WHIR-HONK, WHIR-HONK, WHIR-HONK...that's the sound of a 2015 Cadillac Escalade going ballistic. It doesn't matter if you're a real thief or a three-foot stuffed bear--the Escalade's new motion-sensing technology can stop someone from stealing your stuff (or the SUV itself)--or at least deafen them in the process.
The Escalade isn't the only luxury car with some form of theft deterrence, of course, but it has a few distinctive touches. If you try to tow it, a tilt sensor sounds the alarm. The heavily laminated front windshield has a sensor that triggers the alarm if it detects a breakage. Shields along the door block a "slim jim" from being inserted. And the concierge service can dispatch two armed guards in dark sunglasses who sit in the third-row seat at all times (not really).
Of course, it's a tough sell to Cadillac, asking them if I can break the glass or jimmy the door locks. Triggering the motion sensors without losing my hearing? That's where the bear comes in.
We plopped it down between the second row seats, tied a string to its neck, and fished the string through the sunroof. Holding the string about 30 feet away, I locked the car and started pulling the string. Up popped the bear.
The siren, a cross between a home security alarm and a sick rabbit, sounded immediately, along with the horn and the lights.
The motion sensors, situated just above your head near the overhead light switches, look like two mini blow-horns. There's no way to adjust the motion sensitivity. How sensitive are they? I pushed the Teddy Bear down even further between the seats and jerked the cord only slightly, but that was still enough to trigger the alarm. You can disable the motion sensors using a switch in the overhead console.
I can imagine a few crime-prevention scenarios. If you leave all of the windows down but lock the doors, you can expect the alarm to go off if someone tries to steal your iPad. If you leave the Escalade unlocked and someone sneaks inside, then you lock the doors and walk away, you'll also appreciate the motion sensors.
The alarms went off in one test even when someone on a scooter passed too close to the window. Safe to say that 14-year-old will never ride next to a massive black SUV with tinted-glass windows ever again. (Fred Ligouri, a spokesperson for Cadillac, said the scooter rider should not have triggered the alarm. We were not able to duplicate the alarm in several more attempts.)