Since the second-generation Escalade's debut for the 2002 model year, Cadillac's full-size SUV has set the standard for expectations in domestic luxury SUVs, and has influenced the style of Cadillac's own models since, as well as the features and styling of domestic and foreign SUV competitors. The restyle of the 2007 model was a subtle revision of the proven formula, and by all indications, the upcoming 2014 model won't stray far from Escalade tradition, by continuing to employ some signature styling elements, assuring that it will be immediately recognizable as Cadillac's SUV flagship. We got a glimpse of the next Escalade testing in long- and short-wheelbase versions.
Vertical lighting has lately become a signature Cadillac styling element, and that motif will continue on the 2014 Escalade, with an even sharper style than the current model. As with the current model, LED lighting will continue to figure prominently front and rear. And if you thought the grille on the current model was large and prominent, it's apparent even through the thick cladding that the 2014 Escalade's grille will enlarge further to epic proportions.
In terms of what's behind that massive grille, it's a given that the staple powerplant will be a version of GM's fifth-generation direct-injected small block V-8. Displacement will probably carry over at 6.2 liters. Exact power output is unknown, but expect around a 10-percent jump in output. Unconfirmed, but probable is a twin-turbocharged V-6 option to counter Ford's popular EcoBoost V-6, which is expected soon under the hood of the archrival Lincoln Navigator.
Expected across GM's full-size truck and SUV lineup eventually, the Escalade may be the first to receive a new eight-speed automatic, allowing the 3-ton bruiser to possibly crest the 20 mpg highway mark for the first time in its existence.
On the inside, expect the Escalade to adopt the CUE touch-screen, tablet-inspired interface that debuted on the Cadillac XTS and ATS sedan models.