The world's first full-size luxury hybrid SUV, the Cadillac Escalade Hybrid is in a league of its own - literally. Hybrid powertrains haven't had much traction in full-size trucks or SUVs quite yet, limiting the true competition to this luxury utility, but for those not looking to pay the hybrid premium they can always opt for one of the other models such as the Escalade, Escalade ESV or Escalade EXT.
But if hauling a full family and their gear in luxury while using less fuel than a traditional fullsize SUV is the order of the day, the Escalade Hybrid is the SUV for you.
Available in both standard and Platinum form, the Escalade Hybrid has a dizzying amount of technology, features and luxury to dismantle in order to fully appreciate what is on offer.
For starters, all Escalade Hybrid models feature the same powertrain, which features a 6.0-liter V8 engine with Active Fuel Management and late intake valve closing (Atkinson-cycle combustion process) for reduced pumping losses and better overall fuel economy. That gas engine is good for 332 horsepower and 367 lb-ft of torque on regular unleaded fuel.
Of course, that is only half the equation as there is also a two-mode hybrid delivery system that utilizes a 300-volt nickel-metal hydride Energy Storage System, which combined with the V8 improves fuel economy by 33 percent in the city of the standard Escalade, coming in at 20 miles per gallon in the city.
Although it is a hybrid, this SUV still has available four-wheel drive, although two-wheel drive comes standard. Towing ranges from 5,600 lbs on the 4WD models to 5,800 lbs on the 2WD models.
Escalade Hybrid has an extensive list of features and advanced technology that come as standard, including: side blind zone alert, power retractable assist steps, ultrasonic rear parking assist, rear vision camera system, Bose AudioPilot active noise cancellation technology, which continuously adjusts the music in response to background noise, power-tilting and heated steering wheel, eight-inch navigation screen with CompactFlash memory, rear-seat, roof-mounted DVD system, heated and cooled front seats, adaptive remote start, a power liftgate and more.
Escalade Hybrid Platinum
The platinum variant of the Escalade Hybrid is for those looking for the utmost in luxury while still maintaining optimal fuel economy for a full-size SUV. This model adds a unique front fascia, including modified upper and lower grilles, unique 22-inch wheels, Magnetic Ride Control technology, LED headlamps, a more luxurious interior thanks to full aniline leather in first and second-row seats and a DVD entertainment system with screens flush-mounted into the rear of the front seats.
Magnetic Ride Control works by improving body control through real-time damping - effectively "reading" the road in millisecond intervals and changes damping in just 5 milliseconds. It replaces conventional mechanical-valve shocks with electronically controlled shocks filled with a magneto-rheological fluid containing minute iron particles.
Other standard interior features limited to the Platinum model include unique door sills and floor mats; a heated steering wheel; and heated and cooled cupholders and a power liftgate that opens and closes with the touch of a button.
Shoppers considering the full-size Escalade Hybrid will be hard-pressed to find another vehicle of this size that shares the level of luxury and fuel economy offered in this SUV, but cross-shoppers may consider the less costly (and less luxurious) Tahoe Hybrid, or less fuel-efficient offerings such as the Lincoln Navigator, BMW X5 or Mercedes-Benz GL-Class.