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Avg. Price Paid:$44,234 - $60,657
Original MSRP: $63,170 - $85,095
MPG: 14 City / 18 Hwy
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2012 Cadillac Escalade Review

Review Last Updated: 10/9/13

These scores and this review are from when the car was new.

The 2012 Cadillac Escalade is one of the most recognizable luxury large SUVs on the market, and critics love that it backs up its bold, blingtastic looks with great performance.

The 2012 Cadillac Escalade comes standard with lots of power, clever interior features and flashy, unmistakable looks, so it’s no wonder it ranks at the top of its class.

Still, test drivers write that while it’s easy to love the Escalade, the decision to buy one can be difficult. Smaller luxury crossovers provide third rows that are more comfortable for adults than the Escalade’s, and many of these models cost less. German and Japanese luxury brands like Audi and Infiniti provide more technological wizardry for a similar price. However, no other SUV has quite the same cachet as the Cadillac Escalade.

The Cadillac Escalade does such a good job of combining standard features, bold looks, luxury and value that it earned our 2012 Best Luxury Full-Size SUV for Families and 2012 Best Luxury Large SUV for the Money awards. Overall, if you have the money to spend and want to stand out from the crowd, test drivers say the Cadillac Escalade is a great choice.

Other Luxury SUVs to Consider

Though you can’t beat this big Cadillac’s style and brawn, other luxury SUVs outdo it with bigger third rows. The Lincoln Navigator is one of few luxury large SUVs with a third row adults can live with, and costs significantly less than the Escalade. Since it’s another truck-based luxury machine, its performance doesn’t even approach sporty, but neither does the Escalade’s, so it remains a good alternative.

If you’re impressed with the quality and capability of this Caddy, but aren’t ready to shell out big bucks, you could consider its corporate cousin, the GMC Yukon in Denali trim. It comes with similar standard features as the Escalade, including leather seats, flashy wheels and a navigation system, but costs significantly less than its Cadillac cousin. You could even opt for the Yukon Hybrid Denali and get better gas mileage than the Escalade and still pay less.

Details: The Cadillac Escalade

The 2012 Cadillac Escalade comes in four trims: Standard, Luxury, Premium and Platinum. The long-wheelbase Escalade ESV comes in these four trims as well. The Cadillac Escalade Hybrid and the Cadillac Escalade EXT, a sport utility truck, are reviewed separately.

There aren’t many changes for the 2012 Cadillac Escalade, but notable ones include new exterior colors and enhancements to the navigation system.

See the full list of 2012 Cadillac Escalade specs.

  • "Cadillac's full-size swagger wagon offers brash, chrome-tastic styling and leather-lined luxury." -- Car and Driver
  • "All of GM's large SUVs are solid choices in their market segments, and although Escalade wagons may not be worth every penny of their extra cost over the Denali, they are good choices in the premium-large-SUV class.” -- Consumer Guide
  • "There are full-size SUVs and then there's the Escalade. You could buy any number of big, luxurious vehicles instead, but there's just no true substitute for Cadillac's celebration of power, brashness and wheels in a package so large the Amish could stick one in a river to power a grain mill.” -- Edmunds
  • “With its size, its brash yet tastefully handsome styling, and its stonkin V8, the Escalade delivers what buyers in this segment are looking for.” -- The Truth About Cars
  • "If you desire a capable, full-size premium luxury SUV that isn't shy about attracting attention, the … Cadillac Escalade ESV belongs in your driveway. That's partially because it probably won't fit in your garage.” -- Kelley Blue Book

Next Steps: Cadillac Escalade

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