Cadillac’s Escalade IQ makes all other EVs look small

Silver Cadillac Escalade
2025 Cadillac Escalade IQ Sport. | Image: Cadillac

Cadillac’s $130,000 all-electric Escalade IQ is a completely new take on the larger-than-life luxury SUV.

Cadillac’s new Escalade IQ is large, and, well, it can charge.

The automaker revealed a new electric version of its massive luxury SUV today at an event in New York City, showing off the IQ’s complete design for the first time since announcing it in May and teasing its backside and tessellated front lights in June. The Escalade IQ will begin production next summer at GM’s Michigan Factory Zero Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly Center — though a delivery timeframe has not yet been announced.

Let’s just get the three biggest numbers out of the way. The 2025 Cadillac Escalade IQ will start at $130,000. And the vehicle is carrying a whopper of a battery: 200kWh, good for a range of 450 miles on a single charge, according to Cadillac’s estimates. (The EPA will weigh in later.)

Escalades are big sellers in the luxury SUV segment, but Cadillac has some competitors that are beating the IQ to market. Rivian and Mercedes-Benz are two automakers already delivering their electric three-rows to customers, with the R1S and EQS, respectively. And, although not in the upper-luxury tier, both Kia’s EV9 and Volvo’s EX90 seven-seater EVs will be out before IQ production begins.

Although the new Escalade IQ still exudes the sort of battleship-on-wheels vibe of its gas-powered predecessors, it’s now got a leaner profile. It’s quick like a supercharged V8 Escalade, with 0–60 mph acceleration in under five seconds (on “Velocity Max” mode).

The special mode on the Escalade IQ can output up to 750 horsepower and up to 785 lb-ft of torque. That power stems from the IQ’s dual-motor “eAWD” system that operate as individual powertrains.

backside of Cadillac escalade iq
Image: Cadillac
A more sculpted rear on this Cadillac.

The new Escalade IQ design pushes the 24-inch wheels further into the corners, and the profile has a longer hood and more sloped roofline for a more planted and sportier look. Plus, the glass on the sides and panoramic roof edge closer to the frame, which makes the IQ look sleeker. “We have added more sculpture to every surface,” Cadillac Exteriors design manager Jawook Koo said.

Cadillac leaves space up front for vertical daytime running light blades and LEDs that will animate when easing to a stop and departing from a standstill. And the rear has a bit of a hunch compared to older Escalades that resembles the design language of the automaker’s Lyriq EV.

Image: Cadillac
Longer hood, more slope in the rear.

The IQ is being called “GM’s most aerodynamic full-size SUV ever.” That certainly helps Cadillac get to 450 miles of range, but really, it’s the astronomically large batteries in the belly of the beast that’s doing most of the work. As an EV, it gets one-pedal driving with regenerative braking, and any excess heat produced around the vehicle is captured into the Ultium Energy Recovery heat pump thermal system and used for cabin heating.

There are two versions of the IQ that offer slightly different looks: Luxury and Sport. The former includes metallic brushed aluminum finishes on the wheels, moldings, and other exterior areas, while the Sport goes with dark metal design touches. This Escalade still comes in the common black finish, but there are another six paint options, plus a dual-tone one that blacks out the roof. (No word yet if there will be a Mary Kay pink.)

There are four different interior themes that can be selected for the IQ, regardless of which exterior trim is purchased. Inside, ambient lighting can be adjusted to 126 different color choices, and an illuminated trim package affords more lighting options that make decor pop.

Image: Cadillac
So much screen to look at all the time.

The IQ wouldn’t be a luxurious juggernaut without some excessive tech. Where previous models had a 38-inch curved OLED display spanning the driver’s instrument panel to the infotainment screen, the new IQ goes bigger with a 55-inch pillar-to-pillar LED screen.

The screen is powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 12 Cockpit Platform and uses the company’s 5G modem for connectivity. Navigation is provided by Google, thanks to Google built-in software. Drivers get Google Maps, hands-free commands via Google Assistant, charging station information, and Google Play app support. Cadillac does not mention Apple CarPlay or Android Auto support, which may follow GM’s decision from earlier this year to no longer include the popular phone mirroring features in future vehicles.

There’s a whole lot of driving tech in the IQ, too. It’s got GM’s Super Cruise advanced driver-assist system (ADAS), enabling hands-free driving on over 400,000 miles of mapped highways in the US and Canada. It’ll be included with the vehicle as part of OnStar for three years, after which owners must subscribe to an OnStar Super Cruise plan.

Image: Cadillac
Super Cruise can drive while you pose with your hands.

