We've had some unseasonable weather that sidelined my usual day-3 "style" post, though most of you already know what the Escalade looks like. Plus I used yesterday to talk up GM's new navigation system that worked like a charm without having to plant my nose is a user's manual for hours to learn how to program. In fact, I didn't have to glance at the booklet at all. The navigation system can help us get to our destination but how does this land-yacht drive while getting there?

The secret to the Suburban/Yukon XL/Escalade ESV success is based on one thing: You have no idea that you are driving anything this big until you look in the rearview and see all that space behind you. Docking procedures are only needed when navigating tight spots, otherwise the big truck platform disguises its size from the driver.

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The Escalade delivers a smoother ride than its Chevy and GMC counterparts (and some live-rear axel competition) thanks to the Road Sensing Suspension system that reads the road ahead and tunes the damping every few milliseconds. You don?t know it?s happening, but you can feel a difference.

Here?s the point where the Escalade could be checked off some shopping lists. The full-time all-wheel drive is competent for on road driving though most conditions, giving the ESV, and all Escalades, a confident ride. But if heavy off-road driving or deep snow is in your repertoire, then maybe a full 4x4 truck like the Range Rover is more tailored for you.

The Escalade is chock full of other goodies that are becoming more mainstream like stability control, all-speed traction control and ultrasonic rear parking assist. Steering feel is light, which helps build the illusion of driving a smaller vehicle.

2005 Cadillac Escalade ESV AG

The big Vortec 6000 V-8 with 345 horsepower and 380 lb ft of torque feels good under the gas pedal giving the ESV a 0-60 time of 9.0 seconds, not to bad for a truck with 5900 pounds to haul around. Speaking of hauling, the ESV Platinum can tow 7300 pounds, while the standard ESV can pull 500 pounds more.

The four-speed automatic doesn?t strain or search for gears thanks to the plentiful powerband of the 6.0-liter. A six-speed auto could help with gas mileage. The ESV, with almost all city driving is averaging about 14 mpg. EPA estimates are 13 city, 17 highway. It?s enough to make fuel misers cringe, but is respectable for a truck of this size.

2005 Cadillac Escalade ESV AG

The Escalade proved to be a powerful, comfortable boulevard cruiser only dropping the ?small-truck? fa?ade while negotiating tight maneuvers.

2005 Cadillac Escalade ESV Platinum: Day 1, Day 2

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