SEE ALSO: Cadillac Buyer's Guide
SPECIFICATIONS Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price $ 46,225 Price As Tested $ 46,875 Engine Type 5.7 Liter V8 w/SCFI* Engine Size 350 cid/5733 cc Horsepower 255 @ 4600 RPM Torque (lb-ft) 330 @ 2800 RPM Wheelbase/Width/Length 117.5"/77.0"/201.2" Transmission Four-speed automatic Curb Weight 5592 pounds Fuel Capacity 29.5 gallons Tires (F/R) P265/70R16 all-weather Brakes (F/R) Disc (ABS)/drum (ABS) Drive Train Front-engine/four-wheel-drive Vehicle Type Five-passenger/five-door Domestic Content N/A Coefficient of Drag (Cd.) N/A PERFORMANCE EPA Economy, miles per gallon city/highway/average 13/16/14 0-60 MPH 11.0 seconds Cargo capacity 118.2 cubic feet Towing capacity 6600 pounds * Sequential central-port fuel injection
(Matt Hagin says the Cadillac Escalade is the first truck ever to wear the company's coveted logo. Bob says he saw one years ago that broke his heart. A shop owner had converted a '30 V12 into a tow truck.)
MATT - Average Cadillac buyers are well into their '60s and Cadillac wants to lower these demographics, according to reports. The sport/ utility vehicle market is a good one to concentrate on since the 40- to-55 well-heeled age group is into expensive SUVs. It's a tough segment for a newcomer to penetrate, though, since the competition is strongly entrenched and promotion-minded. I was surprised that the company expects nearly half of Escalade buyers to be women. I would guess that the folks in Cadillac marketing are doing some in-depth surveys among the owners of other luxury SUVs and have found a lucrative market niche.
BOB - Cadillac rushed into the SUV market with the Escalade. It didn't take long to develop and the reason why is that the Escalade is a dressed-up version of other GM corporate-clone SUVs. The difference is that nearly all the amenities available off the GM parts shelves come as standard equipment. To begin with, it's a no-kidding truck with a full-length ladder frame that would do justice to a semi-tractor. And although it's got independent torsion-bar suspension up front, I'd bet that it's the first Cadillac to ride on rear leaf springs since the '40s. And although its running boards are minuscule, the last Cadillac to have them was in '38.
MATT - The suspension is soft enough, but buyers shouldn't expect that boulevard ride usually associated with Caddies. I thought it could use a little more roll stiffness and maybe the anti-sway bars could be a little thicker. And although it's a 4x4, it wasn't meant to do much off-roading. There are five different settings for the drive system, from rear-wheel-drive-only to a system that automatically takes power away from the wheels that slip and delivers it to the wheels with the most grip. There's a driver-selected low range for maximum pulling power but most Escalade drivers will never use it. The engine is the ever-present GM 350 CID V8 that been around for a long, long time, so it has no bugs that need to be worked out. It has two valves per cylinder and they're operated by pushrods, and while the horsepower has deliberately been engineered to be 255, its torque figure is way up there at 330 pound/feet. It can pull 6600 pounds with no problem and can hold up to 118 cubic feet of cargo. I think it's the first Cadillac I've ever come across that touts its towing capacity so if an Escalade owner has a fancy power boat, he or she can now tow it behind an equally fancy truck.
BOB - It has anti-skid brakes, of course, but the rear drum brakes are a disappointment on a luxury vehicle. I'd expect four-wheel disc brakes on a rig like this, but we didn't feel any braking weaknesses except for a slightly mushy brake pedal. Inside, though, the appointments and detailing are typically Cadillac, with soft leather trim and polished wood accents. It has a CD player in the dash, but there's also a standard six-disc changer in the center console. Passengers in the back seat can opt for a separate sound system that plays through a pair of earphones, while both the front and back seats have built-in warmers.
MATT - One of the standard items I like is the On-Star system that works using satellites. It's a personal communication network that can find the Escalade if it's stolen, send help if the air bags are deployed or even open the door if the keys are locked inside. It can also help with directions to automatic teller machines, gas stations and assist in making restaurant and hotel reservations. And to further strengthen Cadillac's new market position, the company's even changed its venerable logo to one that's more up-to-date and less stodgy.
BOB - Cadillac has made a big deal out of that new stylized crest- and-wreath emblem, Matt, but I kind of miss the old versions.
MATT - Dad, they've changed it three times since you were born, and the badge you liked disappeared in 1957.