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The Escalade Premium Luxury/Platinum’s pre-crash front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The Durango doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.
For enhanced safety, the front shoulder belts of the Cadillac Escalade are height-adjustable, and the middle and rear seat shoulder belts have child comfort guides to move the belt to properly fit children. A better fit can prevent injuries and the increased comfort also encourages children to buckle up. The Dodge Durango doesn’t offer comfort guides on its middle or rear seat belts.
Both the Escalade and Durango have child safety locks to prevent children from opening the rear doors. The Escalade has power child safety locks, allowing the driver to activate and deactivate them from the driver's seat and to know when they're engaged. The Durango’s child locks have to be individually engaged at each rear door with a manual switch. The driver can’t know the status of the locks without opening the doors and checking them.
In the past twenty years hundreds of infants and young children have died after being left in vehicles, usually by accident. When turning the vehicle off, drivers of the Escalade are reminded to check the back seat if they opened the rear door before starting out. The Durango doesn’t offer a back seat reminder.
The Escalade has a standard front seat center airbag, which deploys between the driver and front passenger, protecting them from injuries caused by striking each other in serious side impacts. The Durango doesn’t offer front seat center airbags.
Over 200 people are killed each year when backed over by motor vehicles. The Escalade Premium Luxury/Platinum has standard Reverse Automatic Braking that uses rear sensors to monitor and automatically apply the brakes to prevent a rear collision. The Durango doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.
The Escalade has a standard Surround Vision to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The Durango only offers a rear monitor and front and rear parking sensors that beep or flash a light. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the sides.
Both the Escalade and the Durango have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, height-adjustable front shoulder belts, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, rearview cameras, available all-wheel drive, crash mitigating brakes, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems and rear cross-path warning.
The Escalade comes with a full 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire truck and includes 24-hour roadside assistance. The Durango’s 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 14,000 miles sooner.
Cadillac’s powertrain warranty covers the Escalade 1 year and 10,000 miles longer than Dodge covers the Durango. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 6 years or 70,000 miles. Coverage on the Durango ends after only 5 years or 60,000 miles.
The Escalade’s corrosion warranty is 1 year and unlimited miles longer than the Durango’s (6/unlimited vs. 5/60,000).
Cadillac pays for the first scheduled maintenance on the Escalade. Cadillac will pay for an oil change, lubrication and any other required maintenance. Dodge doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the Durango.
To reliably power the ignition and other systems and to recharge the battery, the Escalade has a 170-amp alternator. The Durango’s standard 160-amp alternator isn’t as powerful.
J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Cadillac vehicles are better in initial quality than Dodge vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Cadillac 12th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 8 more problems per 100 vehicles, Dodge is ranked 19th, below the industry average.
The Escalade’s 6.2 V8 produces 127 more horsepower (420 vs. 293) and 200 lbs.-ft. more torque (460 vs. 260) than the Durango’s standard 3.6 DOHC V6. The Escalade’s 6.2 V8 produces 125 more horsepower (420 vs. 295) and 200 lbs.-ft. more torque (460 vs. 260) than the Durango Dual Exhaust’s optional 3.6 DOHC V6. The Escalade’s 6.2 V8 produces 60 more horsepower (420 vs. 360) and 70 lbs.-ft. more torque (460 vs. 390) than the Durango’s optional 5.7 V8.
As tested in Motor Trend the Cadillac Escalade is faster than the Dodge Durango:
Durango Dual Exhaust
Zero to 60 MPH
Speed in 1/4 Mile
On the EPA test cycle the Escalade RWD gets better highway fuel mileage than the Durango RWD V8 (14 city/23 hwy vs. 14 city/22 hwy).
The Escalade has 1.4 gallons more fuel capacity than the Durango (26 vs. 24.6 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.
The Escalade has a standard cap-less fueling system. The fuel filler is automatically opened when the fuel nozzle is inserted and automatically closed when it’s removed. This eliminates the need to unscrew and replace the cap and it reduces fuel evaporation, which causes pollution. The Durango doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.
A ten-speed automatic is standard on the Cadillac Escalade, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only an eight-speed automatic is available for the Durango.
The Escalade’s standard front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs standard on the Durango V6 are solid, not vented.
The Escalade stops much shorter than the Durango:
60 to 0 MPH
For better traction, the Escalade has larger standard tires than the Durango (275/55R20 vs. 265/60R18). The Escalade’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Durango (285/45R22 vs. 265/60R18).
The Escalade’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 55 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Durango SXT/GT’s standard 60 series tires. The Escalade’s optional tires have a lower 45 series profile than the Durango’s optional 50 series tires.
For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Escalade has standard 20-inch wheels. Smaller 18-inch wheels are standard on the Durango SXT/GT. The Escalade’s optional 22-inch wheels are larger than the 20-inch wheels optional on the Durango.
The Cadillac Escalade’s wheels have 6 lugs for longer wheel bearing life, less chance of rotor warping and greater strength. The Dodge Durango only has 5 wheel lugs per wheel.
