By on February 4, 2020

While the next-generation Cadillac Escalade debuts on Tuesday, the cover was pulled off early by automotive photographer Wilco Blok. The model has seen leaks before, helping to validate Blok’s image as authentic. That said, this is probably the best-quality photo we’re likely to see of the model before its official premiere just hours from now.

Visually, the 2021 Escalade maintains its familial resemblance to SUVs from GMC and Chevrolet sharing the same GMT1XX platform and has dramatically scaled back its reliance on bling. However, the de-chromed grille arguably makes it more difficult to tell apart from the Tahoe/Suburban and Yukon, which hardly seems like a wise marketing decision. 

Key differences are subtle. Escalade has blacked-out pillars, its own wheels, and premium branding, though it would be hard to positively identify at any distance until you’ve gotten a glimpse of the back end (as the model is presumed to retain its signature elongated vertical tail lamps). The front features tight, horizontally oriented headlights and a raised emblem — tapping into the brand’s evolving styling language.

It’s a more contemporary design overall but it doesn’t do much to make the model feel truly special. This is no more attractive than the Tahoe and Suburban General Motors revealed in December, both of which lean into the boxy design a little more comfortably. So then, what exactly is the point of the new Escalade?

Well, Cadillac has already teased its gargantuan interior screen. The 38-inch curved OLED unit spans the entire dashboard and is aimed squarely at luxury shoppers who now prioritize tech over other elements and Clifford the Big Red Dog. Technological touches should abound in the Escalade. Jalopnik, which originally shared the Wilco Blok photos, noticed the leaked images appear to show deployable running boards. While those are almost guaranteed to be part of a lengthy options list, it would represent a higher level of customization and more available features than you’ll find at GMC or Chevy.

We learned last week that Cadillac will outfit the 2021 Escalade with its updated Super Cruise hands-free driving system.

The rest should be more of what you’re accustomed to. Escalade is still body-on-frame and a carryover 6.2-liter V8 is expected at launch. However, GM indicated a high-output model was under consideration as early as 2018; rumors suggest it’s working on fitting the supercharged V8 that powers the Camaro ZL1 and the front-engined Corvette Z06. There’s plenty room yet for Cadillac to surprise us, despite the deluge of leaks and frequent teasers that preceded it.

We’ll know more after the official debut, so expect a lengthy follow-up on Wednesday.

[Image: wilcoblok/Instagram]

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60 Comments on “2021 Cadillac Escalade Exterior Leaked Hours Before Debut...”


  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    I can’t say I care for it. I do, however, like the Navigator, which just looks far more stately and demure.

  • avatar
    cprescott

    Wow. That is quite underwhelming. Looks thin and tall and ill proportioned. But the Cadihack way these days doesn’t make any sense at all (voice of the Church Lady).

  • avatar
    dal20402

    Looks like appropriate airport transportation for those too self-important to take a taxi or UberX.

    • 0 avatar
      Peter Gazis

      dal20402

      Somewhere a Saudi Prince is saying : I will need 10 for me and my entourage, and 1 Corvette when I need to get to Dubai in a hurry.

      • 0 avatar
        mcs

        @Gazis: Try 10 Cullinan’s and a Koenigsegg. A Cadillac is a deluxe trim level on a Chevrolet and commonly used as an airport taxi. It’s not what anyone that is truly wealthy would consider a luxury vehicle.

        • 0 avatar
          Peter Gazis

          mcs

          The truly wealthy lead very busy lives. They are using their time in transit to conduct meatings, and hold teleconferences.
          They aren’t doing that in an unreliable supercar.

          • 0 avatar
            Jon

            what a meating? Sounds delicious!

          • 0 avatar
            mcs

            @Gazis: “They aren’t doing that in an unreliable supercar.”

            So, it isn’t the wealthy that are buying $500k to $2 million Koeniggseggs? I have a few friends in the super-wealthy category and trust me, they are totally into unreliable super expensive cars. The busy lives part isn’t true in all of the cases either.

  • avatar
    thelaine

    Puke emoji.

  • avatar
    JMII

    At first black out packages where an option, now as they became the norm chrome will become the extra dollar check box.

