2008 Escalade ESV New Car Test Drive
The Cadillac Escalade is big in every way: in sheer size, in style, in comfort, and in power. All-new for 2007, this latest Escalade breaks from the customized-Suburban mold of its predecessors to provide a smoother, more integrated, more sculptured look. More than anything, it looks like big money, big success, big bling.
The look is no deception. Under its imposing skin, the Escalade offers all the comfort and convenience features of a top-dollar luxury sedan, including automatic climate control, a premium Bose sound system, ultrasonic parking assist, power adjustable pedals, and heated leather seats. Navigation and DVD entertainment are available, as are a rearview camera and retractable running boards.
The Escalade is offered in three body styles: The standard Escalade is a full-size sport utility sharing the same architecture and roughly the same dimensions as the Chevy Tahoe. The Escalade ESV is a long-wheelbase version, roughly the same dimensions as the Chevy Suburban. The Escalade EXT is a sport utility/pickup combination that quickly converts from a pickup with an enclosable eight-foot bed to a five-passenger luxury SUV with a short bed; it is Cadillac's version of the Chevy Avalanche.
All three pack a high-performance, 403-hp 6.2-liter V8 mated to a six-speed automatic transmission that offers manual shift control.
Built on GM's robust full-size truck platform, the Escalade, ESV, and EXT make excellent tow vehicles. They share their platforms with the Chevy Tahoe, Suburban, and Silverado, as well as the GMC versions.
At the same time, they're roomy and luxuriously appointed, letting them haul family or friends or business associates in real comfort. The 6.2-liter V8 supplies serious power for surprisingly quick acceleration. On the road, all three Escalade versions are smooth and stable. They ride smoother than the Tahoe or Suburban; but are at the same time taut and well-controlled for surprisingly good handling by full-size SUV standards.
For 2008, both the standard Escalade and ESV come with rear-wheel drive (2WD) or optional all-wheel drive (AWD), while the EXT pickup comes with all-wheel drive as standard equipment. Late in the 2008 model year, a gas-electric hybrid version and an ultra-luxury Platinum Edition will be available. Otherwise, the 2008 Escalade is not significantly changed from last year.
The Cadillac Escalade is a full-size sport utility vehicle. All models are powered by a high-output 6.2-liter V8 engine. Also standard are a six-speed automatic transmission with manual shift control, 18-inch alloy wheels, and Autoride suspension.
The Escalade is available with rear-wheel drive ($54,740) or all-wheel drive ($57,295). Standard features include leather upholstery, leather-wrapped steering wheel with genuine wood highlights, aluminum and faux wood interior trim, Bose 5.1 Digital Surround Sound audio with AM/FM/XM/6CD, power adjustable pedals, power windows, power locks, fog lamps, remote vehicle starting, rear climate control, six-passenger seating configuration, third-row bench seat, heated first and second row seats, Ultrasonic rear park assist and heated windshield washer fluid.
The Escalade ESV is available in 2WD and AWD ($59,710). The ESV features an additional 14 inches of wheelbase and 20 more inches of overall length, greatly enhancing third-row seat legroom and cargo space. It comes with all the same standard luxuries as the shorter Escalade.
The Escalade EXT ($54,215) deletes the third-row seat in favor of a lined, lockable and enclosable pickup bed with manually folding Midgate and removable rear window. Otherwise, the EXT is equipped the same as the standard-length Escalade.
Options on all Escalade models include retractable assist steps ($1,095); a power tilt-and-slide sunroof ($995); rear-seat DVD entertainment ($1,295); engine block heater ($75); chromed 18-inch wheels ($795); and an Ultra Luxury Collection ($7,735) that combines navigation, a rearview camera, IntelliBeam headlamps, heated and cooled seats, heated steering wheel, and 22-inch wheels. On the ESV, the DVD entertainment system ($1,895) includes an additional flip-down screen for third-row passengers, plus an additional set of headphones. On the EXT, the Ultra Luxury Collection costs a little less ($7,310).
Safety features on all Escalade models include anti-lock four-wheel disc brakes with EBD and Brake Assist; and an electronic stability control system called StabiliTrak with rollover sensing. Passive safety features include front seat belts with pretensioners and load-limiters, dual front air bags and side curtain air bags that span all three rows of seats. Tire pressure monitors are also standard.