• Auto123 test drove the 2022 Cadillac Escalade-V.
• The V stands for Voom.
• The SUV still delivers the same levels of luxury, refinement and comfort.
If you know Cadillacs, no need anymore to introduce to you to the Escalade. This behemoth has been around for quite a while now and is the brand’s ultimate representation of luxury, comfort and prestige. Cadillac has now equipped it with the largest engine available with the V series.
For buyers of this type of large V8-powered vehicle, the price of gasoline is not important. They want space, comfort and the ability to tow heavy loads. The Cadillac Escalade can meet all these needs.
Now we can add one more quality, that of excessive power. GM's luxury brand claims the Escalade V version is the most powerful SUV in the world.
Measuring just under 6 meters from bumper to bumper and weighing over three tons, the 2023 Cadillac Escalade ESV-V is… imposing. It gets the supercharged engine from the CT5-V Blackwing with a few modifications allowing it to develop 682 hp at 6000 RPM, enough to get the big lug moving.
Oh, and its epic-scale pricing starts at $181,548 in Canada.
The 2023 Cadillac Escalade-V is available in Canada in two sizes – short (relatively, of course), and long. The former is 5,382 mm in length, the latter 5,766 mm.
We drove the long version for a few days. After having made a short trip in the short-wheelbase Escalade a few weeks before, we were surprised to see that the extended format did not impact the general behavior of the vehicle. It’s hard to notice much of a difference at all between the two versions when you’re behind the wheel.
With the exception of the longer rear window and quarter panel, the short and long Escalades are visually identical, the big difference being in the trunk. There, the trunk space increases from 722 to 1,175 litres behind the third row, which also benefits from an additional 44 mm of legroom for the occupants.
At the rear, the Escalade-V features new quadruple exhaust tips and a rear diffuser. This variant also gets unique 22-inch wheels. Unlike other V models in Cadillac’s arsenal, this V is equipped with all-season tires. With the two versions tipping the scales at 2,820 kg and 2,906 kg, Brembo ventilated brakes in bright red are charged with stopping this beast.
This V is not very different from other Escalades on the inside. Apart from one or two V badges, nothing distinguishes this steroidal version the other versions that cost some $70,000 less, at least not visually.
Of course, when buying a V series, it's not so much luxury as it is excessive power that buyers are looking to add to the package.
As mentioned, the Escalade-V uses the same powertrain as the Cadillac CT5-V with a few modifications. Here, we find a 60-percent larger TVS R2650 supercharger for the 6.2L V8 that expels 2.65 litres of air. It also turns at 13,500 RPM to produce more power.
The result is an engine with 682 hp and 653 lb-ft of torque; there are 14 hp more than in the CT5-V. This makes it the most powerful full-size SUV in the world. There are more powerful SUVs out there, but none as huge as this Escalade.
The V’s engine is mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission and power is directed to all four wheels. An electronically controlled limited-slip differential directs torque between the two rear wheels to improve acceleration and handling.
From when you first drive off, this Cadillac shows its full confidence in itself and instills it in you. We were actually a little more unsettled by the overall length of the vehicle than by its power. It's not that you don't feel the acceleration, but rather that it's very manageable.
In Normal driving mode, the Escalade handles like its more sedate brother. In other words, the power is managed perfectly and you don't need to be a pro driver to control this vehicle. We were also very impressed with the ride comfort, which serves just fine as a family car if you want it to.
However, if you're feeling crazy, just press the tiny V button behind the gearshift and now you have on your hands a totally transformed vehicle. Doing that doesn't just amplify the sound of the SUV's exhaust. So set, this V also gives you quicker gear changes, a firmer ride and more aggressive acceleration. It's a far cry from family driving, and it's almost impossible to go unnoticed.
The exhaust system alone is worth a whole article. If you want it to backfire, just step on the gas and let it. Even at 50 km/h, the system will backfire like crazy and never stop. Even if your passengers aren't the type to like big engines, they won't be able to help but smile when they hear it.
The final word
The Escalade already quite a vehicle to start with. It's distinguished, comfortable and sets itself apart from the competition.
The V version, though, is in a different league. In fact, one wonders who the typical buyer is for this vehicle. It's a dragster in tank format and dressed in formal wear. The Escalade-V impresses with its athletic ability, comfort, luxury and on-board technology. And its fuel consumption will boggle.
That's right. We didn't mention it, but expect to easily exceed 20L (of Super gas!) per 100 km if you want to have fun with this behemoth. More-leisurely driving will bring it down to around 15L/100 km. Our test drive ended at 18.3L/100 km ... which meant we drove leisurely, but only some of the time.
Impressive on several levels
Space on board
We like less
V-Series is not very different visually and equipment-wise from a regular version (inside and out)
Can be very greedy at the pump
Good luck parking in the city
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