The 2021 Escalade is priced from $89,798, the ESV starts at $93,298, in Canada.
Pricing for the 2022 Grand Wagoneer begins at $100,995, in Canada.
There’s a new war brewing in the lucrative large luxury SUV segment.
It’s easy to say that it was only a matter of time before Chrysler/Diamond-Star/DaimlerChrysler/FCA/Stellantis, arguably the company that created the premium luxury SUV segment with the Jeep Grand Wagoneer almost 60 years ago, was to make a comeback. The wait has been a long one for big Jeep SUV fans but it’s now over. The 2022 Grand Wagoneer is here and ready to faceoff with the likes of the BMW X7, Lincoln Navigator, and its true arch-rival, the Cadillac Escalade.
For more than 20 years, almost 10 years after the plug was pulled on the real Jeep Grand Wagoneer, Lincoln and Cadillac especially reigned unchallenged in the full-size luxury segment. Buyers of these vehicles are clearly fearless as near six-figure price tags and regular three-figure fill-ups are part of the daily routine. They also enjoy the finer things in life as these often over-sized (Grand, ESV, and L) include impressive technologies, incredible comfort, and lots of power.
The arrival of the 2022 Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer will shake up the segment dominated by the GM trucks including the GMC Yukon and Chevrolet Tahoe, and the king that is the Escalade. The big Cadillac has throned at the top since it arrived for the 1999 model year but that may change soon. Stellantis has loaded up the Grand Wagoneer with everything and has cut no corners.
For this specification comparison, we will thus pit the recently completely revamped Cadillac Escalade against the all-new highly-anticipated 2022 Grand Wagoneer. We understand that the 2022 Wagoneer will be cross-shopped with the GMC Yukon and Chevrolet Tahoe which is why is it being left out of this duel.
What is the pricing and when will they be available?
US pricing for the 2021 Cadillac Escalade begins at $76,195 while the extended version ESV starts at $79,195. In Canada, the Escalade is priced from $89,798 while the ESV starts at $93,298. One of the main reasons for the pricing gap between the two countries has to do with 4WD being standard in Canada and optional in the US.
Both versions of the 2021 Cadillac Escalade are available now in both countries.
As for the 2022 Grand Wagoneer, pricing will start at $86,995 in the US. In Canada, the Grand Wagoneer begins at $100,995. In both countries, 4WD is standard on the Grand Wagoneer.
The Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer will arrive in the second half of 2021. As of noon on March 11th, pre-orders can be made.
Which Has The More Powerful And Efficient Powertrains?
The new Cadillac Escalade is delivered as standard with a 6.2-litre V8 which generates 420 horsepower and 460 lb.-ft. of torque. Optionally, it can be fitted with the 277 horsepower 3.0-litre Duramax Diesel V6 and its 460 lb.-ft. of torque. Both are mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission.
With the 6.2-litre, the Caddy, with AWD, can average 14/19 mpg or 16.8/12.4L 100/km. The Duramax is the star here as it returns 20/26 mpg or roughly 11.8/9.1L 100/km.
As for pulling power, the Escalade can manage up to 8,000lbs while the ESV can do 7,900lbs.
The Grand Wagoneer earns the 392 cubic-inch 6.4-litre V8 that provides 471 horsepower and 455 lb.-ft. of torque. It is coupled to an 8-speed automatic transmission. Fuel efficiency numbers are not yet available however towing is known and rated at 9,850lbs.
Which Offers The Most Standout Features?
The war between these luxury SUVs takes place on all fronts, including features and technologies.
Cadillac has proudly boasted about its 38 inches of curved OLED displays (includes a 7.2″ diagonal Control Panel, 14.2″ diagonal Cluster Display, and 16.9″ diagonal Infotainment screen) but that’s only one element. As standard, the SUV includes wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a 19-speaker AKG premium audio system, HD surround vision, heated seats all around, and loads more. Options and integrated features include Cadillac’s Super Cruise hands-free driver assistance, a 36-speaker AKG premium audio system, head-up display, cooled front seats, a rear camera mirror, soft-close doors, a rear entertainment system with a pair of 12.6-inch displays, and more.
