3 Cadillac Escalade Years to Avoid (Revealed)

Cadillac Escalade is a flagship full-size SUV recognizable for its impressive level of luxury, plenty of advanced tech features, and abundance of interior room.

As it’s typically the case, some Escalades are more reliable than others which is why it’s important to do the research before buying one.

In this article, we’ll explain which Escalade years are reliable and which ones should be avoided. At the same time, we’ll list the most common problems plaguing the Escalades in the past 15 years.

Which Cadillac Escalade Years to Avoid: Quick Answer

In our humble opinion, Cadillac Escalade years to avoid are 2015-2017. They exhibit an alarmingly high number of complaints considering their relatively young age and have horrendous reliability scores on all three platforms we’ve used in our methodology.

The well-documented “Chevy shake” is only one of their serious issues and potentially life-threatening hazards. Sub-par brakes, hard-shifting transmission, and various problems with tech features and electronics are among the remaining common complaints.

Which Year Escalade is The Best?

According to our findings, the best Escalade year is 2019. It boasts high-reliability marks from J.D. Power (82/100) and Edmunds user reviews (4.6/5). On top of that, the 2019 Cadillac Escalade hasn’t been subjected to any recalls yet.

2018 models are almost as reliable as their 2019 counterparts, but if you’re looking for more affordable options, 2006 and 2013 Escalades are the way to go.

Do Cadillac Escalades Have a Lot of Problems?

Escalades exhibit more problems than one would expect, considering their price tag.

However, some model years are more reliable than others. Such is the case with the late second, late third, and finally late fourth-generation models.

Meanwhile, early and mid-generation models are usually plagued by numerous problems that typically remain unresolved until the last two or three model years within the said generation.

You might also like: VW Beetle Years to Avoid (Revealed)

Cadillac Escalade Problems by Year:

Further below, we’ve listed some of the most common problems faced by every Cadillac Escalade model over the past 15 years.

The data comes from carcomplaints.com and NHTSA.

2020 Cadillac Escalade Problems

  • steering column airbag may fail to deploy

Total complaints: NHTSA 2, car complaints 2.

2019 Cadillac Escalade Problems

  • various tech features issues

Total complaints: NHTSA 2, car complaints 1.

2018 Cadillac Escalade Problems

  • brake issues

Total complaints: NHTSA 5, car complaints 1.

2017 Cadillac Escalade Problems

  • brake issues
  • various tech features issues
  • violent shakes at random

Total complaints: NHTSA 42, car complaints 4.

2016 Cadillac Escalade Problems

  • hard-shifting transmission
  • violent shakes at random
  • various tech features issues
  • brake issues

Total complaints: NHTSA 61, car complaints 18.

2015 Cadillac Escalade Problems

  • hard-shifting transmission
  • violent shakes at random
  • brake issues
  • various tech features issues

Total complaints: NHTSA 67, car complaints 11.

2014 Cadillac Escalade Problems

  • unintended acceleration

Total complaints: NHTSA 16, car complaints 2.

2013 Cadillac Escalade Problems

  • steering wheel failure
  • various tech features issues

Total complaints: NHTSA 13, car complaints 0.

2012 Cadillac Escalade Problems

  • electrical system failure
  • engine loses power

Total complaints: NHTSA 26, car complaints 1.

2011 Cadillac Escalade Problems

  • airbags fail to deploy

Total complaints: NHTSA 61, car complaints 0.

2010 Cadillac Escalade Problems

  • airbags fail to deploy
  • various electrical issues

Total complaints: NHTSA 40, car complaints 4.

2009 Cadillac Escalade Problems

  • airbags fail to deploy
  • various electrical issues

Total complaints: NHTSA 51, car complaints 3.

2008 Cadillac Escalade Problems

  • airbags fail to deploy
  • various electrical issues
  • headlights fail from moisture
  • engine shuts off while driving

Total complaints: NHTSA 163, car complaints 10.

2007 Cadillac Escalade Problems

  • airbags fail to deploy
  • various electrical issues
  • engine shuts off while driving
  • faulty “StabiliTrak” system
  • dashboard prone to cracking

Total complaints: NHTSA 268, car complaints 14.

2006 Cadillac Escalade Problems

  • engine shuts off while driving
  • brake issues

Total complaints: NHTSA 24, car complaints 1.

What Is The Most Reliable Escalade Year?

The most reliable Cadillac Escalade year is 2019. The 2019 Cadillac Escalade faces only a handful of complaints, most of which are related to some of its numerous tech features. 

Aside from high-reliability scores from J.D. Power (82/100) and Edmunds user reviews (4.6/5), 2019 Escalades boast an excellent “problems reported per thousand vehicles per year index (PPMY)” index score of 0.09.

