2005 Escalade New Car Test Drive
In the old days nothing said big money like a Cadillac. Well, those days are back by the truckload. A Cadillac Escalade can often be seen around big money. Indeed, from its intimidating size to its sharp, chiseled styling to its massive grille, it makes a strong statement. And it backs that statement up with the Cadillac traditions of big horsepower and the very latest GM technology.
The Escalade nameplate includes three dramatically different though distinctly similar models: The standard Escalade is a full-size sport utility, the same size as the Chevy Tahoe. The Escalade ESV is a Suburban-sized model. The Escalade EXT is Cadillac's interpretation of the Chevy Avalanche, a brilliantly executed sport utility truck that quickly converts from a pickup with an eight-foot bed to a five-passenger luxury vehicle. All three feature a high-performance 6.0-liter V8 and all-wheel drive.
Built on GM's superb full-size truck platform, the Escalade, ESV, and EXT are fine trucks and make excellent tow vehicles. At the same time, they're roomy, luxuriously appointed vehicles that can haul family or friends or business associates in comfort. The 6.0-liter V8 supplies serious power for quick acceleration when needed along with strong torque for towing. On the road, all three Escalades are smooth and stable, nicer in ride than a Tahoe or Suburban but taut and well-controlled by full-size SUV standards for surprisingly good handling.
For 2005, Escalade features even richer interior appointments and a redesigned satellite-navigation option; while new dual electric cooling fans and an upgraded (to 160 amps) alternator promise better air-conditioner performance.
The standard Escalade is available with two-wheel drive and all-wheel drive. The high-output 6.0-liter V8 engine comes standard on all-wheel drive Escalade models ($55,535), and is becoming the standard powerplant for all Escalade models, including 2WD. However, early 2005 Escalade 2WD models can be found with the 5.3-liter V8 ($52,635).
Escalade ESV ($57,935) and Escalade EXT ($52,815) come standard with the 6.0-liter V8 and all-wheel drive. Though the Escalade, ESV, and EXT differ in appearance and packaging, they share interiors and are mechanically the same.
Cadillac is usually the first to get GM's cutting-edge technology and all the Escalade models come loaded with the latest: StabiliTrak electronic stability control, computer-controlled road-sensing suspension (RSS), and Ultrasonic Rear Parking Assist (a warning beeper).
The list of standard equipment is as long as the Escalade itself: Nuance leather seats with burl walnut interior trim; power heated 14-way adjustable front seats; Bose Acoustimass audio system with six-disc CD changer; XM Satellite Radio; rear seat audio controls with earphones; removable lightweight third-row seats; Heavy Duty Trailering Package. Also standard is the OnStar communications system with Personal Calling, which allows drivers to make hands-free, voice-activated personal calls; and Virtual Advisor, which provides headlines, scores, weather, and personalized stock quotes. For 2005, OnStar's latest (Gen 6) technology enhances hands-free capabilities.
The list of options is short and includes a rear-seat DVD entertainment system ($1295), touch-screen navigation integrated into the audio system ($1995), and a power glass sunroof ($1550).