Inspiration for the next generation of Cadillac's flagship SUV came from a sedan the brand showed almost four years ago as a concept.
Interior designers for the 2021 Cadillac Escalade took heavy cues from the Escala, which debuted at the 2016 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance. On the outside, new headlights also mirror the Escala, veering from the vertical orientation on recent Cadillac models.
Putting the design of a sedan into a large SUV seems contradictory, said Phil Kucera, Cadillac's interior design manager. But in the luxury segment, a "thick instrument panel is not what [customers] were looking for," he said. "They have luxury cars, and they wanted that luxury inside their luxury truck as well. They want that thick heft in the exterior, but they want a little bit more elegance on the inside."
The Escalade has led the full-size SUV segment for 16 of the last 20 years, and designers wanted to reflect on the four previous generations. They asked themselves: "How did it become a phenomenon? We feel like it's almost its own brand," said Therese Pinazzo, Cadillac's design program manager.