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Escalade holds serve for luxury
Caddy SUV holds down high end ride
 
Published Friday, July 12, 2013 12:07 pm
by Winfred B. Cross

I didn’t know Cadillac still made an Escalade so imagine my delight when rolled up for review at alldaytech.com.

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PHOTO/GENERAL MOTORS
Cadillac's Escalade has a spacious interior that puts a premium on luxury.


Yes, the Escalade was once the luxury item to have. Athletes, actors, rappers and anyone who wanted to be seen as chic drove an Escalade. It wasn’t the first, but it eventually snatched the premium SUV title from Lincoln’s Navigator (it’s still around).


You can also argue that the Escalade is the vehicle that put Caddy on its current path. It was now hip to drive a Cadillac, which inspired the company to turn out more hip vehicles.


It’s not that the current Escalade is a dinosaur, there’s so much more competition. Every luxury brand has a big, comfy premium SUV. The Caddy is unchanged from last year while others have been updated or radically changed.


There are still many reasons to buy an Escalade. It’s certainly still iconic. Nothing looks like an Escalade. That big shield of a grille put the "b" in bling. The body has a few of the character lines of the some of Caddy’s current lineup but it’s essentially a Chevy Tahoe and GMC Yukon.


The interior is certainly more high end that its sister trucks. Leather, wood and premium knobs and switches help make this upscale. The gauge cluster is a bit dated, but still tasteful. The leather is soft and the wood is real.


There’s a huge amount of room for driver and second row passengers. The big seats are comfortable on long trips, offering the kind of comfort you expect. The third row of seats is cramped even for kids. If you need the space for storage, the seats have to come out.


Performance specs for the Escalade are not bad. The 6.2-liter V8 makes 403 horsepower and 417 pounds-feet of torque. Zero to 60 is in the high six-second range but you pay a price with poor fuel economy. The Escalade gets 14 miles per gallon city and 18 mpg highway.
The ride is smooth and controlled. The standard magnetic ride control really soaks up bumps but balances that with solid cornering and handling, It’s no sport’s sedan but this big truck is no slouch.


My test model was a premium, one step up from the luxury model. There is a long list of standard equipment but the premium distinguishes itself from the luxury model by making rear seat entertainment, retractable running boards and body colored trim, painted wheels and dual exhaust tips.


At $72,670, this SUV offers a lot. Lexus, Mercedes, Infinity and Porsche offer more modern beasts, but Caddy isn’t worried. There will be no 2014 Escalade but a new one debuts in 2015 sometime next year. That’s going to be a very interesting year for big trucks.
E-mail Winfred Cross at: cross@alldaytech.com.

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