|Luxury with a Conscience
2009 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid
November 13, 2007
The Escalade -- prevailing champion of large SUV, idol of affluent upper middle class suburbanites, and restorer of the Cadillac brand. An Esacalde is not just a vehicle, but an exhibit of vehicular couture. In days of escalating oil prices and growing environmental consciousness, the uncompromising luxury SUV has just made a compromise: the 2009 Escalade Hybrid.
While a hybrid version of the Escalade may not satisfy environmentalists, the 50-percent increase in city fuel economy is a giant improvement. The Hybrid option allows an alternative for those wishing to be more "green" without relinquishing their beloved SUV.
The Escalade’s 2-Mode Hybrid system offers benefits in both city and highway conditions. In the city, the Escalade can start and drive at low speeds using only electricity stored in the system. As additional power is required, the system can blend additional power from the gas engine through an electrically variable transmission.
When cruising on the highway, the 6.0L V8 gasoline engine can turn off half of its cylinders to reduce fuel consumption. Whenever the vehicle is coasting or brakes are applied, the electric motors in the hybrid system generate electricity and store it in a 300-volt nickel-metal hydride battery. An eight-inch touch-screen resides in the dash to display information on the hybrid system and also offers navigation features.
Externally, the Escalade Hybrid is nearly identical to the standard version, except for the special Hybrid badging. Underneath the familiar exterior, the Hybrid incorporates numerous measures to provide the highest level of comfort. The exhaust system is tuned to provide the best sound for both four and eight-cylinder operation. The air conditioning compressor is electrically driven to allow for use while the gasoline engine is turned off. A 42-volt electrical variable-assist power steering offers improved fuel economy over belt-driven hydraulic systems. At low speed, the battery cooling fan speed is reduced to reduce noise that the occupants might otherwise hear.
The 2009 Escalade Hybrid is available in both 2WD and 4WD, and capable of towing up to 6,000 pounds. It will be available for sale in the summer of 2008.