While the next-generation Cadillac Escalade debuts on Tuesday, the cover was pulled off early by automotive photographer Wilco Blok. The model has seen leaks before, helping to validate Blok's image as authentic. That said, this is probably the best-quality photo we're likely to see of the model before its official premiere just hours from now.




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A post shared by ᴡɪʟᴄᴏ ʙʟᴏᴋ (@wilcoblok) on Feb 4, 2020 at 7:14am PST
Visually, the 2021 Escalade maintains its familial resemblance to SUVs from GMC and Chevrolet sharing the same GMT1XX platform and has dramatically scaled back its reliance on bling. However, the de-chromed grille arguably makes it more difficult to tell apart from the Tahoe/Suburban and Yukon, which hardly seems like a wise marketing decision. 

Key differences are subtle. Escalade has blacked-out pillars, its own wheels, and premium branding, though it would be hard to positively identify at any distance until you've gotten a glimpse of the back end (as the model is presumed to retain its signature elongated vertical tail lamps). The front features tight, horizontally oriented headlights and a raised emblem - tapping into the brand's evolving styling language.

It's a more contemporary design overall but it doesn't do much to make the model feel truly special. This is no more attractive than the Tahoe and Suburban General Motors revealed in December, both of which lean into the boxy design a little more comfortably. So then, what exactly is the point of the new Escalade?

Well, Cadillac has already teased its gargantuan interior screen. The 38-inch curved OLED unit spans the entire dashboard and is aimed squarely at luxury shoppers who now prioritize tech over other elements and Clifford the Big Red Dog. Technological touches should abound in the Escalade. Jalopnik, which originally shared the Wilco Blok photos, noticed the leaked images appear to show deployable running boards. While those are almost guaranteed to be part of a lengthy options list, it would represent a higher level of customization and more available features than you'll find at GMC or Chevy.

We learned last week that Cadillac will outfit the 2021 Escalade with its updated Super Cruise hands-free driving system.

The rest should be more of what you're accustomed to. Escalade is still body-on-frame and a carryover 6.2-liter V8 is expected at launch. However, GM indicated a high-output model was under consideration as early as 2018; rumors suggest it's working on fitting the supercharged V8 that powers the Camaro ZL1 and the front-engined Corvette Z06. There's plenty room yet for Cadillac to surprise us, despite the deluge of leaks and frequent teasers that preceded it.

We'll know more after the official debut, so expect a lengthy follow-up on Wednesday.

first published by TTAC