2020 Chevrolet Suburban vs. 2020 Cadillac Escalade ESV

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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When descending a steep, off-road slope, the Suburban Z71’s standard Hill Descent Control allows you to creep down safely. The Escalade ESV doesn’t offer Hill Descent Control.

Both the Suburban and the Escalade ESV 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, front parking sensors 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 Chevrolet Suburban is safer than the Cadillac Escalade ESV:


Escalade ESV



4 Stars

4 Stars

Chest Compression

.6 inches

.6 inches

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


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


The Suburban has a standard “limp home system” to keep drivers from being stranded if most or all of the engine’s coolant is lost. The engine will run on only half of its cylinders at a time, reduce its power and light a warning lamp on the dashboard so the driver can get to a service station for repairs. The Escalade ESV doesn’t offer a lost coolant limp home mode, so a coolant leak could strand you or seriously damage the truck’s engine.

To reliably start during all conditions and help handle large electrical loads, the Suburban has a standard 720-amp battery. The Escalade ESV’s 660-amp battery isn’t as powerful.

A reliable vehicle saves its owner time, money and trouble. Nobody wants to be stranded or have to be without a vehicle while it’s being repaired. Consumer Reports rates the Suburban’s reliability 13 points higher than the Escalade ESV.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Chevrolet vehicles are better in initial quality than Cadillac vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Chevrolet 6th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 15 more problems per 100 vehicles, Cadillac is ranked 17th, below the industry average.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Chevrolet vehicles are more reliable than Cadillac vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Chevrolet fourth in reliability, above the industry average. With 51 more problems per 100 vehicles, Cadillac is ranked 23rd.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Chevrolet vehicles are more reliable than Cadillac vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Chevrolet 5 places higher in reliability than Cadillac.

Suspension and Handling

The Suburban Premier handles at .77 G’s, while the Escalade ESV 4WD pulls only .76 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.


The Chevrolet Suburban may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 250 to 300 pounds less than the Cadillac Escalade ESV.

Passenger Space

The Suburban offers optional seating for 9 passengers; the Escalade ESV can only carry up to 8.

The Suburban has .1 inches more rear hip room and .7 inches more rear shoulder room than the Escalade ESV.

Cargo Capacity

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


Escalade ESV

Second Seat Folded

121.1 cubic feet

120.9 cubic feet

A standard locking glovebox keeps your small valuables safer in the Suburban. The Escalade ESV doesn’t offer locking storage for small valuables.

Payload and Towing

Maximum trailer towing in the Cadillac Escalade ESV is limited to 8100 pounds. The Suburban offers up to an 8300 lbs. towing capacity.

The Suburban has a much higher standard payload capacity than the Escalade ESV (1670 vs. 1390 lbs.).

The Suburban has a much higher maximum payload capacity than the Escalade ESV (1690 vs. 1440 lbs.).

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the Suburban owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the Suburban will cost $2450 to $3600 less than the Escalade ESV over a five-year period.

The Suburban will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the Suburban will retain 52.55% to 53.03% of its original price after five years, while the Escalade ESV only retains 9.61% to 44.93%.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Suburban is less expensive to operate than the Escalade ESV because typical repairs cost much less on the Suburban than the Escalade ESV, including $34 less for a water pump, $552 less for a muffler, $598 less for front struts and $996 less for a power steering pump.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Chevrolet Suburban will be $25841 to $33789 less than for the Cadillac Escalade ESV.


Consumer Reports® recommends the Chevrolet Suburban, based on reliability, safety and performance.

The Chevrolet Suburban outsold the Cadillac Escalade/Escalade ESV by 64% during 2018.

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

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