Mechanically, the 4WD system includes a single-speed transfer case and the chassis is set up with a “regular” suspension. Magnetic ride control, air suspension, and an Autotrac 2-speed transfer case are either optional or included with higher trims.
The 2022 Grand Wagoneer does not suffer any self-doubt. It features up to 75 inches of total screen area, 45 of which are on the front dash panel. It consists of a 12.3-inch instrument cluster and a 12-inch horizontal central display which sits above a 10.25-inch display for various comfort controls. Furthermore, a 10.25-inch display for the front passenger is also available. Rear passengers get a central 10.25-inch screen and two 10.1-inch entertainment screens, for an extra 30 inches of screens.
The Grand Wagoneer is absolutely loaded with functions such as Uconnect5, Alexa virtual assistant, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and Fire TV for Auto that offers access to hundreds of tv shows and movies. As well, there’s a 23-speaker McIntosh MX1375 Reference Entertainment System, 360-degree surround view, and far more.
The Grand Wagoneer does stand out when it comes to off-roading specs. As standard, it is fitted with the Quadra-Lift air suspension system (with five modes totaling 3.6 in. of lift), the Selec-Terrain traction management system, the Quadra-Drive II 4WD system with electronic limited-slip rear differential, and hill descent control. In this department, there is no comparison.
Stellantis is also selling, along with the Grand Wagoneer, a total ownership experience, defined as “American Premium.” These services, listed below, come at no extra cost and are extremely convenient, comforting, and appealing in every respect.
Five years of worry-free dealership maintenance, including oil changes and tire rotations
24/7 concierge support and roadside assistance via phone or online chat
No charge equivalent service loaner
Trip interruption coverage
VIP access to select, exclusive events
Interior and exterior vehicle cleaning and a full tank of fuel when serviced
Vehicle pickup/delivery for service
Complimentary WiFi and phone charging station
What About Styling?
Both SUVs were designed to command attention. The idea is that it must be clear to all that they respectively sit at the very top of their respective company’s model lineups. They are the flagships.
The Cadillac Escalade is stunning, familiar, and subdued all at once. This is due in large part to its GM-truck roots still showing. Even so, the ‘Slade’s gargantuan grille and narrow headlights are significant and all Cadillac. The simplicity in this SUV’s lines project no non-sense power and presence. And, a rare fact, the trucks look right in both Luxury and Sport variants.
The Escalade’s cabin is superb. There’s a fine mixture of delicate touches with robust touches. Even the base model’s leatherette surfaces are very premium and praise goes to the attention to details and overall craftsmanship.
The Grand Wagoneer is slightly more difficult to size up. We’ve not yet seen it, the Wagoneer or new Jeep Grand Cherokee L in the steel therefore it’s not possible to draw parallels. No matter, it’s clear that Stellantis purposefully created a link between Jeep and Wagoneer with the signature seven-slat grille. The Grand Wagoneer’s design is also simple and boxy but we’re not quite ready to say that it’s more attractive than the Cadillac.
The Grand Wagoneer’s cabin generates the same thoughts. Although it’s loaded with countless screens, this does not automatically mean that it’s nicer. In fact, the dashboard’s layout is far more conventional than the Escalade’s. From what we can see in the images, much attention has also been paid to where materials and craftsmanship are concerned.
How important are these vehicles for their respective brands?
These two large premium luxury SUVs are poster boys and flagships. They represent what both car companies can do best when it comes to building big SUVs. They both carry cutting-edge technologies that will eventually trickle down into lesser models.
Neither will represent massive volumes for their respective brands however they are important beacons of image. In this war, the Cadillac Escalade has everything to lose while the Grand Wagoneer has everything to win.
Our Thoughts On The 2021 Cadillac And 2022 Grand Wagoneer
And that’s basically it. Consumers of oversized high-end SUVs will throw themselves at the Grand Wagoneer because of the name’s roots, the promise of unmatched off-road abilities (even if they’ll never leave pavement), and Stellantis’ promise of a unique ownership experience.
The Cadillac Escalade is an exceptional luxury SUV and, without a doubt, the best of its kind ever. The countless improvements made by GM when redesigning their collection of full-size SUVs has lifted them all above much of the competition including the German foes. The Escalade sat unchallenged until now.