What is it?
A hybrid version of Cadillac’s biggest beast, the very enormous Escalade. The idea of a hybridised attempt on fuel-saving seems absurd with a giant like this, but the principle is no different from Porsche’s equally contradictory bi-motor Cayenne – and GM got there first.
This is the General’s two-mode hybrid, which mostly operates as a CVT but also has four fixed gears that are used when the Caddy’s a-haulin’. GM claims a 20 per cent improvement in fuel consumption over a standard Escalade – quite a saving given its thirst – but the £6300-odd price difference will mean clocking many miles before savings are made.
Still, given the Escalade’s 2.7 tonnes, it’s easy to see the sense of harnessing its kinetic energy when coasting and braking. The electricity generated is stored in a 300-volt battery stored under the middle row of seats – the Escalade swallows it almost unnoticed – which propels it at low speeds. The Atkinson cycle 332bhp 6.0-litre V8 has auto-stop-start, and can also operate on four cylinders to save fuel.
What’s it like?
Inevitably truck-like, in both low-speed manoeuvring and cornering, though for a vehicle almost as big as a house it gets around bends with less drama than you’d expected. But, this is a tall, ponderous-looking vehicle, and that’s how it feels on the road.