The Cadillac Escalade, perhaps the decade’s most prolific monument to conspicuous consumption, will be going in a different direction for its next generation. GM’s Mark Reuss described the new Escalade as “much less ostentatious”.
Autoblog got a chance to talk to Reuss about the new ‘Slade, and it appears that efforts are being made to make it more “classy” (side note: anyone who uses this word without irony is often lacking in class).
Reuss told Autoblog that Cadillac is changing its design tack with the next Escalade because there has been a “permanent mindset change about what luxury looks like.” The new luxury, it follows, is more substantive and less showy, with a greater emphasis on efficiency. As a consequence, the Escalade will be “understated yet elegant,” though Reuss was quick to assert that the SUV’s new design “is not feminine.”
Here’s another case of Cadillac trying to be something it’s not. The Escalade has always been the homegrown choice for those seeking the most in-your-face display of wealth and luxury, and it should stay that way. Those looking for a more restrained luxury SUV can and do choose to buy the Yukon Denali. As for efficiency, well, the substantial CAFE credits that come from offering hybrid full-size trucks (not to mention the economies of scale in play for GM’s own hybrid truck technology) are a bigger driving force behind the Escalade Hybrid rather than sheer market forces.
In certain circles, the Escalade is a sign that one’s made it, whether it be out the hood or out of other humble origins, and into the realm of wealth, if not respectability. In the circles that Cadillac is hoping to appeal to, the Escalade is branded with the scarlet “P” for prole, and something imported is the way to go. The true plutocracy probably has a perfectly restored Grand Wagoneer (with an all-in cost greater than the MSRP of an Escalade, sitting in Martha’s Vineyard).
No, the Escalade competes with the Range Rover and the Mercedes-Benz G-Wagen as the ride of choice for people who consider the Kardashians to be tastemakers. They are legion, and their vulgarity will never regress. Cadillac is apparently embracing them since “…there will continue to be a place and trim” for those customers. Why not do it that way from the get-go?