By on November 7, 2007

2009-escalade-hybrid-photo-1.jpgOr, more accurately, TTAC breaks GM's embargo on the new Cadillac Escalade Hybrid. Anyway, let's start with the basics: why? To quote the passively constructed press release, "Two of the biggest trends in the automotive world in recent years have been related to the unique function and fashion of luxury SUVs, and the fuel saving function and fashion of hybrids. These two trends were seemingly in opposition, until now." The fashion of hybrids? Somebody catch that cat and shove it back in the bag!  [NB: no animals were harmed in the making of this metaphor.] GM claims Caddy's box-fresh gas – electric SUV achieves a "50-percent improvement in fuel economy in city driving." That would bump-up an urban burbling Slade from 12mpg city to 18mpg. OK, so, how much does it cost? They ain't sayin'. But we now know the hybrid Chevrolet Tahoe demands at least a $13k premium. And even a cursory glance at the tech spec indicates all that gas saving will cost a small fortune. Deep breath. The hybrid Caddy features a 6.0-liter V-8 Gen IV gasoline engine with Active Fuel Management (AFM) and late-intake valve closing (LIVC) technology, a 300-volt nickel-metal hydride Energy Storage System (ESS), an advanced electrically variable transmission (EVT) with stop – start technology, a regenerative braking system, a new exhaust system and resonator, an electrically driven, 300-volt air conditioning compressor, and an electrically driven 42-volt variable-assist power steering system. Perhaps just as importantly, "It is available in two colors, Ebony and Cashmere. Standard features include a distinctive instrument panel; gauges with white needles and blue light inlays with continuously lit, white-LED backlighting; Nuance leather-covered seats; leather-covered door trim and center console; and a power-assisted rear liftgate that opens and closes with the touch of a button." Can you believe they forgot to mention the big ass "hybrid" stencil on the side? Details guy, details!

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28 Comments on “Cadillac Escalade Hybrid Breaks Cover...”

  • avatar

    I think it’s going to take more than a hybrid powertrain to make this SUV more attractive.

    Firstly, it is utterly ghastly! I mean nothing says “Nouveau riche” more than a Caddy “Marmalade”. It is utterly foul and rappers are more than welcome to it!

    Secondly, as Mr Farago pointed out, a hybrid system only bumps the urban mpg to 18. They might as well have slung a diesel engine on it for all the good it’s doing for the mpg. It weighs about 2.5 tonnes!

    Thirdly, and most importantly, why would anyone buy this? Over say a Lexus 400h? At least Lexus’ mpg in urban conditions (with a hybrid powertrain) is in its mid 30’s.

    Ghastly, just utterly ghastly!

  • avatar

    KatiePuckrik: Thirdly, and most importantly, why would anyone buy this? Over say a Lexus 400h? Perhaps you forgot it's an SUV. Here's Caddy GM Jim Taylor to remind you: “No other manufacturer offers a hybrid than can seat eight luxuriously while simultaneously carrying or trailering lots of cargo comfortably,” Taylor said. “And no hybrid delivers the dramatic presence that is synonymous with Escalade.” The Escalade Hybrid "is available in 2WD and 4WD configurations. It delivers up to 6,000 pounds (2,722 kg) of usable towing capacity on 2WD models and 5,700 pounds (2,565 kg) on 4WD models." So now you know; that's how we roll.

  • avatar

    May I suggest the non-hybrid versions say “B L I N G” instead?

  • avatar

    Anyone want to guess what the maintenance bills will be like over the next five to seven years?

    Compared with a clean diesel?

    Any estimate of the second hand value when an inspection shows it needs a new A/C motor, a new exhaust system, new batteries, a new electric power steering pump or an EVT transmission?

  • avatar

    Mr Farago,

    I think it’s ghastly. Utterly classless. I’d rather have the Lexus 400h. Far superior mpg, top notch reliability, touch of luxury and far classier.

    The Caddy Marmalade looks like a Panzer tank and it can just “roll” on out of my sight!

  • avatar
    Ryan Knuckles

    I envision a new video for the song “Tryin’ to Catch Me Ridin’ Dirty” by Chamillionare.

