The Bottom Line
- Hybrid improves city fuel economy.
- True luxury appointments.
- Surprisingly nimble handling.
- Shockingly high price.
- Useless third row compromises luggage capacity.
- Hybrid badges doth protest too much.
- Base prices from $71,685 to $73,285
- Engine: 6.0 liter V8 with GM Two-Mode Hybrid System
- Horsepower: 332 @ 5,100 rpm
- Torque: 367 lb-ft @ 5,100 rpm
- Curb Weight: 5,727 lbs.
- Wheelbase: 116.0” Vehicle Length: 202.5” Width: 79.0” Height: 74.3”
- Warranty: 4 years/50,000 miles basic; 8 years/100,000 miles hybrid components
- Cargo: 108.9 cubic feet Luggage: 16.9 cubic feet
- Transmission: 6-speed automatic with rear-wheel drive or four-wheel drive
- Fuel Economy: 20 mpg city/21 mpg highway
Guide Review - 2009 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid
Some folks want to have it all. The 2009 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid tries to give those folks world-class luxury with respectable fuel economy, all without sacrificing excellent drivability and performance. On that level, Cadillac succeeds. The Hybrid Escalade can only be bought loaded, with practically every option available on the gas-only version included as standard equipment here, including touch-screen navigation. The result is a very expensive vehicle, almost 10 grand more than the gas-only equivalent.
But that’s not what Escalade Hybrid is all about, anyway. Escalade Hybrid is all about being seen driving a hybrid. Big hybrid badges are festooned around the vehicle, most notably in big letters along the lower rocker panels on each side. If your friends and neighbors don’t notice that you’re driving a hybrid, they’re simply not looking.
The hybrid system is pretty transparent in operation – shutting down the gas engine at stops, using the braking system to capture energy to regenerate electricity, and providing additional power in high-demand situations. Drive conservatively in the city, and you can drive under electric power only for short periods, which accounts for the marked improvement in city fuel economy over the gas-only Escalade.
My big complaint about Escalade is still that third row, which is not comfortable for full-grown humans. It doesn’t fold flat into the floor, and is heavy when removed. The extended wheelbase Escalade ESV has better luggage space with the third row in place, but it’s not available as a hybrid.
If you simply must have a hybrid full-size luxury SUV, Escalade Hybrid is your only choice right now. If value is part of the equation, Escalade Hybrid might not be your best option.