Car Review: The Escalade V-Series muscles its way to the sporty luxury SUV race

The 2023 Cadillac Escalade V-Series ups the horsepower ante with a 682hp supercharged V8 big wheels and a special front and rear end styling. (WTOP/Mike Parris)

The Cadillac Escalade is a popular, large luxury SUV that sports a standout style and space for the family. The competition has had high performance versions that Cadillac could not keep up with, until now.

Cadillac fixed the lack of performance with a new V-Series Escalade featuring a supercharged V8, pumping out 682hp. This big Cadillac barks and growls, and the supercharger howls when you punch the gas. This is not a fly-under-the-radar type of SUV. Big speed is easy for the Escalade V-Series, with brakes to match when you notice how powerful that engine really is.

The Escalade’s handling is better than you might think for something this big. With Magnetic ride control and air ride adaptive suspension, the Escalade V-Series handles curves with less roll. However, an SUV this large isn’t going to be confused with a sports car. It is a quality highway ride even with large 22-inch wheels. There are only slight upsets from larger potholes and broken pavement. While the performance is breathtaking, the fuel economy, or lack of it, might catch your attention. I was getting about 13 mpg and its premium fuel to boot.

The Escalade V-Series has new styling features to set it apart from less sporty versions of the big luxury SUV. It starts with a slightly angry-looking and unique front end with more vents and a lower grill to help cool this powerful beast. Exclusive 22-inch wheels stand out from other versions of the Escalade — and they look cool, too. Out back, the four extra large black exhaust pipes and special rear bumper area will give a hint that this is no ordinary caddy.

On the inside, the Escalade V-Series is opulent. That’s a good thing for Cadillac since its charging $150,000 for this high-performance luxury SUV. For that price, the leather wrapped interior, with rich feeling Semi-Aniline leather seats, proves GM can fit a quality-looking and feeling interior to its rides. More space is also welcome, and the third row is more useful than before.

A lower floor on the back end makes it easier and roomier than the previous generation of the Escalade. Technology has made itself known with a curved OLED display. It starts near the driver’s door and continues halfway across the dash, totaling about 38-inches of screens. The AKG Studio Reference 36-speaker sound system is one of the best sound systems I’ve heard in a GM vehicle and even rivals some of the other luxury vehicles.

Cost: $148,195; as tested $151,285

MPG: 11 MPG City; and 16 MPG Highway. I managed 18.2 mpg in 440 miles of mixed driving.

Options: $700 console refrigerator with freezer; $625 Argent silver metallic $1,795 destination charge

Safety: HD surround vision camera; enhanced auto parking assist; teen driver mode; adaptive cruise control; enhanced automatic emergency braking; forward collision alert; safety seat alert; lane keep assist/ lane departure warning; lane change alert/ side blind zone alert; rear pedestrian alert; reverse automatic braking; brake pad monitor; trailer side blind zone alert; night vision.

Things to know: When a regular Escalade will not do, the 682hp Escalade V-Series will rocket you to work in supreme comfort and quickly.


  • Huge power from supercharged V8
  • Improved interior with nicer materials and more space than the previous Escalade
  • Style that will get you noticed


  • Loud and very pricey
  • Some might find the large size a challenge when driving in smaller spaces
  • Laughable fuel economy, thanks to all that power!
Federal News Network Logo
Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up