2000 Cadillac Escalade

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$46,225

starting MSRP

2000 Cadillac Escalade

Key specs

Base trim shown

Overview

1 trim

Starting msrp listed lowest to highest price

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2000 Cadillac Escalade review: Our expert's take

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The verdict:

Versus the competiton:

Full-size, luxury sport-utility vehicles: Automakers just can’t seem to make enough of ’em.

Lincoln, Lexus, Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Toyota, Cadillac and GMC all build one, and it’s amazing how they sell. Roughly 500,000 have been sold in the last seven years.

After the initial impact of the Navigator, Cadillac realized it couldn’t wait any longer to jump into the SUV pool, so it grabbed a readily available life preserver, the GMC Denali, and quickly turned it into a Cadillac SUV by changing the grille and making the interior more luxurious. Introduced in 1998 as a 1999 model, the Escalade is intended to be “a bridge to the more carlike SUV already under development,” according to Cadillac.

The Escalade is all about comfort, including a ride so soft that it feels almost as plush as a Caddy sedan. To that end, the front suspension has torsion bars, while leaf springs are used in back. German Bilstein shock absorbers swallow bumps without upsetting the occupants, but handling is less confident and responsive as well.

Chrome, 16-inch wheels have fat tires that are as soft as fresh Krispy Kreme doughnuts, and the ride they provide is just about as sweet. They have passenger-car tread for less noise, but that makes them unsuitable for anything more rugged than gravel roads.

Compared to the Denali, the Escalade’s seats are wider, softer, covered in glove-soft leather and heated both front and back. Zebrano wood trim is fitted to the dash, door panels and sections of the steering wheel.

The Escalade, and Denali, are based on the previous generation GMC Yukon. As such, it lacks the newer powertrain, bigger brakes and hydroformed frame of the 2000 Yukon. The engine is a 5.7-liter V8 with 255 horsepower and the ability to tow a 6,600-pound trailer. It is smooth and discreet, but 255 horsepower in a 5,572-pound vehicle produces only moderate acceleration. This engine is certainly adequate, but it doesn’t have the enthusiastic and endearing character of the new 5.3-liter V8 that is used in the 2000 Yukon, Tahoe and Suburban.

GM’s AutoTrac four-wheel-drive system is standard. Set the dash-mounted switch to 2HI and it works like conventional rear-wheel drive. The Auto setting keeps the vehicle functioning in rear-wheel drive until the back wheels slip, at which time a viscous clutch transfers power to the front wheels.

4HI splits power equally between front and rear, while 4LO is used for heavy mud, snow or off-road terrain. Few folks will ever subject an Escalade to off-roading any more serious than a dirt road, so the fact that its four-wheeling capabilities may be somewhat limited isn’t really important.

The front-disc, rear-drum brakes feel mushy and have only adequate stopping power. In a recent drive of an Escalade I was surprised at how much attention it generated. Perhaps it’s because people aren’t used to seeing the Cadillac crest on an SUV, or perhaps there’s just somethin g mystical about an SUV this size, but it drew admiring looks all over town.

Inside, the well-padded seats are about as cozy as living room chairs. Covered in perforated leather that is more pleasant in a wide variety of temperatures, they are superior to those in the Denali, but should be, considering the Cadillac’s price. Cadillac says there is more head, leg and shoulder room than a Navigator.

To me, the instrument panel doesn’t have the look and feel of a super-luxury SUV. There is a large, leather-covered center console that has a six-disc CD player inside. A notebook clip built into the underside of its lid is a handy touch for jotting notes. The AM/FM stereo also has a single-slot CD player in the dash.

OnStar is standard equipment. This system uses a GPS locating system and a cellular network to connect with a 24-hour center that gives drivers directions, points out places to stay, tracks the vehicle in case it is stolen, unlocks the doors if you are ocked out and provides emergency medical help. In case of an airbag deployment, the vehicle automatically notifies the center so that help can be dispatched.

Other safety features include anti-lock brakes and dual airbags, although side airbags are not offered.

Around back, total cargo space is a generous 118.2 cubic feet with the back seat folded down. In addition to the two-piece split tailgate, a single, top-hinged door is also offered. I prefer the single unit since it does not require leaning across the open half of the tailgate to reach gear inside.

Considering that Cadillac views this generation of the Escalade as a temporary step to an SUV that is more luxurious and carlike, the next one is likely to have more power, better brakes and smooth handling.

Price
The base price of our test vehicle was $46,225. All equipment is standard, which means the sticker price was $46,875 including freight.

Warranty
Four years or 50,000 miles.

To get in touch with Tom Strongman call (816) 234-4349 or e-mail: strongmn@kcstar.com.

Point: The Escalade puts comfort first: in the seats, in the ride and in the level of standard equipment. The OnStar GPS system also provides peace of mind.

Counterpoint: The brakes need to be stronger, the engine could use more powerand Cadillac needs more differentiation between the Escalade and the Denali. That should all come in the next generation.

SPECIFICATIONS:
ENGINE: 5.7-liter, V8
TRANSMISSION: automatic
CONFIGURATION: Four-wheel drive
WHEELBASE: 117.5 inches
CURB WEIGHT: 5,572
BASE PRICE: $46,225
PRICE AS DRIVEN: $46,875
MPG RATING: 12 city, 16 hwy.

Consumer reviews

Rating breakdown (out of 5):
  • Comfort 4.4
  • Interior design 4.3
  • Performance 4.1
  • Value for the money 4.1
  • Exterior styling 4.6
  • Reliability 4.7

Most recent consumer reviews

4.3

Very reliable and sturdy for those country roads

This vehicle is excellent and durable and last s a very long time only issue is the gas per buck she's a drinker lol but it's worth it .

4.7

Good Suv

I Love the comfort and relibility of this vehicle. With regular maintence should last me anouth 10 years. I also like that it is cheap to insure. The only reason I bought it was because it was the original Escalade.

4.1

I own one now.

I currently own a 1999 Escalade. Love it. Rides like a dream, lots of power and miles of leather inside. Just want to make everyone aware that as of December 31, 2007, the OnStar system on these older Escalades is no longer active due to the digitalization of the system. Nor is it upgradeable. I did some research into getting the OnStar working on my '99, it can not be done. Otherwise, it's an awesome vehicle. Currently shopping for a 2003 or newer one.

See all 7 consumer reviews

Warranty

New car and Certified Pre-Owned programs by Cadillac
New car program benefits
Bumper-to-bumper
48 months/50,000 miles
Corrosion
72 months/100,000 miles
Powertrain
48 months/50,000 miles
Roadside assistance
48 months/50,000 miles
Certified Pre-Owned program benefits
Maximum age/mileage
5 years/less than 60,000 miles
Basic warranty terms
New: 4 years/50,000 miles bumper-to-bumper; CPO: One year/unlimited miles bumper-to-bumper
Powertrain
6 years/100,000 miles (2012-2017 models)
Dealer certification required
172-point inspection
Roadside assistance
Yes
View all cpo program details

Have questions about warranties or CPO programs?

Compare the competitors

1998

GMC Yukon

$29,604

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1996

Chevrolet Tahoe

$22,886

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2003

Cadillac Escalade EXT

$51,230

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