The Cadillac Escalade Diesel Is A Real Vehicle You Can Buy Right Now

Diesel This Cadillac

The Cadillac Escalade can be purchased, new, right now, with a 3.0-liter Duramax diesel inline-six. If you get it in 2WD trim it gets a combined 23 MPG and a quite reasonable 27 MPG. Did you know this? Am I the only person who did not know this?

It’s probably part of my job to have some understanding of every car that’s for sale. It’s probably important for me to be able to tell you the difference between an Infiniti QX50 and QX70 even though I’m like 40% sure I made one of those up. I’ve even driven an Escalade quite recently and I’m sure it had the V8. I was pretty sure it only had the V8.

Diesel 600d

This comes up because our own Thomas Hundal was talking about the 2023 Alpina XB7 in our morning meeting and young Thomas mentioned that the best buys in the very-large-luxury-SUV category are probably the XB7 or the diesel Cadillac. Both Jason and I are pretty convinced this is just a thing in Canada or we’re being mocked in some way.

Ok, I’ve just checked my phone. There is, indeed, a photo of me driving an Escalade in April of 2021 to test out GM’s assisted driving system they call Super Cruise for an article I was writing (BTW, Super Cruise works really well). I put gas in it. I did not put diesel in it.

Let’s go to the build-and-price section of the Cadillac website for the Escalade to provide some answers. I’ll be damned. You can get a diesel on every trim of this thing other than the delightfully obscene Escalade V. I guess Thomas was right.

Build Your Own Cadillac

Wow, just 277 horsepower but a meaty 460 lb-ft of torque. I bet this thing is a peach. Has anyone driven this thing? I’m gonna reach out to someone I’m sure has driven it.

Yeah, he confirms it. This thing is a peach. Thomas says he was getting great MPG with this thing on the highway and my buddy says he regularly gets above 30 MPG on his Silverado equipped with the same motor. Damn. How’d I miss this? I’m just gonna build one real quick, let’s see what I come up with.

Wait, you can get this in green, too? They call it “Dark Emerald Metallic.” Fantastic. I built a 2WD version, no options other than a roof rack, for just $82,870. That’s a lot of diesel truck and it can tow 8,000 pounds. Damn. I think I need to drive one of these.


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35 Responses

  1. I’m glad this exists, but I have no idea *why* it exists, in the US anyway.

    What are the odds that GM sells more than a handful of these? I have multiple wealthy clients who buy new Escalades every couple of years and none of them would be caught dead in a diesel Escalade – they’re getting the 6.2 or the Escalade V. None of them cares how much gas costs, none want to be bothered with DPF regen, adding urea, etc and all of them like power.

    1. This is where I’m at with this.

      I really don’t get the appeal of optioning an engine that uses expensive fuel ($4.92 national average as of today), requires expensive maintenance plus DEF, is slow, provides no improvement in towing, and most importantly replaces a sublime 6.2L V8.

      But I respect GM for offering it to those people who find value in it.

      1. Fuel+DEF is unquestionably a problem, but does the diesel have a better powerband for towing than the 6.2, even if outright capability is no better? I’m admittedly basing this on the last 5.3 Silverados I spent any time in (early K2XX), and I know the extra displacement would help, but they had to be revved a bit for power.

        I assume 90% of diesel Escalades built will have an Airstream or similar hooked up to them for about six months of the year, to ferry about affluent retirees.

        1. For some reason, some people have an odd reservation about revving a gas engine a bit when towing. It’s designed to do that! The 6.2L is rated to tow over 13,000 lb in the Silverado; 8000 in the SUVs is not exactly overstressing the powertrain.

          The 3.0 has its power peak at 3750 RPM too, this isn’t an HD engine.

          1. For those of us who grew up around ‘50s thru ‘70s trucks, seeing 3500 sustained rpms on a big V8 is cringeworthy. I >know< an E350 built <10 years ago is fine with it, but it’s tough to undo 30-40 years of indoctrination.

            [ Oddly enough, while that motor has put up with our abuse for over 204k, this morning the Quigley 4wd decided it needed a vented rearend & perforated the pumpkin with a bolt—from inside. I’m very thankful 1)it was a nice morning & I decided to mosey back to the shop on backroads instead of the interstate and 2) that it was so nice I rolled the windows down so that I actually noticed the smell of hypoid oil! ]

          2. I totally get that the 6.2 has no issue with sustained towing, just that the diesel might give a bit more of an illusion of effortlessness that might be appealing to someone using an Escalade as a tow rig.

