The Cadillac Escalade is a full-size luxury sport utility vehicle (SUV) sold by the General Motors luxury brand, Cadillac. It was the division's first major entry into the popular SUV market. The Escalade was introduced for the 1999 model year in response to German and Japanese competitors and to Ford's 1998 release of the Lincoln Navigator. The Escalade project went into production only ten months after it was approved. The standard Escalade is built in Arlington, Texas. The name Escalade refers to a siege warfare tactic of scaling defensive walls or ramparts with the aid of ladders or siege towers.
The Escalade was originally based on the GMC Yukon Denali, but was redesigned for the 2002 model year to make its appearance fall more in line with Cadillac's new design theme. Today, the Escalade and Escalade EXT pickup are two of only three Cadillac vehicles made outside of the United States. Both the Escalade ESV (Based on the Chevrolet Suburban) and Escalade EXT (based on the Avalanche pickup truck) were made in Silao, Mexico before the 2006 redesign; the new Escalade ESV is sourced from Arlington, Texas. The Escalade competes with the Range Rover Sport, Infiniti QX56, Hummer H2, Mercedes-Benz GL-Class, Toyota Land Cruiser, and Lincoln Navigator.
The introduction of the Lincoln Navigator in 1999 necessitated that General Motors be able to compete in the burgeoning American market for full-size luxury-type sport utility vehicles. This generation was only a five-seat SUV. The first Escalade was a largely unsuccessful endeavor from the start. Fearing the growing hegemony of the Lincoln Navigator, the Escalade was rushed through the design process to reach dealers quickly. Essentially little more than a badge-engineered GMC Yukon Denali, the SUV's aesthetics were similar and identical to the Denali and the final vehicle was smaller than the Navigator. The Escalade's wheels were borrowed from the Denali line, with the GMC logos on the center caps replaced with Cadillac's crest. The Escalade also used the same 5.7L Vortec 5700 V8 at 255hp (190kW), which was greatly underpowered compared to the Navigator's 300hp (220kW) and 365lb·ft (495N·m) 5.4 Liter InTech V-8. All first-generation Escalades featured Autotrac selectable 4x4.
There was no 2001 year Escalade sold for the 2001 model year. The lineup went directly from model year 2000 to 2002. This was done by introducing the 2002 model in January 2001 while still selling the present production 2000 model year car. Rear-wheel drive was standard, as was a 5.3L V8, with all-wheel drive and the special high-output Vortec 6.0L V8 engine as options. All models (except for the EXT) began seating 8 people.
The "StabiliTrak" stability control system was upgraded to a four-wheel version for 2003 and power-adjustable pedals were added. For 2004, 20-inch chrome wheels were offered, and XM Satellite Radio, second-row bucket seats, and a tire pressure monitoring system were made standard on all Escalades except the EXT. The 5.3L engine was dropped for 2005 and the OnStar system was upgraded. Also in 2005, the Platinum edition was introduced at the price of $75,000; it featured heated and cooled cup holders, 20 inch chrome wheels, moon roof, three DVD screens, and chrome accents on the steering wheel and grille.
- 2002-2003 5.3L Vortec V8, 285hp (213kW)
- 2004-2006 5.3L Vortec V8, 295hp (220kW)
- 2002-2006 6.0L HO Vortec V8, 345hp (257kW)
The HO Vortec takes premium fuel while the other two engines can take a lower grade.
- 2002-2006 Cadillac Escalade
- 2002-2006 Cadillac Escalade EXT
- 2003-2006 Cadillac Escalade ESV
- 2004-2006 Cadillac Escalade ESV Platinum
The Escalade moved to the new GMT900 platform for the 2007 model year. Its introduction was accelerated as sales began slipping. The regular Escalade was again joined by a stretched ESV version as well as a new EXT pickup truck. The 2007 Escalade was the official vehicle of Super Bowl XL, with MVP Hines Ward being awarded one of the first Escalades produced.
The Escalade uses an all-aluminum 6.2L Vortec V8. This pushrod engine includes variable valve timing, a first in a mass-produced non-overhead cam engine. The system adjusts both intake and exhaust timing between two settings. The engine produces 403hp (301kW (23hp more than its sister competitor, the GMC Yukon Denali) and 417ft·lbf (565N·m) of torque. A new six-speed 6L80 automatic transmission is used. The new body completes a 0.363 drag coefficient, though the large frontal area badly affects aerodynamics.
2008 Model Year Updates:
-The Escalade has gone under two minor changes for the 2008 model year: On the automatic trunk button, the "off" signal has changed from an "O" to the word "off." -the word "Escalade" has gone from the left side of the trunk lid to the right side. Another change was that it started seating 9.
