Spied: Next Cadillac Escalade to get independent rear suspension

The next Escalade is getting a major hardware upgrade.

Cadillac's next-generation Escalade luxury SUV has broken cover. Engineers were caught testing both the normal-wheelbase Escalade and the longer-wheelbase Escalade ESV model.

Both test mules were covered in heavy camouflage, so it's difficult to discern the design direction of the next Escalade. However, Cadillac wasn't able to conceal the new hardware bolted to the bottom of the next-generation SUV.

In a few of our spy shots an independent rear suspension is clearly visible; to date, Cadillac has only fitted a truck-derived solid rear axle to its luxury SUV. Rumors dating back to last year have indicated that Cadillac was considering the switchover to an IRS.

An independent rear suspension is long overdue for the Escalade -- virtually all of its competitors, save for the Lexus LX570, have moved to an IRS, including the Escalade's closest rival, the Lincoln Navigator. An independent setup at the rear should pay dividends in both ride comfort and handling.

It's not yet known what engine Cadillac will bolt to the front of the Escalade, but it very well could be the 4.2L twin-turbocharged V8 Cadillac debuted under the hood of the CT6 sedan. In base for that mill makes 500 horsepower and 553 lb-ft of torque; the V-Sport version of the V8 makes an even more robust 550 horsepower and 627 lb-ft of torque.

In addition to its mechanical upgrades, expect Cadillac to address the Escalade's interior quality and design. Lincoln made a major step forward with its latest Navigator, and we expect to see similar progress from Cadillac.

It's rumored that the next Escalade could debut for the 2020 model year, but it's also a possibility that Cadillac will introduce the new version of its flagship sometime in 2020 for the 2021 model year.

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