2022 Grand Wagoneer vs 2021 Cadillac Escalade

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  • 2022 Grand Wagoneer

    A silver 2022 Grand Wagoneer Series II is angled left.

    Starting at

    $87,590 [a]

    2021 Cadillac Escalade

    A black 2021 Cadillac Escalade is angled right.

    Starting at


    471Horsepower (hp)277-420
    10,000Max Towing (lbs)8,300
    Industry-First McIntosh PremiumAudio SystemAKG Studio

    If you are looking for a large, luxury SUV, then you have more options than ever before, which is great, but it can also make finding the right one a bit of a hassle. To simplify this, it often helps to narrow down your choices and compare a couple of models against each other, like the 2022 Grand Wagoneer vs 2021 Cadillac Escalade. It is easy to think that the Escalade must be the premier choice for a luxury SUV since it has been on top for so long. With the announcement of the all-new Grand Wagoneer, however, that is no longer the case, and the impressive features of the Escalade now come up short.

    For example, the Grand Wagoneer has a more powerful engine, giving you much more horsepower than the Escalade’s V8 can manage. The all-new Grand Wagoneer also features some of the most impressive overall performance we have ever seen, thanks in part to its revolutionary 4x4 systems and Quadra-Lift air suspension that delivers an incredibly smooth ride while also giving you up to 24 inches of water fording capability. All of this great performance not only makes the Grand Wagoneer incredibly fun to drive but also gives it up to 10,000 lbs of towing capacity, far beyond the Escalade’s 8,200 lb maximum.

    Inside of these two models, the differences continue. The Escalade has plenty of impressive features, like its curved 38-inch OLED display across the front dashboard and its impressive speaker system. Once again, however, those things simply cannot keep up with the Grand Wagoneer, which features nearly 45 inches of available front instrument panel displays and 75 inches of total screen area within the vehicle. Plus, the Grand Wagoneer’s industry-first McIntosh 1,375-watt premium audio system redefines what we have come to expect from sound quality in an SUV.

  • Performance

    A silver 2022 Grand Wagoneer is shown parked on a muddy path in the woods after winning a 2022 Grand Wagoneer vs 2021 Cadillac Escalade comparison.

    When looking at something like a luxury SUV, it is easy to get focused on all of the impressive tech features and other options that really stand out. While those things are certainly important, you never want to overlook the engine in the vehicle and the kind of performance it has to offer. After all, a great sound system and gorgeous interior displays do not mean much if you do not actually enjoy your time behind the wheel.

    The Engines in the Escalade

    There are two different engines available for the 2021 Cadillac Escalade, starting with a 6.2L V8 that offers 420 hp and 460 lb-ft of torque. For something a bit different, there is also an available 3.0L Duramax Turbo-Diesel engine that provides 277 hp and 460 lb-ft of torque. While some people do enjoy having a diesel engine, the overall performance really is not that impressive compared to the standard option. Overall, both of these engines are just fine, but not especially remarkable, and feel a bit dated at this point.

    The Engine in the Grand Wagoneer

    By comparison, there is a single engine for the 2022 Grand Wagoneer: a 6.4L V8 engine with Variable Cam Timing (VCT) that delivers 471 hp and 455 lb-ft of torque. That is just slightly less torque than the Cadillac engines can offer, but substantially more horsepower than the Escalade’s V8 engine, and 200 hp more than the Cadillac’s available diesel engine. This is a powerful and impressive engine that makes driving the Grand Wagoneer incredibly fun, giving you more power and greater performance than you will typically find on other luxury SUVs.

  • Design

    A black 2022 Grand Wagoneer is shown parked at an interestion.

    Drive Type and Suspension

    Much has been said about the three 4x4 systems that are available on the 2022 Grand Wagoneer, and with good reason, because they offer some of the most impressive performance we have ever seen. The Grand Wagoneer comes with 4x4 standard on every model, starting with a Quadra-Trac I system that delivers a full-time four-wheel drive that is both fuel-efficient and improves traction when it is needed. An available Quadra-Trac II system has a two-speed transfer case that determines tire slip right away and provides greater torque to counter this. Finally, the available Quadra-Drive II system goes even further with a rear electronic limited-slip differential that instantly detects tire slip and distributes engine torque to maximize traction.

    By comparison, the 2021 Cadillac Escalade comes with rear-wheel drive standard and has a single four-wheel drive system available. Even on the Sport trims that seem to be designed for trying to conquer the open road and go on an adventure, you have to opt for any kind of four-wheel drive system. There is magnetic ride control available, fortunately, along with an air ride adaptive suspension for a smooth driving experience in just about any kind of conditions.

    That being said, compared to the advanced Quadra-Lift air suspension available on the 2022 Grand Wagoneer, the Escalade comes up short. This suspension system features five different height settings for optimal performance, including a normal ride height, two off-road settings, and a park mode that lowers the vehicle to make getting in or out easier. Combine this with the Selec-Terrain system that features five different driving conditions, including Rock, Snow, and Sand/Mud, and you have a luxury SUV that is ready to go anywhere.

  • Interior

    The dash and infotainment screen is shown in a 2022 Grand Wagoneer.

    Powerful engines and impressive four-wheel drive systems are great, but you cannot compare luxury SUVs and not take a good look inside. Since most of your time with your vehicle will be spent with you behind the wheel of it, you always want to get the best features you can when it comes to the interior. While the Cadillac Escalade certainly has a number of really impressive options and features available, in the end, they simply cannot keep up with the Grand Wagoneer.

    Screens and Sound

    For example, a lot of attention has been paid to the curved OLED display that dominates the front dashboard of the 2021 Escalade. This is for good reason because it certainly looks great and offers 38 inches of viewable display area that includes the driver’s cluster and the central infotainment area. Similarly, a lot of people have been impressed by the AKG Studio Reference sound system available in the Escalade, which has a ton of speakers and really impressive audio quality. Combine those with luxurious available Semi-Aniline leather 16-way power front seats, and you certainly have an impressive interior.

    Unfortunately for the Escalade, however, the all-new Grand Wagoneer is not content to try to mimic what Cadillac offers – instead, it surpasses it. Rather than building a single, large screen for the front dash, the Grand Wagoneer has numerous displays with more total area. There is a 12-inch frameless digital gauge cluster for the driver, a 12-inch infotainment display with a secondary 10-inch central display, and finally, an available 10-inch passenger screen – altogether, that is nearly 45 inches of total front display screens. That does not even include the available digital rearview mirror, 10-inch head-up display on the windshield, or the 30 inches of available displays for passengers behind the front row.

    While the sound system in the Escalade is impressive, the Grand Wagoneer once again takes things to another level. For the first time in the industry, the famed home-entertainment sound engineers at McIntosh have developed an automotive sound system with 23 speakers, a 12-inch subwoofer, and a 24-channel 1,375 watt amplifier. It is a stunning audio achievement that creates an experience you cannot find anywhere else and perfectly demonstrates the kind of next-level attention to quality you find throughout the Grand Wagoneer. Once you sit in one of the available Palermo leather-trimmed 24-way power front seats with memory settings, power lumbar support, and massage feature, you might not want to get out of your SUV ever again.

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