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2007 Cadillac Escalade Review

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2007 Cadillac Escalade Review

A Truck with Elegance and Bling
By Steve Purdy Detroit Bureau

SEE ALSO: New Car Buyer's Guide for Cadillac

It was a rough morning near the end of a busy week. With a lunchtime appointment to meet the owner at the Corvette racing shops of Pratt & Miller, followed by an afternoon swap of this Escalade for a little Saturn Sky on the other side of the city, then an automotive fine art event in the northern suburbs, I really needed to spend the morning sorting through the mess on my desk and doing some mighty important emailing.

Then my favorite cat got sick. Well, he’d been a little sick for about a week, an upper respiratory thing like the one that nearly took him a few years ago. We were planning to take him to the vet tomorrow, but this

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morning he could barely breathe. Dickens is his name and he’s a 12-year-old soft-yellow indoor/outdoor tabby who likes to sleep with us at night and hunt all day. The poor thing was hacking and choking and blowing snot all over as he lolled around in bed this morning. I loaded him in the white leather passenger seat of the luxurious Escalade just as a deluge of rain began. We both got good and wet. I didn’t think he’d have the energy to clamber around inside the capacious sport-ute – but I was wrong.

Our little country lane feeds out onto the two lane county road within about 50-feet of a blind hill. We always have to be wary pulling out. Wouldn’t you know, just as I started to ease out a ragged red Ford pickup popped over the hill going way too fast. I had to hit the brakes hard sending poor Dickens flying off the seat and onto the floor. He yowled and cried all the way to town, sneezing violently, spraying cat snot over the smooth leather, onto the dash, the windshield, and my new shirt.

Our compassionate vet looked him over and agreed that he was pretty sick. She gave him an injection of an anti-viral serum and an antibiotic pill as he drooled and sneezed all over her and the examining table. The rain that had let up returned in earnest just as we went back out to the Escalade. We got good and wet again.

On the way home the poor miserable guy yowled worse than before and he began to look around with an obvious urgency. I could tell this was not good. He hopped down onto the floor and began to scratch around like he wanted his litter box. Sure enough, he hunkered into a squat and dumped a load of smelly, runny cat stuff onto the carpeted floor mat. He seemed to feel a little better after that. But I didn’t.

I opened the window a few inches, got us home and spent the next half hour cleaning out the inside of the Escalade. I don’t mind taking a test car back a little dirty now and then but this was a bit too much.

Bottom line: I got to my meeting with the Corvette racing guy on time, got the freshly cleaned Escalade back to GM with a half hour to spare and spent a quiet aesthetic evening at the art show. All’s well that ends well, they say.

Oh, I nearly forgot. You’re probably reading this for the evaluation of the Escalade.

This beautiful truck is the 2007 Cadillac Escalade AWD, freshly redesigned along with the rest of GM’s full-size trucks and sport-utilities. Think of a “hip-hop” version of the Chevy Yukon, all dressed up in pearlescent white (Cadillac calls it “White Diamond”) with off-white leather inside. GM calls that interior color ‘Cashmere,’ though it has nothing to do with fabric. This fresh Escalade, along with the other GM trucks, has a stiffer frame, lower center of gravity, revised steering, suspension and brakes, and better performance than the previous model.

I must say it is a comfortable, smooth, luxurious ride, indeed. Climb high into the driver’s seat with the help of an essential running board and sink into the firm, but not hard, leathers, set the controls just the way you like them, including the adjustable pedals, slip the fat-handled column-shifter into drive and motor away down the highway. You’ll feel like king of the road.

Notice, the shift handle has a rocker switch with a plus and a minus, a manual mode for the new six-speed Hydra-matic 6L80 Heavy Duty automatic transmission. Just don’t be in a hurry for the next gear. It takes nearly a second-and-a-half from the time you tell it to shift before it finally obeys the command. I suppose this manual mode is not for sporting purposes, rather one might need it more for towing.

This is, after all, a truck. Weighing in at well over 2 tons you can load it up with another 1,500 pounds of stuff if you want to. Cargo area behind the front seat is 108-cubic-feet. Towing capacity is a respectable 7,700 pounds.

This Escalade seats 7 passengers, though with the bench second seat it could seat 8. That third seat, though, is not meant for full-size people or long rides. My poor sister-in-law got stuck back there on the hour-long drive to a family reunion and found it a challenge. Her knees were in her chest since the floor back there is right at the base of the seat, and her tush began to hurt after a half hour since there is little padding. No complaints from other passengers, though, as the other seats are great.

I thought some of the interior trim was a bit tawdry and the dash too busy. The cup-holder door and neighboring cubby door had a cheap metal feel, and I was not impressed with the faux wood trim. The center stack has no fewer than 40 individual buttons and dials to manipulate not counting all the options on the touch-control navigation and audio screen. The controls are well annotated though I’ll acknowledge. In this case elegance is not necessarily simplicity.

This new Escalade is motivated by a fresh Generation IV, 6.2-liter, Vortec V-8 making 403-horsepower and 417 lb.ft. of torque. With sequential fuel injection the EPA numbers are a tad better than the previous model in spite of the greater power. EPA estimates 13 city/19 highway, but I’ll reveal here that I couldn’t get more than 15.5 mpg under what seemed ideal conditions. The exhaust note is admirable. We hear the throaty rumble of the big V8, but it’s not intrusive at all.

This rad ride starts at $56,405 and includes load-sensing suspension, automatic rear leveling control, ABS and traction control, and all the luxury stuff you can imagine. A Bose audio system, power lift tailgate, remote starter, HID headlamp, rear-view camera, heated washer fluid system and tri-zone climate controls are also included. Our test vehicle has 22-inch tires with chrome wheels (18-inch are standard) for nearly 3-grand, the “Information Package” for $2,500, premium paint for about a grand, and the “Climate Package” for $625. Bottom line, with $875 destination charge, is $64,815.

Warranty is 4-year/50,000-miles.

Overall I liked the Escalade. If it weren’t for the initial cost and dismal mileage, I could easily live with it. It drives extremely well for its size. It’s comfortable, good-lookin’, convenient and luxurious.

And, cat snot wipes off the seats easily, too.