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What’s Special About The Cadillac Escalade?
The Cadillac Escalade has been a known luxury SUV for quite some time. Between the Lincoln Navigator and the Cadillac Escalade, these are the SUVs most commonly pictured for protective services - in part because they look cool, and because they have powerful engines - in addition to the ability to customize them for safety purposes. Of course, most Cadillac Escalades are actually driven by families who like the comfy ride, quick acceleration, and significant space both for up to 8 passengers - and their stuff. It’s also safe to say that the Escalade is often chosen by sports parents who want to shove 3 or 4 gear bags (or more…) in the trunk and not worry about fitting multiple 6 foot plus tall athletes in the back.
A typical Escalade customer experiences a smooth ride and the ability to handle highway speeds as well as corners well with a vehicle of a large size. For the purpose of this vehicle, we’ll focus mostly on safety and comfort. While the Escalade is powered by a 6.2-liter 8-cylinder engine - and a supercharged engine on the higher end models, most people aren’t trying to race their Escalade - just potentially get from point A to point B faster.
Now we can get to where the rubber literally means the road.
Best Tires For Cadillac Escalade
Here we’ll discuss several tires that fit the Cadillac Escalade and its needs. Note that all tire sizes are based on OEM equipment, which is a 22” tire or 20” depending on what year and model. If you want a bigger tire, you might need to find a different model of tire, which potentially costs more - though could be worth it if you plan to lift your Escalade or take it off road.
Note that we use TireRack because they offer a large user base with many ratings as well as real world tests. We’ll get more into the benefits of TireRack and ordering tires online later.
Our first round of tires belongs to the all season highway category. In truth, there aren’t many categories of tires that fit the Cadillac Escalade, though we’ll throw in more truck tires later and seek out any Grand Touring or otherwise tires later. These tires are designed for a nice, long tread life in addition to a smooth, comfortable ride.
Michelin Defender LTX M/S
We’ll be the first to admit that normally tires don’t stand out much from the crowd. You’ll quickly learn two things from the Michelin Defender LTX M/S: It’s very good amongst Cadillac Escalade tires. The tires are also priced higher than others by a bit.
The Defender dominates the category, putting up very solid ratings across the board for wet and dry handling, with a confident 9.2 in wet and 9.3 in dry. Comfort is a very respectable 9.2, especially for those who bought their Cadillac Escalade for the cloud like suspension. Finally, tread wear does well with 9.1 and the winter and snow rating is an entire point ahead of anyone else in the class at 8.4.
The Defender LTX achieves a great balance of comfort and long tread wear with a unique tire compound called Evertread that is designed to work for longer in hard conditions - and is indeed for trucks and SUVs. Each tread also features 4 channels for swift removal of ice and rain as the Escalade rolls along, and MaxTouch Construction enables equally sized patches to deliver smooth and even acceleration as you would expect for your Escalade.
Overall, the only downside to the Michelin Defender is the price. The 20” model for slightly “older” Escalades and smaller editions is $262 while the 22” models cost upwards of $330 - which makes sense for having way more rubber. TireRack offers them here - and believe us, they are worth it!
Also, because this could cause some confusion, most tires on our list are for the 20” model. The Defender goes up to 22”. The next tire coming up doesn’t quite hit 22”, so it doesn’t directly compare to the Defender.
Continental TerrainContact H/T
For a 20” tire, the Continental TerrainContact does a very good job. It’s a near equal to the Michelin Defender with the same ratings for wet and dry at 9.2 and 9.3 respectively - which will overall make you feel secure in your Escalade. The TerrainContact just happens to lose a tenth of a point in comfort and tread wear - though realistically you won’t notice the difference.
Continental achieves the TerrainContact’s comfortability with computer optimized tire tread patterns that avoid making too much noise while providing a quiet ride in which you’ll be able to hear passengers all the way in that third row without shouting too much.
Continental also employs their proprietary Silance+ compound which helps out in the winter and snow, should you experience those occasionally.
In head to head tests, the TerrainContact and Michelin Defender both do quite well. The significant differences? The TerrainContact takes just a few fewer feet to stop in both wet and dry compared to the Defender.
TireRack has them for about $240 each which is a bit lower than the Defender - though some might find the additional comfort worth a few more dollars.
