Not your average SUV

It’s no secret that living in Dubai comes with aspirations, and having a flash car, whatever your preference, is definitely part of the dream. So when Team TMN were offered the chance to briefly live life in the fast lane, how could we refuse?

What: 2015 Cadillac Escalade

Where: A range of Middle East showrooms

When: Arrived across the Middle East mid-July 2014

The promise: “A sophisticated luxury SUV designed to establish new benchmarks for hand-tailored craftsmanship and technology.”

Did it deliver? Jaws dropped a little as Team TMN spotted the fourth generation Cadillac Escalade pulling up in our office car park. Although it may boast an entirely new design, it exuded the same dominant presence we have come to associate with the iconic Cadillac brand – the height of sophistication with the power to match. We were immediately drawn by the sleek exterior detail, evident from the vertically stacked ‘jewellery’ lighting with full LED – to create a new take on the Cadillac’s signature vertical light – to the LED-illuminated door handles and illuminating wreath-and-crest insignia.

The automatic step down appeared from nowhere as the doors opened, allowing us to step on board with the same feeling one might have on entering a luxury private jet. The interior, crafted with wood finishing and accented suede created an air of extravagance, and we melted into the sculpted soft-leather seats. Including three rows of seating, it’s a sizable car by any standards, but without a hint of minivan quality.

Opulence and technology were clearly integral to creating the epitome of elegance and driving ease. Unsurprisingly, the seats presented us with far more than just somewhere to park ourselves. Reclining options in the first two rows, as well as heating and cooling in the front seats and a heating option in the second row, offered choices we never knew we wanted. But the stand out feature for us was the patented Safety Alert Seat – offering directional vibrations that alert the driver about potential crash threats – a definite bonus if you regularly navigate the Sheikh Zayed Road.

Certainly one of the most intuitive and tech savvy vehicles Team TMN have driven, the centre screen has voice recognition (which we unfortunately didn’t get a chance to master) and the same tap and swipe capabilities of any smart phone, with a high-res dashboard which presents all of the driver information digitally. An amazing aspect of this was how it reflects the information onto your windshield, allowing access without having to take your eyes off the road. The Escalade also contains new safety features including a Driver Awareness package, as well as the standard CUE (Cadillac’s system for connectivity and control), so not only do you feel safe, the Escalade makes you feel as though you’re driving in partner with the car.

A standard among most SUV’s these days; the Cadillac Escalade also came with an in-built rear entertainment system. But, as to be expected, the system offered was top of the range, with a 9-inch roof-mounted screen, Blue-Ray DVD system and even different power outlets to ensure you never fall off the digital radar.

While it might feel like you’re in a private jet, it certainly didn’t drive like one. With a 4WD drivetrain, a new 6.2L V8 engine and 420 horsepower, the Escalade had every aspect you could want in a luxury vehicle – boasting the power of a muscle car, yet with the driving ease of a coupe. While we honestly could find no fault in the drive, we had to remind ourselves that the Escalade is a deceptively heavy car, and though it may drive like a sports model, the brakes are still that of an SUV. Driving around was more of an experience than anything, as with 623 Nm of torque (which in layman terms – the greater the torque, the more enhanced the feeling of power on demand) and Bose having been brought in with its Active Noise Cancellation technology to add peace without compromising on the power, we were more than happy to cruise the city from dawn to dusk.

The verdict: The 2015 Cadillac Escalade achieves the perfect balance of boldness and elegance, and Team TMN could not think of a more fitting car to stay safe while battling through Dubai’s notorious traffic zones. One word of warning – try not to fall too much in love unless you have a minimum of AED 302,000 to play with. It’s easy to get hooked after just one drive!