2020 Cadillac Escalade ESV vs. 2020 GMC Yukon XL

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

Your buying experience includes...

business_centerProfessional Staff
account_balanceSimple Financing
local_gas_stationFull Tank of Gas
local_car_washFree Car Wash


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 Yukon XL 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 Yukon XL 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 Yukon XL 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 Yukon XL 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 GMC Yukon XL:

Escalade ESV

Yukon XL


5 Stars

4 Stars



5 Stars

4 Stars




Neck Injury Risk



Neck Stress

248 lbs.

351 lbs.

Neck Compression

51 lbs.

219 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

67/444 lbs.

259/442 lbs.



4 Stars

4 Stars

Neck Injury Risk



Neck Stress

112 lbs.

198 lbs.

Neck Compression

65 lbs.

120 lbs.

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


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 Yukon XL’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 GMC covers the Yukon XL. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 6 years or 70,000 miles. Coverage on the Yukon XL 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 Yukon XL runs out after 100,000 miles.


To reliably power the ignition and other systems and to recharge the battery, the Escalade ESV has a 170-amp alternator. The Yukon XL’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 Yukon XL isn’t in the top three in its category.


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 Yukon XL’s standard 5.3 V8.

Brakes and Stopping

The Escalade ESV stops shorter than the Yukon XL:

Escalade ESV

Yukon XL

60 to 0 MPH

119 feet

124 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Escalade ESV has larger standard tires than the Yukon XL (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 Yukon XL SLE/SLT Standard Edition/SLT’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 Yukon XL SLE/SLT Standard Edition/SLT.

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 Yukon XL’s suspension doesn’t offer a rear stabilizer bar.

The Escalade ESV 4WD executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver quicker than the Yukon XL Denali 4x4 (27.9 seconds @ .63 average G’s vs. 28.4 seconds @ .64 average G’s).

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

Passenger Space

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

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 Yukon XL’s liftover is 34.1 inches.


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

Servicing Ease

J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Cadillac service is better than GMC. J.D. Power ranks Cadillac third in service department satisfaction. With a 40% lower rating, GMC is ranked 14th.


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 Yukon XL 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 Yukon XL 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 Yukon XL 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 is only available on the Yukon XL SLT/Denali.

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 Yukon XL Denali 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 Yukon XL 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 Yukon XL because typical repairs cost much less on the Escalade ESV than the Yukon XL, including $112 less for a water pump, $9 less for a starter, $6 less for fuel injection, $29 less for a fuel pump and $243 less for a timing belt/chain.


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 Yukon XL isn’t in the top three.

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

How much is your car worth?

Get the best value for your car from an Asbury dealership.

Featured Videos