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2011 Cadillac Escalade ESV AWD Platinum Review By John Heilig

2011 Cadillac Escalade ESV AWD Platinum  (select to view enlarged photo)
2011 Cadillac Escalade ESV AWD Platinum

By John Heilig

Model: 2011 Cadillac Escalade ESV AWD Platinum
Engine: 6.2-liter Vortec V8
Horsepower/Torque: 403 hp @ 5,700 rpm/417 lb.-ft. @ 4,300 rpm
Transmission: 6-speed automatic with manual on shifter
Wheelbase: 130.0 in.
Length x Width x Height: 222.9 x 79.1 x 73.1 in.
Tires: P285/45R22 (17-in. spare wheel & tire)
Cargo: 45.8/137.4 cu. ft. (behind 3rd row/behind 1st row)
Economy: 13 mpg city/18 mpg highway/11.8 mpg test
Fuel capacity: 26.0 gal.
Curb Weight: 5,758 lbs. (towing capacity 7,700 lbs.)
Sticker: $88,295 (includes $950 destination charge)

Top 5 Reasons to Buy This Car:

1. Size
2. Comfort
3. Utility
4. Luxury
5. You love your oil company

The Bottom Line: For those who believe the Suburban is the best vehicle in the world, and for those who like luxury, take heart. The Cadillac Escalade is a Suburban on luxury pills. It has the same extensive size with an expensive sticker. But despite the good and bad of both of the above, it’s a hell of a vehicle with so many features that it’s hard to remember them all.

We’ve said it before and will again; the Heilig family likes big vehicles. It all started with a full-size van and continues with any others we can drive. The Cadillac Escalade answers all our prayers for size. Now, if we could only afford it.

The Escalade is HUGE. It’s built on the Suburban platform, but because it’s a Caddy, it offers more. First among the goodies is luxury. The Escalade has the best-smelling leather we’ve enjoyed in a vehicle in years. There’s inlaid wood in front of the passenger that isn’t necessary, but it’s nice to look at.

As senior citizens, my wife and I enjoyed the slide-out running boards that aided entry and egress. At first I almost tripped over it when I exited the car, but then I couldn’t get enough of it.

There are also some super features. The Side Blind Zone Alert that tells the driver through lights in the exterior rear view mirrors if there is a vehicle in the blind spot (and there are big blind spots with the Escalade) should be a requirement on all vehicles. There’s some slight confusion because turn signal lights are also incorporated into these mirrors, but if you drive the car for a while you learn to discern.

Back up there’s a back-up camera to tell you if someone is there. A woman we were talking to on a recent plane ride said she cannot understand why, whenever she shifts in to reverse in her Prius, mothers send their children to walk in back of her. It has happened too often to be happenstance.

The 6.2-liter V8 under the Escalade’s hood puts out 403 horsepower, which is more than enough for the Escalade’s 5,758-pound curb weight. There’s a 6-speed automatic transmission with the shifter on the tree. There’s also a manual component to the transmission, but that shifter is a rocker switch on the shifter and would only be practical for relaxed shifts.

We had to use the navigation system a couple of times and found it very easy to program. For me, the input of the destination was exactly the way I think of inputting it.

We also liked the heated and cooled front seats. With the high-temperature weather we had during the week the Escalade was in our driveway, we appreciated the hefty air conditioning.

Power is important under the hood, but also min other areas. For example, we had a power liftgate that could be operated with then key fob or with a button on the dash. We also had power folding exterior rearview mirrors. This is necessary in a car of this size because of the difficulty in squeezing it into narrow parking spaces. Power adjustable pedals also make it easier to conform the Escalade to any driver.

For entertainment, there are screens behind the headrests of the front seats to accommodate second row passengers and a screen that folds down from the ceiling for the third row passengers. The second row also has individual climate controls.

I liked the assist handles over three of the doors. The ones over the rear doors are handy for hanging clothes.

True, the Escalade has an enormous price tag to go with its enormous size and list of features. It also has miniscule fuel economy. But if you don’t have to worry about things like that, the Escalade is a heck of a vehicle.

2011 The Auto Page


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