  • avatar
    thegamper

    Not really a fan of the vehicle or the full sized SUV genre, I will say that this model at least looks less tacky than the current model. Even so, for a Caddy, I would say the pendulum swung too far toward Chevy Silverado at least in the trim pictured.

  • avatar
    ToolGuy

    GM Global Design has done it again.

  • avatar
    Peter Gazis

    GM fans.

    Pay no attention to the trolls on this website. The new Escalade has a clean modern design, and it will sell like Hot cakes, and everyone here knows it.
    The writers here are just bitter because they no longer get invited to GM press events. The commenters are mostly middle schoolers, looking for something they will be able to afford in a few years working a part time job at McDonalds.

    • 0 avatar
      ToolGuy

      Speaking of McDonald’s, how is it that McDonald’s ($162B market cap) is currently worth 3.3X as much as General Motors ($49B market cap)?

      [We’re learning about market capitalization in middle school this week.]

      • 0 avatar
        Peter Gazis

        Toolguy

        I love McDonalds. I love how they tore down Oprah’s Studios and built their new headquarters right on top. Take that you roller coaster diet anti-beef….person.

        BTW- If you’re ever in Chicago around Fulton market. You gotta walk in the restaurant at their headquarters and order the Siracha fries. To die for.

    • 0 avatar
      cprescott

      Isn’t it interesting that when someone states an opinion, they are called trolls by the people who feel self important enough to ascribe that attribute? Why don’t you just state your opinion and leave it alone. Must be so wonderful to be a self-appointed troll police woman.

      • 0 avatar
        thelaine

        The troll is the one on the GM payroll.

        • 0 avatar
          Peter Gazis

          thelaine

          Well I obviously didn’t work for Nissan. If I did I would be racing to the bank right now to deposit my pay check. Hoping it doesn’t bounce.

          • 0 avatar
            thelaine

            Yeah, too bad for Nissan. They didn’t get a corrupt multibillion dollar taxpayer funded bailout. When do we get that money back, GM shills?

      • 0 avatar
        Peter Gazis

        Cprescott

        “Caddyshack”. Yea you’re a troll.

        You’ve never driven the vehicle.
        You’ve never been in the vehicle
        You’ve never even seen the vehicle in real life.
        So how can you have a strong opinion this early?
        You should wear the troll label like a badge of honor.
        Now bend over and let troll police woman give you one of her famous no handed prostate exams.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      I can’t afford an Escalade now. Maybe if I quit my job and work at McDonald’s I will get there.

    • 0 avatar
      thornmark

      I didn’t think anyone bought Escalades, I thought they were all leased.

      Anyway, maybe it’s the color, but it looks like a bar of soap I once had, only bigger

    • 0 avatar
      Jon

      Do they have meatings at McDonalds?

  • avatar
    Wodehouse

    Yuck! Tiny headlamps touching a giant, gaping, black hole, sporting a floating badge. So far, only Mazda makes this trend look good. This looks like it should be the back end instead of the front. Maybe, it will look much better on the street.

  • avatar
    Eaststand

    Good lord, what have they done? That is Aztek levels of terrible.

  • avatar
    jack4x

    Guess I’m one of the few that like it.

    They’ll need to step up the interior big time if they want to beat the Navigator though. The V8 is a selling point for sure but the current Escalade is an embarrassment inside compared to the black label Lincoln.

  • avatar
    smartascii

    That looks like one of those cars in an ad that’s a deliberately anodyne blob of nothing drawn to violate no copyright and designed to convey “large SUV.” If you ever find yourself on the run, park yourself in one of these in the school pickup line, and no one will ever find you.

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    Looks exactly like I’d expect the next generation Escalade to look like. Fortunately Cadillac is smart enough not to screw with the Escalade

    Now, about that widescreen dashboard…

  • avatar
    Jerome10

    Maybe a tad bland for an Escalade, but at the same time also far classier while still being pretty brash.

    I’m sure they’ll sell a ton.

    General Motors knows this market, this buyer, and this type of vehicle.

  • avatar
    Victor

    That is ugly. The Navigator looks so much better somebody should be fired for it.

