The 2021 Cadillac Escalade arrived late last night, and that we all know what that means: It’s comparison time. Specifically, we’re pitting the new Escalade versus the 2020 Lincoln Navigator. The sales gap between the long-time competitors has grown dangerously close for Cadillac ever since the revolutionary new Navigator came out for the 2018 model year. In 2019, the Navigator was only about 4,000 units down from the Escalade. Cadillac intends to widen that gap copy with a replacement truck, and now it’s time to ascertain if it’s brought the proper goods to the party.
With the redesigned model that now features an independent rear suspension, these two are more alike than they’ve been during a while. The Escalade was cursed with the less space-efficient firm buttocks up so far, as GM hadn’t yet made the switch to IRS that Ford long-ago did. Now that it’s, these two are super similar from a dimensions perspective. Cadillac was playing catch-up during this fight, so it knew exactly where it needed to aim to return out victorious during a specs battle like this one.
A quick note on the chart below. Both of those models have a “regular” and “long” version. The Escalade’s long variant remains named ESV. Therefore the Navigator’s extended version is just called L. within the dimensions section; we distinguish between the 2 with a “/” — the “regular” length version is on the left. Therefore the “long” version is on the proper side of the slash. The numbers are below:
The Lincoln Navigator still reigns supreme when it involves power, as the 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6 is high on both horsepower and torque. GM’s small-block V8 comes close but ultimately falls short by 30 horsepower and 50 pound-feet of torque to the twin-turbo V6. Cadillac does have an ace up its sleeve, though. It comes within the sort of the three .0-liter turbo-diesel inline-six engine. Lincoln hasn’t dropped the PowerStroke diesel into the Navigator (and we’d be shocked if it does), so Cadillac features a unique offering during this segment now. The diesel is going to be optional on the Escalade, but it’s less horsepower and, therefore, the same amount of torque because of the V8. We expect the enormous advantage for the diesel will are available fuel economy, a neighborhood where the Silverado Duramax diesel currently outpaces the full-size truck competition.
Here’s where the Cadillac makes its most significant strides against the Navigator. Since GM went with independent rear suspension setup, the Escalade is now much more significant with significantly more interior space than before. A Cadillac marketing rep even mentioned to us that if they made it any more significant, it’d need some extra lights to suits regulations. Point being, this sucker is large . On the outside , the bottom Escalade and base Navigator line up nearly toe-to-toe. Intensify to the Escalade ESV and Navigator L, and therefore the Cadillac rings in because the biggest. It’s longer in overall length by 5.0 inches and stretches the wheelbase out another 2.5 inches. In theory, that larger footprint should end in some extra interior space.
The numbers show us that it’s a touch of an assortment. A base Escalade has more legroom within the first and second rows, but not within the third row. The margin of victory within the first couple rows is minimal, but the Navigator has 1.2 inches more legroom within the third row. This flip-flops when the extended versions are compared. The ESV’s third-row gains space, which suggests it takes a 0.5 inch lead over the Navigator L that retains an equivalent third-row legroom because of the regular-length version.
Cargo capacity is another story entirely. The Escalade wins in every possible category. With the third row in its upright position, it beats the Navigator by 6.2 cu-ft within the regular-sized SUV and by 8.6 cu-ft within the extended versions. Similar victories are had with the third row lowered and with all seats lowered. Both vehicles get to require advantage of a lower loading floor with the independent suspension design, but GM is in a position to eke out a touch more room for stuff than Lincoln was. When you’re moving your kid to school, those few extra cubes could make all the difference. We’ll give the victory to the Escalade for this section as an entire. They’re incredibly similar when it involves passenger space, but the Escalade’s larger size helps it win the cargo capacity war. Will that encourage Ford and Lincoln to form their next full-size SUV even bigger? Presumably, but the size is significant during this segment.
Cadillac was kind enough to supply us with a full rundown of features and techniques which will be offered with the 2021 Escalade. Now we will compare it with what the Navigator provides. Lincoln makes a 10-inch infotainment screen standard running Sync 3 software. It’s reliable tech, and we’ve grown to love this version of Sync. However, Cadillac aimed to disrupt the screen wars with the 2021 Escalade. As a result, all 2021 Escalades will have a curved 16.9-inch touchscreen for the infotainment system. it’s stunning face to face, and it outclasses the Navigator’s infotainment.
To keep the screen game going, Lincoln also uses a 12-inch digital instrument cluster. Meanwhile, the Escalade uses a 14.2-inch digital instrument cluster that takes advantage of an equivalent curved OLED tech used for the infotainment system. On top of this, the Escalade also features a 7.2-inch touchscreen to the left of the instrument cluster to enrich it. It is sensible that the newer car has superior screen technology, and no-one else is putting curved OLED screens in their vehicles yet. Perhaps Cadillac will start a trend.
Another essential luxury feature is that the competency of the driving force assistance tech. Cadillac is offering its next-gen Super Cruise technology on the 2021 Escalade. That’s something Lincoln doesn’t have a solution for. You get a well-executed adaptive control and a lane-keeping system, but it doesn’t compare to measuring up to the hands-free highway driving that Super Cruise offers. We don’t have a price on Super Cruise within the Escalade yet, but it had been a $5,000 option on the CT6.
The last area of tech we’ll dive into is audio. Cadillac is making tons of noise (see what we did there?) about its new partnership with AKG. We haven’t sampled the audio yet, but a 36-speaker system engineered by a studio recording company might be downright blissful. The quality AKG sound system may be a 19-speaker setup, which is perhaps already overkilling on the ears. Lincoln uses Revel audio for its high-end sound system — it’s a 20-speaker setup. Cadillac has added a few fun features to its 36-speaker system, too. The front passengers can have their own sound zones, therefore the driver can have the music at one volume while the passenger listens at another. Also, Cadillac uses mics to relay the driver’s voice the sound system to passengers within the back (something currently found in Honda and Toyota family vehicles). Without taking note of them side-by-side, we can’t pick a winner here. However, both cars are making top-notch audio a priority, and that’s something we will all drag.
We’re extricating ourselves from this section, thinking that the Escalade did pretty much. Without pricing on options and features to match with, though, it’s impossible to declare a winner just yet. We’ll leave you with these final thoughts. The Escalade is tremendously more competitive than before. Such a lot so, that purchasing one over a Navigator doesn’t appear foolish anymore. A final verdict will need to await driving impressions, but the American full-size luxury SUVs are closer now than they’ve been during a very while.