A sport utility vehicle, the Cadillac Escalade is sold by the Cadillac division of General Motors. The first Escalade was based largely on the GMC Yukon Denali, although it was redesigned in 2002. The Escalade is well known because it was Cadillac’s first entry into the growing SUV market segment. Cadillac introduced the Escalade in time for the 1999 model, filling the void in the Cadillac lineup left by the Fleetwood Brougham sedan three years earlier. Cadillac considered the new Lincoln Navigator to be their biggest competition on the market although today its competitors include the Mercedes-Benz G Class, the Lexus LX, the Infiniti QX56, and the Land Rover Range Rover.
The Cadillac Escalade was an instant success and has proven popular with families, after market tuners looking for a great vehicle to customize, and even the more refined clientele. Unfortunately, the Cadillac Escalade isn’t just popular with the consumer, it is also quite popular with the thieves, and has made the list of the most frequently stolen vehicles from the years 2001 until 2003.
The first Escalade, as mentioned above, was much like the GMC Yukon Denali. The Escalade shared the exterior panels and wheels of the Yukon Denali, although the center caps of the wheels were replaces with the Cadillac crests and the front exterior panels varied slightly. In addition to the outward look, the Escalade also used the same 255 horsepower 5.7-liter Vortec 5700 V8 engine, featuring all wheel drive. The similarities continued for 1999 and 2000, but the Escalade wasn’t offered during the 2001 model year.
The Cadillac Escalade was redone so that it was a new vehicle for the 2002 model year. The vehicle was now powered by a 5.3 liter V8, with four wheel drives as well as a 6.0-liter V8 engine available as an option. While the all-new 2002 model was definitely good, there were some changes made in 2003 that made it even better. Such changes included elements such as four-wheel stability control system and power adjustable pedals. In 2004 the Escalade was refined further with the addition of 20-inch chrome wheels, second row bucket seats, a tire pressure monitoring system, as well as XM Satellite Radio. Changes were made again in 2005 with the upgrade of the OnStar system as well as Cadillac doing away with the 5.3-liter engine. By the time the 2005 models hit the market, the Cadillac Escalade was more refined and powerful than ever, boasting a high output 6.0-liter engine that produced a magnificent 345 horsepower.
Changes are seen again for the 2007 Cadillac Escalade, as the vehicle will be put on a new platform, the GMT900. Cadillac will offer the regular Escalade body style, a stretched or longer version known as the ESV, and a pickup truck version known as the EXT. An all aluminum 6.2-liter V8 pushrod engine now powers the Escalade. The engine features variable valve timing and is notable as it is the first non-overhead cam engine that has been mass-produced. This new engine produces 403 horsepower and is coupled with a six speed automatic transmission. Missing from this model year of the Escalade is the rear independent suspension used in previous years, now there is a traditional five-link suspension used. All of these upgrades and changes bring the new base price of the Cadillac Escalade to $57,280. However, the rear wheel drive version, the ESV, and the EXT pickup that will be available in the late summer or early fall will be more costly. For those interested in speed, the Escalade, as big as it is, can accelerate from 0 to 60 miles per hour in just 6.8 seconds and gets 14 miles to the gallon in the city and 19 miles to the gallon on the highway.
The Cadillac Escalade has a wide appeal because it is available in three different body styles; it offers space, storage, as well as performance. The stylish and luxury qualities of the Escalade are attractive both to those that are looking to upgrade and those that are looking to make after market changes to the vehicle. Many times larger wheels, ground effects, and upgrades to the engine and transmission are made to the Escalade, though the vehicle is found to be highly efficient to those that attempt no modifications.