Hooniverse Asks: Cadillac Escala Concept and New Styling Direction: Brah! or Blah?

Last month (geez, is it September already?) at Pebble Beach Cadillac debuted a concept car called the Escala. Yes, the name is an obvious nod to what is presently the only Caddy that is selling in any number, the Escalade, but aside from that the show car had little in common with the marque’s current corral of offerings.
No, the five-door Escala is more Caddy’s riff on an Audi A7. It also, according to the company presages the design language they will be expressing in their upcoming production models. Yeah, another design path that doesn’t involve fins or excessive expressions of chrome. Sigh.
That’s not to say that the Escala is an unattractive beast. It’s pretty generically attractive The question though, is whether it is worthy to carry the brand’s venerated crest, and more importantly, the company’s future. What’s your take on the Escala and the company’s proposed new looks, do you think they’re Brah! or Blah?
Image: Cadillac

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  1. smalleyxb122 Avatar

    I like it. I dislike how anonymous it is, but at least it is pretty. I’ve never warmed to Cadillac’s “Art and Science” style, so this being a departure is a good thing. I’ll take pretty but bland over unique but jarring any day.

  2. Alff Avatar

    Blahb, like so many other new cars.

  3. Ross Ballot Avatar
    Ross Ballot

    I like it, but think they could do more. The shape of the grille is a little too Mazda for me, and the roofline way too much A7-esque. That being said, I do really like Caddy’s current design language, and think going this route will either be a home run or a total swing and miss.

  4. Tanshanomi Avatar

    “Hooniverse Asks: Cadillac Escala Concept and New Styling Direction: Brah!, Blah, or Meh?
    Fixed it for you.

  5. Professor Lavahot Avatar
    Professor Lavahot

    But we all know it would go into production with gigantic headlights, chunky door handles, Mickey-Mouse-Ear-sized mirrors, an extra inch of ground clearance, and some license plate mounting screws.

    1. Alff Avatar

      It should go in to production with those mirrors. They’re completely impractical, but it’s not as if Cadillac buyers use them anyway.

  6. crank_case Avatar

    Why is the world continuing to go nuts for Germanic looking saloons that make you look like you work in middle management? I’m not saying they should go back to fins and chrome, but a Cadillac should be more fun and extrovert than an Audi Fotokopierwagen

    1. Alff Avatar

      While I agree that Germans can be bland, I wouldn’t blame them for the uninteresting design language of the day. They’re all to blame. Plus, the last time a mainstream German car company tried to step out we got flame surfacing, bookshelf trunk lids and the head designer was fired.

      1. crank_case Avatar

        I don’t blame the Germans, they’ve always done “serious business saloon”, I blame other manufacturers for trying to ape German saloons rather than playing to their strengths. Citroen made the same mistake with the second gen C5, even an ad campaign that emphasised the cars Germanic qualities (Wagner playing in the background and everything)
        ..until they finally realized they’re Citroen and should be making funky stuff like the Cactus, their first actually successful car since the 90s.
        Nothing worse than trying to be like someone else, you always end up the 2nd rate copy. Even the way they’re going with a numbering system and a range of 4 and 6 cylinder engines seems to be nothing more than trying to mirror the BMW/Mercedes/Model Hierarchy. I know everyones downsizing, but one of the great things about cadillac past is there was was usually no status anxiety sales rep/munich taxi special, it was all go big or go home.

  7. JayP Avatar

    Syd Mead posted to his fb gushing over his new CT6.
    May be the closest thing to a Sentinel in a long time.
    A plus for the Escala – a real name. Not random characters.

    1. Lokki Avatar

      Again – that’s just the show car. No vowels permitted in the name – a cost saving measure by the accountants- so the street car will be called the ESCL

      1. Monkey10is Avatar

        or XCL?

  8. Van_Sarockin Avatar

    So handsome, it’s the Jaguar of Cadillacs.

    1. Alff Avatar

      Except that the modern models are the Kias of Jaguars.

  9. mdharrell Avatar

    I had not expected Cadillac to borrow so many styling cues from Velorex.
    Except, of course, with four doors, so perhaps more like a Longrex.

    1. Sjalabais Avatar

      The hood is about the only thing I really like about it. Otherwise I think its design language is more a kind of “intense modernity”, trying really hard to swim with the stream. What I see is both the Audi A7, Velorex, Tesla, even a bit of Volvo S90. I didn’t really like Cadillac’s design language before either, considering it way too messy and incoherent, but it was at least unique. They were closer to something clean and self-reliant in 2011:
      The design is at least a departure from the retro wave for GM.

  10. kogashiwa Avatar

    My favourite recent Cadillac is the CTS Coupe so this just gets a yawn from me.
    I like the ATS okay and I could theoretically even afford one but it’s already a big step back from the wild collection of straight lines and angles so not as appealing.
    I guess I’m trying to say that while I am about the opposite of a typical Cadillac customer the Art & Science thing was something I could appreciate. It was something different. You knew you were looking at a Cadillac, even though it was nothing like a ’59 Eldorado. This concept feels like Cadillac is slinking back into the safe hole of sameness. Do not want.

  11. SlowJoeCrow Avatar

    Blah, as with Ford’s “New Edge” Cadillac’s “Art & Science” was polarizing, but distinctive. This looks like a Lexus crossed with an Audi, but bland sells so it will probably keep them in the black.

  12. Kelf Avatar

    Wish they could have taken this opportunity to lead the march forward and away from the tired trapezoid grille. It will be good to see the back of that worn-out design trope.

  13. Rust-MyEnemy Avatar

    So, are headlights supposed to be narrow and slinky or big and right up in your grille?
    I’ve lost count. I think I’ve contracted vehicle design language mono.

  14. JayP Avatar

    At some point (either Audi or Caddy) will just outright use the Ironman helmet.

  15. XRSevin Avatar

    I think that the crest should be in the middle of the grille and half-again larger.

    1. Rover 1 Avatar
      Rover 1

      And they should forget trying to run the headlights horizontally and stick to the vertical orientation,( that is after all a Cadillac design signature) Maybe they could put the running lights horizontally instead to hide/accentuate the bonnet/hood edge shut line?

    2. Zentropy Avatar

      No, the emblem is better oriented at the top, but it doesn’t matter given that it’s an overwrought icon anyway. And I hate large badges. I’d prefer it be gone entirely, in favor of something simpler. And why not vertical headlights, which speak “Cadillac”?

  16. CraigSu Avatar

    Since GM won’t make a Camaro Gran Coupe they’ll kick it upstairs into the Cadillac range and call it the Escala.
    Edit: Just noticed, in keeping with the BMW Gran Coupe 4-series theme, check out the Hofmeister kink.

  17. Zentropy Avatar

    It’s boring in an Audi-meets-Volvo kinda way. Love it or hate it, at least the current Cadi design scheme is distinct. This is completely derivative.