5 SUVs Waiting to Challenge Cadillac’s New Escalade

Not too long ago, General Motors (NYSE:GM) pulled the curtains back on the redesigned Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban, and the corresponding GMC Yukon and Yukon XL. It was only natural, then, that the other large SUV in General Motors’ lineup was going to undergo the same kind of cosmetic transformation. It has — and will be revealed on October 7 in New York.

The Cadillac Escalade has long been a cornerstone of the American luxury SUV scene, though for much of its life, it played the role of a Chevrolet gussied up in a nice suit and new jewelry. However, General Motors has been getting better about setting the Escalade apart from the pack, and it’s expected that the 2015 model will be the furthest divergence yet from its more utilitarian brethren.

However, in the meantime, the luxury market for SUVs has gotten increasingly competitive, as more automakers find the combination of spacious, voluminous vehicles, and leather and wood trim to be a profitable venture.

Here’s a snapshot of what the new Escalade will be going up against upon its release. To scout out its potential rivals, we used the base price for the 2013 model — around $63,745 — and the top-spec hybrid version, weighing in at $87,670 as a range for comparable SUVs. The following vehicles are not ranked.

1. Land Rover Range Rover Sport

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Starting at $63,495, the Land Rover Range Rover Sport is right on par with the Cadillac as far as pricing is concerned. The 2014 Range Rover exchanges Land Rover’s blocky, square styling for a sleeker, more streamlined appearance, but we imagine that its off-road prowess lives up to Land Rover’s legendary reputation. Buyers can also spring for the LR-V8 Supercharged 5.0 Liter Engine option, good for 510 horsepower and 461 pound-feet of torque.

2. Porsche Cayenne Hybrid S

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For about $70,000 — about halfway between the Escalade trim levels — buyers can opt for the Porsche Cayenne Hybrid S, its 380 horsepower (and a 0-60 time of 6.1 seconds). The Cayenne will also return nearly 25 miles per gallon on the highway, all while swathing the driver in all the trappings that one would expect from a Porsche. For buyers looking for more, there’s the Cayenne GTS — $83,300 will buy you a 0-60 time of 5.4 seconds, 420 horsepower, and a more aggressive-looking aero kit (don’t worry, it’s functional too).

3. Mercedes-Benz GL Class

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The largest member of the Mercedes-Benz family weighs in at $63,000 at base (before the destination fee), on par with the Escalade. Better yet, the base model GL is the BlueTEC diesel version, which returns 19 miles per gallon in the city and 26 on the highway (the Escalade boasts just 14 and 18, respectively). However, if efficiency isn’t your top concern, you can spring for the GL450, with the 4.6 liter V8 (with two turbos).

4. Ford Lincoln Navigator

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The Ford (NYSE:F) Lincoln Navigator has a special place in this list, as its really the only formidable American competitor to the Escalade. Though the Ford vehicle starts slightly lower than the comparable Cadillac — at $57,875 — the Navigator offers much of what the Escalade does, including generous amounts of cargo room, ample ground clearance, stocky, masculine looks, and a V8 as the base engine.

5. Toyota Land Cruiser

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Though the Toyota (NYSE:TM) badge doesn’t necessarily play in the same league as that of a Cadillac or Porsche, the Land Cruiser is not your typical Toyota. For one, it has a base price of $78,755, and comes as finely stocked as any other luxury SUV. At its heart is a 5.7 liter V8, and while the Cadillac boasts more horsepower and more torque from its 6.2 liter V8, the Toyota’s interior will give the Escalade a run for its money any day.

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