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Cadillac’s Escalade and Lexus LX F Sport – ELEPHANTS ON ICE

Car Reviews

Cadillac’s Escalade and Lexus LX F Sport – ELEPHANTS ON ICE

Cadillac’s Escalade and Lexus LX F Sport


Brawny, powerful, luxurious, and as nimble as an acrobatic elephant on ice skates, the 2024 Lexus LX F Sport and Cadillac Escalade 4WD Platinum stand out as reminders that the age of conspicuous consumption has yet to reach an apogee. 

Or perhaps this is it.

With an as-tested price of $108,460 for the Lexus and $121,315 for the Escalade, the two three-row SUVs cost as much as six of the extremely well-equipped two-row SUV that resides in our garage. For the price difference, one could put a kid through a public university; or, if you are past that age, take four world cruises.

What you spend on a car comes out of your pocket, so it is 100% your business. Maybe you think people look at you in one of these gilded land barges and say to themselves, “Oh, what a successful and powerful person that must be.” To be sure, they might also notice the four or five chronically empty seats and conjure sentences that contain the phrase “a fool and his money,” but that’s just jealously talking, right?

Moving on from price, shown in the lower right-hand corner of a window sticker in 6-point font, let’s discuss fuel economy, shown in the lower left in 32-point font. The week we drove the Escalade, for example, we put on a little more than 300 miles. We consumed the $130 worth of gas in the tank when it arrived and added $60 more. Do that four times a month and one is paying about 125% more for gas than the average new car payment.

Still your business, right? 

Let’s read the next line below fuel economy. The Escalade – not one of the superpowered V-series – emits 564 grams of CO2 per mile. A plug-in Lexus 450h, which costs around $76,000 and gets 82 mpg, emits 89 grams/mile. In other words, the Escalade puts out 634% more climate-killing stuff, which comes not out of your pocket, but goes into the air we all breathe. The more fuel-efficient Lexus LX puts out 538% more.

What can a single person do about global climate change? Not much, but if we all did the little that we could, we could make a serious dent in it; so, if you pass me while driving one of these things, at least you know what I am thinking.

Which is better?

Among reviewers, the clear consensus is that the Escalade is the better vehicle. It is a little more luxurious, has some gee-whiz goodies like semiautonomous driving, which competently takes the wheel (some of the time); augmented reality navigation; and rides and handles superbly.

The Lexus LX F Sport, on the other hand, costs less, gets 25% better fuel economy, and handles curving backroads like a GT sedan. Let’s compare:

Handling and Ride

When it comes to handling, the Lexus LX F Sport and Cadillac Escalade Sport Platinum exhibit different characteristics. 

The LX prioritizes a smooth and composed ride, designed to glide over various surfaces with its adaptive suspension system. Add in the F Sport package, which includes a long list of trim features inside and out, but, more importantly, a sport-tuned suspension, beefier sway bar, and limited-slip differential, and the F Sport model handles as well as the best-in-class BMW X7.

On the other hand, the Escalade delivers a dynamic driving experience with its Magnetic Ride Control, providing confident handling and precise steering response.

We put both vehicles through challenging winding roads and rocky Forest Service roads and were impressed at how planted they felt. Both were whisper-quiet over rugged terrain, too. 

We chose not to go off-roading, but if we had, the Lexus LX would have clear advantages because of its suspension, driveline components, and a cool feature that uses cameras to show the road underneath and just ahead of the vehicle. If you’ve ever been in a critical situation where all you can see is the sky above the hood, you know how comforting this is.

Engine Performance

The 2024 Lexus LX is powered by a twin-turbocharged 3.4-liter V-6 engine that produces 409 horsepower and 479 pound-feet of torque. Why Toyota chose not to add a hybrid component, like found in the new Tundra, is beyond us, though we suspect it relates to the LX coming out two model years before the Tundra.

