Jul 09, 2023

2025 Cadillac Escalade IQ Preview

This flashy new model is a supersized premium SUV for the electric era

The Escalade IQ follows the Lyriq SUV and Celestiq ultraluxury car in ushering a near, electrified era for the American luxury brand. In doing so, it reinterprets the Escalade—a model long positioned as a flashy full-sized SUV—as a supersized electric SUV.

Everything about this model is big and bold, from its exterior dimensions and dash display to its massive battery and prodigious power output.

CR’s Take • Outside • Inside • What Drives It • Active Safety and Driver Assistance

Just take a look at the numbers:

It falls between the regular Escalade and the extended version (known as the ESV), and it promises heightened luxury, with enough excess to woo 1 percenters.

Cadillac says pricing will start around $130,000, putting it at roughly $50,000 more than a regular gas-powered Escalade. And it can climb to $175,000 with upgrades.

The Escalade IQ will be built at GM’s Factory Zero Detroit-Hamtramck facility in Michigan starting summer 2024.

What it competes with: BMW iX, Mercedes-Benz EQS SUV, Range Rover EV, Rivian R1S, Tesla Model XPowertrain: 750-hp, dual electric motors; 200-kWh battery; 1-speed direct drive; all-wheel drivePrice: $130,000-$175,000On sale: Fall 2024

Where the Lyriq and Celestiq look fresh, and a bit otherworldly, the Escalade IQ’s exterior is rather conventional. It reminds of the redesigned 2024 Chevrolet Traverse. Not a bad thing, but not ideal for a vehicle that is about four times as expensive.

This is an elite vehicle priced like a European ultraluxury model. Cadillac has numerous features here to help the Escalade IQ compete in that space, such as the large dash display, sophisticated active safety and driver assistance features including Super Cruise, and four-wheel steering.

Ultimately, its greatest appeal may be its combination of power, tremendous driving range, and rapid recharge times (at compatible public DC fast chargers).

The conventional Escalade trails most of the large luxury SUV segment for Overall Score, with its predicted reliability being too low for it to qualify for our recommendation. Plus, it is a thirsty beast, returning just 16 mpg overall in our tests. But it does have virtues, such as its acceleration, ride, seat comfort, and luxurious cabin—all facets that are expected in the Escalade IQ. We will find out, and report our findings in due course.

GM claims the Escalade IQ is its most aerodynamic, full-sized SUV ever, reducing drag by 15 percent over the regular Escalade. Some of these gains are made through curved surfaces and flush-mounted glass. And it is a factor in the Escalade IQ’s long estimated driving range.

It is hard to get a sense of scale in the photos. Hearing that it is a foot longer than an Escalade (making it more like an Escalade ESV) is hard to register until you learn that those are gigantic 24-inch wheels at the corners.

Vertical lighting, front and rear, carries forward a distinct Cadillac design element. The taillights are quite dramatic from the side, looking a bit like orange safety cones.

The rear corners feature a “floating roof” design, as seen on many other recent models, like the Lexus RX. This styling technique uses black trim to visually lighten the appearance and separate roof and pillar elements.

There is a front trunk, aka “frunk,” under the hood where the engine would traditionally be located. This added storage is sized to hold two golf bags, adding to the vehicle’s versatility.

A panoramic glass roof lets the sun shine in and contributes to the spacious feel for the cabin.

An available entry system powers the front and rear doors open and closed at the touch of a button. The driver’s door can be programmed to open on approach.

There will be two trims: Luxury and Sport. Each is distinguished by trim flourishes, with Luxury wearing brushed aluminum accents and Sport dressed in black metal bits. A two-tone appearance will be offered, with a black roof.

Photo: Cadillac Photo: Cadillac

The minimalist cabin is dominated by screens, with a curved 55-inch display stretching from pillar to pillar (shown below). Ambient lighting can be customized from 126 color choices. These features follow a trend we have experienced in Mercedes-Benz models.

Powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Cockpit Platform, the infotainment system integrates Google services for Google Assistant, Google Maps, and Google Play. Through this, drivers can access live traffic information, navigate to nearby chargers and provide charge location info, and add apps for further customization.

Photo: Cadillac Photo: Cadillac

The standard stereo is a 19-speaker AKG Studio system. Nudging up the trims to Luxury 2 and Sport 2 upgrades to a 36-speaker AKG Studio Reference stereo.

