Cadillac's Escalade ESV offers more room for those who find the Escalade, a full-size SUV, just a bit too small. Its wheelbase is 14 inches longer than the full-size Escalade, and its total length exceeds the standard model by more than 20 inches. Third-row occupants benefit from increased legroom, and cargo capacity behind them nearly triples. The model was redesigned for 2007, so changes for 2008 are minimal.
As with the regular-wheelbase Escalade, the Escalade ESV gets a full complement of luxury equipment, including leather seats for up to eight occupants, plenty of exterior chrome and optional 22-inch wheels. It is now available in two- as well as all-wheel drive.
Built on the same platform as the Chevrolet Suburban and GMC Yukon XL, the Escalade ESV stretches 20.4 inches longer than the regular Escalade. Fourteen of those inches go to extending the wheelbase, which allows for larger rear doors unconstrained by wheel wells. Height increases by 1.2 inches, and width remains about the same. Despite the bigger dimensions, curb weight increases by just 126 pounds.
Exterior details are identical to the regular Escalade's, with jeweled headlights flanking Cadillac's now-familiar grille up front, and large, rectangular taillights in back. Eighteen-inch wheels are standard; 22-inch wheels are optional.
The ESV's extended dimensions don't yield significant gains for first- or second-row occupants, but third-row passengers gain nearly 10 inches of legroom. Cargo volume behind the third row increases from 16.9 cubic feet to 45.8 cubic feet. With the third-row seat removed and the second-row seats folded forward, maximum cargo volume is 137.4 cubic feet — about 28 cubic feet more than the standard Escalade offers.
In the Escalade ESV, the optional DVD entertainment system includes a second 8-inch screen for third-row passengers. A leather interior, automatic climate control and power-operated front seats are standard. Total seating capacity is seven, though an optional second-row bench expands capacity to eight.
Under the Hood
The Escalade ESV uses the same engine as does the regular Escalade: a 6.2-liter V-8 with 403 horsepower and 417 pounds-feet of torque. It works through a six-speed automatic transmission.
Towing capacity increases 100 pounds over the regular Escalade, to a maximum of 7,800 pounds when properly equipped.
Standard safety items include four-wheel-disc antilock brakes and an electronic stability system. The system has rollover mitigation technology that senses imminent rollovers and applies individual brakes in an effort to avert the accident.
Side curtain airbags that protect all three rows of seats are standard. Front-seat side-impact airbags are not available.