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2007 Cadillac Escalade

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San Francisco: Credit the Cadillac Escalade for much of the General Motors division’s growth in the 21st Century. Not long ago, the division, once the Standard of the World, was attracting mostly traditional well-heeled retirees. Sales dropped as this buyer group, well, diminished, and Mercedes-Benz, Lexus, and others nibbled away at the market.

And, if a long, low sedan was the upscale ride of choice decades ago, the latest thrill is trucks. The market for the SUV, really a truck with extra doors and inside storage, grew exponentially in the 1990s, while sedans suffered.

The original Escalade was a careful upgrade of GM’s full-size SUV platform, which also underpins the Chevy Suburban and Tahoe and GMC’s equivalent models. The Escalade, which cleverly sounds a lot like escalate, or move upward, combined the own-the-road, dominating presence of a truck with the long list of luxuries that make Cadillac’s popular; leather seating, shiny trim, plenty of power accessories, and a universally-recognized emblem.

It didn’t hurt that the hip-hop artists and millionaire athletes latched onto the Escalade, either. Now, Cadillac’s demographics have shifted, and the graph shows a nice arc where rising sales and dropping average buyer age intersect.

For 2007, the Escalade is redone, along with its GM platform mates. After consulting some of the celebrity owners, GM’s designers added a unique and upscale interior, a subtly reworked exterior with better aerodynamics, and plenty of chrome accents to make this new model the best and shiniest yet.

To further distinguish the Escalade, GM’s planners gave it an exclusive engine, a 6.2-liter V8 with 403 horsepower and 417-lb.-ft. of torque, which helps when you’re bringing 5,600 pounds along for the ride. A six-speed automatic transmission, along with the engine’s variable valve timing, keeps the mighty engine at an effective rpm level at all times. And, it sounds great when you punch it!

Those sharing the road with an Escalade may notice its multi-layered chrome trim and the oversized emblems at both ends. The basic proportions are the same, but the windshield is laid back at a 57-degree angle for lower wind resistance, which improves fuel efficiency. Regardless, the Escalade’s EPA mileage rating is advertised at 13 City, 19 Highway. I averaged just 12.2 mpg in mixed driving. Luckily, the vehicle has a 26-gallon tank and prices are dropping.

Riding in the Escalade is blissful. The seats, covered in rich Nuance leather, feel and look great. The completely redone instrument panel has some of the nicest design and texturing I have seen in a GM vehicle. The materials look substantial and are subtly toned, with wood, metal, and plastic working in harmony. My Blue-Chip (dark blue) tester came with the Cashmere interior, a rich tan with dark brown accents. A black interior is also offered.

My tester had a leather and wood steering wheel, with the wood a slim strip all the way around the outside. The wheel was heated, and the seats were heated and cooled, both as part of the climate package. The front seats have 14 directions of power adjustment. The second row seats are heated, and tumble electrically, for easy conversion to major storage. The huge rear door lifts electrically, too. With the second and third row seats dropped, you have a cavernous 109 cubic feet of space, practically the capacity of a U-Haul truck.

If the sheer bulk doesn’t protect you in a crash, the multitude of airbags should. Every row gets head curtain side airbags. An ultrasonic parking aid tells you if there’s something or somebody behind the car when you’re backing up. My tester had the optional navigation system, which included an even more useful rear camera.

My teenage son was most impressed by the standard 22-inch alloy wheels, which help the Escalade pop in public. The set costs $2,999.

It’s easy to pile on the options. My tester started at $56,405, but by the time you add in the wheels, navigation system, rear seat entertainment system, sliding sunroof, and climate package, the total came to $65,685.

The most amusing item was the horizontal analog dash clock, with its enormous 9 and 3 but tiny rice grains for 12 and 6. The only flaw I could turn up was the substantial unprotected triangle of windshield between the pillars and the sunvisors. It was quite frustrating and dangerous when the sun was low in the sky.

My boss, Pam, is neither an NBA player nor a hip-hop artist. A hard-working wife and mother living in the Denver area, she enjoys driving her 2005 Escalade to the ski resorts. But when she saw the dramatic improvements in style and power of the 2007 model, she emailed her husband, explaining that trading up for the new one was not just “I want it”, it was a real need.

If past experience is any guide, Cadillac will be selling plenty of these to current owners and to the emerging baby boom retiree market. 
By Steve Schaefer © AutoWire.Net - San Francisco

Cadillac Home Page

Byline: Syndicated content provided by Tony Leopardo ©AutoWire.Net
Column Name:  This is the best Cadillac Escalade by far
Topic: The 2007 Cadillac Escalade
Word Count:  889
Photo Caption: The 2007 Cadillac Escalade
Photo Credits:  Cadillac Internet Media
Series #:   2006 - 66


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