Expert Insights

Cadillac Electrifies the Escalade, Creating the Escalade IQ

Laurance Yap
August 16, 2023
Cadillac's big, brash Escalade is going electric. Will an emissions-free seven-seat SUV with a giant battery be guilt-free too? Read on to learn about the new Cadillac's tech and performance.
The Cadillac Escalade front view exterior

Cadillac’s Flagship Goes Electric: The Escalade IQ

The Cadillac Escalade has become an icon of luxury on American roads, but the giant SUV isn’t exactly what you’d call “green.” Big, heavy, and powered by a huge eight-cylinder engine, the gasoline Escalade is far from efficient, a symbol of conspicuous consumption – and a huge profit generator for the brand. With Cadillac committed to going fully-electric by 2030, a solution was needed to keep Escalade lovers in the Cadillac family – while eliminating emissions. The result? The 2025 Escalade IQ – an all-electric full-size SUV packed with luxury and tech, along with a claimed 450 miles of range*. Is this an Escalade you’ll be able to drive without guilt?

The Cadillac Escalade IQ side profile view in front of city

A Smoother, More Efficient Design

Certainly, the new Escalade IQ won’t lack for visual and physical presence. This is still a large, in-your-face luxury SUV, huge on the road, and gilded with massive wheels, a huge “grille,” and lots of chrome. But, the Escalade IQ’s new look is smoother, slightly curvier, with detailing that is crisp and precise, rather than aggressively in-your face. There’s more sculpture to every one of its huge surfaces, while flush glass on the sides and roof give an appearance of seamlessness, while also contributing to aerodynamic efficiency.

Like most electric vehicles, the Escalade IQ is decorated with copious amounts of LED lighting. There are tall daytime running light blades at the front, vertically-oriented headlights, and twin sets of vertical rear lights. Walk up to the Escalade IQ, and the lights “wake up” dramatically. Other exterior details include available power-operated exterior doors, which can open at the touch of the key fob, a motorized charge port door, a power-operated front trunk, and huge 24-inch wheels.

Escalade IQ will be the first full-size SUV built on General Motors’ innovative Ultium architecture, which also under-pins the ultra-luxury Celestiq hatchback. Designed specifically for electric propulsion, the Ultium platform packages all of the electric components tightly, liberating more space for people and cargo.

The Cadillac Escalade back view exterior

Escalade IQ: Driving Experience

Independent suspension front and rear is paired with magnetically-adjustable shock absorbers and adaptive air suspension to provide incredible ride comfort, despite the massive wheels; ride height can be adjusted up and down by three inches for improved efficiency on the highway as well as more ground clearance off-road. Four-wheel steering means that the Escalade IQ has a tight turning circle, even though it’s huge. Cadillac’s amazing Super Cruise technology is available as well. A true hands-free driver assistance system, it uses precision LiDAR map data, real-time cameras, radars and GPS give the Escalade IQ hands-free driving experience. A number of systems work together through “sensor fusion” to keep the Escalade IQ centered in the lane, while it accelerates or brakes to maintain distance from the vehicle ahead. Super Cruise can also perform automatic lane changes to pass slower traffic.

An electronically-controlled all-wheel drive system is, of course, standard. Two motors – one at the front and another at the rear – offer up to 750 hp and 785 lb-ft of torque, enough to push this huge zero-emissions electric SUV to 60 mph in less than five seconds. The Escalade IQ will also be able to tow up to 8,000 pounds.

Like the gasoline-powered Escalade, the Escalade IQ is not a paragon of efficiency. That power, capability, and claimed 450 miles* of range come thanks to a gigantic battery – 200 kWh is one of the largest batteries available in any EV, which will make for long charging times. On a typical 7.7-kW Level 2 home charger, a full charge would take up to 30 hours, although drivers will rarely need to charge from completely empty. On a compatible DC fast charger, Cadillac says that the Escalade IQ can add 100 miles of range in about 10 minutes. One advantage the giant battery offers is vehicle-to-load (V2L) capability, allowing the SUV to power external devices.

The Cadillac Escalade interior front seat navigation

Luxurious, Tech-Filled Interior

But what most Escalade IQ buyers will get excited about is the new electric SUV’s interior, which seamlessly brings together advanced technology, luxurious materials, and expressive design. Feeling like a high-end hotel lobby, the Escalade IQ’s interior is hugely spacious, enhanced by a panoramic fixed glass sunroof that spans the first two rows of seats. The seats themselves resemble high-end furniture instead of car seats, and all seats are powered, including the third row, which folds at the touch of a button. There’s an available executive second-row seating package that has stow-away tray tables, personal 12.6-inch screens, a separate touch screen with controls for infotainment, wireless charging pads, and seat massagers.

Even more impressive is the tech. Up front, there’s a crazy 55-inch LED display that spans the width of the interior, from roof pillar to roof pillar. It bundles together the instrument cluster, infotainment system, and front passenger entertainment. Integrated gadgets include built-in Google Assistant, Maps, and Play, which give access to communication tools, live traffic updates, information on charging stations, and more. It’s backed up by an available 40-speaker AKG Studio Reference audio system for unparalleled clarity of sound – something you’ll really notice thanks to the silent running of the electric motors.

As with the exterior, the Escalade’s dramatic interior includes customizable ambient lighting with 126 color choices. Even the interior trim has its own backlighting; there are intricate, laser-etched patterns on the wood panels that light up at night.

The all-new 2025 Escalade IQ, which Cadillac claims is its most aerodynamic SUV ever, will begin production next summer at GM’s special Factory Zero facility in Michigan, which recently underwent a $2.2-billion renovation to become GM’s flagship EV production facility. The estimated starting MSRP for the Escalade IQ is $130,000.

*All mileage is EPA estimated.