The Cadillac Escalade is good looking, charismatic, and larger-than-life -- both literally and figuratively. People we encountered wanted to be in it, and one of the most common refrains heard was, "You're driving." We were happy to oblige. If you were to compare the gaggle of new GMT900 utility vehicles to the Rat Pack, Escalade, without a doubt, would be Sinatra. It's fully aware of what it is, and it makes no apologies; this is perhaps its most endearing quality. So many vehicles nowadays bend over backwards to be non-controversial that it makes things boring after a while. The Escalade embraces its excesses, and does so in a manner that one can't help but enjoy. The idea of a truck-turned-luxobus is no longer a new concept, but it's one that's executed very well in Cadillac's latest high-profile, leather-lined blingwagon. Unlike the other GMT900s (Yukon, Tahoe, Suburban, and Avalanche), selecting the big Caddy is a choice that's made specifically because of its substantial cachet – cost be damned. If price was really a consideration, a fully-loaded Yukon Denali will give you just about everything the Escalade has -- minus some of the glitz and around 20 horsepower – for $10,000 - $15,000 less. So there you have the setup. Follow the jump for our detailed impressions after having one in the garage for a week. The Escalade is nothing if not attention-grabbing. Our tester was the standard-length SUV, which strikes us as being better looking than its longer ESV sibling thanks to more "compact" proportions. Compactness, in this case, means an overall length of 16.8 feet, a width of just over 6.5 ft, and a height of 6.1 feet. In person, those measurements can be distilled down to a single word: Big. What else would you expect from a Cadillac built in Texas? Actually, we take that back. The Escalade's proportions can be distilled into two words: big and imposing. That's the only way to describe the front end of the 'Slade. Large, jewel-like headlamps frame the (appropriately) sizeable grille, which is made of sixteen chrome-ringed cutouts. Step to the side and you see that the Escalade makes the most of its GMT900 roots. The faster windshield angle makes it look (a little) sleeker than it really is, and unlike its corporate brethren, the 'Slade appears always dressed for a night on the town. That's made plain by the chrome fender vent (which, as a styling element, works beautifully here), the glitzy foot-long nameplate, and the equally bright rub strips, door handles, side mirrors, integrated running boards, and roof rails. Continue to the rear, and you'll find that the power rear hatch is adorned with a large chrome plate and a jumbo-sized Cadillac crest. Finally, while the Escalade comes with 18" wheels standard, our loaded tester was equipped with the excellent-looking chrome-finished 22" wagon wheels – a $2,995 option. Despite the rather substantial surcharge, we'd recommend the double-deuces because they fill the wheel wells and their enlarged size is actually proportionate …
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|MPG||13 City / 20 Hwy|
|Transmission||6-spd auto w/OD|
|Power||403 @ 5700 rpm|
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