After driving it for a week I can say with some certainty that I now see the appeal. I can drive this car to the PTA, or fit right into a rap video. You can't say that about a station wagon.
Installing my children's child safety seats gives me my first positive impression of the 2005 Escalade ESV. The Latch connectors in the two bucket seats are visible and easy to use. For my 5-year-old who's in a booster seat, the seatbelt is easy for her to use on her own. For larger children just outside of booster seat age, the Escalade ESV features seatbelt positioners to help keep the belt from crossing on their neck.
However, I feel great pity for the mom of an infant who has to heft that honking big infant carrier up into this car. She better find a great chiropractor.
The third row seats three more people and even adults will fit. However, the center seat only has a lap belt which is not the safest option for child travelers. Thanks to separate DVD screens for the "back" and the "way back," everyone gets a great view of the movie. Side note: My daughter told me to write in my review that she can't watch a movie and drink a smoothie at the same time because the headphones keep slipping off, so she has to hold them on -taking her hands away from her drink.
On the downside, this vehicle does not feature curtain side airbags, leaving rear passengers in a potentially precarious position should the car roll. For $70k you'd think GM could throw those in -when in reality they should be standard for all vehicles, despite the car's price.
Cargo space in the Escalade ESV is amazing. As a matter of fact, I could probably install a little restroom and a kitchenette back here. That'd be great for me with my youngest just out of diapers who wants nothing more than to eat oatmeal five times a day.
I like this vehicle more from the standpoint of a passenger than a driver. Its large size feels overwhelming to me. However, I am impressed with the great visibility from the driver's seat, that is, with the exception of the blind spot on the left side of the vehicle. Turning my head around to peak at the blind spot yields a really great view of ... the driver's seat head restraint. Of course, my husband, who's an entire foot taller than me, doesn't have this same complaint.
The 2005 version of this Cadillac Escalade ESV Platinum Edition features an "all-new cooling system with [a] more powerful 160-amp alternator." I don't know what that is, but the AC in this car is amazing! Within a matter of seconds the car cools down to goose-bump level, despite 100 plus degree temperatures.
Chilled seats blow cold air up my -well, you get the idea. This is my greatest summer pleasure. Chilled seats, just imagine! Wait, it gets even better than that: The cupholders in front can be electronically cooled or heated, depending on your beverage of choice (watch for curious little hands around these when heated).
For all the little (and not so little) extras, this luxury SUV earns its high price tag. For those of you who still think that size equals safety, I'm sorry to be the one to break it to you: That's not always the case.
*For more information on the Cadillac Escalade ESV and its safety features visit Cars.com.
LET'S TALK NUMBERS
LATCH Connectors: 2
Seating Capacity (includes driver): 7
IT'S THE LITTLE THINGS THAT COUNT
Storage Compartments (Puny, Fair, Ample, Galore): Galore
Cargo/Trunk Space (Puny, Fair, Ample, Galore): Galore
SENSE AND STYLE
Family Friendly (Not Really, Fair, Great, Excellent): Great
Fun-Factor (None, Some, Good Times, Groove-On): Good Times