2009 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid Review – Watch CNET’s Video Review

30 Aug 2014 | Author: | Comments Off on 2009 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid Review – Watch CNET’s Video Review
Cadillac Escalade

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The good: With its hybrid power train, the 2009 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid turns in good fuel economy for such a heavy vehicle without compromising performance. Traffic reporting is well-integrated with the navigation system and driving aids include blind-spot detection and a rear-view camera with object warnings.

The bad: Audio sources are limited in the Escalade Hybrid, with no iPod integration available. Bluetooth phone support is basic and can’t download a phone’s contact list.

The bottom line: The 2009 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid combines ostentatious luxury with an overt green theme, while offering seating for seven, cargo room, and fuel economy worthy of a V-6.

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2009 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid

The Escalade Hybrid is a good road tripper, with its large cabin, comfortable seating, and reasonable mileage.

Our gear safely packed away, we guided the Escalade Hybrid out through downtown traffic. The hybrid power train can carry the heavy truck forward under electric power alone, but that involves a light touch on the accelerator for which we generally didn’t have patience. If you don’t want cars honking behind you, give it some gas.

That said, the transition from electric-only to its engine running is smooth.

In narrow lanes, the big truck is unwieldy at best, but the steering responds well enough to keep it in its lane. Of particular benefit is the blind-spot detection system, which lights up a signal in the side mirror if a smaller car in the next lane slips below the Escalade’s high sight lines. Also helpful is the XM NavTraffic overlaid on the navigation screen’s maps, which warned us of an incident 5 miles ahead on our route.

It was easy enough to hit the Avoid button and have a new route automatically programmed into the navigation system.

Finally out on the freeway, the Escalade was cruising at speed. Heated and cooled front seats with 14-way adjustment, leather, wood trim–yes, this is definitely a Cadillac. But wait, what sort of ride quality is this?

The jolts and bumps from the road were palpable in the cabin, not something we would expect from a brand that used to produce big, long sedans that floated down the long, open roads. Platform-sharing has the Escalade Hybrid built on the same GMT900 platform as other big GM SUVs and pick-up trucks, which aren’t known for smoothing out the road.

To save gas, the engine shuts off half its cylinders when cruising on the highway.

Cadillac Escalade

70 mph on the freeway isn’t optimal driving for most hybrids, as you can’t take best advantage of all that instant torque from the electric motor. But the Escalade Hybrid has another trick up its sleeve: cylinder deactivation. Its big 6.2-liter V-8 stops sending fuel to half its cylinders while cruising at speed.

But the engine mode indicator showed that this feature is kind of sensitive. In low, rolling hills, a little gas applied intended to keep the car’s speed up inevitably resulted in those four extra cylinders kicking in. Just like the electric mode, it would take a very gentle touch on the accelerator to use the truck’s fuel-saving features to their fullest.

The traffic integration with the navigation system is excellent, letting you easily avoid jams.

Although the navigation system is DVD-based, it responds well, refreshing the map quickly enough and keeping good track of the Escalade Hybrid’s position. It offers the usual categories for points of interest, but doesn’t go really deep with individual retail locations.

Destination entry is intuitive and easy with a large onscreen keyboard. Route guidance is also decent, but doesn’t have text-to-speech, so it won’t read out the names of streets.

The only really remarkable feature of the navigation system is XM NavTraffic, which GM integrates really well. Not only will the system warn you about slow traffic on a programmed route, giving you a detour button right on the warning, it will also raise a warning if it finds a traffic incident within 10 miles on the current road. For example, if you jump on the freeway and there’s an accident 5 miles down the road, the system will proactively warn you.

These RCA jacks on the rear of the console are the only means of plugging in an MP3 player.

The stereo uses the same interface, but is lacking in audio sources. It comes with a six-disc changer right below the LCD, along with XM satellite radio.

But the only option for an external MP3 player is a set of RCA jacks set into the back of the center console, a placement intended for the rear-seat passengers to take advantage of the entertainment package in the back. The rear-seat entertainment includes an LCD hanging from the ceiling, which can show DVDs or input from a composite video jack next to the RCA jacks.

Cadillac Escalade
Cadillac Escalade
Cadillac Escalade
Cadillac Escalade
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