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2007 Cadillac Escalade Preview

By Nick Yost
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 with BLING that hauls @#%.
Comparable models in this class: GMC Yukon XL, Hummer H2, Land Rover Range Rover, Lexus LX470, Lincoln Navigator,  Toyota Land Cruiser

More power. More fuel efficiency. More luxury. More comfort. More convenience. More glitter. A more car-like driving experience. And, yes, even a little more fuel efficiency.

That, in a capsule, was the story on the all-new Cadillac Escalade during a show-and-tell - but no driving - introduction of the luxury sport-utility vehicle to automotive journalists in New York City.

The Escalade will go on sale in February as a 2007 model, followed in a couple of months by the extended-wheelbase Cadillac Escalade ESV and the Escalade EXT sport-utility truck. Chevrolet and GMC versions of the SUVs will be first to market, with Chevys arriving around Christmas and GMC Yukons and Denalis to come next.

Although it does not look strikingly different than its predecessor, the 2007 Escalade features a bolder grille inspired by the Sixteen concept car, new vertical, high-intensity discharge headlights, new doors and a revised rear end. A quick inspection also showed a noticeable improvement in overall fit-and-finish.

Because it is essentially equal in size to the first-generation Escalade, a few journalists wondered how much the new vehicle is a carry-over from the old. Cadillac manager Jim Taylor was quick to assure that this is a completely new vehicle. There is nothing left from the old one.

Company officials declined to release prices for the new model, but were willing to say that they would not vary significantly from the prices of 2006 models. A two-wheel-drive 2006 Escalade starts at $53,850 and an all-wheel-drive version starts at $56,405.

So what can a prospective buyer expect from the 2007 model. Lets take a quick look.

POWER:
An all-new, all-aluminum, 6.2 liter V-8 engine with variable valve timing replaces the old workhorse 6-liter V-8. Horsepower jumps from 345 to 403, and torque rises from 380 foot-pounds 417.

FUEL EFFICIENCY:
The gain, according to the EPA, is 2 mpg in highway driving, raising the average to 19 mpg, But, as anyone who checks gas mileage regularly knows, that would have to be on level road in clear, windless weather and with a very light load. Whatever, credit any improvement to a new six-speed (up from four) automatic transmission with Driver Shift Control and a slightly more aerodynamic body.

LUXURY:
The interior has been upgraded with premium leather, high quality plastics and even a wood-trimmed steering wheel. A brand new instrument panel features low-gloss materials and softly lit gauges. The result is an overall ambience on a par with a luxury sedan.

COMFORT:
Passengers will experience a smoother ride, quieter interior and slightly more room. Second- and third-row seats have additional shoulder room but, in fact, second-row legroom can be tight if front-row passengers extend their seats rearward and third-row adults will still get a close-up view of their knees.

CONVENIENCE:
Features to facilitate ease of use include fold-and-tumble second-row seats, a powered rear liftgate that operates with the touch of a button, triple-zone climate control, powered running boards and a remote starter that makes it possible to warm or cool the vehicle before the passengers enter. There are two sound systems and the premium one comes with the optional navigation system. A rear seat entertainment system is available with screens for the second and third rows.

GLITTER: Chrome is back on the prominent grille, on the front fender, on the air vents, on the mirrors, on the running boards, on the rear liftgate, on the optional 22-inch wheels. Its not garish, but it no doubt reflects the popularity the Escalade has gained among professional athletes and pop culture millionaires.

DRIVABILITY: Taylor says the goal for Escalade was to produce the same driving experience as a luxury sedan. Cited by Cadillac executives were a more rigid chassis, revised front and rear suspension, rack-and-pinion steering, standard 18-inch wheels and stronger antilock disc brakes. Some actual time behind the wheel will be required to learn how the engineers fared.

New safety features for 2007 will be roof-mounted side-curtain airbags for all three rows of seats that will automatically be activated when sensors detect an impending rollover. Also, the Escalade will have sensors which will trigger tightening of front seatbelts in some rear-end collisions.

The importance of this new vehicle was underscored by Taylor, who credited the Escalade with starting the upswing of the entire Cadillac brand when it went on sale in 2002. He noted that Cadillac has experienced 5- to 10-percent growth every year since and that the Escalade models account for 27 percent of all Cadillac sales.


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Preliminary Specifications 

Engine Type 6.2-liter OHV 16 valve pushrod V-8 aluminum block and heads
Horsepower 403 @ 5,700 RPM
Torque 417 @ 4,400 RPM
Transmission Hydra-Matic 6L80 6-speed automatic
Drive System (std.)
Drive System (opt.)
Rear-wheel drive
All-wheel drive
Tires (standard)
Tires (optional)
P265/65R18 touring tires
P285/45R22 performance tires
Overall Length 202.5"
Wheelbase 116.0"
Width 79.0"
Curb Weight 5818 lbs.
Turning Diameter N/A
Fuel Recommended Premium unleaded
Fuel Tank 26.0 Gals.
Miles Per Gallon N/A
Acceleration 0 to 60 N/A
Base Sticker Price N/A

2007 Cadillac Escalade

Standard Equipment
(preliminary, partial List)

  • Tri-zone automatic climate control
  • 4-wheel disc ABS
  • High-Intensity Discharge headlamps
  • Heated seats, front and second rows
  • Automatic level control
  • Heated, power adjustable, power foldable outside mirrors
  • OnStar with one-year Directions and Connections service
  • Pedals, power adjustable with memory
  • RainSense front intermittent wipers
  • Windshield washer fluid system, heated
  • Rear audio controls
  • Remote starting system
  • Leather interior
  • AM/FM with 6-disc CD changer, DVD, MP3
  • Bose premium 10-speaker system with 5.1 Digital Surround Sound
  • StabiliTrak stability control system
  • Traction control system, electronic, all-speed
  • Road Sensing, electronically controlled shock absorbers
  • Tire pressure monitoring system
  • Ultrasonic Rear Parking Assist
  • XM Satellite Radio

Major Available Options

  • Climate Package with heated and cooled seats and heated steering wheel
  • Entertainment system, rear-seat DVD
  • Information Package with DVD navigation, rearview camera, IntelliBeam headlamps
  • Seat release, power, second row for tumble and fold
  • Sunroof, power tilt sliding
  • 7-spoke chromed aluminum wheels
  • 22" wheels and tires

For more information on the Escalade, visit Cadillac.com

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