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 GMC Canyon
Canyon Goes Bigger
Most people know the GMC Canyon as the Chevrolet Colorado’s professional grade cousin. And while that sounds like just marketing speak, with an all-new design of GM’s midsize truck platform comes more genuine brand separation. So, let’s see what the third-gen GMC Canyon delivers in real time!
Small trucks are once again a big deal, and part of the reason is that they are no longer small. There’s not much about this 2023 GMC Canyon that resembles the ¼-ton Sonomas, S-10s, Rangers, and Datsun trucks that were wildly popular in the 1980s.
Of course, then, people were willing to sacrifice certain “big-truck” things for an easier to use and more economical pickup experience. Well, we don’t seem to be big on compromise for much of anything these days, and the current midsize crop of trucks deliver more than ever. So fittingly, the 2023 Canyon will be available as a Crew Cab only with a 5-foot bed. No more extended cab or long bed options. Wheelbase is about 3-inches longer than before, with the front wheels pushed more towards the front. It definitely looks tougher, and they’ve even eliminated the much-hated front air dam that protruded well below the front bumper.
The Canyon also comes exclusively with the high-output version of GM’s 2.7-liter turbocharged I-4, with a stout 310-horsepower and 430 lb-ft. of torque. At times it feels even more powerful than those numbers would indicate, with its diesel-like torque delivery enabling a best-in-class max tow rating of 7,700-lbs. No choice of transmission either, strictly 8-speed automatic, but you can still decide whether you want rear or 4-wheel-drive.
At minimum, ground clearance is 9.6-inches, which is more than an inch taller than last year, and almost 2-inches over Chevy’s base Colorado. And since it’s all about the off-road packages these days, our AT4 tester comes with 4-wheel drive, off-road suspension, locking rear diff, 2-speed transfer case, hill descent control, and 18-inch wheels with all-terrain tires.
And that’s just where things get started, as at the top of the heap, there’s a new AT4X with 10.7-inches of ground clearance, enhanced front and rear e-locking differentials, 33-inch mud terrain tires, Multimatic dampers, and an additional Baja Drive Mode. We’ll have more on the AT4X real soon.
But for all Canyons, including this AT4, GMC went tech-heavy, as all get 11-inch infotainment screens and a fully digital driver display in either 8 or 11-inches. Plus, an available head up display comes with most trims, and there are even optional underbody cameras.
Unique AT4 features include a Jet Black and Timber interior motif with stitched logos on the leather front seats. Those seats are definitely comfortable, and it feels maybe a tad roomier than before, but still well shy of the sprawling space in a full-size truck. It’s even more noticeable in the rear, though there are more practical storage options back here.
The AT4 gets a sliding rear window, along with a tailgate storage system to complement the integrated ruler, and bed side-mounted 120-volt power outlet. The Canyon already delivered one of the best rides in the midsize class, and the taller suspension seems to only improve on that; it’s not quite crossover plush, but certainly great for a body on frame truck.
Though the higher ground clearance and off-road emphasis kept it from being a track star. Indeed, healthy amounts of understeer and body roll greeted us in our handling course. It was a little hesitant off the line in speed runs, but once rolling, power poured on steadily. 0-60 in only 7.5-seconds, and through the ¼-mile in 15.6-seconds at 91 miles-per-hour.
Government Fuel Economy Ratings for the AT4 are 17-City, 21-Highway, and 19-Combined; we averaged an acceptable 18.2 miles-per-gallon of Regular. Pricing starts with a 2-wheel-drive Elevation at $38,395. That puts it at midlevel Chevrolet Colorado, with is consistent with the mission of the new Canyon. All other trims come with 4-wheel drive, this AT4 starting at $45,395, and the AT4X now eclipsing Denali as the highest offering at $56,995.
So, as small trucks have grown, so has the price of entry. But if that doesn’t scare you off, there is no denying the 2023 GMC Canyon is yes bigger, but also bolder and badder than before. Does that necessarily make it better? We say positively yes!
- Engine: 2.7L Turbo-4
- Horsepower: 310
- 0-60 mph: 7.5 seconds
- 60-0 Braking: 121 feet (avg)
- MW Fuel Economy: 18.2 mpg (Regular)
- Transmission: 8-speed auto
- Torque: 430 lb-ft.
- 1/4 Mile: 15.6-seconds at 91 mph
- EPA: 17 City / 21 Highway / 19 Combined