The Infiniti did a little water-skiing for me as well, so I’m inclined to lay the blame on the bling or, as Milli Vanilli might do, blame it on the rain. This is why 22-inch alloys are silly – I know these things are the size of ocean liners, but they don’t need to float like ’em at speed.
I thought the Navigator drove really quite well, feeling pretty compact, and with plenty of punch from the Ecoboost V6. Regrettably, an absence of jumps presented little opportunity for Flight of the Navigator jokes.
The Escalade’s ride does indeed get a little choppy, and that’s again the fault of the 22s. It sure sounds great though, with a lusty V8 growl that the other two don’t have. Scoots pretty quick for a big rig too.
Performance and Economy
Ahh, everybody’s favorite topic, even at this level.
At first blush, the Navigator should be the winner based solely on the fact that it runs a twin-turbocharged V6 engine; the low cylinder count should keep gas usage low, while the turbos should keep the Navi happy at driving speeds and during towing; it works well on the F-150, so why shouldn’t it here? Well, we shall soon see.
The QX80 is the closest thing to a “dinosaur” in the group when it comes to engine choice. That right there is the same 5.6L V8 (no, it’s not an 8.0-litre…) that’s been doing the hauling, towing and earth moving in the Titan pickup for countless years, as well as the last gen Pathfinder, its massive Armada cousin and the precursor to the car you see here, the QX56. It uses aluminum for the block and heads, which saves weight, but that’s the extent of its nod to efficient motoring; no turbocharging or cylinder deactivation here. Just classic V8 grunt.
And there is plenty of grunt. Like the ease of parking offered by the QX, passing at highway speeds and even springing forward from a red light is accomplished without drama, thanks to the seven-speed automatic and the 400 hp and 413 lb-ft of torque on hand, that latter figure reaching peak levels at 4,000 rpm. Unfortunately, all that oomph comes with a price at the pump; the QX80’s 17.3 L/100 km fuel economy rate meant it finished at the back of the pack in this regard.
Like the Infiniti, the Escalade also has a V8; it comes in the form of a 6.2L, making a whopping 420 hp and 460 lb-ft of torque, making it the most powerful of the three. Unlike the Infiniti, however, the ‘Slade’s V8 does feature cylinder deactivation when cruising or shuffling through town. When in V4 mode, the “V8” script at the bottom of the gauge cluster switches to “V4”.