Escalade IQ’s got a four-wheel steering “Arrival Mode” feature that’s similar to the GMC Hummer EV’s crab walk mode. While the Hummer shows off how its four-wheel turning can help maneuver it around a mountain boulder blockade, the Escalade is instead focused on getting into and out of tight parking spaces that it otherwise would have no business attempting to enter. Cadillac claims that IQ is the “most maneuverable” Escalade yet.

Four-wheel steering works while driving, too, providing the IQ with better stability at high speeds, better control for towing (IQ can tow up to 8,000 pounds), and decreases the turning diameter at low speeds by turning wheels on each axle in opposing directions. The vehicle has independent front and rear suspension that can raise the Escalade up to one inch or lower it by two. And Magnetic Ride Control 4.0, which Cadillac also includes in its ultra-expensive Celestiq, gives the IQ millisecond suspension response time to road bumps, making rides comfortable for both the driver and the expected high-profile passengers.

Image: Cadillac
I’d rather be back here with my screens.

Image: Cadillac
Available power doors can be opened from the command center screen in the center row.

Buyers who would rather be driven in their Escalade can order the special executive second-row seating option that adds a bunch more amenities. With the package, you get stowaway trays, 12.6-inch rear personal screens, a “command center” screen to control stuff like doors, dual wireless phone chargers, ports for HDMI and USB-C, and massaging seats that include speakers in the headrest.

Escalade IQ comes with a 19-speaker AKG Studio sound system and can be upgraded to a 36-speaker AKG Studio Reference option. But those with the executive package can raise the stakes to a 40-speaker version that includes 360-degree “immersive” audio because why not?

No amount of interior options in the world is going to matter to pedestrians and cyclists, who are increasingly at risk of injury thanks to really large vehicles like the Escalade. But Cadillac does have some features that might help those on the outside. When traveling in between 5 and 50 mph speeds, the IQ can “reduce the severity” of injury to people and bicyclists using automatic emergency braking technology. It’s not a silver bullet to save pedestrians and can be less reliable at higher speeds, according to AAA tests. When IQ travels at lower speeds, it can activate Low Ride Mode, which brings down the vehicle height, too. And HD Surround Vision gives drivers high-quality camera feeds in any direction to avoid people and objects.

Image: Cadillac
Why trunk when so much frunk?

The Escalade IQ also auto brakes at intersections to help detect cross-traffic vehicles, and there’s Blind Zone Steering Assist that can nudge drivers back into their lane when switching into one without realizing there’s a car in the way. Once the driver gets to the destination safely, IQ can help parallel or perpendicular park with automatic steering, braking, and shifting. And for garages, there’s Smart Controls that includes a Universal Remote that pops up on-screen to get you access to… wherever you’ve got access.

The electric Escalade has a whole lot of storage and family-hauling capability. It’s got third-row seats that allow for a maximum of seven passengers, and they’re also power folding for more cargo. And if you need even more storage, well, there’s an expansive “eTrunk” up front, thanks to the lack of a gas engine.

It’s gonna be a good frunk, real talk. There’s 12 cubic feet of storage in there, which is more than the 10.7 cubic feet afforded to the Chevy Silverado EV. It’s big enough to hold two golf bags, according to Cadillac, and since the grille is just for looks, it goes up with the frunk, making access to the bed and storage trays in there really easy.

If you like motorized things, there’s an option to make all four doors open and close with just the press of a button. There’s even an option for the driver door to automatically open as the fob-holder approaches — similar to Tesla’s Model X or the Mercedes-Benz EQS. Even the EV charge port door is motorized, revealing a CCS port (Tesla’s standardized NACS port that GM and others are adopting isn’t here yet). But for now, it can support 800-volt charging at compatible stations that can charge up to 100 miles worth of range in just 10 minutes.

Image: Cadillac
Oh, that’s not NACS.

The Escalade IQ is built on GM’s Ultium electric vehicle platform, which is shared with every EV the company has in its pipeline: from the Silverado EV pickup to the planned rebirth of the reasonably sized Bolt EV. Since Ultium batteries are modular, Cadillac is able to stack 24 modules on the underside of the IQ that’s “producing more than 200 kWh of available energy.”

GMC’s Hummer EV similarly has a 212.7 kWh battery module, which weighs 2,923 pounds — or more than the weight of a Honda Civic. One benefit GM is bringing with its large EV batteries is bidirectional charging. It’ll allow vehicles like the Escalade IQ to power your home during an outage and works with GM’s Ultium Home system. The IQ will also get Vehicle-to-Load (V2L) offboard power enabled via a software update.

The big batteries aren’t making the Escalade IQ any cheaper, though. But, with a little more efficiency, maybe Cadillac can get close to the current range with a slightly smaller battery next time.

Source: The Verge Cadillac’s Escalade IQ makes all other EVs look small