Cadillac Escalade at Bottom of Least Reliable Cars List

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The turnaround at the Cadillac division of General Motors Co. (NYSE: GM) has suffered a hit, as its flagship Escalade ultra-premium ended up at the bottom of the Consumer Reports “10 Least Reliable Cars” list.

For the first nine months of the year, Cadillac sales have dropped 5.1% to 119,286. Sales of the Escalade have moved up 7.7% to 16,131. Sales of the Escalade ESV are up 4% to 10,556. The sport utility vehicle is probably highly profitable. Some versions of the Escalade sell for over $90,000.

The Consumer Reports evaluation:

Price as tested $87,360
Trouble spots Transmission replacement, rough shifting, 4WD components, power equipment, in-car electronics

The Escalade falls down on the fundamentals as a luxury SUV; It rides too stiffly and can’t stop or handle with the grace of its peers. Despite casting a massive shadow, the Cadillac is not even that roomy inside. The second-row seats aren’t very comfortable, and the third row is cramped. For those who want more room, there is a longer ESV version that provides more cargo space. The Cue infotainment system is confounding. The real strength of the Escalade is in its work abilities, with a powerful 420-hp V8 and impressive tow capacity. Reliability has been well below average, ranking worst in class. We consider a well-trimmed Chevrolet Suburban or GMC Yukon XL to be a smarter buy

At least the recommended cars are made by GM.

See the 24/7 Wall St. analysis of the full Consumer Reports survey.