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New 2009 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid Already On Chopping Block

Posted in 4x4, auto industry, Chevrolet, Chrysler, Detroit, Dodge, Emissions, Expensive Cars, Gas Guzzlers, General, GM, Hybrid, Hybrid Technologies, Luxury Cars, SUV, Trucks by Geoff | November 15th, 2008 | 12 Responses |

2009 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid
2009 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid

Assuming that GM is able to survive the latest financial meltdown, their future success in selling larger, expensive vehicles will be dependent upon implementation of Hybrid and EV technologies.  At one extreme of that spectrum is the behemoth 6,000 pound-plus 2009 Cadillac Escalade, which as it is currently engineered appears to be destined for a very short life of just one year.  While this particular Hybrid’s extinction is surely an indication of GM’s money issues, it is also an admission by the automaker that despite marketing to the contrary, the 2009 Escalade Hybrid simply is not fuel efficient enough. 

Since money is first on everyone’s mind, it should be noted that the Hybrid version of the Escalade costs roughly $11,000 more than the non-hybrid.   The rear-wheel-drive Escalade Hybrid lists for $71,915, and the base non-hybrid goes for a mere $60,985.  Yes, there are surely people who could as easily pay $72,000 as $61,000 for a car, but why would they?  How much fuel savings would offset that kind of premium?  Most likely it would have to be more than the measely 2 mpg that the hybrid achieves over the standard SUV.  In city driving the difference is more significant, 7 mpg, but not so much to reasonably offset the initial cost.  The 2-mode Hybrid system is copied from the Chevy Tahoe Hybrid, which starts at $53,295, and uses two motors and generators in the transmission to boost acceleration and recharge the battery when coasting and braking.  Total power for the Hybrid is 369 horsepower and 380 pounds-feet of torque, compared with the regular model’s 403 horsepower and 417 pounds-feet.  Towing capacity is likewise reduced to 5,800 pounds versus 7,900 pounds, which is still plenty for most people’s purposes.  In more ways than not, with the exception of this drivetrain, the Escalade Hybrid is pretty much the same as the non-hybrid version.  The Hybrid does increase seating to eight by losing the second row captain chairs for a bench which covers the hybrid batteries and utilizes lightweight materials in the seats, wheels and suspension, as well as aluminum in the hood and liftgate to shed a few pounds.  Other features present in the standard model including 22-inch chrome wheels, Magnetic Ride Control, GPS navigation, a backup camera, a video entertainment system, 14-way-adjustable heated and cooled power leather seats, and power actuation for the pedals, side mirrors, liftgate and running boards are all still available in the Hybrid.

For those that have their heart set on an Escalade, beyond sticker price, the Hybrid does not sacrifice much if anything from the normal gas burner.  Otherwise, other large eight-passenger Hybrid vehicles that deserve consideration including the Chevy Tahoe, Dodge Durango, Chrysler Aspen or even Toyota Highlander make better sense.

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12 Responses

  1. The Escalade hybrid might be a classic “reinventing the wheel” textbook case. The system underneath it, and the Chevrolet Tahoe hybrid, are actually technological marvels.

    Chrysler’s Dodge Durango and Chrysler Aspen hybrids are soon to suffer the same fate. The Delaware factory that builds the Durango is scheduled to close at year’s end, and there are no plans to build the hybrid elsewhere.

    It’s just too bad that those systems weren’t developed for a model offering a sedan and coupe option; hoisting around less weight and without the fuel savings limitations of four-wheel drive. You’re only going to do so much with a 6,000 pound vehicle, in terms of saving fuel. The laws of physics are immutable.

  2. David Caldwell says:

    I am a spokesperson with Cadillac and I need to address the original post on this site. The Escalade Hybrid is absolutely not “on the chopping block” as suggested in the title and opening graph of the “review” on this site. This is an absolutely false statement. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, of course. But the piece above is misleading (at best) in what it claims about Escalade Hybrid’s future. We feel that the Hybrid model represents the future of vehicles of this kind. It is the world’s first and only hybrid on a true large luxury SUV. Our real plan is the opposite of what this site suggests – we plan for Escalade Hybrid to have a strong future. If other manufacturers have cancelled hybrid plans, that’s their choice and does not relate to Cadillac.

    I won’t take on too many other elements of the article (where would I start?) I will clarify the pricing, though. Escalade Hybrid is really only about $4,000 more expensive than a comparably-equipped “regular” Escalade. While it is quite a bit more expensive than the “base” priced Escalade, the Hybrid includes elevated levels of standard equipment (as noted in the article) that are optional on the non-hybrid Escalade. While the Hybrid does indeed carry a higher price, it is only about $4,000 more than an Escalade that is comparably-equipped.

  3. Geoff says:

    On the chopping block “as it is currently engineered” is the key to understanding the original post. For GM’s sake I hope it does not represent the future of hybrid technology because it is a dinosaur. I’m sure there willl be a hybrid of some sort in the future, and presumably if GM is around they will make it better than the current Escalade Hybrid which offers virtually no incentive with gas mileage to own. I’m not sure what you are disputing ie: “where would you start”. Your only other comment is that “as noted in the article” the optional equipment on the normal models is standard on the hybrid. Heightened sensitive to criticism at this time is understandable, but facts are facts. The Escalade Hybrid costs north of 70 grand and is only environmentally friendly in theory. If there are exciting developments and plans for a “new and improved” Escalade Hybrid that is on the horizon for GM, please let us all know and I will be more than happy to include them with this post.