2009 Model Year Updates: The Escalade has gone under six minor changes for the 2009 model year:
-The gauges have been updated to a more "clean look". -Bluetooth hands-free interace is now standard. -A power tilt steering wheel is now standard. -The Satellite Navigation System (optional) now has the added features of instant traffic updates, and re-routing options. -Side Zone Blind Spot Alert is now standard. -GM's Magnetic Ride Control (MRC) is now standard on all models.
One major new feature absent from the production vehicle is American Axle's "I-Ride" rear independent suspension module. Instead, a conventional five-link suspension is used.
Production of the redesigned Escalade began at Arlington Assembly in January 2006. It is priced from US$57,280, though the rear-wheel drive version at this price was not produced until August. The more expensive all-wheel drive version was produced first, followed by the long wheelbase ESV and EXT pickup (the latter sourced from the Silao, Mexico, plant) in June.
The Escalade EXT has been outsold by the Lincoln Mark LT pickup truck right from its launch for the 2006 model year. The new 2007 EXT, however, has gained consistently on its Lincoln competitor and edged past the latter in March, May, October and December 2007 sales, yet ending the calendar year stll lagging by 5% with 7,967 units sold (Mark LT sales were 8,382) It is the first seven-seat hybrid luxury SUV. A special Platinum ESV model will follow in 2007. GM's Active Fuel Management will come in 2008.
A Hybrid version of the luxury vehicle debuted at the 2008 South Florida International Auto Show in Miami, and went on sale in 2008 as a 2009 model at a starting price of $71,685 for a two-wheel drive model. In August, 20% of Cadillac Escalade sales were hybrids.
The Escalade takes 8.2 seconds to reach 60mph (97km/h) from a dead stop. Power is estimated at 340horsepower (250kW) and a 4.9 liter V8 engine.
Flex-Fuel versions will join the lineup soon as well.
The Escalade can accelerate to 60mph (97km/h) in 6.5 seconds. Fuel economy is rated at 12mpg-US (20L/100km; 14mpg-imp) in the city and 19mpg-US (12L/100km; 23mpg-imp) on the highway.
- 2007-present — 6.2L Vortec 6200 V8, 403hp (298kW)
- 2008 Escalade EXT — US$50000
The Escalade EXT pickup truck (released alongside its twin, the Chevrolet Avalanche) was introduced in 2002 from the Cadillac division of General Motors. It features a "Convert-a-Cab" composite pickup bed that can be expanded into the truck's cab through a bottom-hinged door. Like the Avalanche, the EXT has four full-size doors and seating for five. The EXT was only offered with the 6.0L High Output engine. high-intensity discharge headlights were offered for 2003. The Escalade EXT also appears in the movie, The Matrix Reloaded along with the CTS in product placement ads. All Escalade EXTs are built in Silao, Mexico.
The Escalade EXT (based on the Cadillac Escalade) was created as a direct competitor to the failed Lincoln Blackwood, a pickup truck based on the Ford F-150. It had competed with the recently discontinued Lincoln Mark LT, another F-150-based pickup truck that made its debut in 2006.
GM planned to redesign the Escalade along with the Tahoe/Yukon, though they were cancelled. Instead, the Escalade could be built on the Lambda platform for 2014. Motor Trend reported many details in its November 2008 issue.
The Escalade has quickly become an easily recognizable presence in pop culture, where it is commonly identified with hip hop culture. It has been featured in many hip hop music videos. Bernie Mac drove an Escalade on his sitcom, The Bernie Mac Show, continuing the brand's popularity among TV stars and stand up comedians. Tony Soprano began driving a black Escalade during season 5 of The Sopranos, and after wrecking it in order to avoid a raccoon in the road, he quickly replaced it with a white Escalade ESV. Christopher Moltisanti also gets himself a black Escalade EXT after his Maserati he got from Johnny Sacramoni was repossessed. Tom Kaulitz of hugely successful German band Tokio Hotel drives a black Escalade, which he had sought after since the age of twelve. The Escalade was also mentioned in an episode of Family Guy as God's vehicle of choice. Also, the Twins in the Matrix Reloaded drive an Escalade EXT in the car chase sequence. Kendra Wilkinson, one of Hugh Hefner's girlfriends, drives an Escalade and she is often seen driving it and car-washing on the E! reality show The Girls Next Door. Second generation Escalades are featured in video games Midnight Club 3: DUB Edition, Need for Speed: Underground 2 and Grand Theft Auto IV (as the Cavalcade). This vehicle also made an appearance in the game Driver Parallel Lines as the "Montara". In the popular MTV reality show, The Hills, Brody Jenner sports a black Cadillac Escalade, amongst others. Beyoncé has been seen on several occasions exiting a black Cadillac Escalade.
The British motoring series Top Gear used an Escalade in a pre-recorded segment describing bling culture.
Also, the EXT model was seen in The Matrix Reloaded. It was last seen being auctioned at the Barrett-Jackson Automobile Auction in Scottsdale, Arizona.