Agreed, the Cadillac Escalade is an upscale version of the Chevy Tahoe and GMC Yukon. But for folks who like to be pampered, the full-size luxury SUV should fit their needs.
Available as a standard or extended wheelbase (Escalade Stretch Vehicle), the SUV gets a 6.2-liter V-8 engine pumping out a massive 403 horsepower at 5700 rpm and 417 pounds-feet of torque at 4300 rpm. Mated to a slick-shifting six-speed auto transmission, the body-on-frame Escalade is offered in rear-wheel or all-wheel drive versions. GM's Active Fuel Management system deactivates half of its cylinders to conserve gas while cruising or at slower speeds. The best you can get is a lowly 14 mpg city and 18 mpg highway, per EPA.
Our test-drive ESV was equipped with the Magnetic Ride Control, which adjusts the four-wheel independent suspension to road conditions while keeping body roll minimal. And if you need to haul a sailboat or another car, tow capacity is an astonishing 8,000 pounds.
The Caddy truly shines in the cabin department with such comforts as tri-zone auto climate control, flip-down DVD screens for second- and third-row seats, 14-way power heated/cooled front seats, and inviting olive ash/walnut burl wood and leather on the instrument panel/dash. Ingress and egress into the high-sitting vehicle is convenient, thanks to power retractable running boards.
Of course, indulgence comes at a hefty price. Starting at $63,170 for the base RWD, the Escalade can go up to $85,095 for the ESV AWD Platinum model. Don't be misled into believing that the nearly 6,000-pound vehicle lacks power. In fact, the gas pedal unleashes strong acceleration to make this a graceful, smooth and easy-riding companion. Now, all you need is an inflated bank balance to indulge yourself and the family.
Wheelbase: 130 inches
Length: 222.9 inches
Steering: power rack and pinion
Web site: www.cadillac.com