2021 Cadillac Escalade vs. 2020 Audi Q8

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

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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 offers optional 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, crash mitigating brakes, rearview cameras, available all-wheel drive, night vision systems, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems and rear cross-path warning.

The Cadillac Escalade weighs 630 to 818 pounds more than the Audi Q8. The NHTSA advises that heavier vehicles are much safer in collisions than their significantly lighter counterparts.

Warranty

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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

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The Escalade 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 Q8 doesn’t offer a lost coolant limp home mode, so a coolant leak could strand you or seriously damage the truck’s engine.

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

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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.

The Escalade’s 3.0 turbo diesel produces 91 lbs.-ft. more torque (460 vs. 369) than the Q8’s 3.0 turbo V6 hybrid.

Fuel Economy and Range

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An engine control system that can shut down some of the engine’s cylinders helps improve the Escalade V8’s fuel efficiency. The Q8 doesn’t offer a system that can shut down part of the engine.

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Cadillac Escalade uses regular unleaded gasoline (premium recommended for maximum performance). The Q8 requires premium, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

The Escalade has 1.5 gallons more fuel capacity than the Q8 (24 vs. 22.5 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Transmission

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A ten-speed automatic is available 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

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For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Escalade has standard 22-inch wheels. Smaller 20-inch wheels are standard on the Q8.

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

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The Escalade has a standard automatic 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 a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Escalade’s wheelbase is 3 inches longer than on the Q8 (120.9 inches vs. 117.9 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Escalade is 2.3 inches wider in the front and 1.3 inches wider in the rear than on the Q8.

For better maneuverability, the Escalade’s turning circle is 3.8 feet tighter than the Q8’s (39.7 feet vs. 43.5 feet).

Chassis

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The front grille of the Escalade (except Diesel) 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.

Passenger Space

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

The Escalade has 5.2 inches more front headroom, 2.9 inches more front legroom, 6 inches more front shoulder room, .8 inches more rear headroom, 1.5 inches more rear legroom and 6.1 inches more rear shoulder room than the Q8.

Cargo Capacity

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

Escalade

Q8

Third Seat Folded

72.9 cubic feet

n/a

Third Seat Removed

n/a

30.5 cubic feet

Second Seat Folded

121 cubic feet

60.7 cubic feet

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

Towing

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The Escalade’s minimum standard towing capacity is much higher than the Q8’s (8000 vs. 7700 pounds).

The Escalade 4WD with optional equipment can be flat towed on all four wheels (dinghy towed), allowing recreational vehicle owners to bring it with them on the road. When they reach their destination, the Escalade can be unhitched and driven around locally. The Q8 can’t be towed flat on the ground.

Servicing Ease

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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

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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.

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 Premium/Platinum/Sport’s Adaptive Park Assist can parallel park by itself, starting, stopping and changing direction automatically. The Q8 doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Model Availability

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

Recommendations

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/08/06

The Cadillac Escalade/Escalade ESV outsold the Audi Q8 by over two to one during 2019.

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