The Escalade has a standard easy tire fill system. When inflating the tires, the vehicle’s integrated tire pressure sensors keep track of the pressure as the tires fill and tell the driver when the tires are inflated to the proper pressure. The Durango doesn’t offer vehicle monitored tire inflation.
The Escalade has a standard full size spare so a flat doesn’t interrupt your trip. A full size spare costs extra on the Durango Without the option you must depend on a temporary spare, which limits mileage and speed before replacement.
The Escalade has standard front and rear stabilizer bars, which help keep the Escalade flat and controlled during cornering. The Durango’s suspension doesn’t offer a rear stabilizer bar.
The Escalade has a standard driver-adjustable suspension system. It allows the driver to choose between an extra-supple ride, reducing fatigue on long trips, or a sport setting, which allows maximum control for tricky roads or off-road. The Durango’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.
For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Escalade is 4.8 inches wider in the front and 4.6 inches wider in the rear than on the Durango.
The Escalade 4x4 handles at .77 G’s, while the Durango GT 4x4 pulls only .74 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.
The Escalade 4x4 executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1.4 seconds quicker than the Durango GT 4x4 (27.4 seconds @ .68 average G’s vs. 28.8 seconds @ .58 average G’s).
For better maneuverability, the Escalade’s turning circle is 2 feet tighter than the Durango’s (39 feet vs. 41 feet).
The front grille of the Escalade uses electronically controlled shutters to close off airflow and reduce drag when less engine cooling is needed. This helps improve highway fuel economy. The Durango doesn’t offer active grille shutters.
The Escalade uses computer-generated active noise cancellation to help remove annoying noise and vibration from the passenger compartment, especially at low frequencies. The Durango doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.
As tested by Car and Driver while under full throttle, the interior of the Escalade 4x4 is quieter than the Durango GT 4x4 (75 vs. 76 dB).
The Escalade offers optional seating for 8 passengers; the Durango can only carry up to 7.
The Escalade has 2.9 inches more front headroom, 5 inches more front legroom, 3.9 inches more front hip room, 6.4 inches more front shoulder room, .4 inches more rear legroom, 4.7 inches more rear hip room, 6.7 inches more rear shoulder room, .3 inches more third row headroom, 6.9 inches more third row hip room and 12.2 inches more third row shoulder room than the Durango.
The Escalade’s cargo area provides more volume than the Durango.
Third Seat Folded
51.6 cubic feet
43.3 cubic feet
Second Seat Folded
94.2 cubic feet
85.1 cubic feet
Pressing a switch automatically lowers the Escalade’s optional second and third row seats, to make changing between passengers and cargo easier. The Durango doesn’t offer automatic folding seats.
The Escalade’s rear cargo window opens separately from the rest of the liftgate door to allow quicker loading of small packages. The Durango’s rear cargo window doesn’t open.
To make loading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the Escalade’s liftgate can be opened and closed just by kicking your foot under the back bumper, leaving your hands completely free. The Durango doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its liftgate, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.
The Escalade’s minimum standard towing capacity is much higher than the Durango’s (8100 vs. 6200 pounds).
The Escalade has a higher standard payload capacity than the Durango (1420 vs. 1380 lbs.).
J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Cadillac service is better than Dodge. J.D. Power ranks Cadillac third in service department satisfaction. With a 90% lower rating, Dodge is ranked 30th.
The Escalade offers an optional heads-up display that projects speed and other key instrumentation readouts in front of the driver’s line of sight, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The Durango doesn’t offer a heads-up display.
The Escalade’s front and rear power windows all lower with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside of the car. The Durango’s rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to open them fully.
The Escalade’s rain-sensitive wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically based on the amount of rainfall on the windshield. This allows the driver to concentrate on driving without constantly adjusting the wipers. The Durango’s standard intermittent wipers change speed with vehicle speed, but can’t turn on and off or change speed based on changing rainfall.
To help drivers avoid possible obstacles, the Escalade Premium Luxury/Platinum has standard cornering lights to illuminate around corners when the turn signals are activated. The Durango doesn’t offer cornering lights.
The Escalade has a standard heated steering wheel to take the chill out of steering on extremely cold winter days before the vehicle heater warms up. A heated steering wheel costs extra on the Durango.
Bluetooth wireless connectivity is standard on the Escalade, connecting the driver and passenger’s cell phones to the vehicle systems. This allows them to use the vehicle’s stereo and hand controls to place calls safely and easily. Bluetooth costs extra on the Durango.
The Escalade’s Automatic Park Assist can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, with the driver only controlling speed with the brake pedal. The Durango doesn’t offer an automated parking system.
Insurance will cost less for the Escalade owner. The Car Book by Jack Gillis rates the Escalade with a number “5” insurance rate while the Durango is rated higher at a number “10” rate.
According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Escalade is less expensive to operate than the Durango because typical repairs cost less on the Escalade than the Durango, including $20 less for front brake pads and $159 less for a starter.
J.D. Power and Associates rated the Escalade first among large premium suvs in owner reported satisfaction. This includes how well the vehicle performs and satisfies its owner’s expectations. The Durango was rated second in its category.
© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.
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