The 2021 Escalade Multiplex

This beast has nearly as much screen real estate as my living room. The difference is, my living room gets better mileage and won’t be found parked on top of a cyclist because I was having trouble deciding what to watch.

Call me old-fashioned, but when I read a statement like this

The most important screen for any driver of the new Escalade is the 14.2-inch digital instrument cluster that sits just behind the steering wheel.

… I long for the days when editors, like, y’know, edited, an’ stuff.

I would argue that “the most important screen for any driver of the new Escalade” is the fucking windshield.

Our man at The Verge doesn’t get around to wondering whether this mechanized multiplex is a good idea until quite late in the piece. Given that the curb weight of the 2020 2WD model is 5,311 pounds, you may consider me a strong “No” on that question.

Nobody needs 38 inches of OLED on the ROAD, which s/he shares with pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists, and other, lesser autos, like UPS trucks, cement mixers, and SWAT-team armored cars. You want to play with screens, get a living room and a comfy chair.

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45 Responses to “The 2021 Escalade Multiplex”

  1. SAO' Says:

    If you bought the best of something, you used to call it a Cadillac. “I got this OXO can opener … it’s the Cadillac of can openers.” But now “Caddy” just means a Chevy with nicer leather. Driving an Escalade is basically a rehash of this:

    • SAO' Says:

      Big SUV drivers have sensitive egos:

      • Patrick O'Grady Says:

        Ho, ho. I visit Daring Fireball almost daily. John Gruber rarely disappoints.

        I recently rented a Chevy Tahoe because we needed the storage capacity for a day trip. I can’t believe anyone chooses to drive these things daily. It’s like driving a car inside a car, no feel for the road at all.

      • khal spencer Says:

        “People buy SUVs, he tells auto executives, because they are trying to look as menacing as possible to allay their fears of crime and other violence.” They, quite literally, bought SUVs to run over “gang members” with, Rapaille found.

        Wow. And they have the nerve to criticize gun nuts.

        • Larry T. atCycleItalia Says:

          The real laugh-and-a-half with that is when the “gang member” carjacks ’em at the stoplight. He ain’t gonna carjack no Dodge Dart! I think I described one Iowa asshat’s solution to that, having the big Elmer Fudd-style handgun under his seat? Like he’s gonna say, “Excuse me Mr. Carjacker, I need to get something from under my seat before I give you my Escapade, OK?” while he’s staring down the barrel of Mr. Carjacker’s 44 Magnum.

          • khal spencer Says:

            That may be the laugh and a half. The not so funny-funny is when one of these highly woke Progressive asshats in a five thousand pound urban assault vehicle festooned with typical Santa Fe bumper stickers buzzes me on West Alameda by passing into oncoming traffic.

            Luckily, we haven’t had any bike-jackers lately.

  2. Patrick O'Grady Says:

    I, of course, am not at all insecure about wanting one of these.

    But back to Cadillacs. The old man drove one when I was a sprout; can’t remember the exact year or model, though I’m guessing Fleetwood and mid- to late Fifties. It had this ingenious gizmo on the dash, the Autronic Eye, that automatically dimmed the headlights to keep from blinding oncoming traffic. I thought that was some Buck Rogers shit.

    Grandpa John drove a Cadoo too, big ol’ maroon beast with a cream interior. I wanted that low-mileage sumbitch the way Dick Cheney wants a fresh heart ripped from the ribcage of a teenage boy. But when John went west Mom sold that sucker. I didn’t get her Mercedes 220S either. I was robbed.

  3. Larry T. atCycleItalia Says:

    These f–king things are a menace to everyone else on the road. The vast majority of times some a-hole in a motor vehicle is a problem for me while cycling, they’re piloting (badly) some flavor of SUV, most often a high-priced German variety.
    The Escapades, Exploders and Subdivisions are too big to fit on many Italian roads but the ones they do sell here are bad enough – Cherokees, Tucsons, Sorrentos, Dusters, X’s, G’s, Q’s, Jukes, Kapturs, Kadjars, Aircross’, Tiguans, Touregs, Cayennes and gawd-knows-what-else!
    Nobody drives these contraptions off pavement, they just want a massive mobile vault they believe will protect them when some other dolt looking at his/her screen instead of where they’re going crashes into them.

