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Edmunds Reviews Escalade

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Text: http://www.edmunds.com/insideline/do/Drive...rticleId=115128

Video: http://www.edmunds.com/insideline/do/Media...ideoId=20052130

Vehicle Tested:

2007 Cadillac Escalade 4dr SUV AWD (6.2L 8cyl 6A)

MSRP of Test Vehicle: $66,110 Price It!!

What Works:

Superb drivetrain, refined ride and handling characteristics, sharp interior design with simple controls, comfortable seats.

What Needs Work:

Weak brakes, inconsistent interior materials quality, missing key features, glitchy audio system.

Bottom Line:

Easily the most refined domestic SUV on the market, but a tough sell over Benz's new GL450.

Big box Caddy

By Erin Riches Email | Blog

Date posted: 05-07-2006

We're driving a 2007 Cadillac Escalade, which means we've enjoyed a week's worth of middle-aged office guys asking us about Nelly, Snoop and other hip-hop artists they'd never listen to with the windows down. Yet they wouldn't even crack a smile when we invited them to suit up in Fubu and take a ride down the Sunset Strip.

We should go easier on them. Snoop may set the image for Cadillac's full-size luxury SUV, but according to company officials, it's our office buds who are buying most of them. And what they really want is a big, brash Caddy that's powerful, refined and easy to drive. And for 2007 that's exactly what Cadillac has given them.

Boxed in, bored out

Just like the Tahoe we tested a few months ago, the '07 Escalade rides on an all-new frame. It's fully boxed and much stiffer than the old one, which allowed Cadillac's engineers to fine-tune the chassis dynamics. They also brought in more sophisticated hardware, including coil-over-shock front suspension, rack and pinion steering and aluminum lower control arms, which Cadillac says reduces unsprung weight by almost 20 pounds. Doesn't sound like much, but with massive 22-inch chrome wheels now available as factory equipment, any savings in this department is a good thing.

Overall, the '07 Escalade weighs 130 pounds more than its predecessor, a relatively modest gain when you take into account the new frame and 3.5 inches of additional length, now at 202.5 inches. The wheelbase length is unchanged at 116 inches.

To shave weight, GM's powertrain engineers used aluminum to cast the engine's block instead of iron. To deliver the off-the-line shove Escalade buyers crave, they bored last year's overhead-valve, 6.0-liter V8 out to 6.2 liters and added variable valve timing on both its intake and exhaust valves. The results are hardly disappointing, as the small block delivers 403 horsepower at 5,700 rpm and 417 pound-feet of torque at 4,400 rpm.

Putting it to the ground

A new six-speed automatic transmission makes better use of the V8's fat powerband than last year's four-speed unit, channeling torque to all four wheels on all-wheel-drive Escalades or just the rear wheels on 2WD models. Upshifts are crisp and downshifts are impeccably timed.

In addition to a tow-haul mode that optimizes shift points for lugging trailer loads of up to 7,700 pounds, the new transmission has a manual mode. It's a little awkward to work the button on the old-school column shifter, but it's the real deal: No computer's going to upshift for you, even if you find the 5,900-rpm rev limiter.

EPA ratings aren't out yet, but Cadillac is estimating 13 mpg city, 19 mpg highway on the AWD Escalade. Our AWD test vehicle averaged 12.5 over a week of testing. Cylinder deactivation technology is coming, says Cadillac, but company officials wouldn't get more specific than "soon." A hybrid version is promised for 2008.

Blindsided by a Benz

On public roads, our Escalade tester moved out briskly, unruffled by higher altitudes and larger passenger loads.

At the test track, though, it took almost a second longer to hit 60 mph than the '07 Mercedes GL450 we tested recently, timing 7.5 seconds to the Benz's 6.7. The Caddy went through the quarter-mile in 15.8 seconds compared to 15.1 for the GL450. The GL makes just 335 hp from a smaller V8 but is 400 pounds lighter.

Although the Mercedes can't match the Escalade's gentle roar under full throttle, that's small consolation when you've been sucker-punched by your neighbor's Benz.

To make matters worse, the Escalade can't stop anywhere near as short, either. Cadillac has fitted the '07 model with larger rotors and stiffer calipers, and the rear brakes have a dynamic proportioning feature to improve performance during towing. Problem is, you get the same braking system whether your Escalade has the standard 18-inch wheels or the optional 22s, which significantly increase the burden on the brakes.

Cadillac says braking distances are unaffected by the weight of the larger wheels, but our Escalade used 144 feet to stop from 60 mph at the track. Not only is that 17 feet longer than the GL's braking distance, it's only one foot shorter than an '03 Escalade. Although we suspect our tester might have performed a little better with a few more miles under its belt (it had just over 300 at the time), a luxury vehicle should always be able to break 140 feet. Our '07 Tahoe also had brand-new brakes and it stopped in 133.

On the plus side, pedal feel is greatly improved over the previous-gen Escalade.

Handling's so refined

Its brakes may have disappointed, but the Escalade's ride and handling did nothing but impress. Ride quality rivals a luxury sedan for smoothness and serenity, as only the most severe ruts remind you there's a solid axle in back.

