So, General Motors has renewed its lineup of full-sized SUVs for the 2015 model-year. It propagates the tradition of underpinning these models on the same body-on-frame architecture and which include the Cadillac Escalade, GMC Yukon and Chevy Tahoe.
The Detroit company has made efforts to differentiate the models, while keeping costs as low as possible, but all look 100 percent identical from the side. That may not be too much of an issue for the non-premium Chevy and GMC variants, but it is, in my view, for the Cadillac.
Sure, its interior is the best of the bunch, looking quite snazzy (bar the oversized shifter stalk) and of the highest apparent quality – there’s also a newfangled digital display cluster, preferred in favor of traditional dials, and that’s meant to exude premium as well. However, step back outside, and on to the side, so that you don’t see the trademark LED headlights, grille or badge, and you realize it could be any the other two.
This will definitely become a problem for those who buy a 2015 Escalade to pose as their extra financial efforts to plump for the premium model are negated by GM’s lack of interest/imagination in its approach to diversifying the range – people may say you just have a Chevy with a fancy front.
It shouldn’t matter, but it does, and I think GM should have known better here, and tried harder to differentiate the luxury model from the lesser (-badged) ones by giving it a unique body – I for one regard the identical and very noticeable C-pillar design found on all three models as proof of very evident corner-and-cost-cutting, because this is a case of already having a design package, but working on the different styling ideas for each model (and frankly not going far enough).
Worth noting, and appreciating is the fact that the Cadillac has a more unique interior that greatly differs from that of the GMC and Chevrolet models, which share several common bits such as the center console – you could say it adds to the individuality value that’s kind of lacking here…
The bottom line is that yes, the Escalade is the most imposing of the new GM SUVs, and has the biggest and most angular grille, but for me, it just doesn’t cut it as a self-standing and unique model. I know this has been the brands’ approach since the first one launched in 1999, but this new one differs just as little from the regular models as the old one. I would call it willful stagnation, or beating a perilously ill horse (the formula/idea) to keep going, when it could never really stand up on its own without props.
Cadillac was giving me the impression that it was actually trying to become a key player in the premium segment, with some competent (and good looking) sedans that received good review scores, but with this new Escalade being a reworked Chevy, and not being its own individual model, it shouldn’t really be encouraged.
Merely rebadging or reworking Chevys never got Cadillac anywhere in its more recent history (from the 1980s onward), and the old Escalade(s) I think sold more on clever marketing, an image created by celebrities and the rap song lyrics that questionably chose them as the subject of their vehicular praise. You should be careful of what one soaks up from all of the advertising that we are surrounded with, and should always have a clear mind when purchasing a vehicle, to know where the desire comes from – whether it’s induced, or naturally-occurring.
That is my view on the matter, but please do comment and share yours in the dedicated section below that also supports photo uploads. Before you do, though, do check out our two structured galleries that show all the new models side by side.