  4. khal spencer Says:

    My Uncle Roy had a black Caddy from the early sixties. Big sucker with tailfins and might as well have had landing lights. Neat car. Not sure what happened to it except I think my uncle was one of those guys in Buffalo who saw the industrial plant pulled out from under him. He was an electrician and at some point, bought a big carnival game trailer and was going city to city. Not a great way for a WW II combat vet to end his productive years.

    The new issue of Buy-cycling has a multipage centerfold for Miss Subaru of the Month and for Car and Driver. At least its not the old Nissan advertisement for buying its car to express your aggression on the road.

    I wish there was a way to forgo the BuyCycling subscription with my League membership. Maybe have them send me Adventure instead rather than paying separate freight.

    Hey, I ride W. San Francisco a lot. Its too damn narrow for those beasts.

  5. Pat O'Brien Says:

    Guys driving these monsters have teeny weenies, I think. And, they are oblivious to the planet and everything around them. Kinda like the orange hairball of fear. Women driving them probably are mad because the big screen doesn’t have a selfie cam for checking their makeup.

    The tipping point, brought to you by giant SUV everywhere and the screaming carrot demon.

  6. Stan Thomas Says:

    And have you seen this bit of douche-buggery from Henry…

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Ay, Chihuahua. In some jurisdictions I imagine motorists would lobby for a target emoji, so they can sight in their deer rifles.

    • Larry T. atCycleItalia Says:

      They need to rig something up to put this on the screen the pilot of the SUV is looking at instead of where-the-hell he/she is going. Would a “Look where you’re going a-hole!” message popping up over whatever the f–k they’re looking at on the screen do any good?

      • SAO' Says:

        Remember Eddie Murphy’s smart car of the ’80s? “Somebody stole yo’ batt’ry!” Siri needs to turn down the radio, turn up the speakers, and scream in the driver’s ear, “That’s a human life without air bags in front of you!”

    • SAO' Says:


  7. DownhillBill Says:

    Oooh!! I want a middle finger emoji to communicate how I really feel. That would probably require a couple of RPG’s slung from the top tube though, so maybe not.

    BTW, Patrick, those trucks are “concrete mixers”, not “cement mixers.” It’s not often one gets the chance to correct a copy editor. 😉

    • Pat O’Brien Says:

      The folks at my LBS tell me I use a rear view mirror so I can see the driver of the “concrete mixer” right before they flatten me. OK Larry, tell us again about rear view mirrors.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      “Concrete mixer” sounds so formal. I was striving for the vernacular, channeling the Clampetts and their “cee-ment pond.” So there.

      • DownhillBill Says:

        Snort!! Fair enough, and anyway that’s one of the two errors most likely to barrel right by copy editors, the other being “lie detector.” Having had experience of both, I will admit to being a little touchy on the subjects. I’d totally forgotten about the Clampetts’ lawn ornament, so that certainly rates a pass.

        One of these days I’ll have to raise Lorenzo’s consciousness on the mirror issue….

        • Larry T. atCycleItalia Says:

          Good luck with that! I actually used one myself back in my tourist Bell Biker daze. One day I ditched ’em both, only going back to a crash-hat for 2 reasons: 1) My wife kept nagging me 2) I gave up on hair and the crash-hat keeps the bandana on my bald noggin very well.
          Everyone has heard my observations about the mirrors – sounds like PO’B’s LBS guys share them. If someone’s gonna flatten me from behind, knowing the make/model of whatever they’re driving isn’t of much value to me. I think by the time you’re sure they’re gonna clock you, it’s too late to do anything anyway?

          • DownhillBill Says:

            Local rider looked in his mirror and saw a pickup approaching, guy hanging out the window with a baseball bat cocked back, ready to swing. The rider got beaten up a bit from opting for the ditch, but not as badly as he would have had he taken the hit.