Throw in a few sweeping turns and the Escalade doesn't flinch, thanks to its adaptive Road Sensing Suspension. It's the same thing as Autoride on the Tahoe and consists of electronically controlled shocks that are either "on" or "off," rather than being infinitely adaptable like other setups. Sounds less sophisticated but it controls body roll just as well.

In tighter corners, you begin to feel the Cadillac's 5,700 pounds, but it's still easy to control. The steering rack feels like it was yanked from an import-brand SUV. Weighting and precision are excellent.

Instrumented testing yielded 0.71g on the skidpad and a 58 mph slalom speed, but the inability to shut off the stability control system prevented us from fully exploiting the Escalade's capabilities. This was also true of the GL450, which performed about the same but wore smaller 18-inch tires.

Off pavement, the Escalade's lack of an available low-range transfer case or even a locking center differential is a huge disadvantage. However, we took the Caddy for a romp in wet snow and it tracked fine through the gunk, which is all most buyers will require.

More luxury but missed details

For the first time, the Escalade's interior isn't completely out of whack with its high asking price. With its tastefully applied faux wood and aluminum trim, double-stitched leather and blue-needled electroluminescent gauges, the Escalade feels like a luxury vehicle. At least up front. There are low-grade plastics in the cargo area where Cadillac evidently thinks no one will look.

An AWD Escalade starts at $57,280, a sum that gets you leather, a 5.1 Bose sound system, heated first- and second-row seats, full-length side curtain airbags and numerous power-operated accessories, including the liftgate. Our fully optioned tester was also equipped with an entertainment system, a navigation system, a rear camera, cooled front seats and a heated steering wheel for a total of $66,110.

Even with all these electronics on board, the '07 Escalade provides a simple control interface. The central touchscreen actually adds to day-to-day functionality rather than compromising it, and getting started with the nav system couldn't be easier. Unfortunately, as you'll read in the stereo evaluation, our test vehicle's Bose audio system had numerous electrical glitches.

Adjustable pedals are standard, but the steering wheel doesn't telescope and offers only three tilt settings. Still, most people will be able to find a comfortable driving position, and with audible rear sensors and a camera watching your back, the risk of running over co-workers is greatly reduced. Meanwhile, the risk of having to buy flowers from street vendors is increased by the Caddy's lack of auto-up windows.

Ample room unless you're thirsty

Adults will also find the second-row hospitality acceptable: Captain's chairs are standard, and although the seat-bottom cushions are a tad short, legroom is ample and the seatbacks recline.

Compared to last year, the third row offers a little less legroom but a little more head- and shoulder room. The seat bottom is still too low to the floor to keep adults quiet for longer than half an hour, but it's fine for children. An optional power-fold feature for the second-row chairs is a good idea if you're dealing with passengers who don't understand the concept of fold-and-flip.

While there's plenty of room for families of six to get comfortable, road trips are likely to be messy. None of the cupholders can hold anything larger than a regular-size coffee, which doesn't make sense in the land of the Biggie Coke. And there's no storage at all in the second row, even though a console would fit between the seats.

Additionally, when you need to clear out the third-row seats to make way for cargo, you still have to muscle them into your garage. That's because the Escalade lacks the independent rear suspension typically required to package fold-flat seating. It does, however, offer a generous 109 cubic feet of capacity, thanks to its lower cargo floor.

Roca Wear or Levis

These interior fumbles might go unnoticed if the QX56 and Lincoln Navigator were the Escalade's only competition. But with the Mercedes GL450 on the scene and matching the Caddy on price, they're as glaring as those shiny 22s. Same goes for the weak brakes.

Even so, the 2007 Cadillac Escalade is easily the most refined domestic SUV on the market. It's satisfyingly quick, reassuringly agile and surprisingly quiet and luxurious. Now we understand why Snoop sees eye to eye with the guys in Accounting.

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Edmunds is full of crap, and their bias is disgusting.

Motor Trend, who I usually also find to be biased, LOVED the interior of the Escalade, specifically noting the excellent build quality and precision of the dash/gauge cluster. In addition, they tested the Escalade at 6.5 seconds to 60mph, a full second quicker than these jokers. Car and Driver even got 6.3 seconds, and yes, that was an AWD model. Edmunds can stuff it.

Oh, and how DARE GM put slightly cheaper plastics in the CARGO area where CARGO would be placed. I'd much rather have super expensive, soft, handmade bling plastic so that I can scratch it up with all my CARGO. I know that it certainly justifies trashing interior materials as a whole. :rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes:

Edited by bcs296

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Oh

My

God...

Did I just read "tastfully applied faux wood"?!

Cadillac is using faux wood? Am I crazy, but isn't this supposed to be a luxury brand?!

Anyways... the review seemed mostly positive, and with some minor tweaks which can be taken care of in a refresh in a couple of years, they'll have nothing to complain about (okay, maybe not "nothing", but less to complain about).

