The Escalade ESV comes with a with a new Cadillac 6.2L V8 FFV engine and transmission. With room for up to eight, a tow rating of up to 8300 pounds—and tons of bling—the Escalade is luxury writ large. A 420-hp V-8 and eight-speed automatic with rear- drive is standard; all-wheel drive is optional. The long-wheelbase ESV adds about 25 cubic feet of cargo space behind the third row. The rough ride and reluctant handling betray its pickup-truck foundation, and extras can push the price into the stratosphere. A tribute to conspicuous consumption, it’s more than most drivers need.
The Platinum boasts Escalade-exclusive features such as a cooled center-console cubby, a drop-down 8.5-inch infotainment display, dual rear-seat DVD screens, illuminated “Platinum” doorsill plates, a special chrome grille and 22-inch wheels, nappa leather seats, a leather-wrapped dashboard and door panels, and a sueded microfiber headliner. But it’s all additive, a matter of installing more and more stuff to justify pushing up the price. Just as you can’t toss a few cuts of open-pore wood, scraps of nappa leather, and a roll of sueded upholstery into a regular living room and declare that room a royal castle, the Platinum’s finer cabin materials feel like a veneer for humbler scaffolding.