Turbo fits standard all-wheel drive and outputs the same 250-horsepower and 320 lb-ft. of torque as last year; provided you use Premium gas. Max ratings drop to 227-horsepower and 310 lb-ft. with Regular.

2023 Mazda3 6
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2023 Mazda3 3
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A 6-speed manual transmission remains available in front-wheel drive 3s, but AWDs come exclusively with a sport-tuned 6-speed automatic. We found it well-sorted and seemingly always on the same page as us whether we were shuffling through back roads or sitting in traffic. There is a softer overall feel compared to Mazda3s of old, which you’ll appreciate when encountering harsh pavement, but it still feels plenty agile when called upon.

That softer feel certainly carries over inside, where it has gotten much quieter, and quite nicely finished, consistent with Mazda’s Audi-like premium intentions. All 3s get an 8.8-inch center display, and all of the fingerprints on our test car’s screen signifies most people assume it’s a touchscreen. It’s not, however, as inputs are made with a rotary controller on the console. It’s not the most intuitive system, but once you’re past the learning curve, it’s tolerable.

The rear seat room doesn’t have the roomy feel of the Subaru Impreza, but space is certainly more than adequate compared to the rest of the compact set. Rear cargo space for this hatchback rates a good 20.1 cubic-ft. with trunk space in the sedan coming in at 13.2 cubic-ft. So yes, the Mazda3 remains available in both sedan and hatchback, but we still prefer the 5-door hatch both for its practicality and for its sporty looks. Top Turbo Premium Plus gets gloss black aero treatments including a roof spoiler and front air dam.

At the test track, power from the 2.5-turbo felt more than adequate off the line, using all-wheel-drive grip to bite into the pavement and get up and go to 60 in 6.0-seconds flat. There was virtually no turbo lag, and the engine felt nicely refined with its power delivery. Transmission operation was equally as smooth and kept the power flowing quite effectively throughout the ¼-mile, which ended in 14.5-seconds at 95 miles-per-hour. We really appreciate a well-tuned 6-speed in this world of overactive 8 and 10 speed automatics.

2023 Mazda3 1

While there was definitely some understeer to manage in our handling course, the 3 turned in quickly and provided real, sporting feedback through our cone course. I-Activ AWD features G-Vectoring Control Plus, which uses both engine torque vectoring as well as selective braking to minimize body roll, and preserve the lively feel we’ve come to expect from Mazda. In panic braking runs, the pedal was soft, but that kept ABS pulsing to a minimum; and the results were great, as we averaged a very short 106-feet from 60, with minimal nose dive and stable, straight stops.

Government Fuel Economy Ratings for an all-wheel drive Turbo are 23-City, 31-Highway, and 26-Combined; we averaged a good 28.4 miles-per-gallon of Regular.

Obviously by eliminating the previous base engine, prices have taken a jump for ’23, but so has everything else. Still they remain more than reasonable. The base S now starts at $26,855, with the top Turbo Premium Plus at $37,815, with many options in between. And sedan prices are even more sensible, starting at $23,715.

Like most brands, Mazda seems to be going all-in on SUVs; as the 3 is the last family sedan and hatchback in their lineup. And it would be a real shame if that were to change. As the 2023 Mazda3, the hatchback in particular, is just about the perfect car, offering utility vehicles levels of practicality along with better than average luxury, plus handling performance that few crossovers can match. So, long live the Mazda3!

Specifications

As Tested

  • Engine: 2.5-liter Turbo-4
  • Horsepower: 227 | 250
  • 0-60 mph: 6.0 seconds
  • 60-0 Braking: 106 feet (avg)
  • MW Fuel Economy: 28.4 MPG (Regular)
  • Transmission: 6-speed auto
  • Torque: 310 lb-ft. | 320 lb-ft
  • 1/4 Mile: 14.5-seconds at 95 mph
  • EPA: 23-City / 31-Highway / 26-Combined