Firestone Destination LE3
Biting on the heels of both the Continental TerrainContact H/T and the Michelin Defender is the Firestone Destination LE3. In the world of tires, one tends to get what they pay for and we’ll call the Firestone Destination an excellent value tire for the price starting at $214 on TireRack.
The most significant difference between the Destination and our other two selections is less wet grip. 8.9 isn’t bad at all for an all season highway tire, and on a subjective test, it might not mean a whole lot of difference. The Destination otherwise handles excellent on dry conditions scoring a 9.2. Comfort is also excellent at 9.1 and treadwear makes high marks at 8.9.
The nice high treadwear rating comes from full tread patterns that produce consistent, even wear across the Destination. This is an advantage because SUV drivers would often notice that treads are not wearing evenly, causing issues with the alignment and overall feel of the Escalade. The Destination’s other comfort is focus - they don’t dwell too much in their promotional materials on the ability to handle wet - though this tire isn’t exactly a slouch there either.
The Firestone Destination makes an excellent alternative to the Defender and CrossContact if you want similar performance and don’t drive in rainy or wet conditions as much.
Kumho Crugen HT51
At $224 per tire on TireRack, the Kumho Crugen is nearly the value of the Firestone Destination. The key difference is that drivers reported that the Kumho wasn’t quite as comfortable though at 8.8, it should still be sufficient for your Cadillac Escalade.
The Crugen is overall well designed for optimal tread life, with a 5-band tread offering even wear across the board, along with a stiff center rib meant to be used to the full effect when taking corners or driving in a straight line. 3D sipes in a zig-zag fashion allow the Crugen to have reasonable snow traction which earns it an 8.3 on the fluffy stuff - right around average for our chosen tires so far.
Grand Touring All Season Tires
This tire is a little different in that the design isn’t solely for the highway, and there is less of a focus on treadwear. The bigger focus here is on comfort and performance though tread wear is certainly factored in.
Unfortunately, there is only one Grand Touring All Season tire on TireRack that makes it onto our best list for the Cadillac Escalade and Cadillac Escalade ESV. The other model isn’t good enough to be mentioned.
Vredestein HiTrac All Season Tires
As our sole standout in this category, the Vredestein gets some pretty good ratings. 9.3 on dry and 9.1 on wet while taking home a 9.1 for comfort and an 8.9 on treadwear.
The HiTrac is built for all seasons, and as such, has wide treads and grooves on the outside to both ensure proper grip and to keep water and ice flowing right through to minimize the risk of hydroplaning or longer braking distances. The Vredestein is overall a good tire to have on your Cadillac Escalade in part because it does better than others in the same category - including other Grand Touring All Season tires that don’t quite fit the Escalade.
Crossover Touring All Season
Consider this category of tires a middle ground - they offer year round performance but are meant for a comfortable ride and good traction in dry weather. Some of these are in a lower price range, making the previous Grand Touring and other tires a good value.
Pirelli Scorpion AS Plus 3
The Pirelli Scorpion has strong performance with a 9.4 on dry and a 9.2 on wet - but the performance comes at a high price that is knocking on higher quality tires doors. At $250 per tire at TireRack, you also get great overall performance for comfort in addition to treadwear at 9.2 and 9.1 respectively.
The Scorpion’s abilities come from an asymmetric tread pattern that offers as much road contact as possible while remaining rather quiet. While the Pirelli Scorpion isn’t highly rated for snow, the compounds used to build it remain flexible in cool and cold conditions, making it suitable for driving in nearly all climates. Pirelli tires are relatively new compared to other rather old names on our list - but they make good tires!
Cooper Endeavor Plus
After learning more about the Cooper Endeavor Plus, we’ll certainly say that it is a value tire. You’ll find that it still does great on dry rating at a 9.2 and wet is almost as good as the Pirelli Scorpion at 8.9. Comfort drops off to an 8.7. The Endeavor was the test leader against other tires unfortunately not available for the Cadillac Escalade while on wet conditions - and it does with their overall rating.
One of the biggest differences is the price. At around $211 per tire at TireRack, the Cooper Endeavor is close to $40 less per tire than the Pirelli.
High Performance and Ultra High Performance All Season Tires
Tires in this category are meant for high performance on dry roads and lose the balance of handling wet especially well. These are mostly recommended for people who live to get a bit of the sporty side of their Cadillac Escalade tires while not driving in rain or snow often at all - and potentially saving a few dollars as a result.
