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Expert Reviews 1 of 4
By Jim Flammang
February 5, 2003
Vehicle Overview Cadillac is expanding its sport utility vehicle lineup to three models with its new 2003 Escalade ESV, which is scheduled to go into production in the first quarter of 2003. It will be not only the largest full-size luxury SUV on the market but also the biggest Cadillac ever produced. Measuring some 22 inches longer than the regular Escalade, the ESV provides more than 20 additional inches of interior length. Coupled with the additional premium seating, Cadillac promises segment-leading cargo capacity.
Customer feedback tells us there is market potential for a full-size luxury SUV that provides additional seating and cargo space, says Cadillac General Manager Mark LaNeve. Aimed at successful, status-driven, forward-thinking individuals, [the Escalade ESV will be produced for buyers] who appreciate bold styling and ingenious technology people who demand nothing less than the biggest and the best there is.
The Escalade ESV and its Escalade EXT sibling are both powered by a 345-horsepower, 6.0-liter V-8 engine that delivers 380 pounds-feet of torque. Full-time all-wheel drive (AWD) and GMs StabiliTrak electronic stability system are installed. Other technical features include a Road Sensing Suspension System, Ultrasonic Rear Parking Assist, GMs OnStar communication system and XM Satellite Radio service. Backseat occupants enjoy a Panasonic DVD entertainment system.
The Escalade ESV is built in Mexico and will compete against such vehicles as the Land Rover Range Rover, Lexus LX 470, Lincoln Navigator and Mercedes-Benz G-Class. The ESV is dimensionally in a class by itself and is markedly larger than any of those rivals.
Exterior Cadillac notes that the Escalade ESV shares the same bold exterior design and commanding road presence as the regular Escalade in its 2003 form. High-intensity-discharge headlights that flank an eggcrate grille are standard. The front fascia incorporates recessed tow hooks and rectangular fog lamps.
Chrome badging features the Cadillac wreath-and-crest insignia. Signature seven-spoke chrome wheels hold 17-inch tires. Power folding and heated mirrors are equipped with turn-signal indicators. A functional step bumper at the rear shrouds a Class VII trailer hitch. The Escalade ESV rides a 130-inch wheelbase, measures 219.3 inches long overall and stands 75.7 inches tall. Its ground clearance is 10.7 inches.
Interior Depending on the ESVs seating configuration, either seven or eight occupants will luxuriate on soft, aromatic Nuance leather seating surfaces. The front bucket seats are equipped with a 10-way power adjustment feature, power-adjustable side bolsters, power lumbar and seatback recliner controls, and independently heated seatbacks and cushions. The second-row bucket seats have heated cushions, and customers may choose a bench seat for this row. The third-row bench seat folds down and may be removed to increase cargo capacity.
Power-adjustable brake and accelerator pedals include a memory feature. A nine-button control layout is available for the leather-wrapped wood-trimmed steering wheel. A dual-zone climate control system is available with manual or automatic operation. A 34-function driver information center is installed, and an enhanced 250-watt Bose audio system includes a six-CD changer. A new Bulgari-designed analog clock adds a luxury touch to the interior. Either a sunroof or a rear-seat DVD entertainment system can be installed.
Under the Hood The Escalade ESVs 6.0-liter V-8 engine generates 345 hp and 380 pounds-feet of torque; it mates to a four-speed-automatic transmission. Full-time AWD is standard.
Safety Dual-stage airbags, a passenger-sensing system and side-impact airbags for the front occupants are installed. Daytime running lights are standard.