Automobile

2021 Cadillac Escalade Super Cruise Review: The Hands-Free Future of Highway Driving

I got locked out once and I didn’t let it happen again. Why? Because Super Cruise is not something you’re going to want to live without once you’ve had a taste. It handled every traffic situation I encountered, from twisty dual carriageways like New England’s Merrit Parkway to erratic drivers between Boston and Philadelphia. It stayed in the center of its lane, it slowed down for tighter corners, and if other drivers got too close—truck drivers, mostly—it would nudge itself over to make you feel a little better.

It changed lanes smoothly when I asked it to via the blinker stalk, taking a brief moment to make sure the coast was clear and then moving over smoothly and predictably. It would sometimes get confused and hang between two lanes if I didn’t hold the stalk down until most of the car was in the other lane, but that was user error more than anything. It was also one of the few things that could be qualified as a “mistake” that Super Cruise ever made while I was using it.

If you find yourself driving long distances consistently, Super Cruise is really a must-have, and if you’re curious whether or not your local highways are mapped with LiDAR, Cadillac has a convenient page on its website to tell you. You’ll notice if you look at that map that it covers almost every major stretch of Interstate, meaning if you wanted to hop on Interstate 80 in New Jersey and drive all the way to California, hands-free, you could.

Speaking of the Interstate, the longest I spent without touching the wheel of this Escalade was about 150 miles on my way from Philadelphia to Boston. Generally, the only time the system wasn’t enabled is when I had to change highways or if there was a construction zone. It was always just a matter of time until it came back online, though. 

This system changes the way you think about driving on the highway. It’s no longer, “Oh god, I have to spend three hours on the Interstate.” It’s, “Oh, God, after I spend three hours on the Interstate I’m actually going to have to stop supervising and drive this thing.

The Good Continues Off the Highway

That’s not to say this new Escalade is bad to drive. In fact, if you read my previous review of a non-Super Cruise-equipped Escalade, you’ll know it hides at least a portion of its immense weight effectively due to advanced magnetic shocks and adaptive air suspension. Thanks to its 420-horsepower, 6.2-liter V8, it also has plenty of power, and the 10-speed automatic transmission is just as sweet as usual: shifting smoothly, quietly, perfectly. It’s good to drive for an SUV, but Super Cruise makes the mundane part of getting from point A to B feel like even more of a chore than it already is. You wish you could turn it on in more circumstances.

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