2009 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid – Which Brought Green Tech to Luxury SUVs

2009 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid parked on the street
2009 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid parked on the street

To some people, it might seem absurd to combine the luxury of a Cadillac Escalade with the hybrid power, but then, Cadillac excels at going beyond expectations, so why not pair a off road driving SUV known generally for poor fuel economy and use it to show just how mainstream green technology is important? The 2009 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid may not be the environmental lobby’s choice of an official car, but Cadillac has certainly turned it into a rolling advertisement for their green line.

The hybrid engine in the 2009 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid is the same one used in the GMC Yukon and Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrids (which latter was voted the 2008 Green Car of the Year by the Green Car Journal). It’s a system that allows the Escalade to offer roughly the same fuel economy whether it’s on the open highway, or in stop-and-go city traffic.

Under the Hood

Specifically, the Escalade Hybrid has a 332-horsepower, 6.0-liter V8 engine that includes cylinder deactivation technology, allowing the engine to run on four cylinders in certain conditions. It’s mated to an electrically variable four-gear transmission and a 300-volt battery pack. It’s two-mode hybrid system allows the vehicle to accelerate on electric power alone from both cruising and full stop, with the gasoline engine kicking in to add supplementary power. As with most hybrids, the 2009 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid captures energy during braking, and stores it in the battery pack to be used later. Cadillac says this combination will allow the Escalade Hybrid to achieve city fuel economy of about 18 mpg, which isn’t terribly impressive for hybrid cars, though it is a significant improvement over the 12 mpg achieved by the gas-only version.

Where the Hybrid falls behind the gas-only Escalade is in towing. Properly equipped, the rear-wheel drive hybrid can pull up to 6,000 pounds and the four-wheel drive hybrid maxes out at 5,700 pounds, while the gas-only version can tow up to 7,700 pounds.

Inside the Escalade Hybrid

The interior of the 2009 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid is essentially the same as that of the regular version, with a few hybrid-specific features added. One of these is the additional gauge that monitors the vehicle’s efficiency.

The cabin provides seating for up to eight people in three rows – the second row is a bench, like the third, and comes in two colors, cashmere and ebony, with leather seats the standard. Cargo space behind the back row totals 16.9 cubic feet.

Safety features of the Escalade Hybrid are fairly standard, and include side-curtain airbags for all three rows, an electronic stability system, and anti-lock brakes.

Exterior View

The body of the 2009 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid has no appreciable differences from the gas-only version, unless you count the myriad Hybrid badges that appear on the C-Pillars, lift-gate, and front fenders. It comes standard with 22-inch chrome wheels, and a power lift-gate.

The MSRP of the 2009 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid ranges $73,135 to $87,435 at the time of it was introduced.

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