2021 Cadillac Escalade Exterior Leaked Hours Before Debut

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
2021 cadillac escalade exterior leaked hours before debut

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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  • Nrd515 Nrd515 on Feb 06, 2020

    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.

  • Akear Akear on Feb 12, 2020

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