The Cadillac (NYSE:GM) Escalade is already wearing a pretty nice designer suit, so consider the new Platinum trim a full-blown tuxedo, down to the patent leather shoes and coat tails, which will be available in the fourth quarter of this year. The new trim, which will top the Escalade range, will add “elegant, hand-crafted luxury additions to both the exterior and interior while the entire Escalade range gets new technical features,” namely a 4G LTE WiFi hotspot.
The Escalade will also get a new eight-speed transmission, and a new camera system to improve visibility, the company said in Monday’s press release.
“Since the launch just a few months ago, the next-generation Escalade has proved exceptionally desirable among luxury SUV buyers,” said Uwe Ellinghaus, Cadillac’s chief marketing officer. “Now, within the same year we are able to elevate the Escalade line with the Platinum Collection, as well as deliver enhancements through the entire Escalade range.”
So how much does a full tuxedo cost for your Escalade? About $20,000, as it starts at $90,270, after the $995 destination fee, over the Escalade’s $71,695 starting price. For that price, Cadillac will wrap the seats in Nappa semi-aniline leather, while the dashboard, upper door panels and the center console are clad in hand-stitched and hand-wrapped leather, the company said. There’s sueded microfiber headliner trim, and exotic wood accents, and buyers can choose from two different interior themes.
The front seats are both heated and cooled, and can be configured in eighteen different directions; even a massaging chair is standard for the driver’s seat. There’s a pair of 7-inch LCD screens embedded in the front head rests (in case the overhead 9-inch screen wasn’t enough), and a cooled center console compartment will keep food and drink at ideal temperatures.
“Escalade Platinum models ride on 22-inch wheels and the model is distinguished by chrome accents, Platinum exterior badging, and a unique grille mesh design,” Cadillac said. “All Escalade models wear the new, streamlined Cadillac Crest” that drops the laurels, leaving only the iconic shield design.
At its price point, the Escalade Platinum is in the direct firing line of the Mercedes GL550, which retails for $89,950. It boasts 429 horsepower (versus the Cadillac’s 420), and it features Mercedes’ 4MATIC all-wheel drive as standard. However, the fact that the Escalade can be compared so closely to the Mercedes brand shows inherent progress in itself: ten years ago, the Cadillac was little more than a glorified Suburban, and though they continue to share the same underpinnings, Cadillac has given its leading SUV an identity of its own, and more so with the addition of the Platinum trim.
Despite the industry trend towards smaller SUVs, large SUVs like the Escalade are still proving to be worthwhile investments for automakers. Lincoln recently revamped its Navigator SUV for 2015, and BMW has a three-row, seven passenger model in the cards that will be built at its South Carolina facility. For Cadillac, the new Escalade will likely prove to be a quick seller, and a profit machine for GM.