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Cadillac gives its big luxury SUV a green twist with a hybrid power train. The truck sports hybrid badges and labels on all sides, making no secret of its hybrid system.
At 5,726 pounds, the Escalade Hybrid is a heavyweight. Besides making room for the battery pack and hybrid systems, the Escalade Hybrid is the same as a gas-only Escalade.
The engine is a 6-liter V-8, tuned for more torque than horsepower. It's mated to GM's two-mode transmission, which incorporates electric motors that can drive the car.
There are few options available on the Escalade Hybrid, as most are included, such as navigation and third row seating.
We were disappointed with the Escalade Hybrid's rough ride and didn't feel that it lived up to the Cadillac brand in that respect.
These running boards, the only option on our truck, automatically fold up when the doors close.
The third row seats can be folded up, or removed completely.
The interior quality is very good in the Escalade Hybrid, using leather and soft materials over the dashboard, not to mention wood trim.
Cadillac includes switch gear between the steering wheel spokes. We would like to see these buttons better integrated with the steering wheel, rather that just bolted onto the sides.
Although it is a hybrid, the instrument cluster still has a tachometer. But there is an electricity gauge on the cluster that shows when you are draining or recharging the battery.
The stack includes a touch-screen LCD, DVD slot for the navigation system, a six-disc changer slot, and HVAC controls.
Cadillac does an excellent job of integrating traffic information with its navigation system.
The stereo can display the contents of an MP3 CD as if it was an MP3 player, but scanning CDs to get this display takes a long time, and you have to rescan every time you start the car.
We like the phone screen, and are happy to finally get Bluetooth support on GM vehicles, but this system doesn't download contact lists from phones.
The power flow animation shows when you are using the engine and electric motors.
The rear-view camera has object recognition and will put a hazard icon over obstacles in the car's path.
The rear seat gets its own entertainment controls. These RCA jacks are the only means of plugging in an MP3 player.
The ceiling-mounted LCD is standard with the Escalade Hybrid, but gets in the way of the rear-view mirror.
Blind-spot detection is also standard on the Escalade Hybrid and is a new technology for GM.