Planet Gore

NY Times Reviews the Hybrid Escalade

The writer gets close to the question, but it’s never asked: Just how much money has GM wasted in developing full sized hybrids that nobody will ever buy? An except from the review:

And call me a heathen, but it’s satisfying to use a full-size S.U.V. for jobs that only a full-size S.U.V. can accomplish. The fatal flaw, and the one the Escalade Hybrid tries to address, is the dismal mileage that owners of big sport utilities endure even when they’re not using the full abilities of their vehicles — which is, let’s face it, most of the time.

The Escalade Hybrid is a step in the right direction, but its economy is merely respectable rather than outright impressive.

I find the whole idea of this vehicle confounding. One part of my brain says that G.M. is to be commended for reducing fuel consumption, however slightly. But another part wonders who is going to buy this rig, which comes so loaded with amenities — heated and cooled leather seats, magnetic ride control, a side-mirror blind-spot warning system — that the only option on my test vehicle was fanciful power-deployed running boards for $1,095.

Here’s the problem. It’s not a “step in the right direction” This is a car that was always a P.R. stunt, or if you’re generous, a research project. The review ends with this:

In the meantime, the Escalade Hybrid offers a choice for a rare breed of customer – the Escalade driver with a guilty conscience.

Not exactly the type of customer GM can count on to save the company.


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