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Auto review: Cadillac Escalade Diesel is a vessel fit for a king

Henry Payne, The Detroit News on

Published in Automotive News

A green light signified I could remove my mitts from the wheel. No hands, no feet. I sipped Snapple, rested my hands on my knees and relaxed on my leather throne. Like a driving instructor with a novice driver, however, I still needed to be engaged.

The steering column-mounted infrared camera noticed me looking away from the road for too long while chatting with the alluring Mrs. Payne. That triggered a red light reminding me to pay attention.

North of Bay City, Super Cruise suddenly hit a blind spot. The green light disappeared, the Caddy wobbled — and I quickly took over, bridging the dead zone until the system re-acclimated.

No I-75 trip is complete without orange barrels, and Super Cruise asked that I take over in construction zones. Otherwise, the system worked confidently (Zilwaukee Bridge? No problem. Heavy Flint traffic? Piece of cake.) just like in 2017 when I drove from Memphis to Dallas. Only better.

Super Cruise’s newest trick is auto lane changes conducted with impressive accuracy. I have some experience with auto lane-changing from my Tesla Model 3’s Autopilot system. It’s sci-fi stuff, but the Tesla — driving along at, say, 80 mph, will balk as it encounters a slower car before passing on the left.

The Super Cruise robot chauffeur passes like a human. Seeing a slower car up ahead, my SUV didn’t wait to be slowed down. It put on the left turn signal, pulled left at 80 mph without breaking stride, passed traffic, then pulled immediately back into the right lane. What if a vehicle was to our left, you ask? Cadillac held station until it passed, then executed the passing maneuver. My 32-year-old son — no stranger to the hi-tech abilities of autos I test — gave it a try.

 

“Whoa! No way!” he exclaimed as the Escalade performed a flawless pass.

So good is Super Cruise you have to remind yourself to pay attention. There are the aforementioned dead zones and construction areas. Or, heaven forbid, a ladder dropped from a utility truck (yeah, that’s happened) that the system can’t see.

Exit the highway for a bathroom break, and the system will give up as it jumps the invisible geo-fence. Super Cruise has only mapped divided highways.

There are other super features on board.

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