2015 Cadillac Escalade 4WD Platinum

“Awesome.” That was the word used by a colleague in regards to the 2015 Escalade Platinum.

“Awesome.”

That was the word used by a colleague in regards to the 2015 Escalade Platinum.

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The word in the context that he used it—as in “inspiring awe”—goes back to the late 17th century, and arguably this is one of the most apt uses of the word because from all angles, the vehicle is simply damned awesome.

You look at it, and you know that it is a 21st century vehicle. It is contemporary without and within, it is a vehicle that doesn’t harken back to some earlier time nor does it seem temporarily unhinged like something out of Quantum Leap.

First of all, there is its presence. It is like a giant work of sculpture made by an artist from sheet metal and polymers. There is a danger when you have such a giant expanse of sheet metal as is the case with the body side of the Escalade that it will be bland, but they’ve managed to provide just enough form to make it distinctive.

As is the case with many luxury vehicles today, the Escalade has an abundance of LEDs in the front and rear. The rear taillights are particularly striking, as this is a large, high vehicle (after all, it is rolling on 22s), and the tail lamps, outboard on both sides, reach all the way to the top of the vehicle.

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In the front, there is what is called “Total Internal Reflection” lighting. Which means that thanks to the deployed lenses and LEDs, the forward visibility is superb.

But the lighting that I found to be most impressive at night was that which is in the door handles. You want to know what luxury is? It’s something that invites you in to its space, space that, especially in the case of the Platinum trim, is full of leather-clad furniture and surfaces that are planked with rear wood.

Seriously: this vehicle is in many ways a living room on wheels, which is not meant to be a knock in any way, but just to give a sense that the space that is within the vehicle is voluminous and the accoutrements are first-rate. Three rows. Lots of room. Perhaps think of it as a living room that one would have were one to be a Cadillac customer.

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The vehicle as driven had a single option—and it had a single option because the vehicle has everything you can otherwise imagine, ranging from a 16-speaker Bose audio system to heads-up display, from two DVD screens in headrests to a cooler in the center console, and then some—which is a power retractable running board. That is an option all-but essential for those of us who aren’t members of the NBA.

The Escalade is powered by a 420-hp, 6.2-liter V8 engine. Yes, a massive engine. A powerful engine. An engine that is pretty much required to propel this vehicle. That is, a 4WD Escalade with 20-in. wheels has a curb weight of 5,840 lb., so you’ve got to add a few more pounds to account for the larger wheels on this one.

The engine (which is mated to a six-speed automatic) moves the Escalade with authority, if not alacrity.

(The engine, by the way, has GM’s “Active Fuel Management” system, which means that cylinders are deactivated when all eight aren’t needed.)

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The vehicle in all aspects seems as solid as a proverbial vault, whether it is the “thunk” you hear when slamming the door or the sense you have when driving over (into?) potholed surfaces. But whereas that simile seems to imply that it may be as stationary as something in First National Whatever, that doesn’t hold, because it moves you in comfort, safety (there is available technology including automatic braking, forward collision alert, lane departure warning, front-center airbag) and style.

Which brings me back to “awesome.”

My colleague asked what the sticker on the 2015 Escalade 4WD Platinum reads.

And the actual bottom line: $94,565.

“Awesome,” he remarked.

Selected specs

Engine: 6.2-liter V8

Material: Cast-aluminum block and heads

Horsepower: 420 @ 5,600 rpm

Torque: 460 lb-ft @ 4,100 rpm

Transmission: Hydra-Matic 6L80 six-speed automatic

Steering: Electrical power-assist rack-and-pinion

Wheelbase: 116 in.

Length: 203.9 in.

Width: 80.5 in.

Height: 74.4 in.

EPA interior volume: 120.8-cu. ft.

Maximum cargo room: 94.2-cu. ft.

EPA: mpg city/highway/combined: 15/21/17 mpg