  4. ted says:

    I am not certain what point you are trying to make except to say that you don’t believe ANY vehicle in the large SUV class has a place in your vision for a green world. I own a new ’09 Escalade (non-hybrid) and the difference in price between what I paid and the hybrid was a little less then four grand after discounts.

    Fact- My Escalade averages around 11 to 12 mpg in combined city hwy driving. The hybrid averages around 18 to 19 mpg and runs cleaner in terms of green house gas emissions. That you could discount a 40% increase in fuel economy as “virtually no incentive with gas milage…” only shows your bias. Were I to speculate, and I will, you probably favor strong protection for American Union workers while driving a foreign car. I’ll let others reach what conclusions they may regarding this all too common dichotomy.

    As for myself, I have always driven German cars but given the current state of the US economy, and the absolutely stellar performance of GM’s large trucks like the Cadillac Escalade, I can’t imagine driving anything else- hybrid or gas. For those who need a large hauler and who have a green conscious then by all means test drive the hybrid and if you crave power, get the gas engine and send a message to Washington that the American consumer, and not politicians, should dictate what US car manufacturers build.

    With Zero percent financing and the improvements in GM cars over the past 5 years, there has never been a better time to buy American.

  5. Geoff says:


    The “point” is that from an economic standpoint, the 10 grand + of the hybrid makes the increases in fuel efficiency largely irrelevant. Actually my main point was that most are speculating that the Escalade Hybrid, as it was currently designed, would get axed. The first “point” was merely one explanation as to why. (improved mpg figures are not significant enough) I’m sure they will do better with the next attempt. We are all hoping for a rebound in the US automakers and I do believe Cadillac already turns out a quality product…..not that anyone can afford it.

  6. ted says:


    Not to belabor the point, but the difference between the hybrid and non-hybrid Escalade is 4k not 10k (unless you have no clue how to negotiate). In fact when I did the math, purchasing my non-hybrid Escalade will cost me at least 2k more to drive over the next 5 years then the 4k more “expensive” hybrid version. This holds true based on driving 14k miles per year with gas averaging $3.50 per gallon over the next 5 years.

    As to Cadillac being expensive, I don’t know about that. I have purchased nothing but Euro $$$ cars for the past 20 years- BMW, Mercedes and Range Rover. Comparatively speaking, my new Escalade is a bargain that gives up nothing in quality or “fun factor” that I can detect. As a side when I was in my 30’s, I would not have been caught dead in a GM product but now that I am half way through my 40’s, the current Cadillacs make perfect sense to me.

    In these down economic times it felt good to buy American. Hopefully more people will vote American with their hard won and soon to taxed to death dollars.


  7. ted says:

    PS. Geoff I did not mean “you” when I wrote “unless you have no clue how to negotiate”. I was referring to the collective readership of this blog space who may need to know what to pay. Please do not take my comments as a slight against you : )

  8. Geoff says:


    I can appreciate many of your arguments. In terms of the difference in price between the two models, I’m only going by what Cadillac releases as the base price of each vehicle (Regular-$63,155,Hybrid-$74,085). Especially in the current market, there are obviously great deals to be had for those with the money, or financing to make it happen. In terms of fuel efficiency, it is always hard to put a price on a cleaner vehicle. How much is a 100% clean vehicle worth? In this case, how much is a40% cleaner vehicle worth? I’m sure there is a better balance. Just my opinion, but it isn’t worth $74,000. As far as cost of ownership goes, http://autos.aol.com/cars-Cadillac-Escalade-2009/cost-to-own, calculates the non-hybrid as costing $88,875 over the first five years. The Hybrid version as $90,433.

    As a plug for an article posted by Suzanne today, I think the AWD GMC Yukon Denali Hybrid (with a price tag of $62030) offers a better alternative. I totally agree with you that Cadillac, and in fact many GM cars, do not get the credit they deserve. Most of that is just perception. Despite the fact that I regularly get slammed for allegedly not liking Cadillacs, I think they are mostly on the right track. Thanks for your comments.

  9. Ted says:

    The base model Escolade Hybrid comes with nearly ALL OPTIONS STANDARD where as the base model non-hybrid Escolade is a base model car with ALL OPTIONS OPTIONAL. When you equip the two Escolades with a similar level of trim the price difference is around 4k.

    As to the two Escolades selling in the high 60k range (which they do after discount) there are no cars from England, Germany or Japan that can touch the Cadillac’s fit, finish, or drivetrain refinement in the large passenger car segment- I looked (my opinion but one based on YEARS of driving high end Euro luxury vehicles). You have to drive an Escolade to appreciate what a world class road car it is. It’s like a Bentley with a commanding view of the road- almost like flying a low level airplane, smooth, powerful, quite, luxurious and SAFE.

    Perhaps for some a 70k car is too much money to spend but for me it’s in line with what I’ve always spent on cars and this is the best high end road car I’ve ever owned.

  10. SUVSSUCK says:

    Dammit! I thought this article meant that the Cadillac Escalade TRUCK was
    going to cease to exist as all SUV’s should. If GM insists on producing
    these hulking monuments to stupidity than GM should cease to exist to.

  11. sex says:

    thanks you admin