The introduction of the 2021 Cadillac Escalade marks the arrival of the fifth generation of the iconic luxury SUV. The Escalade has stayed true to form for its entire lifecycle, sticking with the familiar formula of a V8 engine, body-on-frame platform, chrome-clad exterior and luxurious cabin, but each generation also has its own styling elements and characteristics – including a unique interpretation of the recognizable Cadillac Escalade grille.
The automaker recently posted a video to its Instagram page showing how the Cadillac Escalade grille has evolved from generation to generation. The Escalade’s grille has always been an important part of the vehicle, lending heavily to its imposing styling, and while it has changed quite considerably over the years, it still remains instantly recognizable on the road today thanks to several unmistakable Cadillac design cues.
The first-gen Cadillac Escalade was hurried to market as a response to the Lincoln Navigator and as such, it shared a lot in common with the GMC Yukon. The first-gen Escalade’s round-cornered grille was almost the exact same as the Yukon’s then, although it had a different mesh pattern and additional chrome border trim. These were the days before Cadillac dropped the crown and ducks from its logo as well.
The second-gen Cadillac Escalade had more distinctive styling and a much different-looking crest-shaped grille. Like the first-gen Escalade, though, it incorporated a similar chrome trim piece framing the grille with a thicker chrome element at the top part of the grille. The second-generation Escalade also used the more up-to-date, geometric-looking version of the Cadillac crest without the crown or ducks, which carried over to the third-gen Escalade. The crest still used the wreath at this time, however, with Cadillac including it on its products until 2014.
The third iteration of the Escalade had a very similar grille pattern to the second-generation model, although it incorporated new chrome pieces between the grille slats. Again, the thick chrome trim piece at the top of the grille carried over to this generation, this time appearing much more prominent than the other chrome elements in the grille.
The fourth-gen Escalade represents the biggest change from generation to generation, in our opinion. The 2015-2020 Escalade had a much larger and more prominent grille with less body-color elements and more brush-metal chrome than any other Escalade before it – characteristics which have mostly carried over for the fifth-gen 2021 Escalade grille. The 2021 Escalade’s grille also incorporates horizontally-mounted LED headlights, unlike the vertical lamps of the fourth-gen model, which changes the look of the SUV’s fascia considerably.
It’s worth pointing out the 2021 Cadillac Escalade actually has three grille designs. The Luxury and Premium Luxury trims come with a chrome mesh-style pattern, while the Sport trims have a black mesh grille. The Premium Luxury Platinum trims also get a unique grille treatment with horizontal grille elements, as seen on the 2021 Escalade pictured below.
Check out the video embedded below to see how the Cadillac Escalade grille has evolved over the years.
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