2020 Cadillac Escalade ESV vs. 2020 Chevrolet Suburban

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The Escalade ESV 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 Suburban doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

Over 200 people are killed each year when backed over by motor vehicles. The Escalade ESV 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 Suburban doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.

The Escalade ESV has a standard Surround Vision to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The Suburban 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 ESV and the Suburban have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, front seat center airbag, 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, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available all wheel drive, crash mitigating brakes, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems and rear cross-path warning.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does 35 MPH front crash tests on new vehicles. In this test, results indicate that the Cadillac Escalade ESV is safer than the Chevrolet Suburban:

Escalade ESV

Suburban

OVERALL STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

Driver

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

HIC

265

359

Neck Injury Risk

22%

38%

Neck Stress

248 lbs.

398 lbs.

Neck Compression

51 lbs.

223 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

67/444 lbs.

312/413 lbs.

Passenger

STARS

4 Stars

4 Stars

HIC

228

342

Chest Compression

.6 inches

.6 inches

Neck Injury Risk

32%

38%

Neck Stress

112 lbs.

163 lbs.

Neck Compression

65 lbs.

89 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

133/565 lbs.

366/584 lbs.

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

Warranty

The Escalade ESV comes with a full 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire truck and includes 24-hour roadside assistance. The Suburban’s 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 14,000 miles sooner.

Cadillac’s powertrain warranty covers the Escalade ESV 1 year and 10,000 miles longer than Chevrolet covers the Suburban. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 6 years or 70,000 miles. Coverage on the Suburban ends after only 5 years or 60,000 miles.

The Escalade ESV’s 6 year corrosion warranty has no mileage limitations, but the corrosion warranty on the Suburban runs out after 100,000 miles.

Reliability

To reliably power the ignition and other systems and to recharge the battery, the Escalade ESV has a 170-amp alternator. The Suburban’s standard 150-amp alternator isn’t as powerful.

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Escalade ESV first among large premium suvs in their 2019 Initial Quality Study. The Suburban isn’t in the top three in its category.

Engine

The Escalade ESV’s 6.2 V8 produces 65 more horsepower (420 vs. 355) and 77 lbs.-ft. more torque (460 vs. 383) than the Suburban’s standard 5.3 V8.

As tested in Motor Trend the Cadillac Escalade ESV is faster than the Chevrolet Suburban 5.3 V8:

Escalade ESV

Suburban

Zero to 60 MPH

6.1 sec

7.3 sec

Quarter Mile

14.6 sec

15.7 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

95.2 MPH

88.6 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

The Escalade ESV 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 Suburban doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

Brakes and Stopping

The Escalade ESV stops much shorter than the Suburban:

Escalade ESV

Suburban

60 to 0 MPH

119 feet

130 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Escalade ESV has larger standard tires than the Suburban (275/55R20 vs. 265/65R18).

The Escalade ESV’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 Suburban LS/LT’s standard 65 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Escalade ESV has standard 20-inch wheels. Smaller 18-inch wheels are standard on the Suburban LS/LT.

Suspension and Handling

The Escalade ESV has standard front and rear stabilizer bars, which help keep the Escalade ESV flat and controlled during cornering. The Suburban’s suspension doesn’t offer a rear stabilizer bar.

The Escalade ESV 4WD handles at .76 G’s, while the Suburban Premier 4WD pulls only .75 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The Escalade ESV 4WD executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver quicker than the Suburban Premier 4WD (27.9 seconds @ .63 average G’s vs. 28.4 seconds @ .62 average G’s).

For greater off-road capability the Escalade ESV has a greater minimum ground clearance than the Suburban (8 vs. 7.9 inches), allowing the Escalade ESV to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged.

Chassis

The Escalade ESV uses computer-generated active noise cancellation to help remove annoying noise and vibration from the passenger compartment, especially at low frequencies. The Suburban doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.

Passenger Space

The Escalade ESV has .1 inches more front hip room and .1 inches more front shoulder room than the Suburban.

Cargo Capacity

A low lift-over cargo hatch design makes loading and unloading the Escalade ESV easier. The Escalade ESV’s cargo hatch lift-over height is 31.6 inches, while the Suburban’s liftover is 34.1 inches.

Towing

The Escalade ESV’s minimum standard towing capacity is much higher than the Suburban’s (7900 vs. 6000 pounds).

Servicing Ease

J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Cadillac service is better than Chevrolet. J.D. Power ranks Cadillac third in service department satisfaction. With a 35% lower rating, Chevrolet is ranked 13th.

Ergonomics

The Escalade ESV’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 Suburban’s rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to open them fully.

On a hot day the Escalade ESV’s driver can lower all the windows from a distance using the keyless remote. The driver of the Suburban can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

The Escalade ESV has a standard locking fuel door with a remote release located convenient to the driver. A locking fuel door helps prevent vandalism, such as sugar in the tank and fuel theft. The Suburban doesn’t offer a locking fuel door.

To help drivers avoid possible obstacles, the Escalade ESV Premium Luxury/Platinum has standard cornering lights to illuminate around corners when the turn signals are activated. The Suburban doesn’t offer cornering lights.

The Escalade ESV 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 Suburban.

To quickly and conveniently keep personal devices charged without cables tangling and wearing out, the Cadillac Escalade ESV has a standard wireless phone charging system (Qi) in the center console. Only the Suburban Premier offers wireless charging.

The Escalade ESV’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 Suburban doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Economic Advantages

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Escalade ESV is less expensive to operate than the Suburban because typical repairs cost much less on the Escalade ESV than the Suburban, including $9 less for a starter, $6 less for fuel injection, $4 less for a fuel pump and $243 less for a timing belt/chain.

Recommendations

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Escalade ESV third among large premium suvs in owner reported satisfaction. This includes how well the vehicle performs and satisfies its owner’s expectations. The Suburban isn’t in the top three in its category.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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