  • avatar
    Carrera

    Looks like a cartoon-ish vehicle from Lightning McQueen kids movie.

  • avatar

    Where are iconic fins?

  • avatar
    Oldschool

    It’s extremely bland and soft on the edges compared to the current Escalade.

    The grill is a rip-off of Mazda. Why would Cadillac even entertain the idea of using a Mazda like grill on a Escalade anyway? So unoriginal.

    I’d rather take a 2021 GMC Yukon Denali over this ugly ass thing.

    Less money for pretty much the same thing minus the Cadillac name.

    Lincoln has nothing to worry about here. Nor should Lincoln worry about anything Cadillac is doing at the moment because so far everything Cadillac has released so far has been very underwhelming. Besides for the CT6-V with the Blackwing V8.

  • avatar
    Right_Click_Refresh

    Soft, doughy and BLEH. It’ll sell fine(GM HAS A HOMERUN ON ITS HANDS!!!!!). Plenty of folks yelling take mah moneh already.

  • avatar
    RHD

    FCA should put out a Chrysler version of the Escalade/Navigator. Then Chrysler would have something profitable to sell. It shouldn’t be very difficult to come up with something better than the new Escalade. There are already two templates for the basic dimensions, and the Telluride to add to the mix. Just make something that’s slightly better than those in most categories, then get a couple of NBA players to make a music video around it.

  • avatar
    Moparmann

    (IMO) If the raised center section of the lower fascia were made level across, it would appear that this iteration was displaying a smug, self satisfied smirk!

  • avatar

    I like this much better than the hapless XT6. For one thing the bumper intakes are gone giving the vehicles a smoother and more cohesive look from the front.

  • avatar
    Greg Hamilton

    I think this is more newsworthy:

    Boris Johnson plans to ban gasoline powered cars by 2035

    https://uk.news.yahoo.com/boris-johnson-pledges-ban-petrol-000908560.html

  • avatar
    Superdessucke

    Rural insects have no chance.

  • avatar
    TMA1

    Telluride, by Cadillac.

  • avatar

    Could have improved the front design especially those headlights. Overall the SUV is amazing and hoping they bring this to India

  • avatar
    EBFlex

    Everyone at Lincoln is wetting their badge engineered diapers right now.

    This blows the Lincoln out of the water. The interior makes the Navigator look so cheap and bland.

    These three SUVs will print money for GM. Anyone else making full size SUVs better just throw in the towel now. You cannot compete with these.

  • avatar
    dividebytube

    I can also drive my refrigerator.

  • avatar
    Whatnext

    Wow, that’s really ugly. All the finesse and style of a brick.

  • avatar
    nrd515

    That front end reminds me of the time a friend came to Christmas dinner at a Chines restaurant drunk as hell. The look on his face when he arrived was what the Escalade resembles, an amused sleepy drunk. That was one of the most memorable Christmas’ ever, as his enraged father yelled at him during the entire meal, with almost everything he said starting with, “You got the MONEY?”, followed with, “Why don’t you buy us one?”. He got that even when he asked if anyone wanted to share an order of beef and broc. By the end of the meal, he was a semi-sober mess, and when we got over to my house, he drank another six pack and ended the evening a blubbering mess, “My dad and I never seemed to get along!”. When his parents arrived, I got yelled at for letting him drink. When his mom was putting him into their car to go home, he started to nod off in the back seat and his dad yelled at him again, and he looked just like the Escalade, muttering, “Jeez dad, give me a break!”. Dad was in no mood for cutting him slack that night. The best one of those two was when they gave him their old car, and on the way home, he fell asleep and drove it off the road in the mountains, receiving minor injuries and totally destroying the car. Dad naturally assummed he was drunk and had to apologize when the doctor told them he had not been drinking at all. Somehow, all that yelling and apologizing seemed to help their relationship quite a bit, and they got along ok for the rest of his dad’s life. Sadly, a few years ago, he called me totally blown away, barely making any sense. It appears his sober years are over.

  • avatar

    I hate the way the headlights cut into the grill. GM has been making quite a few styling miscues lately.

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