  2. Big luxury SUV with a honkin V8: exists

    Enthusiasts (myself included): WOW WHAT A POINTLESS WASTEFUL TOY FOR THE RICH

    Big luxury SUV with a diesel: exists

    Enthusiasts: AMAZING

    (I say this with affection)

  3. I would buy a diesel Escalade with 2WD because I would probably own it for 15-20 years and think 4WD is useful only 0.25% of the time and a useless 400 lb. albatross the rest of the time. I will get my money’s worth out of it, dammit!

  4. If I did my maths correctly, assuming you drive 10,000 miles a year. Regular gas is $3.16, diesel is $4.60 at the station. by my house.

    Gas v8, 16mpg combined. $1975 fuel bill

    Diesel six, 23mpg combined, $2000 fuel bill

    Then you need to factor in that the diesel will need to have its particulate filter replaced at some point to the tune of $5000. Not to mention all the problems the EGR system will give you. Emissons era diesels are just stupid expensive to repair.

    Unless you have a dually pickup lugging 20,000 pound trailers all the time, diesels make ZERO sense.

    Fleet managers have really soured on diesel engines as well. Huge trend in the past several years has been to order gas engines in your new F250 service body trucks, medium duty penske box trucks, UPS package cars, school buses, etc.

    1. Diesel and gas prices are unusually far apart right now though. When gas came back down diesel didn’t for some reason, but that’s unlikely to last forever. At least in my area, diesel and gas are typically close enough in price that the diesel comes out way ahead from a pure fuel cost perspective.

      Also, diesels tend to meet or exceed their EPA ratings. Gassers usually fall short.

      Also also, the diesel will walk all over the gas in towing MPG if that matters to you.

      I’m not saying it makes sense for everyone. My next truck is likely to be gas just because of changes in how I use it, but there are cases where it still makes sense. Around town stuff like UPS and buses are definitely not one of them. All that low speed, stop and go driving plays merry hell with modern emissions. If most of your driving is not highway then you probably don’t want a diesel these days.

  5. If I ran an airport “black car”, this would be it. For some reason, GM updated the engine with 305 hp and 495 lb-ft for 2023, but only in the pickups. SUVs carry on with this older version of the diesel.

  6. Sorry, I have to call BS. I ordered one of these in December of 2021. After 10 months, I still couldn’t get a build date. And based on comments on some online forums, others have been waiting even longer. “A real vehicle you can buy right now”? Good luck with that. I cancelled my order.

      1. I have ordered a GLS580. I’m told I may have a build date within a month.

        I really wanted that diesel as I will be replacing my road-trip vehicle (a Buick Enclave). But since both the diesel and Super Cruise are basically unobtanium (according to my dealer, those are the hold ups), I went with the Mercedes. Only slightly more, and much nicer interior. I went with the V8 GLS because I drove the 6 and it was just too underpowered for that size. I figured the big torque of the diesel would have compensated for the low HP so I was OK with that.

  7. I think this is great. I can kind of understand Cadillac not being too loud about it though. “Cadillac” and “diesel” have a pretty negative connotation when paired together with folks around in the early 80’s.

  8. I have had the chance to drive this behemoth, and the same engine in the GMC Sierra. Honestly it’s a joy to drive. Incredibly smooth and effortless torque. I can confirm that 30MPG highway is attainable if you keep it between 70-75mph.

    1. Judging by the old style avatar… you live near chicago, and are probably also a cubs fan. I grew up in the ‘burbs there, although, i’m admittedly a fan of the south siders. we probably also both hate the packers, as long as i’m riding the assumption train.

      1. Bad assumption. The Packers are Chicago’s 2nd favorite NFL team. We get every Packers game on TV that isn’t a direct conflict with the Bears on the same network.

        The Packers are essentially Chicago’s Football White Sox, only not horrible.

        I say that as a White Sox fan.

  9. “Am I the only person who did not know this?”

    Potentially – it was pretty well known that this exists, and short of the V, is honestly one of the best ways to get these full-size T1 SUVs as it is a wonderful engine by all accounts.

    I’d really love for them to shove it in the Colorado, but I legitimately don’t think it will fit.

    1. The Suburban 4×2 LS can be ordered with the 3.0 duramax, front and second row bench seats for less than 60k.
      Seats for 9 people, 8000lbs towing, and 30mpg highway with massive range.

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