2008 Cadillac Escalade Interior
This interior review was written when the 2008 Cadillac Escalade was new.
The luxurious and spacious interior of the 2008 Cadillac Escalade receives mostly favorable reviews. With the seating for up to eight people and a host of luxury features standard, the Escalade can transport a crowd in comfort and style.
Despite complaints about the too-close-to-the-floor third row seat, critics find that, on balance, the Escalade is a comfortable place, CNET says "the interior of the Escalade is enormous, with all three rows providing enough space for adult passengers to ride in comfort."
"The Escalade's new interior is terrific," says the Kansas City Star. "It communicates luxury instantly." The New York Times adds "the vehicle's leather-clad, seven-passenger cabin has been upgraded and feels more luxurious, thanks to higher-quality materials and more attractive design" The dashboard was a reviewer favorite. Edmunds notes "the Escalade's two-tone dash has graceful lines that easily accommodate a large, colorful navigation screen and faux walnut inlays" Yet, with so many tech and luxury feature, The Auto Channel found "the dash too busy," adding "the center stack has no fewer than 40 individual buttons and dials to manipulate not counting all the options on the touch-control navigation and audio screen. The controls are well annotated though I'll acknowledge. In this case elegance is not necessarily simplicity."
The Escalade offers buyers many different seating configurations and the ability to seat up to eight people. The standard seating holds seven, with captain's chairs in the front two rows and a three-person bench in the third row. While most reviewers think that the second row captain's chairs are the most comfortable configuration, a three-person bench in the second row is a no-cost option for buyers who need room for eight. The first two rows are very comfortable, but The Car Connection says "don't expect to stick good friends in the back row. If it's a long drive, they might not be too happy, once they're pried out. The seats up front, however, were incredibly comfortable, with just enough bolstering to keep you in place on tight turns."
In the front row, Autobytel says "the driver's and front passenger's seats are large, comfortable and easy to adjust to each person's preference." Leather and heated seats are standard, and cooled seats are optional. Cars.com loved the seats and the cooling option.
"If I had to drive forever in the Escalade's optional heated and cooled seats," they say,
"I don't think I could complain." Despite most reviewers liking the seating, and finding the interior large, Car and Driver's long term road tests find the interior lacking. "Right away, logbook pages began to fill with complaints about space in the Brobdingnagian ute," the report says. "Even in the front seats, our tallest staffers complained that the sunroof cut into their headroom. Meanwhile, those in the second row had to eat their knees, and we removed the third-row seats entirely -- no small task in the Escalade," they add.
Second-row passengers get almost as much luxury as the front row. Heated leather captain's chairs are standard, though a leather, heated three-person bench is a no-cost option. Not only are the second-row seats comfortable, but they also have individual audio and climate controls that lead U.S. News' own Rick Neman to call the interior kid-friendly. He says, "The second-row bucket seats (a no-charge option in lieu of a three-passenger bench seat) keep two siblings separated, and the pass-through between them makes access to the third row quite easy."
The second row seats also have a power flip and fold option to make getting into the third row easier. Car and Driver says "power-assisted elements like these may sound a little hedonistic, but like ATM cards, they're features that make you wonder how you managed to exist before they were invented," and the Detroit Free Press is impressed that the folded seats "are completely covered on the underside, leaving nothing on which to snag your clothes or get your hands dirty."
Like most third-row seats in this class, the seating in the rear of the Escalade gets mixed reviews, though most reviewers thought that the third row is fine for adults for short trips. MSN says "the third-row seat is too low and flat to be as comfortable as the first two rows of seats, but can handle two to three fairly tall adults." In the ESV model, third row leg room drastically improves, thanks to a longer wheelbase. Consumer Guide says "third-row seat roomy in ESV," but is "preteen size in shorter base."
"The Escalade's new interior is terrific," says the Kansas City Star. "It communicates luxury instantly." The New York Times adds "the vehicle's leather-clad, seven-passenger cabin has been upgraded and feels more luxurious, thanks to higher-quality materials and more attractive design." The dashboard was a reviewer favorite. Edmunds notes "the Escalade's two-tone dash has graceful lines that easily accommodate a large, colorful navigation screen and faux walnut inlays" Yet, with so many tech and luxury feature, The Auto Channel found "the dash too busy," adding "the center stack has no fewer than 40 individual buttons and dials to manipulate not counting all the options on the touch-control navigation and audio screen. The controls are well annotated though I'll acknowledge. In this case elegance is not necessarily simplicity." The 2008 Cadillac Escalade comes standard with rear park assist, a power lift gate and a remote starter. A three month trial of XM satellite radio is standard, as are independent tri-zone climate controls. Escalade buys can add an optional DVD-based navigation system. Though reviewers like the way the navigation screen is integrated with the dash board, they didn't mention anything else about the system.
Stereo and Entertainment
The 2008 Cadillac Escalade comes standard with a premium Bose stereo with dual play (CD/DVD radio), in-dash six CD changer, 10 speakers, and MP3 capability. Car and Driver says "there's enough bass in this system to provoke seismic tremors." CNET adds the "sound is full, with rich bass and good separation." Independent rear-seat audio controls with two head phone jacks also come standard. There is also an optional rear seat entertainment system that uses an in-dash DVD player with a roof-mounted 8-inch screen, to keep rear passengers happy.
As loaded as the Escalade is, reviewers took it to task for a feature it didn't offer: Bluetooth. CNET says "The lack of Bluetooth phone integration is a major issue that Cadillac should remedy for the next model year if not before" and The Car Connection notes, "With a growing number of states banning the use of handheld cell phones, this technology is not only convenient, but essential. Yes, you can opt for the OnStar system instead, but we're not fond of that feature, at least not for making cellphone calls. "
The Escalade offers good cargo capacity for its class. Behind the third row seats is 16.9 cubic feet of cargo space. MSN notes "cargo room behind the third-row seat has been improved, but there still isn't much of it unless you flip the seat forward or remove it." Still, the space available should be enough for a trip to the grocery store or a couple of overnight bags. As rear seats are folded or removed, however cargo space drastically increases. With the third row removed the Escalade has 60.3 cubic feet of cargo space. With the second row folded, the Escalade has a cavernous 108.9 cubic feet of cargo space.
Removing the third-row seats proved a sore spot for many reviewers. Car and Driver notes, "Whereas almost every competitor in this segment offers flat-folding third-row seats, those in the Escalade (and in all GMT900 SUVs) fold down into two huge lumps that have to be taken out of the truck to maximize cargo space," and adds that the seats "weigh enough that their removal is a job for strong backs only."
Buyers who need more room may want to consider the Escalade ESV. In this model, there is 45.8 cubic feet of cargo space behind the third row (nearly three times as much as the regular Escalade). With the third row removed the ESV has 90 cubic feet of cargo space and with the second row removed, the ESV has 137.4 cubic feet of cargo space -- more than enough room to haul a large piece of furniture or take a couple of kids to college.