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They complained about low-grade plastics in the area receiving the most abuse? Wow...they were DESPERATE to find something wrong with this vehicle to pull that out of their ass.

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Sorry: how is 'Snoop' connected with Cadillac again?

Colloquially...

Snoop DeVille @ The Urban Dictionary

Posted Image

Officially...

Posted Image

Cadillac Says Snoop DeVille Is Custom-Made Only

"We think that the fact that Snoop Dogg chose a DeVille to personalize shows you that if you want to make a statement, you choose a Cadillac--and add some extra things to it, to really make it express your personality."

--Cadillac Spokesperson

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So this Mr Snoop is the first or only person to ever customize a Cadillac? That he should be named in a pop culture-esque reference on a completely different vehicle? And if he customized a Deville, how is that relevant to an article on the Escalade? And can you tell how badly I think this 'journalist' sucks?

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Did I just read "tastfully applied faux wood"?!

Cadillac is using faux wood?  Am I crazy, but isn't this supposed to be a luxury brand?!

I'm not certain about this but I'm pretty sure that

real wood is not common these days... real wood

splinters in an acident where the dashboard or

firewall is compromised. I'm not sure about you

but I'm all set with wood splinters in my neck or

chest if some turd cuts me off and I get in an

accident.

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Yea, I've taken apart my wood trim pieces many times in the 5er and while it is real wood, it is pretty thin and mounted to an aluminum backing where it mounts to the interior. IMO, there is no excuse for faux wood in even a 30k+ car let alone a 50k+ "luxury" suv.

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It was a pretty positive review, I'm surprised they didn't complain about the wood being faux. That's insane. There's no reason it shouldn't be real. I saw a `93 Seville in the junkyard the other day and that wood was real. WWhy not the `Slade?

Also, a lot of luxury cars have real wood, even if it is a thin layer...it's real.

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faux wod or not it doesnt really matter, to me anyway.

i used to think airplane, and even boat interiors looked nice, then i saw a show that revealed to me most of everything in there is fake. the wood isnt real as to save weight. everything in a boat or plane weighs like an ounce to save weight.

im not saying thats why caddy did it, but if it doesnt look so bad. why gives a sh*t

all in all though it sounded like they liked it. a relatively decent positive review.

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Okay, but if they can put "faux" wood in a Cadillac, and the reviewers can still call it tasteful and upscale, then why is it the faux wood in a Buick can't be just as nice? It's faux--can't be THAT much more expensive or tedious a process to create the plastic with a pattern.

Still, rather have my real wood. And if it splinters? I don't know that is a problem... the airbags cover most of the impact on your dash and doors now anyway.

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I think that we can all agree that this was a better review than the Truth Aout Cars guy wrote. At least Edmunds was a little 'objective'.

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Yeah, that splinter argument is flat out dumb. What ever happened to the granite interior trim rumored for the 'Sclade? That could be pretty cool.

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Yeah, that splinter argument is flat out dumb.  What ever happened to the granite interior trim rumored for the 'Sclade?  That could be pretty cool.

Hey, I was wondering the same thing a couple of weeks ago! That would have been unique and I bet coughed up some awesome reviews!

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The Benz weighs 500lbs less and has one extra cog in the tranny....

Regardless, they were doing something wrong to be a full second slower that other tests.

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Regardless, they were doing something wrong to be a full second slower that other tests.

Edmunds are consistently slower than other mags. I suspect they don't brake-torque their vehicles.

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Roca Wear or Levis

These interior fumbles might go unnoticed if the QX56 and Lincoln Navigator were the Escalade's only competition. But with the Mercedes GL450 on the scene and matching the Caddy on price, they're as glaring as those shiny 22s. Same goes for the weak brakes.

Even so, the 2007 Cadillac Escalade is easily the most refined domestic SUV on the market. It's satisfyingly quick, reassuringly agile and surprisingly quiet and luxurious. Now we understand why Snoop sees eye to eye with the guys in Accounting.

Blah, blah blah. Let's let the sales numbers decide, alright?

Oh yeah it's 4100 vs. 500 units sold last month, not including ESV or EXT.

Given it's (the GL450) a warmed over M-Class with an undersized engine that MIGHT yield "a more powerful variant, the GL550, will be released in about a year if the GL450 sells well" I don't think Cadillac has too much to worry about in this segment yet.

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I'm thinking they're saving the granite trim for the Flintstone edition.

That was pretty bad.

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Typical :bs:

If I read another damn complaint about that F-ing telescoping steering wheel, I think I'm gonna puke....

Nice to see Edmunds finally get in on the "FENCING" game.... "It's good enough for that pool of SHRINKING domestic buyers, but if you're wanting an import then don't even look."

Now GM is even getting 'out-written' on their trucks and SUVs. Soon it will be the end....

Overall though, I must say that it was a pretty good review and I think that the grips were minor, and that the AVERAGE, UNBIASED consumer (yeah, right!!! In California?!?!?) will see through it.

Then again, I'm sure they won't this is "BUY IMPORT AMERICA" after all

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