Goodyear Eagle Sport All Season
The Goodyear Eagle Sport All Season is the only worthwhile contender for the high performance category as the other results in TireRack are just not good.
As expected, the Goodyear Eagle Sport All Season does good on dry at 9.0 but not as good on wet at 8.3. Comfort and treadwear are also less than others at 8.3 and 8.5. Construction wide, the Goodyear Eagle provides a continuous center rib to ensure great weight distribution on your Cadillac Escalade in addition to twin steel belts on the inside to ensure long term performance and event handling when you need it - which is always.
Personally, I probably wouldn’t put a high performance tire on an Escalade, but I’m not everyone. If you want the cool look of a high performance tire in addition to the general grippiness, go for it. It also costs a few bucks less than our other options at TireRack at about $210 though purely in our opinion, we’d rather spend a few dollars per more to get more serious wet performance in the event of a rainstorm or travel to a wetter area.
Snow & Winter Tires
These tires are specially designed to handle snow and cold conditions. Note how we didn’t include ice in our description of these tires. Why? Because these tires specialize in being able to accelerate and stop while driving cautiously in snow. Ice is a whole different story, and there are no tires truly designed to handle it well.
VikingContact7 does well on the snow, as it is designed to. Per the name, Continental applies a “Nordic” compound to these tires to make them flexible even when the temperatures drop. The result is better winter traction than traditional all season tires.
The biggest design differences between a snow tire and an all season tire is that tires like the VikingContact have both more surface area to maintain traction and the treads are often covered in smaller bumps and spikes to “bite” through snow.
Michelin X-Ice Snow
Like the VikingContact7, the X-Ice Snow has a unique compound called IceX meant to dig into snow more and become more flexible in much colder weather. The tires get about the same rating on actual snow, so there isn’t a huge difference between them.
We will tell you that the Michelin cost a bit more at about $309 each at the moment.
A little more about snow tires
Unless you drive in a climate that gets frequent showers, you probably don’t need snow tires. Another option, if you are just not comfortable driving in snow and ice, is to have a separate set or snow tires for use part of the year.
We suggest this because snow tires don’t tend to offer a warranty and they aren’t all that comfortable to drive with year round.
How Do I Buy Through TireRack?
Buying new tires through TireRack is pretty easy. While the site offers plenty of insight about how their process works, we’ll simplify it for you before you head there: When you order tires through TireRack, you can choose to have them shipped to an affiliate within their network (they have tens of thousands) or they can drop them off at your place. If you are anything like me, you don’t have room for a set of 4 tires in front of or in your garage and would probably choose the mechanic or dealership option.
Once the tires arrive, you would pay the dealership to install new tires and dispose of the old ones.
Aside from making it easy to find good information about tires online, TireRack also offers a tire price matching guarantee in which finding the same tires online for less gets you the same price.
How Should I Pick A Tire For The Cadillac Escalade Or Escalade ESV?
The primary focus of your search should center around where you drive and what the weather is like there. While one can drive the Cadillac Escalade aggressively enough to require summer or otherwise sticky sport tires, we don’t think a lot of people do that, and there aren’t too many ultra high performance tires available for the Cadillac Escalade anyway.
When buying new tires, you should know that you’ll most often balance comfort, performance (like the ability to take reasonably sharp turns and short stops), and money. A tire that is both comfortable and offers excellent overall performance probably costs a lot of money. With that particular lecture out of the way - we just suggest buying what you need. Look at the user reports on TireRack, consider the numbers and metrics we discussed and decide from there. Given the often relatively small price difference, it could also be worth spending a few extra dollars to receive more than what you need from your tires.
Do I need To Replace My Tire Pressure Monitor Sensors When I Replace My Tires?
Most mechanics and garages will offer to replace what are called your TPMS, or tire pressure monitor sensors. These sensors do what they say they do, and provide your vehicle with an accurate measurement regarding the inflation of your tires. Unfortunately, they are rather often a sensor that needs replacement. Consider a mechanic or dealership offering to replace these as a preemptive way to avoid the annoyance of the TPMS light coming on.
Our suggestion is to only have the TPMS replaced if the lights are on right now. Again, most dealers and mechanics offer the service out of convenience.
About The Author
I've spent many years selling cars, working with auto detailers, mechanics, dealership service teams, quoting and researching car insurance, modding my own cars, and much more.Read More About Charles Redding