In this economy, in the face of some of the highest gas prices this American generation has ever seen, it seems like folly to buy any kind of SUV albeit an luxury one. But, you can’t take it with you, brother, so if you’re dead set on the luxury SUV, the globally conscious choice to make (without sacrificing luxury) would be the Cadillac SUV. It’s only a matter of time now, until it’s featured prominently in the first green hip hop video.
So, how does this gigantic, 5,726 pound SUV manage to reach highway efficiency approaching 100 miles per gallon? It takes the same 6.2 liter V-8 gas engine you’d normally get in a ‘Sclade, and it adds a 300 volt hybrid system. But, that’s not all. It also turns off half of the 332 horsepower engine when cruising – running on only 4 cylinders when only a modicum of its full power is needed.
They hybrid system is powered, like most hybrid systems, through regenerative breaking. By comparison, the breaks on the hybrid Escalade are reported to be more touchy than the gas-only version. It also has a two-mode transmission with fixed, traditional gears and an electronically variable mode that is more efficient. This mode is best used when not driving in strenuous conditions.
Inside, the Escalade lives up to its well-deserved reputation for luxury illustrated perhaps most hilariously by not only heated and cooled seats, but heated and cooled cup holders. Yum. Among many high-end niceties, there are a few standouts. The automated running boards extend when you open the door to help you into the rather tall cockpit, then retract again when you close the door. The in-built navigation system isn’t the top of the line, but it more than gets the job done. It’s DVD-based, but manages to not get bogged down in load time, and is, reportedly, up-to-the-minute accurate via Onstar to direct drivers around accidents just a few miles down the road.
To help you manage this behemoth of a hybrid, Cadillac has included automated blind spot awareness. On your dashboard, lights indicate when a smaller, likely-less-stylish vehicle is behind and out of your sight lines. It also has built in sonar in the bumpers which beep as you get close to obstacles when parking.
Overall, the Hybrid is nothing if not a luxury item. With a base, retail price of $73,475, you’re not going to come anywhere near making enough money back on what you save in gas. But, if you’re in the market to make a statement about your green lifestyle, but you’re not willing to forego the ability to haul your yacht and jet skis, the Hybrid Escalade is probably the rig for you.
At least that was the case for the guys: