The Escalade comes in two different sizes–the standard Escalade and extended-length Escalade ESV.
No matter the style, the Escalade is powered by a 403-horsepower, 6.2L V8 engine that’s also Flex-Fuel capable, meaning that it can run on up to 85% ethanol-gasoline mix. It’s paired with a 6-speed automatic transmission and either rear or all-wheel drive. However, the full-time all-wheel drive system does not include a low range and is designed primarily for on-road duty.
The Escalade performs surprisingly well for a heavy, body-on-frame SUV. The V8 provides strong acceleration and impressive passing power. It also handles quite well and has been tuned for smooth, but not bouncy, ride quality. Across the lineup, big 4-wheel disc brakes are included, along with anti-lock brakes and GM’s Stabilitrak electronic stability control, plus a full contingent of airbags.
Additional high-tech safety features offered on the Escalade include Side Blind Zone Alert, which sounds an audible and visual alert if there are objects detected in the blind zones. OnStar Turn-by-Turn Navigation allows the driver to download directions from an operator-assisted call center directly to the navigation system, while XM NavTraffic enables live traffic updates.
The 2021 Escalade ESV’s wheelbase is one foot longer than the standard Escalade. That means that while the ESV won’t turn and park quite as neatly, but it does offer a bit more legroom for the third row, along with more space behind it. Access to the third row is improved as well. Both versions get a fold-and-tumble second row, however. Standard Escalades and ESV models have seating for up to seven.
The Sport Edition receives a black grille, black window moldings, and black body side moldings. It also features dark-finished 22-inch wheels as standard equipment. Buyers can opt for the Sport Edition treatment on all trims except the base model. That means it’s available on the Luxury, Premium Luxury, and Platinum models.