There was a time once when a gas-guzzling, full-size, American luxury SUV would have looked out of place on a European street. Today, a Cadillac Escalade no longer looks so incongruous in Europe. No, it’s not because its dimensions have gotten more manageable or its styling more international. Instead, the European automakers have caught up.
If you want a truck that makes a visual statement, the Mercedes G-Class is as popular with wealthy Europeans as it is with wealthy Americans and Australians. And it actually has had even sillier engine options available, like the 6.0 twin-turbo V12 in the outgoing model. Mercedes-AMG actually put a V12 engine, producing 621 hp and 738 ft-lbs, in a 1979-vintage, boxy, body-on-frame SUV originally developed for the military. Against that, an Escalade seems almost sensible.
Then there are the big, modern German SUVs like the Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class. That three-row SUV is as long as a regular-length Escalade and offers two different twin-turbo V8 engines as options. There’s a new, big BMW on the way – the three-row X7 – which is as large as the GLS. And don’t forget the glut of other large, luxury SUVs like the Bentley Bentayga and Rolls-Royce Cullinan.
So no, an Escalade doesn’t exactly stick out like a sore thumb in Europe nowadays. Americans may have popularized the luxury SUV (along with the Brits) but the rest of the world is now on the bandwagon. Or band-SUV, if you will.
Third-generation Escalades photographed in Old Town Prague, Czechia; fourth-generation Escalade photographed in Potsdam, Germany.