2020 Cadillac Escalade vs. 2019 Audi Q8

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

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 Audi Q8 has only front height-adjustable seat belts.

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 Q8 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 Q8 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 Q8 doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.

Both the Escalade and the Q8 have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, height adjustable front shoulder belts, 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 and blind spot warning systems.

The Cadillac Escalade weighs 574 to 852 pounds more than the Audi Q8. The NHTSA advises that heavier vehicles are much safer in collisions than their significantly lighter counterparts.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does 35 MPH front crash tests on new vehicles. In this test, results indicate that the Cadillac Escalade is safer than the Audi Q8:

Escalade

Q8

Driver

STARS

4 Stars

4 Stars

Neck Injury Risk

20%

30%

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

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does side impact tests on new vehicles. In this test, which crashes the vehicle into a flat barrier at 38.5 MPH, results indicate that the Cadillac Escalade is safer than the Audi Q8:

Escalade

Q8

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

23

60

Chest Movement

.7 inches

.7 inches

Abdominal Force

107 G’s

128 G’s

Hip Force

214 lbs.

260 lbs.

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

107

141

Spine Acceleration

26 G’s

43 G’s

Hip Force

208 lbs.

684 lbs.

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

Warranty

Cadillac’s powertrain warranty covers the Escalade 2 years and 20,000 miles longer than Audi covers the Q8. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 6 years or 70,000 miles. Coverage on the Q8 ends after only 4 years or 50,000 miles.

There are almost 3 times as many Cadillac dealers as there are Audi dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Escalade’s warranty.

Reliability

To reliably start during all conditions and help handle large electrical loads, the Escalade has a standard 660-amp battery. The Q8’s 380-amp battery isn’t as powerful.

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Escalade first among large premium suvs in their 2019 Initial Quality Study. The Q8 isn’t in the top three in its category.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Cadillac vehicles are better in initial quality than Audi vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Cadillac 17th in initial quality. With 6 more problems per 100 vehicles, Audi is ranked 22nd.

Engine

The Escalade’s 6.2 V8 produces 85 more horsepower (420 vs. 335) and 91 lbs.-ft. more torque (460 vs. 369) than the Q8’s 3.0 turbo V6 hybrid.

Fuel Economy and Range

An engine control system that can shut down half of the engine’s cylinders helps improve the Escalade’s fuel efficiency. The Q8 doesn’t offer a system that can shut down part of the engine.

The Escalade has 3.5 gallons more fuel capacity than the Q8 (26 vs. 22.5 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 Q8 doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

Transmission

A 10-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 Q8.

Tires and Wheels

The Cadillac Escalade’s wheels have 6 lugs for longer wheel bearing life, less chance of rotor warping and greater strength. The Audi Q8 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 Q8 doesn’t offer vehicle monitored tire inflation.

The Escalade has a standard full size spare tire so a flat doesn’t interrupt your trip. A full size spare isn’t available on the Q8, it requires you to depend on a temporary spare, which limits mileage and speed before replacement.

Suspension and Handling

The Escalade has a standard automatic rear load leveling suspension to keep ride height level with a heavy load or when towing. The Q8 doesn’t offer a load leveling suspension.

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Escalade is 2.6 inches wider in the front and 1.9 inches wider in the rear than on the Q8.

For better maneuverability, the Escalade’s turning circle is 4.5 feet tighter than the Q8’s (39 feet vs. 43.5 feet).

For greater off-road capability the Escalade has a 2.2 inches greater minimum ground clearance than the Q8 (8 vs. 5.8 inches), allowing the Escalade to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged.

Chassis

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 Q8 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 Q8 doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.

Passenger Space

The Escalade offers optional seating for 8 passengers; the Q8 can only carry 5.

The Escalade has 4.6 inches more front headroom, 3.6 inches more front legroom, 5.4 inches more front shoulder room, .6 inches more rear headroom and 5.9 inches more rear shoulder room than the Q8.

Cargo Capacity

The Escalade’s cargo area provides more volume than the Q8.

Escalade

Q8

Third Seat Folded

51.6 cubic feet

n/a

Third Seat Removed

n/a

28.6 cubic feet

Second Seat Folded

94.2 cubic feet

67.5 cubic feet

A low lift-over cargo hatch design makes loading and unloading the Escalade easier. The Escalade’s cargo hatch lift-over height is 32.1 inches, while the Q8’s liftover is 33.7 inches.

The Escalade’s cargo area is larger than the Q8’s in every dimension:

Escalade

Q8

Length to seat (3rd/2nd/1st)

11.1”/43.2”/79.9”

n.a./41.1”/75.4”

Min Width

49.3”

39.8”

Height

33.9”

29”

Pressing a switch automatically lowers the Escalade’s optional second and third row seats, to make changing between passengers and cargo easier. The Q8 doesn’t offer automatic folding second row seats.

The Escalade’s rear cargo window opens separately from the rest of the liftgate door to allow quicker loading of small packages. The Q8’s rear cargo window doesn’t open.

Towing

The Escalade’s minimum standard towing capacity is much higher than the Q8’s (8100 vs. 7700 pounds).

Servicing Ease

J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Cadillac service is better than Audi. J.D. Power ranks Cadillac third in service department satisfaction. With a 23% lower rating, Audi is ranked 8th.

Ergonomics

The Escalade’s instruments include an oil pressure gauge and a temperature gauge - which could save your engine! Often ‘idiot lights’ don’t warn you until damage has been done. The Q8 does not have an oil pressure gauge.

To improve rear visibility by keeping the rear window clear, the Escalade has a standard rear fixed intermittent wiper with a full on position. The rear wiper standard on the Q8 only has an intermittent setting, so in a hard rain visibility isn’t as good.

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 Q8 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 Q8.

To quickly and conveniently keep personal devices charged without cables tangling and wearing out, the Cadillac Escalade has a standard wireless phone charging system (Qi) in the center console. Wireless charging costs extra on the Q8.

The Escalade has a 115-volt a/c outlet on the center console, allowing you to recharge a laptop or run small household appliances without special adapters that can break or get misplaced. The Q8 doesn’t offer a house-current electrical outlet.

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 Q8 doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Model Availability

The Escalade is available in both rear-wheel drive and four-wheel drive configurations. The Q8 doesn’t offer a two-wheel drive configuration.

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the Escalade owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the Escalade will cost $3405 to $5640 less than the Q8 over a five-year period.

Recommendations

The Cadillac Escalade/Escalade ESV outsold the Audi Q8 by over 18 to one during 2018.

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

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