Cadillac Escalade – One of the Most Popular SUVs on the Market


There is something inherently enjoyable about contradictions. Whether it’s jumbo shrimp or controlled chaos, it’s amusing to visualize these concepts in your mind. Well now you can add to that list the following: The 2010 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid. As GM continues trying to green its product line, so it comes that they take their most bombastic, most luxurious barge-like SUV and attempt to make it environmentally friendly. While you may be inclined to congratulate them for the sentiment, the technology may not be present to properly support the product. By that I mean under the hood, you will still find a 332hp 6.0L Ecotec V8 engine powered by the same fossil fuels that this monster SUV is so famously thirsty for. However, now that V8 is assisted by two separate electric motors and an electronically variable transmission that is the basis of GM’s two-mode hybrid platform.

The golden ratio with any hybrid system is if the output of the electric motors assisting the gas engine is efficient enough to offset the additional weight of the battery required to run them. In the case of the Escalade Hybrid, it’s a 300-volt Nickle-metal-hydride (NiMH) system that recharges via recapturing the energy during breaking, similar to other hybrid systems. At low speeds and slow starts, the V8 shuts down and all the power comes from the electric motors. Picture something along the lines of the largest, heaviest and most opulent golf cart in the world. The upside of this is the promise of 4 cylinder quietness with 8 cylinder power and towing capacity when needed.

The expectation is for improvement in the MPG on a hybrid, and the Escalade does offer it to an extent, in city traffic. However, it’s nothing to write home about. The MPG on the 2010 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid is 21 in the city and 22 on the highway. That’s a marginally notable 9 MPG improvement over the 2009 all gas model in the city, and a less thrilling 3 MPG improvement on the highway. With the current price of gas, it seems like the real premium you’re paying for with the 2010 Escalade Hybrid is the ability you’re pretending to be green while not sacrificing a single creature comfort.