The PPMY index takes several different factors into account when measuring user satisfaction with a given model. Aside from the number of complaints, it also factors in the vehicle’s age and production numbers. The older the model is, the higher the probability it’ll break down at some point. Similarly, the higher the production figures, the higher the potential for issues to occur.

You’ll find a table of “problems reported per thousand vehicles per year index (PPMY)” for the past 15 Cadillac Escalade model years further below.

Model YearNumber of ProblemsSales FiguresVehicle AgePPMY Index
20201224,54720.24
20191035,42430.09
2018936,87240.11
20176237,69450.53
20168539,09260.51
201510435,92170.53
20142530,52280.36
20132022,51490.17
20124022,632100.4
20116725,503110.4
20104826,874120.28
20098225,884130.39
200820339,710140.48
200734560,991150.38
20063062,206160.14

Cadillac Escalade Reliability By Year:

Although a majority of Escalade models from the last 15 years don’t exactly boast a stellar reputation for reliability, some of them fair pretty well in that regard.

The following breakdown of Cadillac Escalade reliability by year comes from the data collected from Car Problems, J.D. Power, and Edmunds user reviews.

J.D. Power uses a scale from 1 to 100. 

Edmunds user reviews use a scale from 1 to 5.

Car Problems PPMY index is simple – the lower, the better.

2020 Cadillac Escalade Reliability

  • J.D. Power rating: 84
  • Edmunds rating: 5.0
  • Car Problems PPMY index: 0.24

2019 Cadillac Escalade Reliability

  • J.D. Power rating: 82
  • Edmunds Rating: 4.6
  • Car Problems PPMY index: 0.09

2018 Cadillac Escalade Reliability

  • J.D. Power rating: 81
  • Edmunds Rating: 3.7
  • Car Problems PPMY index: 0.11

2017 Cadillac Escalade Reliability

  • J.D. Power rating: 78
  • Edmunds Rating: 3.1
  • Car Problems PPMY index: 0.53

2016 Cadillac Escalade Reliability

  • J.D. Power rating: 72
  • Edmunds Rating: 3.2
  • Car Problems PPMY index: 0.51

2015 Cadillac Escalade Reliability

  • J.D. Power rating: 68
  • Edmunds rating: 2.6
  • Car Problems PPMY index: 0.53

2014 Cadillac Escalade Reliability

  • J.D. Power rating: 75
  • Edmunds rating: 5.0
  • Car Problems PPMY index: 0.36

2013 Cadillac Escalade Reliability

  • J.D. Power rating: 79
  • Edmunds rating: 4.9
  • Car Problems PPMY index: 0.17

2012 Cadillac Escalade Reliability

  • J.D. Power rating: 76
  • Edmunds rating: 5.0
  • Car Problems PPMY index: 0.40

2011 Cadillac Escalade Reliability

  • J.D. Power rating: 81
  • Edmunds rating: 5.0
  • Car Problems PPMY index: 0.40

2010 Cadillac Escalade Reliability

  • J.D. Power rating: 76
  • Edmunds rating: 4.0
  • Car Problems PPMY index: 0.28

2009 Cadillac Escalade Reliability

  • J.D. Power rating: 80
  • Edmunds rating: 3.9
  • Car Problems PPMY index: 0.39

2008 Cadillac Escalade Reliability

  • J.D. Power rating: 76
  • Edmunds rating: 4.0
  • Car Problems PPMY index: 0.48

2007 Cadillac Escalade Reliability

  • J.D. Power rating: 76
  • Edmunds rating: 4.5
  • Car Problems PPMY index: 0.38

2006 Cadillac Escalade Reliability

  • J.D. Power rating: 77
  • Edmunds rating: 4.9
  • Car Problems PPMY index: 0.14

Final Thoughts – Cadillac Escalade Years To Avoid

As it’s often the case in the auto industry, the early-gen Cadillac Escalade models typically exhibit the highest amount of problems, while the late-generation units are usually much more reliable.

The 2019 Cadillac Escalade stands out as arguably the most reliable model year in luxury SUV’s 25 years on the market. Its direct predecessor is another fine choice, and so are older but more affordable 2006 and 2013 Escalades.

On the other hand, the 2015-2017 Cadillac Escalades should be avoided at all costs. They suffer from poor build quality and structural deficiencies that will make you wish you hadn’t bought any one of them in the first place.

Source:

  • https://www.carcomplaints.com/
  • https://www.nhtsa.gov/
  • https://www.carproblemzoo.com/
  • https://www.jdpower.com/
  • https://www.edmunds.com/