2009 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid Preview

FAST FACTS
  • New addition to Escalade lineup

  • Modified body appearance

  • Based on regular-length body style

  • V-8 engine with two electric motors

  • 25% to 30% increase in fuel economy

  • 22-inch wheels and tires

  • Available rear- or 4-wheel drive (4WD)

  • Seating for up to 8

  • 6000-pound towing capacity

  • Sales to start in summer 2008

Introduction

Cadillac's release of the Escalade full-size sport utility vehicle (SUV) in 1999 sent the company in a new direction and made the brand cool again with young buyers. Cadillac added the Escalade EXT, a sport utility truck with a fold-down midgate, for the 2002 model year, and expanded the line again in 2003 with the release of the long-wheelbase Escalade ESV. The third-generation Escalade made its debut for the 2007 model year, and for 2009, Cadillac is adding another model, the Escalade Hybrid.

The Escalade Hybrid will be available only as a regular-length model. It will share its two-mode hybrid powertrain with the Chevrolet Tahoe and GMC Yukon Hybrids, and will be available with rear- or 4-wheel drive. Cadillac says the Escalade Hybrid will benefit from a 50% increase in fuel economy in city driving and a 25% to 30% increase overall. Sales are scheduled to start in the summer of 2008.

Model LineupThe 2009 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid will be a single model in the Escalade lineup. Like other Escalades, it will have the following standard equipment: tri-zone automatic climate control with rear controls; tilt wood/leather-wrapped steering wheel; cruise control; leather upholstery; heated front- and second-row bucket seats; 14-way power front seats with lumbar adjustment; power-adjustable pedals; memory for the driver's seat, mirrors and pedals; third-row split folding bench seat; heated, auto-dimming, power exterior mirrors; power windows and locks; remote keyless entry; remote engine starting; Bose AM/FM radio with 6-disc CD changer; XM satellite radio with one-year subscription; OnStar assistance system with one-year subscription; trip computer; rain-sensing wipers; auto-dimming rearview mirror; universal garage door opener; power liftgate; automatic headlights; theft-deterrent system; Xenon headlights; trailer hitch platform with 7-wire harness; and Cadillac's Road Sensing Suspension with adjustable shock absorbers and rear load leveling. In addition to those features, the 2009 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid will come standard with an 8-inch touch screen for the standard navigation system and hybrid power flow screen and P285/45R22 tires on chromed aluminum wheels. A second-row bench seat will be available for 8-passenger seating. Though Cadillac hasn't released full information, the Escalade Hybrid will most likely have interior and exterior modifications that will eliminate the base Escalade's standard fog lights, rear opening glass and full-size spare tire.

Hardware

The 2009 Cadillac Escalade's two-mode hybrid system mates GM's Vortec 6.0-liter V-8 engine with the company's new Electrically Variable Transmission (EVT). The EVT has two electric motors and four fixed gears. One of the motors aids power at low speeds and the other lends a hand at highway speeds. The V-8 engine also has GM's Active Fuel Management system, which shuts down four cylinders under light load conditions to conserve fuel. Total output is 332 hp at 5100 rpm and 367 lb.-ft. of torque at 4100 rpm.

Under light throttle, the electric motors can propel the Escalade up to 30 mph. With heavier throttle, the gasoline engine starts. Like other systems, the gasoline engine turns off at stoplights and restarts when needed. GM says the electric motors can allow the engine to operate in 4-cylinder mode more often. Fuel economy estimates have not been released, but the similar Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid is EPA rated at 21 mpg city/22 mpg highway with 2WD and 20 mpg city/20 mpg highway with 4WD.

The Escalade Hybrid will use regenerative braking to charge the batteries, which will also lend their power to the electric power steering system and electrically driven air conditioning compressor. The latter will keep the air conditioning on when the engine is shut off.

The 2009 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid will be rated to tow up to 6000 pounds with 2WD and 5700 pounds with 4WD. By comparison, the base Escalade, which has a 403-hp 6.2-liter V-8 engine, can tow up to 7700 pounds.

The 2009 Escalade Hybrid will feature exterior modifications meant to reduce weight and drag. These changes will most likely include an aluminum hood; lowered front air dam; blocked off fog-light openings; tapered running boards; an aluminum tailgate; fixed rear glass; tire inflation kit in place of a full-size spare tire; reshaped rear pillars; and center high-mounted stoplight.

Safety

Like other Escalades, the 2009 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid will come standard with dual front air bags; head-protecting curtain side air bags with rollover deployment; anti-lock 4-wheel disc brakes; tire-pressure monitor; rear obstacle detection; traction control; and electronic stability control with rollover mitigation. A rearview camera will also be available.

Technology

On the inside, the 2009 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid will have its own gauge cluster with a special tachometer and an "economy gauge." The economy gauge will have a green bar that represents a zone drivers can aim for to maximize fuel economy. The tachometer will include an "Auto Stop" reading to indicate when the gasoline engine is shut off. The 8-inch touch screen will also include a power flow screen to show if the power is coming from the electric motors, the gasoline engine, or both. It will also display real-time fuel economy, when regenerative braking is charging the batteries, and if the vehicle is in 2WD or 4WD mode.

View the 2012 Cadillac Escalade.