In its brief history, the full-size Cadillac Escalade sport utility vehicle has brought Cadillac's youngest buyers into its fold. In particular, the second generation's 2001 debut saw celebrities and affluent 20-somethings alike declare General Motors' luxury division the new icon of urban style.
It's no surprise, then, that the 2007 redesign continues to court that group. Case in point: While Cadillac's DTS sedan features colors like "Glacier White" and "Green Silk," the Escalade prefers "White Diamond" and "Red E" — terms that suggest a hip-hop artist, not an SUV.
In the spirit of excess, the 2007 Escalade boasts available 22-inch wheels and a 6.2-liter V-8 with more than 400 horsepower. Also, the new model is even less efficient than its predecessor: Though it's slightly bigger and much more powerful, cargo volume and towing capacity both shrink. Perhaps wastefulness is a sign of opulence.
The Escalade, which can be configured to seat eight people, will be available in March 2006 with two- or all-wheel drive, starting at $53,850 without the destination charge. It competes with other full-size, luxury SUVs such as the Lincoln Navigator, Lexus LX 470 and Infiniti QX56. As with the previous Escalade, extended-wheelbase ESV and pickup-truck EXT versions will be available in mid-2006.
Up front, narrower three-tier headlights and a larger crisscrossed grille give the Escalade a closer resemblance to Cadillac's other vehicles. The front-end elements also differentiate the Escalade from the Chevrolet Tahoe and GMC Yukon, whose platform it shares. Chrome applications throughout emphasize the vehicle's luxury status.
The 2007 Escalade is a few inches longer than the previous version, with roughly equal height and width. Upscale touches include xenon high-intensity-discharge headlights etched with Cadillac logos, rain-sensing windshield wipers and side mirrors with integrated turn signals. Eighteen-inch wheels are standard, and 22-inch wheels are optional.
Inside, the Escalade further differentiates itself from its GM platform-mates with unique climate controls, an LED-backlit instrument panel and a center stack that seamlessly flows into the floor console rather than being a separate unit.
Standard seating configurations include two rows of captain's chairs and a three-seat bench in back; an optional second-row bench ups seating capacity to eight. Other standard items include tri-zone automatic climate control and leather seats with power adjustments in front and seat heaters in the first two rows. Air-conditioned seats are an option, as are a heated steering wheel, a navigation system and a rear-seat DVD entertainment system.
Removing the third-row seat and flipping the second row forward, either manually or with an optional power-operated mechanism, allows a maximum cargo capacity of 108.9 cubic feet, which is smaller than the previous Escalade's 121 cubic feet.
Under the Hood
An all-aluminum 6.2-liter V-8 is the sole power plant. That engine is also available in the Yukon, but in the Escalade it's tuned for 402 hp (versus 380 hp) and 417 pounds-feet of torque (versus 415 pounds feet). It works through a six-speed-automatic transmission. Permanent all-wheel drive is available.
Although the 6.2-liter engine substantially outguns the 345-hp, 6.0-liter in the previous Escalade, maximum towing capacity shrinks from 8,100 pounds to 7,400 pounds.
Standard safety equipment includes four-wheel disc brakes with ABS and a StabiliTrak electronic stability system that includes new rollover mitigation technology, which can sense impending rollovers and selectively apply individual brakes.
Standard side curtain-type airbags cover all three rows of seats. Side-impact airbags for the front seats are not available.