2015 Cadillac Escalade drops bare-bones model, starts $8,000 higher at $72,690

DETROIT -- The redesigned 2015 Cadillac Escalade will start at $72,690, including shipping, a jump of nearly $8,000 from a base 2014 model.

For the 2015 model year, which goes on sale this spring, Cadillac eliminated a stripped down base model Escalade that sold in light volumes for 2014. The base price for the 2015 Escalade is $3,725 higher than the comparable '14 trim, which was one step up from a base model.

Cadillac ditched the bare-bones base model for 2015 because it "has been the least popular version," Cadillac spokesman David Caldwell said. "Nearly all buyers opt up for more content."

Extra features that come standard on the 2015 base model include the CUE infotainment system, heated and cooled front seats, 20-inch wheels and GM's magnetic damping system.

The redesigned model -- the fourth-generation Escalade and the first overhaul in about eight years -- also comes with a new 6.2-liter V-8 engine rated at 420 horsepower and 460 pounds-feet of torque, up from 403 hp and 417 pounds-feet for the outgoing engine. It features new touches like real aluminum interior trim and fold-flat second- and third-row seats.

The Escalade is the latest fresh Cadillac entry to sport a much higher price tag. Prices on the redesigned 2014 CTS sedan, launched in the fall, range from $6,000 to $15,000 higher vs. the '13 CTS on a model-to-model basis. The ELR plug-in hybrid coupe, which hit dealerships this month, surprised many dealers with a sticker price of $75,995 including destination. General Motors has not released pricing for other Escalade trim levels or the longer wheelbase ESV model. Dealers have begun ordering the 2015 Escalade, which should arrive in showrooms by the end of March.

Escalade competitors include the Mercedes GL-Class, which starts at $63,925; the Lexus LX570, starting at $83,540, and Land Rover's Range Rover, starting at $84,195. All prices include shipping.

You can reach Mike Colias at autonews@crain.com

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