Cadillac Escalade

The specs, highs, lows and average price of a Cadillac Escalade

The Good

The 2012 Cadillac Escalade is a powerful, stylish full-sized luxury SUV that offers a quiet, luxurious ride, especially at highway speeds.

The Bad

Though the Escalade’s V8 engine is mighty, it is also a gas guzzler. There are those who feel the vehicle’s styling is showy and loud. Third-row seating is cramped, unless you opt for a trim package that features an extended body.

The Bottom Line

If you want an SUV with style to burn and can absorb the vehicle’s high gas costs, the Cadillac Escalade is a reliable and refined choice.


The price of a Cadillac Escalade depends on whether you choose the base model, or whether you opt for a higher-end trim package. Like the 2011 Cadillac Escalade, the 2012 model is available in a base model as well as Luxury, Premium and Platinum trim packages. You can also opt for an ESV model, which offers an extended cab and a roomier cabin.

MSRP: $64,165 to $86,840

Average paid: $61,598 (base model)


Acceleration and power

Armed with an extremely powerful V8 engine that generates more than 400 horsepower, the 2012 Cadillac Escalade has impressive acceleration and pickup and excels in highway driving conditions. It goes from 0 to 60 miles per hour in 6.7 seconds and has a top speed of 144 miles per hour, both of which are very respectable considering the vehicle’s curb weight of nearly 5,500 pounds.

The V8 engine also provides excellent payload and towing capacity stats. The 2012 Escalade has a payload of 1,555 pounds and a maximum towing capacity of 8,300 pounds, both of which rate near the top of its class.

Handling and braking

Given its girth, it’s to be expected that the 2012 Escalade is not the most nimble or agile vehicle. However, it corners nicely for an SUV of its size, displayed relatively little body tilt during high-speed testing, and provides a very smooth, very even and very quiet ride, especially at high speeds. The adaptive suspension provides excellent stability. The power-assisted four-wheel anti-lock brakes, which come standard on all 2012 models, are configured as ventilated (in the front) and solid (in the rear).



The 2012 Cadillac Escalade offers standard seating for seven passengers with a 2-3-2 configuration in the front, middle and rear seating rows respectively. The two third-row seats are not really practical for anyone but small children, unless you purchase the extended-body ESV model, in which case they are full-sized. Rear seating rows are collapsible to increase cargo space, and leather seating is standard, even in the base model.

Front head room and leg room measure in at 41 and 41.3 inches respectively, with 39 inches of head room and leg room in the second row.


As you might expect from a luxury vehicle, the 2012 Escalade is loaded with advanced features designed to make life on the road easier. Some of the most useful features include a blind spot alert, rear-view camera, ultrasonic parking assistance, magnetic ride control, a built-in navigation computer with 8-inch screen, heated and cooled front seating, a power lift gate, remote ignition, and a noise cancellation feature built into the audio system which automatically adjusts music volume based on cabin noise.

You can upgrade the standard navigation computer to an advanced unit that provides real-time traffic updates, 3D landmark and destination imaging, and voice prompting technology.

Cargo space

The Cadillac Escalade for sale on today’s market offers an enormous cargo capacity of 108.9 cubic feet. With the second-row seats intact, the vehicle still has an impressive 60.3 cubic feet of cargo space. Keeping the third-row seats in place, you can still pack 16.9 cubic feet of cargo into the vehicle.


The 2012 Escalade offers a comprehensive range of standard safety features, including front-row dual-stage airbags, head curtain side airbags for the first, second and third seating rows, and front seat tensioners. Electronic stability control, LED daytime running headlights and anti-lock brakes are among the other standard features which enhance safety. The Escalade performed well on government crash tests, earning a four-star rating in the overall category and a five-star rating in both front and side impact tests.


The Cadillac Escalade last underwent a major redesign in 2007, and the 2012 model is virtually unchanged from the previous year’s, with the exception of some different offerings amongst the various trim packages. The Escalade has one of the largest and most powerful engines in its class, though its fuel economy is below average, even for the luxury SUV market. In response to criticism, GM now offers a hybrid Cadillac Escalade as an alternative.

  • Transmission: 6-speed automatic with overdrive
  • Drivetrain: Rear-wheel drive (all-wheel drive available)
  • Engine Type: V8
  • Engine Size: 6.2 L
  • Horsepower: 403 @ 5700 RPM
  • MPG, City: 13 MPG
  • MPG, Highway: 18 MPG
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