The Cadillac Escalade is more than just a leather-lined SUV. It’s a pop culture phenomenon. No vehicle has appeared in more music videos and been named in rock and hip-hop lyrics more often than Cadillac’s big sport-utes. No wonder Escalade garners a third of the full-size luxury SUV market. But fame is fleeting, and to maintain its popularity this all-new 2007 Escalade must exceed the expectations of even the most jaded rockers and rappers. So let’s see if it’s got what it takes

Ask almost anyone, car fan or not, what’s an Escalade, and it’s a safe bet they can tell you a lot about Cadillac’s full-size luxury SUV lineup. After all, it’s tough to watch a music video or dramatic car chase without an Escalade having a major role. And for 2007, this sign of hip American success has been completely redone.

Built on General Motors’ all-new GMT900 truck architecture, shared with the Chevrolet Tahoe and GMC Yukon, the ‘07 Escalade series is more refined and more stylish.

As before, Escalade is available in three models: Escalade, Suburban length Escalade ESV, and the Crew Cab Escalade EXT. All carry an updated, cleaner Cadillac style. From our test Escalade’s bolder grille inspired by the Sixteen concept, nearly seamless facia, and new 3-element headlights, to the wraparound rear fascia and oversized LED taillights, and with lower drag refinements like a sharply raked windshield that also produces a more athletic look.

It’s a tighter, trimmer design, yet the new Escalade is actually 3-inches longer overall. Wheelbase is unchanged, at 116-inches, while the wheels themselves range from standard 18-inch alloys to optional 22-inch chrome alloys.

Inside this flashy package is an all-new, even larger interior loaded with a full list of luxury. The expansive dash, with its wood accents and great detailing, is unique to Escalade,
as are the very upscale looking instruments. Naturally there’s plenty of leather, from the door panels, to the power seats with standard heat and optional ventilation.

Cabin ventilation is by a new tri-zone automatic climate control, while driving directions are courtesy of an optional DVD-based nav system with a big 8-inch display screen.  Entertainment comes from a standard Bose digital surround sound system with XM satellite radio, and for the rear seats, an available DVD system with a wide-screen display.

The split folding second row seats also feature standard heat, and a power-release for the fold-and-tumble system to ease loading to the optional third row seats, which are all protected by standard head curtain airbags. Loading the rear cargo bay is eased by a power liftgate with separate opening glass. The bay itself is larger and now measures 60.3 cubic feet. Fold the second row seats, and space grows to a huge 108.9 cubic-feet.

To move all that down the road, the Escalade is powered by GM’s latest 6.2-liter all-aluminum V8 engine. It delivers 403 horsepower and 417 pound-feet of torque, and is the industry’s first pushrod V8 with variable-valve-timing. The transmission is also new, a Hydra-Matic 6-speed automatic with tow-haul mode and tap up/tap down manual shift control.

Power is pushed through the rear wheels, or as in our test Escalade, a very refined single-speed full-time all-wheel-drive system. It drives the Escalade to 60 in 6.4 seconds. The quarter mile takes 15.1 seconds at 95 miles-per-hour; impressive speed for a nearly 3-ton utility.

The Escalade jumps off the line with authority. Big torque, all-wheel-drive traction, and a rumbling exhaust note all point to big truck power. Handling has been sharpened with a new coil-over-shock front end with 5-link rear, plus Road Sensing electronic damping gives the new Escalade a much more nimble, smaller feel than its predecessor.

Braking is by 4-wheel discs with 4-channel ABS. Stops from 60 averaged 133 feet, with substantial nose dive. Pedal feel is a bit on the mushy side, but standard traction and electronic stability control do keep things on the straight and narrow.

On real roads, the more elegant ride and very quiet interior make for a driving experience that’s as close to a premium luxury sedan as any SUV we’ve ever tried.

But stop at the gas pump, and you know this is a full-size SUV. EPA estimates for an all-wheel-drive Escalade are 13 city/17 highway. We tallied 14 miles-per-gallon in mixed driving, but it was on regular grade fuel. Parking the big Escalade is easier on you, however, thanks to an optional rear view camera.

But parking an Escalade in your driveway will cost you $54,725 for the rear-drive model, and $57,280 for all-wheel-drive. While not cheap, it’s still less than the smaller Range Rover and Lexus LX 470. And no import brand SUV carries quite the prestige on American streets as the flashy, homegrown Escalade.

The 2007 Cadillac Escalade is more than just a big super-luxurious sport-ute; it’s a pop-culture icon, one that is now even more appealing to those who believe that the symbols of success should be on the road, and in your face.


  • Engine: 6.2-Liter All-aluminum V8
  • Horsepower: 403
  • Torque: 417 Lb Feet
  • 0-60 MPH: 6.4 Seconds
  • 1/4 Mile: 15.1 Seconds @ 95 MPH
  • 60-0 MPH: 133 Feet
  • EPA: 13 MPG City/ 17 MPG Highway
  • Mixed Loop: 14 MPG