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2002 Cadillac Escalade AWD

By John Heilig  
Photos by Charles Ofria

Category: $50,000+  Luxury Sport Utility Vehicle
Who should buy this car: The person who wants a BIG, BAD King of the Road Luxury SUV. that hauls @#%.  Towing capacity is 8,500 lbs.   
Comparable models in this class: GMC Yukon XL, Land Rover Range Rover, Lexus LX470, Lincoln Navigator,  Toyota Land Cruiser

Cadillac hasredesigned the Escalade sport utility for the 2002 model  year. The newface of Escalade is striking. Our tester, for example, was  painted in"infrared," a deep red metallic. But the new chiseled, more angularstyling of Escalade, and the almost-flat grille, are what seemed to appeal topeople on the roads. We received several "thumbs up" signs from otherdrivers who apparently appreciated the new styling. No longer rounded like theTahoe and Yukon that spawned it, the flat face with projector headlight lenses,is extremely attractive.

Andof course, being a Cadillac, Escalade is filled with a host of luxury featuresthat set it apart from the other two vehicles in its family.

Standard equipment (our tester had no options) included removable third rowseats with a split fold and stow design; leather seating areas; Zebrano premiumwood trim; ten-way power front seats with heated cushions and backrests; heatedsecond row seats; OnStar communications; a Bose premium sound system; steeringwheel radio controls (more on that later); a full-size spare wheel; all-wheeldrive; Stabilitrak stability system; four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes; roadsensing suspension; and more.

The steering wheel-mounted sound system controls were much better than thosefound on several other cars. The buttons are mounted deep inside a dishedsteering wheel, so it's almost impossible to hit the switches during normaldriving. Few things annoy me more than changing the station or media while I'mmaking a turn, and then having to spend the next five minutes finding where Iwas before the mistake.

Escalade is powered by a 6.0-liter V-8 engine that delivers 345 horsepower.Cadillac calls it the most powerful SUV in the industry, and they may be right.In any case, we were able to use all the power available and had no problemspulling out into traffic on entry ramps, or pulling away from the other slowercars at traffic lights. Extra power is a definite safety advantage, especiallywhen you're driving a big, heavy vehicle like the Escalade. The all wheel-driveversion of the Escalade weighs 5800-plus pounds -- that's nearly three tons. Soit needs all the power it can get.

Theengine drives the wheels through a four-speed automatic transmission. Escaladealso has full-time four-wheel drive with an automatic torque split that gives itbetter handling in all road conditions. While we didn't encounter snow or ice,we did have a few heavy rain days during our test week, and the Escalade did agood job of keeping us on the road. Cadillac has also added Stabilitrak, whichkeeps the vehicle from skidding while you're in a turn, another safetyadvantage.

The best safety advantage, of course, is size. There are few vehicles thatcan hit the Escalade and cause damage to it or the passengers.

Speaking of passengers, there is seating for eight in three rows of seats.The third row is removable if you want to take advantage of the 97.6 cubic feetof storage capacity. With the third row down and the second row up, there are41.1 cubic feet, so the Escalade can be used to carry a lot of stuff.

The feature that impressed me the most on the Escalade (let's face it, Idrive a lot of cars and it's the details that stand out among all the metal) wasa feature called Ultrasonic Rear Park Assist. In the rear bumper are foursensors that emit ultrasonic signals. They advise you when there is somethingbehind you that you may not be able to see. Anything more than 18 inches tallcan be "seen" by the ultrasonic sensors. When you get within a certaindistance, a "beep" is emitted and a yellow light is lit on theC-pillar, just where it's noticeable in your mirror. Get closer and you getanother "beep" and a red light appears. Between the yellow light andthe red light you get a pair of lights.

Iliked this feature because it is sometimes difficult backing out of my drivewayin the morning with all the school traffic on the road. Driving out nose firstis faster and safer, but this requires backing the car into the driveway.Backing is okay, but I'm always afraid I'm going to dent the garage doors againand suffer the slings and arrows of humiliation. I can get closer to the garagedoors more safely with a rear parking assist. Otherwise, I often end up aboutten feet away (depth perception must go early with old age).

Also, the Escalade had folding outside rearview mirrors. So if your garage isnarrow, all you have to do is remember to fold in the mirrors before enteringand you won't tear the walls down. You also have to remember to fold them outwhen you get out of the garage, though.

So yes, I liked the Escalade design, and I loved the performance, but myfavorite feature was the one that kept me from denting my garage doors. See, I'measy to please.

2001 The Auto Page Syndicate

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Engine Type 6.0-liter OHV pushrod V-8 cast iron block and aluminum heads
Horsepower 345 @ 6200 RPM
Torque 380 @ 4000 RPM
Transmission 4L60-E HD, 4-speed automatic
Drive System Type Front-engine / all-wheel drive
Tires All-season Goodyear steel-belted radials P265/70R17
Overall Length 198.9"
Wheelbase 116.0"
Width 78.9"
Curb Weight 5809 lbs.
Turning Diameter 39.3 ft. Curb to Curb
Fuel Recommended Regular unleaded, 87 octane.
Fuel Tank 26.0 Gals.
Miles Per Gallon EPA city 12 , hwy 16 
Acceleration 0 to 60 8.6 Seconds
Base Sticker Price $51,235  + Destination Charge of $745

2002 Cadillac Escalade AWD

Standard Equipment

  • Nuance Leather Seating Areas
  • Zebrano Premium Wood Trim
  • 10-way power driver and front passenger seats w. heated cushions and backrests.
  • Driver memory system
  • Second row seats with heated cushions in outboard positions
  • OnStar system with one year of premium service.
  • Bose premium audio system with cassette and in-dash 6-disc CD changer
  • Steering wheel audio controls
  • Rear seat audio with earphones
  • Independent AC and heat controls for the front and rear passengers (in models without the optional sunroof.)
  • Stabilitrak Stability System
  • Road Sensing Suspension
  • Ultrasonic Rear Park Assist
  • Power folding heated mirrors
  • All Wheel Drive w. automatic torque split

Major Available Options

  • Power Glass Sunroof w/Express-Open   $1,550
  • White Diamond Premium Paint                $ 995

For more information on the Escalade, visit

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