The 2024 Cadillac Escalade offers two engine options. A 6.2-liter gas V-8 that produces 420 hp and 460 lb.-ft of torque. An optional 3.0-liter diesel inline-six engine is also available, which provides the same torque rating as the V8 and better fuel economy. Given the price differential and greater CO2 output for diesel, it’s probably a push. You’ll get more range but spend more at the pump.

Cabin Design and Interior Space

The Lexus LX F Sport cabin embodies a classic and elegant aesthetic, with meticulous attention to detail and high-quality materials creating a luxurious ambiance. In contrast, the Cadillac Escalade Sport Platinum showcases a more modern and bold interior design, featuring premium finishes and innovative technologies. 

In terms of interior space, the Escalade offers a slight advantage with its roomier third-row seating and increased cargo capacity.

On the other hand, the Escalade’s switch gear and dashboard design are typical GM – clumsy and confusing. Several key switches, like the one for lane-keep assist, are hidden behind the gear shifter. Others are below and behind the steering wheel. This was designed by a committee not focused on user interface.

Cutting edge tech

Both machines come with big touchscreens, interface flawlessly with both phone types, and have great sound and rear-seat entertainment systems.

The Escalade stands out with its OLED Infotainment System. A massive 38-inch curved OLED touchscreen display spans the width of the dashboard. 

The Escalade features two innovative technologies not found in the Lexus:

  • Augmented Reality Navigation: This overlays directional cues onto a live video feed from the front camera, providing enhanced guidance for turns and exits.
  • Super Cruise: Cadillac’s advanced driver-assistance system, Super Cruise provides hands-free driving technology that utilizes LiDAR mapping and a driver-facing camera to enable hands-free driving on compatible highways. The keyword here is compatible. Incompatible stretches – meaning digital data is not available – pop up suddenly and often. We found this feature reduces driver fatigue, but one must always pay attention.

When Super Cruise is unavailable, the Escalade relies on a lane-keep assist system that is ancient by today’s standards. If the vehicle approaches a lane edge, the truck shoves it in the opposite direction with such force that it cannot maintain its lane when it reaches the other side. It is sort of like being in a Pong game. 

The Lexus, on the other hand, keeps the vehicle nicely centered in its lane all the time. 

Interior Passenger and Cargo Volume

The Lexus LX F Sport accommodates up to eight passengers comfortably, but the rear is cramped, and cargo space is limited. The Escalade has an extended wheelbase which makes it much more family-friendly, especially on long trips.


The LX tows about 7,000 pounds, while the Escalade’s towing capacity is approximately 8,000 pounds.

Fuel Type and EPA Combined Fuel Economy:

Both vehicles require premium unleaded fuel. We averaged 14.5 mpg in the Escalade and 19.7 mpg in the Lexus LX. That’s around 33%, which is substantial when one is spending $120-$150 a week to fill the tank.

If you were shooting that much into an arm every week, wouldn’t you think you had a problem? In the seven months we have owned our plug-in hybrid, we have purchased $12 worth of gas, and the tank is full. Our electric bill, on the other hand, went up $1.50 a month.

Warranties and Predicted Reliability:

Lexus provides a limited warranty of 4 years/50,000 miles and a powertrain warranty of 6 years/70,000 miles for the LX F Sport. Cadillac offers a similar limited warranty of 4 years/50,000 miles and a powertrain warranty of 6 years/70,000 miles for the Escalade.

In terms of predicted reliability, Lexus has consistently ranked higher than Cadillac in various industry reliability studies. 

The median of various depreciation calculations puts the Escalade’s value at around 46% of the purchase price after five years and the Lexus LX at around 68%. That means that in five years, the $121,000 Escalade will fetch $57,000. The $108,000 Lexus projects to be worth $73,400.

That is a lot of money down the drain. But that, of course, is your business.

In four decades of journalism, Bill Owney has picked up awards for his coverage of everything from murders to the NFL to state and local government. He added the automotive world to his portfolio in the mid '90s.

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