Cadillac Escalade ESV Road Test

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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, they’d 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.

Source: BestCarMag


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.
cars in
this class:
GMC Yukon XL, Infiniti QX56, Land Rover Range Rover, Lexus LX470, Lincoln Navigator, Mercedes-Benz M-Class


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 couldn’t 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 don’t 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 we’ve 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 you’ll 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 layman’s 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 eight were talking eight adults and plenty of room to stretch out, the Escalade is extremely comfortable. If you ride upfront, you’ll 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 seat back or both (most vehicles allow only the cushion).

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

However, don’t feel too sorry for the backseaters. They’re 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 shotgun we 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 handy up 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.


2005 Cadillac Escalade ESV Platinum Edition

Engine Type6.0-liter OHV pushrod V-8 cast iron block and aluminum heads
Horsepower345 @ 5200 RPM
Torque380 @ 4000 RPM
Transmission4L65-E Electronic 4-speed automatic
Drive System TypeFront-engine / all-wheel drive
TiresAll-season Goodyear steel-belted radials P275/55R20
Curb Weight5808 lbs.
43.1 ft. Curb to Curb
Fuel Recommended
(but not required)
Premium unleaded.
Fuel Tank31.0 Gals.
Per Gallon
EPA city 13, hwy 17.
0 to 60
8.57 Seconds
Base Sticker
$69,825 + Destination Charge of $850

Standard Equipment

Major Available Options

For more information on the Escalade ESV, visit

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Michele Brooke

Automotive Expert

Michele began writing auto reviews in 2001 for a daily newspaper in Louisiana. She graduated with a MBA in finance but left the financial world for an exciting career in auto journalism. She can now be found tooling around town test-driving new cars.

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