Which Cadillac Escalade Years to Avoid and Why? (Explained)

While browsing for a full-size luxury SUV to purchase, the name Cadillac Escalade is bound to pop up on the wish list. Ranked 6th among 19 names, the escalade has built up a reputation in the luxury SUV sector.

Now while contemplating the purchase of a Cadillac Escalade, one must stay aware of the issues this vehicle has exhibited in the past for a safe and reliable ride.

The Cardillac Escalade years to avoid are 2007, 2008, 2014, 2016 and 2019.

By being aware of its finest and worst years, a reliable model of the SUV can be at your hand.

Cadillac Escalade Years to Avoid (List of Years)

According to CarComplaints, the worst problem with Cadillac Escalade is their engine problems and the most common issue raised was rough rides.

Other common problems arising for the vehicle are breaking of door handles, leaks of A/C condenser, malfunction of the instrument panel and transmission failure. Transmission failure is a concerning issue that was recorded to arise at a mileage of 77,000.

Now some years had more severe issues than the others. A list of years to avoid for the vehicle would be:

  • 2007 Cadillac Escalade
  • 2008 Cadillac Escalade
  • 2014 Cadillac Escalade
  • 2016 Cadillac Escalade
  • 2019 Cadillac Escalade

Worst Year of Cadillac Escalade

The worst year of Cadillac Escalade is debatable but most reports label the year 2014 to be the most problematic model.

It is not necessarily the model receiving most complaints but the complaints that were reported were severe.

Rough rides were the major issue raised for this model which became more unpleasant at about 35,000 mileages.

Defective struts are the cause of the problem which makes the users feel like they are being thrown around and the repairs cost a whopping amount of 17,000 dollars. Electrical problems were also pronounced in this model year.

What Makes These Cadillac Escalade Years Worth Avoiding?

2007 Cadillac Escalade Problems:

The worst issue of the 2007 Escalade would be the easy breaking off of door handles. Both outside and inside door handles were found to be flimsy. Complaints of the vehicle dying while driving was also logged in.

A severe issue to note is a history of electrical fires which engulfed the whole vehicle. This incident was reported by only one user but considering the fatality, the issue is highly concerning.

106 NHTSA complaints regarding airbags and 34 NHTSA complaints about the engine are also worth heeding.

2008 Cadillac Escalade Problems:

Headlight problems and moisture leakage were found to be inconvenient with Cadillac Escalade 2008 Year model. Also, the breaking of door handles was prevalent in the model as its predecessor.

The poor design quality of the doors was a deal-breaker for many users.

The instrument panel exhibited issues in this model. Glitches in the gauge systems of the panel were brought up.

RepairPal also raised issues regarding speed motor. Low tire pressure is another problem reported by users. 

2014 Cadillac Escalade Problems:

2014 was reportedly the worst year of Cadillac Escalade. Uncomfortable rides were of much disturbance in this model. For an 80k dollar SUV, the discomfort of the vehicle is not worth the money.

The high repair costs of the problems arising in this model further caused immense frustration for its users. The problems start at relatively lower mileage making it a purchase to avoid.

The model was also plagued with electronic module issues. Other complaints were of few numbers but the discomfort of the model was a valid issue for owners.

One of the main concerns of a luxury SUV is comfort. So if comfort is compromised, the model cannot offer a satisfying experience. Frame cracks are another issue of this year’s model per user report.

2016 Cadillac Escalade Problems:

After 2014, the 2016 model is a definite Cadillac Escalade model to avoid. Among all the models of Cadillac Escalade, this model received the highest number of complaints.

Transmission failure is one of the worst issues of the model. This failure was logged at around only 2,000 miles. This is a major problem as the solution to this problem is significantly expensive. Replacement of the entire transmission is needed for which repair cost runs high.

A large number of engine and suspension problems were also reported. The vehicle was reported to jerk sometimes.

Another notable issue in the Cadillac Escalade 2016 was chassis vibration. The vehicle also had complaints of faulty radio reception and audio systems. 

2019 Cadillac Escalade Problems:

The 2019 model hardly has any reported complaints but it still is a year to avoid among the 4th generation of Escalades. Transmission issues were found in the model. Electronic issues including a faulty climate system were also recorded.

Despite having an impressive engine, the model was found to be uncomfortable for back-row passengers. A stiff driving experience is also a cause of inconvenience.

Other than these, the Cadillac Escalade 2019 vehicle is reported to surge even when the engine is idle. Moreover, power mode lights and faulty washing lights often bothered users.

Which Cadillac Escalade Years are Safe to Buy?

In terms of reliability, the reputed model is the 2002 Cadillac Escalade.

A consumer rating of 5 out of 5 makes it a historical model. Minimum repair needs and reliable rides even at great mileage make it an exceptional model.

A V-8 engine with 310 horsepower capability offers excellent performance.

The second most reliable model would be 2013 from ratings of Consumer Report and JD Power.

An outstanding score of 86 out of 100 was obtained by the model for its reliability and quality. The installation of six-speed automatic transmission increases its performance significantly.

2014 is another good model. A 4.8 out of 5 rating from consumers attests to its quality. Offering a comfortable ride and splendid styling, it was a very favourable purchase. Upgraded fuel efficiency and a V-8 engine providing 403 horsepower are notable features of this model.

Among newer models, 2018 and 2021 would be a good choice with the 2018 model having a good consumer rating of 4.6 out of 5 and the 2021 model with popular tech features and additional space.

Moreover, magnetic ride control and adaptive suspension are some well-received features of the 2018 Cadillac Escalade. Optional air suspension was a popular feature of the 2021 escalade. A powerful rear also makes the 2021 model a favourite among experts.


An overview of the Cadillac Escalade line-up shows that the first generation (1999-200) Escalades lacked uniqueness. But Escalades got immensely better in subsequent generations.

Among all these generations some common problems plagued some models which must be avoided. Like the 2014 model with rough rides and the 2016 model with transmission failure and so on. I hope this article helps you to make the right decision on whether to buy an Escalade or not.

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