            Not wanting to offend anyone, I won’t get into the aesthetic advantages of being able to study the cleavage of the comely rider behind you on the pace line.

      • Patrick O'Grady Says:

        By the time I hung up my copy-editing jock in 1991 we were missing a lot of stuff. Rim rats were editing copy, laying out pages, writing heds and cutlines, picking, sizing and cropping pix, overseeing makeup, proofing pages, and (in my case, anyway) doing the occasional cartoon and covering cycling.

        It’s only gotten worse, as you can tell by reading pretty much any old daily paper these days. Poor sods have the Innertubes to deal with now. When I hit the silk we had just gotten a Mac SE for downloading weather graphics from The Associated Press.

        • DownhillBill Says:

          At the bottom of the barrel are the local TV station clones tending the web news. A lot of them couldn’t have passed a middle school English test in my day. At least they stay off my lawn.

  8. Herb from Michigan Says:

    My Honda has a warning system that tells me to pull over and get some coffee (seriously a coffee cup comes up on the screen) if it perceives I’m lane-wandering. What the AI doesn’t realize is I’m actually dodging wheel eating potholes in this state. Many of us trade up to bigger wheel sizes in a futile attempt to roll over the pothole instead of dropping in it. That explains why you see so many of us with goofy looking Big Wheels on smaller vehicles. Nothing to do with trying to look badass. Oh and our suck-ass, big business legislatures continue to allow double the weight loads of other states. Heaven forbid they should tax the shit out of anyone driving a mega ton truck/trailer.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      There’s also something of a vehicular arms race going on here. After a few go-rounds of finding yourself in an SUV sandwich in a crowded parking lot, trying to back out without being able to see anything other than the behemoths on either side, why, you start pricing Unimogs. And periscopes.

      • khal spencer Says:

        Yep. That’s why I got that Impreza. I can slide under them without even scraping the roof rack.

        • Patrick O'Grady Says:

          Which puts me in mind of one of the best holy-shit moments I’ve ever read about, starring the burro-racing legend Curtis Imrie, a Pontiac Fiero, and an 18-wheeler, as chronicled by Hal Walter.

        • khal spencer Says:

        • Patrick O'Grady Says:

          Curtis was a big presence in Hal’s life, and in his son Harrison’s, too. He wrote about Curtis more than once, including this fond adios in Colorado Central magazine.

        • khal spencer Says:

          I looked that up because I wasn’t quite sure from your post if he was killed. Awesome story and for someone who didn’t know the insider scoop, a real sphincter clencher. That was certainly a holy shit moment.

          I’ve had two cars totalled with me in them, but not by being run over by a tractor-trailer. Got rear ended at a red light in Stony Brook, NY by someone who wasn’t watching that the light had gone red. My housemate and the passenger seat he was sitting in both ended up tossed into the back of the car. Drove the car home on three wheels and then took it to the collision shop. Then got t-boned in Honolulu when someone put their car in reverse on the expressway after missing an exit and I got to wear a Toyota 4-Runner as a kidney ornament. That car was twisted so badly that I ended up taking apart the sunroof to get out but I was lucky it was the 944, which was built like a small tank, rather than my better half’s tinny Corolla. Guy who hit me said he was never happier in his life than when he saw the sunroof come off. Thought I was dead in there.

          Roads and drivers suck. Some worry about thugs with guns. I worry about soccer moms with a cell phone and a Lincoln Gladiator.

  9. khal spencer Says:

    Anyone up for the Fanta Se Century?

  10. Dale Says:

    I have a 14 year old Scion Xb (they don’t make them anymore) with around 170,000 miles on the odometer. It has been damaged in a hurricane, a tornado, and four rear end collisions at stop lights (as in we were were rear-ended). This thing just keeps on running as long as you replace tires and batteries every 4 or 5 years, and don’t neglect oil changes.

    It has no cruise control, no misinformation screen, no collision warning other than the dreaded thud, and I love it and hope to keep it as long as I can.

