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November 1, 2006 - Autos

Wayland Joe
Cadillac Escalade

The new ‘Lade, wow what an SUV! I know I may say “wow” a lot, but let me tell you, I’m a car fanatic, and if the car I’m writing about doesn’t move me, I wouldn’t be saying wow. At first glance, this new Caddie looks meaner and tougher than any SUV GM has released to date. The look says, stop and stare, and then get out of the way so I can make a statement on the road. Cadillac has put its best engineers on the job, coming up with a total redesign, and already impressing the most famous rappers and movie stars in Hollywood. The design team really came through, just take a look at the front and rear-end styling, and also featuring the side vents with the accented chrome placed in just the right places.

With these stylish design and interior improvements, the 2007 Cadillac Escalade is sure to turn the heads of the coolest yuppie wannabes. The formula is still the same, high profile looks, bigger gas-guzzling V-8, lots of new goodies inside, and, of course, big 22-inch wheels as an option. This Caddie has everything a yuppie pimp could want.

Since it hit the road in 1999, the Escalade has been one of the most important vehicles in Cadillac’s lineup and a major success for General Motors. The Lade has cemented itself as one of the few gotta-have-it products built by General Motors. Young, old, rich, poor, male, female – everyone knows about the Escalade. The Lade is popular with celebrities, rich people and, of course, us simple folk, and draws a whole new generation of buyers into Cadillac’s showrooms. Add the fact that General Motors relies heavily on full-size SUV sales to generate profits, it’s clear that this is one cash cow that Cadillac needs to be successful. For 2007, it gets a complete redesign.

The 2007 Cadillac Escalade is a full-size luxury SUV, designed to compete with the likes of Range Rover, Lincoln Navigator and the Lexus GX470. It’s built on the same platform as the Chevrolet Tahoe and GMC Yukon, although the Cadillac is by far the most luxurious. Three models are available, the standard Escalade, the extended-length ESV, and the crew-cab EXT pickup.

The timing may have been a little off though, because with gas prices soaring as high as they are, the 403-horsepower, 6.2-liter V-8 engine is expensive to run. But when GM began planning this model years ago, they couldn’t have predicted the current exorbitant prices at the pump, however, if you really want to cruise in style, you can’t be worrying about gas prices. With a gain of 58-hp over last year, the new Lade’s motor generates 417 lb-ft. of torque, and its fuel economy ratings of 14/19 (2wd) and 13/19 (4wd) are also an improvement. A new six-speed automatic transmission with manual shift control gives you command over the engine, which surprisingly, doesn’t come with GM’s Displacement on Demand (DOD) technology. DOD shuts four cylinders down under low-load conditions, such as driving on the highway. Right now DOD is available only on the 5.3-liter V8 found in the Tahoe and Yukon. DOD is due to arrive for the Escalade for 2008, along with a hybrid gas/electric Lade that might just be the answer to our gas pump prayers.

The Escalade comes standard with 18-inch wheels, but chrome 22-inch “double dubs” are an option for the real playas. Cadillac knew this would be a must-have option, so they engineered the Lade to accommodate 22-inchers straight from the factory; ride, handling, and safety are not compromised by the oversized wheels. Also standard equipment is rack-and-pinion steering and large four-wheel-disc brakes. Holding up the rear is a five-link solid axle, and an independent coil-over-shock suspension and road-sensing automatic dampers support the front end. Traction control comes standard, too.

The interior of the new Lade is a huge improvement over the previous one; you won’t find any cheap plastic in this one, only leather, brushed aluminum, wood, and a plush woven headliner. Each gauge features Rolex-like craftsmanship, and are illuminated in blue for nighttime cruising. The Bose 5.1 Surround Sound System is equally as home blasting Mozart as it is Eminem.

If you’re one that likes the toys, you can order the Lade loaded with options. There are DVD screens available for the second and third-row seats, a camera that displays objects behind you, and a power fold-and-tumble second row to make getting in the third row easy. You can also get a heated steering wheel as well as heated and cooled front seats, along with remote start. Side curtain airbags come standard and rear crash sensors tighten the front seatbelts, reducing the possibility of whiplash if an accident occurs.

One minor nitpick is that the Escalade looks a little too much like the 2007 GMC Yukon, and it would have been that much nicer if there were a few more style differences between the two. Of course, this is minor and shouldn’t prevent anyone from getting behind the wheel of the hottest looking SUV Cadillac has ever manufactured. The entire Escalade is perfected with shiny chrome trim, appearing on the grille, lighting bezels, wheels, mirrors, side moldings and the door handles. The vents on front fenders are also framed in chrome, giving it a sporty look that will stand out anywhere. No doubt, this is a great looking vehicle.

Rappers and druglords, keep your eye out for the new 2007 Cadillac Escalade at your local Cadillac showroom. Also available, the extended-length Escalade ESV and the Escalade EXT pickup. You can expect to shell out $57,280 for an Escalade without options and $59,680 for an Escalade ESV.

Price Range: $57,280
Engine Size and Type: 6.2-liter V8
Engine Horsepower: 403 at 5,700 rpm
Engine Torque: 417 lb.-ft. at 4,400 rpm
Transmission: Six-speed automatic with manual shift control
Curb weight, lbs.: 5,818 (AWD model)
Est. Fuel Economy (city/highway): 14/19 (2WD); 13/19 (AWD)
Length: 202.5 inches
Width: 79 inches
Wheelbase: 116 inches
Height: 74.3 inches (AWD model)
Leg room (front/row 2/row 3): 41.3/39/25.4 inches
Head room (front/row 2/row 3): 40.3/38.5/38.2 inches
Max. Seating Capacity: Eight
Max. Cargo Volume: 108.9 cu.-ft.
Max. Payload: 1,282 lbs. (AWD model)
Max. Towing Capacity: 7,400 lbs. (AWD model)
Min. Ground Clearance: 9 inches

Keywords: Cadillac, Escalade, SUV, luxury, truck
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