    As he is rapping, he can point to he 6″ tall lettering (H Y B R I D) on the side of his ‘lade, then to his spinning 26s, then to the 250 pounds of cocaine in the back. For those of you who ain’t fly, here are some of the lyrics:

    They see me rollin
    They hatin
    Patrolling they tryin to catch me ridin dirty
    Tryin to catch me ridin dirty
    Tryin to catch me ridin dirty
    Tryin to catch me ridin dirty
    Tryin to catch me ridin dirty
    My music so loud
    I’m swangin
    They hopin that they gon catch me ridin dirty
    Tryin to catch me ridin dirty
    Tryin to catch me ridin dirty
    Tryin to catch me ridin dirty
    Tryin to catch me ridin dirty

  • avatar

    Since the Hybrid option is rather expensive, the Cadillac brand is a good fit. The snob factor and deeper pockets of an Escalade customer will make it work.

    Plus, I’d pimp that Hybrid Escalade well before a Lexus LS Hybrid.

    If I want something massive and foul handling, I’ll drive the stuff of Urban Legend.

  • avatar

    KatiePuckrick: “Firstly, it is utterly ghastly! I mean nothing says “Nouveau riche” more than a Caddy “Marmalade”.”

    Ummm… as far as I can tell, what it usually says is “King-size Loan.”

  • avatar

    I think it’s ghastly. Utterly classless

    I’m with you on this Katie. It’s no wonder GM is going down the tubes.

  • avatar

    Ryan Knuckles: but wouldn’t Chamillionare be ridin’ green and clean in this ‘slade?

  • avatar

    50 Cent could promote this SUV? Though he’d have to change his name from “50 Cent” to “15 mpg”?

    I’ve even got an ad slogan:

    “The Cadillac Esclade. Going from cool to tool!”


  • avatar

    GM and Dr. Frankenstein have shown us that making a hybrid does not necessarily produce good results.

  • avatar

    Please, the Lexus Highlander 400h has no more class than an Escalade and is smaller and not in the same class. Further, Lexi seem to appeal to shallower less car-savvy people than Cadillacs. If you are going to trash this thing, then use a better counterpoint.

  • avatar

    whoah whoah whoah. pinning The General’s misfortune on one tasteless barge isn’t fair to the rest of the GM stable of vehicles that have each contributed in their special way.

    let’s not take away credit from where credit is due

  • avatar

    The Exxon Valdez was a hybrid too, no?


  • avatar

    I agree wholeheartedly with jazbo123, the Lexus 400h has less Utility than a Toyota Sienna at a much higher price. I’m no SUV apologist but at least the Escalade has a modicum of utility to go along with being grossly overweight

    “Class” is not something I would attach to a vehicle that is basically an overweight Camry wagon. Toyota’s marketing has worked wonders apparently

  • avatar

    jazbo: Not that I disagree with you, but the Lexus Hybrid Highlander will be significantly cheaper than the Hybrid Escalade. Wouldn’t be surprised if the Caddy sits in the middle (price wise) of Lexus’ hybrid SUV and flagship LS Hybrid sedan.

    Maybe Toyota/Lexus will make a Hybrid Land Cruiser/LX-whatever to narrow the gap.

  • avatar

    1. SUV’s for fashionistas is a very boring concept
    2. Also, a generally accepted version of automotive design appropriateness is “form following function”….by that standard, these luxo-barge Jeep wannabes, which will never, ever, ever truly see a road surface more challenging than say, Woodward Avenue with 8” of snow, are ugly wastes of metal, plastic, leather and glass.
    3. Anybody who buys a vehicle basing their logic more on what OTHER people will think about THEM while driving it, ought to be exiled to Afghanistan, “or someplace the same” (gratuitous Steely Dan lyric reference)for a reality check on life.
    4. The interiors of these bloat boxes should be upholstered in the skins of baby seals to demonstrate the true level of environmental awareness of their owners. Hybrid? What a joke.
    5. P.T. Barnum was right, viz-a-viz the rapidity with which fools and their money are seperated….

  • avatar

    These big SUV hybrids are my new guilty pleasure automobiles. I don’t want/need to own one, can’t afford one, but it’s fun that they exist anyway.

    Chrysler is making a two-mode HEMI Aspen and Durango, right? Can’t wait for that.

    Only one thing is missing from GM:
    There needs to be a Two-mode H2 Hybrid.

