I was walking one day, minding my own business. I think I was on my way to see my friend who I haven’t seen since I left for England to study in 2009. Anyway, I was just having my usual walk (80s music in my ears, enjoying the sun) when suddenly I was interrupted by something visually horrible. Ok, I am not an Art historian or a fashion designer, but these kinds of shapes can be drawn up by a 4-year-old kid. It was a black Cadillac Escalade. I have always hated these cars. Not because I am jealous. I believe jealousy is one of most fatal traits of any human being, because it eats you from inside (you keep mentally hitting yourself) and outside (losing your friends). It is just because this car is AWFUL. And to this day I still have no idea why there are some people who walk into a Cadillac showroom and say “I would love to buy an Escalade”. Actually, up until recently I had no idea why people walked into Cadillac showrooms at all, they were terrible. The Cadillac dealership went bankrupt soon after SAAB went away in 2010. How horrible does a car brand have to be, when the dealers survival is depending on another clinically dead brand? Just recently Caddies have finally managed to be somewhat competitive. I’ve seen the new CTS and I can’t even deny that it feels quite decent inside. As good as BMW. Of course it has some design flaws, for example, a glossy interior finish. It is so sensitive to dirt that if someone got shot in a Cadillac nowadays, the police would just need to photograph the climate control panel as all of the fingerprints are visible.
Back to Escalade. I just have not seen a reason why someone has bought one. There might be a couple of reasons why they WOULD buy one.
The main one is psychological. It was once written in The New York Times about this. They said:
“Sport utility [SUV, i.e. large off-roaders, the class the Escalade is related to] buyers tend to be more restless, more sybaritic, less social people who are “self-oriented,” to use the automakers’ words, and who have strong conscious or subconscious fears of crime.”
Basically, those who buy SUVs are all about being flashy, desperate to show off, to tell all world that they exist and they are cool. I read somewhere else that this is because some of these people have been bullied and abused in their childhood. I get this. But some just pretend that they have been suffering and just have an excuse to flaunt. That’s why so many low-class rappers are driving Escalades with too much chromed bits on it (oversized wheels with spinning discs, “gold-wrapped” (like the one I put in before), tinted windows and so on). They want to threaten, to make sure that everyone is afraid of them, rather them being afraid that they might be bullied again. Eminem? Well…it’s hard to count him in. Yes, he has a SUV (Dodge Durango), but it’s not as flashy as those the others drive. I respect Eminem as a rapper. His songs make sense.
Now that’s the only reason I see why would someone buy it. But on other levels that car is RUBBISH.
It is engineered and built by the biggest automotive tyranny on Earth – General Motors – so it is doomed to have some stupid flaws in it, and it does. It was one of the cars that got caught in the big GM recall craze (when more than 8 million cars got recalled for technical problems that they should have had resolved BEFORE the car hit production). Not just the old ones, but the new one too. And for one truly appalling flaw – faulty air bag units. A 21st century car maker having reliability flaws with one of most crucial safety systems in a modern car is a medicine for company’s downfall, but because of people’s stupidity they somehow managed to gain profits during that period. And who knows, maybe there are some more faults in the design that no one, not even their makers, know about. I am actually laughing right now as I write, because I just cannot believe how stupid the GM are by letting such faults just get through. Everybody in the company knew, but did nothing. Some might say it’s risk, but a risk of losing someone’s life over a 5 cent economy is a bit of a bad relationship, if you ask me. If it was at least $1000 dollars per car, I would understand their economy, but still would feel mad about it.
Then someone says “well some might buy it because it’s comfortable.” Trust me, if someone would like to sail about in an Escalade, the least thing they are thinking is comfort. Maybe the comfort of their dealer’s car service lounge chairs, while waiting until their Escalade gets its recalled bits changed. If someone wants a comfortable car that looks like an Escalade, they would buy a Range Rover. It is the comfiest SUV there is. I’ve driven it and I was surprised on how comfy it was. It was literally like being on a cruise liner. And it would suit design taste of those buying Escalades, because it is just as boxy, just as large, but way better looking. A lot of celebrities are swapping Escalades for Range Rovers.
And the price is not the issue either. I highly doubt that there will be someone saying “no, Audi Q7 is a bit too expensive for me. I rather buy an Escalade for that”. There are a few issues with that. First: nobody would think about the economy when deciding on which premium SUV to buy. It is what it says in its class description: PREMIUM SUV. People buy the brand, not the value in the premium world. Secondly: if they made the stupid decision and bought the Escalade because of it being cheaper than the competition, they will be suddenly disappointed by its gas mileage, because all that difference will be wiped away by fuel bills. The Escalade has ONLY petrol V8 engines. Highly unlikely recipe for money saving, isn’t it?
If it’s national identity (Americans buying American cars cos they are helping the country), Escalade loses again. Ford Explorer sells better, so does Dodge Durango. And true Americans would buy a pick-up truck like the Ford F-150. Again an argument against Escalade.
Hated or loved, the Escalade is still here. And will be here for some years as they have introduced the 2015 model. Though I hate it to bits and so do a lot of other petrolheads, GM is still letting it through factory gates. I can’t wait for the day that these people owning an Escalade will finally realize that they cannot feel special with the Escalade. That it’s vulgar, ugly and as big as Florida and will eventually shift to Range Rover, Porsche or BMW. Though they are not American (except BMW; the X5 is built in South Carolina), they will still be better both in sales and in being a car than that pathetic Escalade.