The 2021 Cadillac Escalade Diesel Sends a Quieter Message MotorBiscuit

Should you go with diesel or gas? That question might plague you if you’re considering a 2021 Cadillac Escalade. You can choose between two powerful engines, so deciding which one to get might be as hard as choosing a favorite child.

Both Escalade motors have their benefits. Each also has a few drawbacks, but it’s hard to nitpick them. However, one stands out a bit more than the other.

The 2021 Cadillac Escalade’s V8 engine packs speed

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Looking for a powerful full-size SUV? The 2021 Cadillac Escalade with a gas V8 engine is it. MotorTrend likes the throaty growl that some drivers crave. 

This V8 produces 420 hp and 460 lb-ft of torque. It allows drivers to be a little more adventurous on highways. Rather than sitting back and waiting until there is plenty of room in the next lane, you can slip in and out of traffic, leaving the slowpokes behind.

Though large SUVs aren’t known for their speed, the Escalade’s V8 is shockingly fast. It can push the SUV from 0 to 60 in 5.9 seconds. That’s the fastest split for a large SUV in the segment.

So how does the diesel engine stack up?

The Cadillac Escalade’s turbodiesel purrs quietly like a kitten

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Diesel vehicles aren’t known to be quiet. Rather than growl like a muscle car, they emit a rumble you can feel through the seats. If you have memories of driving in such a vehicle and don’t want to repeat that feeling, don’t worry: That’s not an issue for the Cadillac Escalade diesel.

The Duramax turbodiesel engine impressed MotorTrend’s reviewer, who said, “Sure, anyone attuned to diesels will be able to pick up the telltale cues, but the smooth Duramax is quiet and refined enough to go undetected by most. Under acceleration, it’s a bit gruffer in tone than the V8, but those who have owned or spent time in European diesel SUVs from, say, Audi or Mercedes won’t bat an eye.”

However, compared to the V8 gas engine, the Duramax doesn’t produce nearly as much power. In fact, it produces only 277 hp. That means it drives considerably slower than its gas-powered sibling. In fact, it takes 8.5 seconds to go from 0 to 60 mph. 

Regardless, MotorTrend said the Duramax Escalade doesn’t feel slow. That might be better than actually going fast, especially for those who tend to get speeding tickets.

And despite its lower horsepower, the turbodiesel still gets 460 lb-ft of torque like the gas engine.

However shall you choose?

Diesel or gas? That’s the question you must answer before signing on the dotted line. So what’s the right answer?

The truth is, there isn’t one. The Cadillac Escalade’s V8 is great for anyone looking for a powerful engine when driving on the highway. On the flip side, for towing things like boats or campers, the Duramax is the obvious choice. 

The biggest difference between the two is the gas mileage. The V8’s fuel economy — 15/ 20 mpg city/highway with rear-wheel drive and 14 /19 mpg city/highway with four-wheel drive — is almost unforgivable. 

On the other hand, the Duramax gets 21/27 mpg city/highway with rear-wheel drive and 20/26 mpg city/highway with four-wheel drive. That’s a much better choice if you’re looking to save money at the pump. But, of course, anyone with the means to pay the $87,290 MSRP probably doesn’t care.