  • avatar

    So this thing is designed to excel all those times when you need to haul 8 people and simultaneously tow 2000+ lbs (Isn’t that the tow limit of most 8 seat minivans?) in an urban setting? I mean, out on the open road, which is where most of us seem to do our towing, all that hybrid gear basically just weighs the thing down with little to no mileage benefit.

    Talk about identifying and going after a niche market….

    For those of us with slightly more average driving habits; does anyone know of any minivans coming out with a hybrid powertrain?

  • avatar

    On my third Escalade … have two at present parked by my YukonXL, but not too close to my Jag XK! Love the Escalades and that 6000 cc engine. Powerful, safe, handle and ride great, good visibility – seeing and being seen. Fill it with gas when it needs it … just like your ugly Prius! And, I can climb the hills at 80+mph and still accelerate to pass. When gas hits $5 maybe there will be less traffic. Want to complain about gas prices and consumption? Avgas is well over $4 and a single engine plane goes through 12-20 gallons per hour! But, 200mph straight line. NO COMPLAINTS!

  • avatar

    KatiePuckrik: You’re going to have to stop saying the word “ghastly”. Right now.

    The Escalade is sweet, I wouldn’t ever buy one, or have an SUV that big, but it’s a nice ride, powerful, opulent, one of GM’s few quality vehicles. This hybrid version is really just a gimmick, as GM doesn’t know how to make a good hybrid, but oh well, a few less pollutants never hurts.

  • avatar

    There aren’t many Escalades on the roads where I live, which means I haven’t gotten used to them. I always burst out laughing when I see one — looks like it was designed by someone wearing a pair of heavy safety gloves.

    At least there will be a version with a little better fuel efficiency – but the market has moved on. Even Lexus will stop building hybrid “SUVs” when customers want something else.

  • avatar
    Stephan Wilkinson

    N-number, my Falco burned 10.5 gph and cruised at 205…

  • avatar
    Ryan Knuckles

    Sajeev: Exactly, which is why you would be tryin’ to catch him ridin’ dirty. I think GM missed a real marketing opportunity here.

    Also, to all of you truck/SUV haters.. How many of you have actually driven a truck or SUV?

  • avatar

    I’ve driven many F100/150 Fords of various model years–I’ve owned a ’72 F100 and a ’78 F150.

    I’ve driven many Rangers; currently own one. Don’t particularly like what I perceive as an awkward throttle tip-in on V6 automatic models, but generally like the beasts.

    I’ve driven, but never owned, several Chevy half-tons and liked them, as well.

    I’ve only ever ridden in S10s and Dodges. Don’t like that “tumor” in the passenger floor of the S10 at all. 2WD Dodges ride OK, but I thought the 4WD I rode in felt “buckboardy”.

    Drove a Dakota owned by my employer until our department was issued a Ranger in its place. Felt like the body was going to separate from the frame over every bump–didn’t much like it,didn’t quite hate it.

    I don’t dislike honest trucks, but these SUVs with massive exteriors and surprisingly- claustrophobic interiors ( Trailblazer/Envoy/ Buick and Olds Whatevers,and Hummers, especially come to mind) really suck.

    Ditto the Toyota with the white roof.Ditto, the Highlander (I once saw an automatic carwash tear the front bumper plastic clean off a Highlander. What a poser-mobile!!).

    These 4-door pseudo pickups with uselessly-dinky cargo boxes are another breed I have no use for.

  • avatar
    Ryan Knuckles

    Agreed. I doubt I will ever own a full sized SUV, and I know I won’t own one that isn’t on a truck-based platform. For it to be an SUV, for me, it must have a capital U.

  • avatar

    How many pimp environmentalists are there really?

    I guess I’m mentally conflicted regarding the notion of a full sized hybrid SUV. On one hand, I think that fuel saving technology is best applied to the thirstiest vehicles, as it saves the most fuel in those applications, as opposed to hybridizing an already fuel efficient Civic. On the other hand, why not just buy a lighter vehicle with a smaller engine, and eliminate the complexities and expense of the hybrid system? My Acadia is several hundred pounds lighter than the Slade hybrid, has the same or maybe more room inside, and the overall gas milage with the 3.6 liter six will probably be the same. It also tows 4500 lb, not much less than the Slade. I guess it doesn’t have street cred, though. There I go thinking logical again.

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