An available Executive Second-Row package (shown below) transforms that passenger space into business class, with stowable tray table, 12.6-inch screens, dual wireless phone charge pads, USB-C and HDMI ports, massaging seats, and head restraint speakers. This package enables an upgrade to a 40-speaker, surround-sound AKG Studio Reference stereo.

A power folding third row adds versatility, while providing seating for up to seven people.

Photo: Cadillac Photo: Cadillac

The Escalade IQ is built on GM’s modular Ultium Platform, which will underpin many models throughout the automaker’s brands, including the GMC Hummer and Chevrolet Silverado EV. Here, it employs a two-motor setup with all-wheel drive.

In Normal mode, the motors generate 680 hp. But for passing, the driver can choose Velocity Max mode to uncork 750 hp, good for a claimed 0-to-60-mph scramble in less than 5 seconds.

The regenerative braking can be set for one-pedal mode, allowing the driver to modulate acceleration and braking through the single accelerator pedal—a technique that many EV owners prefer.

The 24-module lithium-ion battery stores more than 200 kWh of energy, enabling a Cadillac-estimated 450 miles of range. It uses an 800-volt architecture, which enables rapid public DC fast charging. GM says this would provide up to 100 miles of range replenished in just 10 minutes under ideal conditions. The initial images show the Escalade IQ with a Combined Charging System (CCS) port, although GM has committed to switching to Tesla’s North American Charging Standard (NACS) for 2025. (Learn more about GM’s move to NACS.)

The Escalade IQ has bidirectional Vehicle-to-Home (V2H) technology, enabling the SUV to send power back to properly equipped homes—a potential convenience in a power outage. (This feature will become active via a software update for the 2025 model year.) The Escalade IQ can also deliver power to another vehicle, using tech known as Vehicle-to-Load (V2L).

Wheels can make a significant impact on an EV’s range, often accounting for variance in claims. Versions with heavy, larger wheels can often be penalized by 20 to 30 miles. Yet Cadillac is boasting big numbers for the Escalade IQ, even with 24-inch wheels wrapped in 35-inch tires.

The Escalade IQ uses an adaptive independent suspension, front and rear, enabling it to adjust to road conditions dynamically. This promises to smooth out rough patches and tighten up for tackling spirited handling maneuvers. This adaptive system allows the vehicle to be lowered a couple of inches to make access easier and improve aero efficiency on the highway. Similarly, it can be raised an inch from its neutral position to traverse obstacles, like a rough dirt road or even speed bumps. It normally has 6.9 inches of ground clearance.

Another tech trick: It has four-wheel steer that reduces the space needed for low-speed turns to aid with parking-type situations. (Cadillac claims the Escalade IQ’s turning circle is 39.4 feet—that’s less than the 41 feet we measured with the shorter Escalade.) At higher speeds, this feature was designed to improve handling and add stability when towing. Maximum tow capacity is 8,000 pounds.

The Escalade IQ has a full complement of standard active safety and driver assistance features, such as automatic emergency braking with pedestrian and cyclist detection, lane keeping assistance, lane departure warning, and automatic high beams.

The Escalade IQ is fitted with Super Cruise, GM’s active driving assistance system that allows hands-free driving on more than 400,000 mapped miles in the U.S. and Canada. It uses lidar-created map data, real-time cameras, radar, and GPS to monitor the roads and respond accordingly. This system has stood out in our testing in other models for its operation and clear indication when the vehicle is in control and when the situation demands that the driver take charge. The service that supports this feature is free for the first three years.

Automated parking that can operate steering, braking, and shifting to move the sizable machine into parallel and perpendicular parking spots is also standard. When parking yourself, its 360-degree surround-view camera system provides a look around the vehicle.

Photo: Cadillac Photo: Cadillac

Jeff S. Bartlett

Jeff S. Bartlett is the managing editor for the autos team at Consumer Reports. He has been with CR since 2005. Previously, Jeff served as the online editorial director of Motor Trend for 11 years. Throughout his career, Jeff has driven thousands of cars, many on racetracks around the globe. Follow him on Twitter @JeffSBartlett.

What it competes with:Powertrain: Price:On sale: