2021 Cadillac Escalade vs. 2020 Dodge Durango

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

© 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 2020/08/09

The Escalade’s optional pre-crash front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The Durango doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

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

An active infrared night vision system optional on the Escalade Premium/Platinum/Sport helps the driver to more easily detect people, animals or other objects in front of the vehicle at night. Using an infrared camera and near-infrared lights to detect heat, the system then displays the image on a monitor in the dashboard. The Durango doesn’t offer a night vision system.

The Escalade has a standard HD Surround Vision to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The Durango 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 and the Durango 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, rearview cameras, available all-wheel drive, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems and rear cross-path warning.

Warranty

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

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

The Escalade’s corrosion warranty is 1 year longer than the Durango’s (6 vs. 5 years).

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 Durango 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 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Cadillac vehicles are more reliable than Dodge vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Cadillac 23rd in reliability. With 12 more problems per 100 vehicles, Dodge is ranked 28th.

Engine

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The Escalade’s 6.2 V8 produces 127 more horsepower (420 vs. 293) and 200 lbs.-ft. more torque (460 vs. 260) than the Durango’s standard 3.6 DOHC V6. The Escalade’s 6.2 V8 produces 125 more horsepower (420 vs. 295) and 200 lbs.-ft. more torque (460 vs. 260) than the Durango Dual Exhaust’s optional 3.6 DOHC V6. The Escalade’s 6.2 V8 produces 60 more horsepower (420 vs. 360) and 70 lbs.-ft. more torque (460 vs. 390) than the Durango’s optional 5.7 V8.

The Escalade’s 3.0 turbo diesel produces 200 lbs.-ft. more torque (460 vs. 260) than the Durango’s standard 3.6 DOHC V6. The Escalade’s 3.0 turbo diesel produces 200 lbs.-ft. more torque (460 vs. 260) than the Durango Dual Exhaust’s optional 3.6 DOHC V6. The Escalade’s 3.0 turbo diesel produces 70 lbs.-ft. more torque (460 vs. 390) than the Durango’s optional 5.7 V8.

Fuel Economy and Range

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Regardless of its engine, the Escalade’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) Dodge only offers an automatic engine start/stop system on the Durango V6.

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 Durango.

Brakes and Stopping

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For better stopping power the Escalade’s standard brake rotors are larger than those on the Durango:

Escalade

Durango

Front Rotors

13.5 inches

13 inches

Rear Rotors

13.6 inches

13 inches

The Escalade’s standard front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs standard on the Durango V6 are solid, not vented.

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the Escalade has larger tires than the Durango (275/50R22 vs. 265/60R18).

The Escalade’s tires provide better handling because they have a lower 50 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Durango SXT/GT’s standard 60 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Escalade has standard 22-inch wheels. Smaller 18-inch wheels are standard on the Durango SXT/GT. The Durango’s largest wheels are only 20-inches.

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

The Escalade has a standard full size spare so a flat doesn’t interrupt your trip. A full size spare costs extra on the Durango. Without the option you must depend on a temporary spare, which limits mileage and speed before replacement.

Suspension and Handling

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

The Escalade offers an available driver-adjustable suspension system. It allows the driver to choose between an extra-supple ride, reducing fatigue on long trips, or a sport setting, which allows maximum control for tricky roads or off-road. The Durango’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Escalade’s wheelbase is 1.1 inches longer than on the Durango (120.9 inches vs. 119.8 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Escalade is 4.5 inches wider in the front and 4 inches wider in the rear than on the Durango.

For better maneuverability, the Escalade’s turning circle is 1.3 feet tighter than the Durango’s (39.7 feet vs. 41 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 Durango doesn’t offer active grille shutters.

Passenger Space

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The Escalade offers optional seating for 8 passengers; the Durango can only carry up to 7.

The Escalade has 27 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Durango (168.4 vs. 141.4).

The Escalade has 2.4 inches more front headroom, 4.2 inches more front legroom, 4.7 inches more front hip room, 7 inches more front shoulder room, 3.1 inches more rear legroom, 5.7 inches more rear hip room, 6.9 inches more rear shoulder room, .4 inches more third row headroom, 1.4 inches more third row legroom, 7 inches more third row hip room and 12.3 inches more third row shoulder room than the Durango.

Cargo Capacity

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

Escalade

Durango

Behind Third Seat

25.5 cubic feet

17.2 cubic feet

Third Seat Folded

72.9 cubic feet

43.3 cubic feet

Second Seat Folded

121 cubic feet

85.1 cubic feet

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

To make loading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the Escalade’s liftgate can be opened and closed just by kicking your foot under the back bumper, leaving your hands completely free. The Durango doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its liftgate, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.

Payload and Towing

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The Escalade’s minimum standard towing capacity is much higher than the Durango’s (8000 vs. 6200 pounds).

The Escalade has a much higher standard payload capacity than the Durango (1636 vs. 1380 lbs.).

The Escalade has a higher maximum payload capacity than the Durango (1647 vs. 1460 lbs.).

Servicing Ease

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J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Cadillac service is better than Dodge. J.D. Power ranks Cadillac third in service department satisfaction. With a 76% lower rating, Dodge is ranked 27th.

Ergonomics

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Unlike the driver-only memory system optional at extra cost in the Durango (except SXT), the Escalade has standard driver and passenger memory, so that when drivers switch, the memory setting adjusts the driver’s seat, steering wheel position and outside mirror angle and the front passenger seat also adjusts to the new passenger’s preset preferences.

The Escalade Premium/Platinum/Sport has a standard heads-up display that projects speed and navigation instruction readouts in front of the driver’s line of sight, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The Durango doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The Escalade’s power parking brake sets with one touch and releases with one touch or automatically. The Durango’s parking brake has to released manually.

The Escalade’s front and rear power windows all open or close fully with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside the car. The Durango’s rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to open or close them fully.

The Escalade’s rain-sensitive wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically based on the amount of rainfall on the windshield. This allows the driver to concentrate on driving without constantly adjusting the wipers. The Durango’s standard intermittent wipers change speed with vehicle speed, but can’t turn on and off or change speed based on changing rainfall.

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 Durango.

The Escalade Platinum has standard massaging front seats in order to maximize comfort and eliminate fatigue on long trips. Massaging seats aren’t available in the Durango.

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. The Durango doesn’t offer wireless personal charging.

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

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