    • Pat O'Brien Says:

      Toyotas take a licking and keep on ticking. I was hoping the Scion brand would last. I bought a Corolla iM which was just a rebadged Scion iM. The only remnant of Scion is the 86 sports car, which is made by Subaru.

    • Larry T. atCycleItalia Says:

      I’ve had great luck with Japanese cars in general – Honda, Mitsubishi in particular. Change the oil once or twice a year and keep tires and brakes on ’em and they just keep on going and going. Now I’m happy not to own an automobile of any kind – my Bianchi Rubino Spillo shopping bike does most of what I need along with a rental station wagon during our time at Piedmont Cycling Resort.

      • khal spencer Says:

        I’ve had great luck with rice burners. Finally sold the Tacoma to my former post doc as I wasn’t using it once we moved to the People’s Republic. Had 335k miles on it.

        Only Japanese car that ever cratered on me was due to neglect, not design. When I first took the job at the U of Hawaii and was on a domestic beer and cheap food budget, I bought a high mileage and very tired Accord from a grad student who was finishing up his degree and headed back to the Mainland. Only thing he neglected to tell me was that he had never changed the timing belt. You can guess the rest.

        • Larry T. atCycleItalia Says:

          Here’s a worse story – guy comes in with blown up motor after timing belt breaks. Independent repair shop (where I was the service-mangler) installs a used motor in the car, but it turns out the installer was unfamiliar with Honda engines that run backwards compared to most. So he uses the upper timing belt pulley bolt to turn the engine’s crankshaft when installing – meaning the bolt is now ever-so-slightly unscrewed.
          Thousands of miles later, the under-torqued bolt falls out and the pulley comes off, ruining another perfectly good engine!
          I learned this only years later after describing the fiasco to a friend who was a Honda factory tech. I feel sorry for the poor guy even today, I doubt he ever had a clue 😦

          • Patrick O'Grady Says:

            Cars. My first was a 1964 Chevy Biscayne with three on the tree and a straight-six. I knew fuck-all about cars (and still do, despite my advanced age and swelling senility). So when the thing made an unpleasant “thunk” noise around Walsenburg during a road trip from Bibleburg to Alamosa and back, and I found myself without reverse or first gear, I just said, “Fuck it,” and continued on to Bibleburg, knowing that on the interstate I would have no use for first or reverse, and that at my hovel on Mill Street I could simply park on the street.

            So I get home and I consult a friend and neighbor, who knows cars, keeping various beater Ramblers and Fords on hand so that he’ll always have enough functional parts to put at least one vehicle on the road. He pops the hood, has a peek inside, and he sez to me he sez, “You lost a motor-mount bolt.”

            Fucking bolt is still right there, in the engine compartment.

            So he gets a jack, raises the motor to where it’s supposed to be, ratchets the bolt in, and hey presto! I have all three forward gears and reverse.

            I spoiled his brilliant detective work by getting the car hit by a train shortly thereafter. But the world is full of cars, as any cyclist knows, and I acquired another a few years later, after the State and various insurance companies had their way with me.

          • khal spencer Says:

            You may have explained this, but how did you survive being hit by a train?

          • Patrick O'Grady Says:

            I was lucky. The crash took place in town, so the train was only doing maybe 15 mph. And it hit my Chev’ on the driver’s-side door pillar, knocking us off (and parallel to) the tracks. The train took about a mile to stop, and the engineer came running back to see if I’d been croaked as I deserved. Nope. Car was a total loss but I had a minor scratch on the head.

            He told me that if he’d hit me a foot or so closer to the front bumper he’d have rolled the car over and sawed it in half. And presumably me along with it. He knew this because a month previous, going full-tilt boogie, he’d hit a car full of dudes stalled on the tracks and sent them all to Jeebus.

          • SAO’ Says:

            I would need an entire blog to myself to even attempt to chronicle the misadventures of my Plymouth Fury III.

          • SAO’ Says:

            What percentage of train engineers have hit two cars within a couple of months of each other??

  11. Pelotonnage | Mad Blog Media Says:

    […] folks — the ones with all the money, anyway — will be able to have their “outside” and their screens at the same […]

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