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Cadillac Escalade ESV Road Test

By Michele Brooke
Photos by Charles Ofria

Category: $60,000+  Luxury Sport Utility Vehicle
Who should buy this car: The Tony Soprano of SUV's, this King of the Road Luxury SUV. has room, power, and glitz.
Comparable models in this class: GMC Yukon XL, Infiniti QX56, Land Rover Range Rover, Lexus LX470, Lincoln Navigator,  Mercedes-Benz M-Class

Few vehicles have gained such celebrity status as the Cadillac Escalade has. With its strong lines and self-assured stance, the Escalade has found a lucrative niche for itself: young, affluent consumers that include professional athletes, musicians and movie stars. Last year, Cadillac set a stellar record by selling nearly 60,000 Escalades (the highest number to-date) and ranking number one in its segment. And, if the higher ups at Caddy have it their way, theyd like to have a repeat performance this year.

What makes the Escalade such a status symbol among the hip hop crowd? One word: bold. The Escalade is larger than life. Physically, its thick, angular and wide. Inside, the space is incredible. The seats are wide and comfy and head, hip and legroom are all suitable for NBA players.

Escalade clan
Three trims are available within the Escalade lineup: the basic Escalade, Escalade EXT (half truck/half SUV) and our test vehicle, Escalade ESV Platinum Edition. So what raises an Escalade to platinum status? Size.

If you thought the Escalade couldnt get any bigger, it just did. The Escalade ESV is 22-inches longer than its Escalade sibling and offers 20 extra inches of interior length. Fortunately, you dont have to be a large person to pilot this titan. Adjustable accelerator and brake pedals are standard.

The Escalade ESV also sets itself apart when it comes to styling and technology. For 2005, the ESV adds sparkle to its instrument cluster with chrome rings around the gauges and replaces its traditional Zebrano trim with burled walnut (a feature weve seen on many Mercedes-Benz models). Its cooling system also received an added blast with a new 160-amp alternator, which helped AC performance. A good thing, as there is 138 cubic feet of interior volume.

Outside, the exhaust tips are painted in chrome and a set of optional 20-inch wheels can be had. For those consumers who like to break from the norm a new Rip Tide exterior color (think: teal metallic) has been added to the list of paints, which also includes a very crimson Red Ecolors not likely to be found on a Mercedes-Benz or Lexus. Traditional black, silver and beige are also available.

Under the hood
As you might expect, it takes a powerful engine to pilot such a black tie behemoth (the ESV weighs 5,808 pounds). Lift the hood and youll find a Vortec 6.0L V8 that cranks out 345 hp at 5,200 rpm and 380 lb-ft of torque at 4,000 rpm. In laymans terms, this translates into enough oomph for a cowboy to tow a heavily weighted two-horse trailer. For everyone else, these kinds of numbers mean plenty of power on the open road, as the Escalade holds the claim of the worlds most powerful full-size SUV. The Escalades 0-60 mph time is 8.57 seconds.

To help with control and performance in various road conditions, the Escalade ESV is equipped with all-wheel drive and StabiliTrak with Road Sensing Suspension (RSS).

Back inside
With seating for up to eightwere talking eight adultsand plenty of room to stretch out, the Escalade is extremely comfortable. If you ride upfront, youll be treated to plush bucket seats with 14-way power adjustment, power side bolsters and power lumbar support. Once you find that perfect fit, you can feel even cozier by selecting your heated (or air conditioned) seat preferences. You can choose to heat or cool the cushion, the seatback or both (most vehicles allow only the cushion).

Another bonus of sitting up front are the heated and cooled cupholders. Thats right, even your morning java is given the royal treatment. It stays warm throughout your commute.

However, dont feel too sorry for the backseaters. Theyre not hurting for luxury. The second-row buckets are also equipped with heat and cool settings. Plus, there are independent rear seat climate controls, audio settings and an awesome rear-seat entertainment center with two 7-inch pull down screens (2nd and 3rd row). Four infrared wireless headphones are included. Go ahead and call shotgunwe want to ride in the back.

Perks for 2005 Cadillac Owners
All 2005 Cadillac owners (not just Escalade) will receive 12 months of complimentary access to Cadillac Virtual Advisor by OnStar. Cadillac Virtual Advisor provides three-day weather forecasts and traffic reports within pre-selected ranges of 5, 10 or 15 miles of the vehicles location in most major markets. It also monitors traffic for up to three personalized routes. Stock market watchers will find the Advisors stock report handyup to 10 selected stocks on the Dow Jones Industrial and NASDAQ markets may be chosen.

The Escalade is positioned against some heavy hitters: Lincoln Navigator, Lexus LX470, Mercedes-Benz M-Class and Infiniti QX56. However, unlike this opulent country club crowd, the Escalade has an edgy, hip air about it that breaks the mold of a typical luxury SUV. In a nutshell, its big, distinctive and cool.

Copyright 2017, Michele Brooke

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2005 Cadillac Escalade ESV Platinum Edition

Engine Type 6.0-liter OHV pushrod V-8 cast iron block and aluminum heads
Horsepower 345 @ 5200 RPM
Torque 380 @ 4000 RPM
Transmission 4L65-E Electronic 4-speed automatic
Drive System Type Front-engine / all-wheel drive
Tires All-season Goodyear steel-belted radials P275/55R20
Overall Length 221.4"
Wheelbase 130.0"
Width 79.5"
Curb Weight 5808 lbs.
Turning Diameter 43.1 ft. Curb to Curb
Fuel Recommended
(but not required)
Premium unleaded.
Fuel Tank 31.0 Gals.
Miles Per Gallon EPA city 13 , hwy 17 
Acceleration 0 to 60 8.57 Seconds
Base Sticker Price $69,825  + Destination Charge of $850

Standard Equipment

  • Leather Seating Areas
  • Burled Walnut Wood Trim
  • 14-way power driver and front passenger seats w. heated & air conditioned cushions and backrests.
  • Driver memory system
  • Second row seats with heated and air conditioned cushions in outboard positions
  • OnStar system with one year of premium service.
  • Bose premium audio system with in-dash 6-disc CD changer and 9 speakers
  • XM Satellite radio
  • DVD Navigation system
  • Steering wheel audio controls
  • Rear seat audio with earphones
  • Three zone climate control
  • Stabilitrak Stability System
  • Road Sensing Suspension
  • Ultrasonic Rear Park Assist
  • Power folding heated mirrors
  • All Wheel Drive
  • Xenon Headlamps
  • Step running boards
  • Roof rack
  • Heated and cooled front cup holders
  • DVD player with remote control
  • Dual flip-down video screens for 2nd and 3rd row passengers
  • 4 sets of wireless headphones

Major Available Options

  • Rip Tide Blue Paint

For more information on the Escalade ESV, visit

Copyright 2017, SmartTrac Computer Systems, Inc.
All Rights Reserved.

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