C/D - 2007 Cadillac Escalade AWD

Discussion in 'OT Driven' started by TriShield, May 14, 2006.

  1. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Super Moderator

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    PRESIDENTIAL TOWER, GREAT AGAIN, NY
    Maybe you thought the last generation was too subtle?

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    BY TONY SWAN
    PHOTOGRAPHY BY MORGAN J. SEGAL
    May 2006

    When cultural historians get around to sorting out the golden age of bling, we’d bet big money this vehicle will emerge as the era’s poster car. It’s not a distinction Cadillac set out to achieve, and the term makes at least some folks from the engineering and product-planning ranks wince when they hear it. But there’s no denying the Escalade’s popularity with various high-visibility individuals — professional athletes, X-gamers, pop stars — and there’s no denying that, as a consequence, the new Escalade had to upstage the bling quotient of its predecessor.

    Looks like mission accomplished to us. Check the bigger grille, inspired, according to the divisional publicity mill, by the Cadillac Sixteen show car of 2003. Check the “tri-element headlamps,” with their high-intensity-discharge lights. Check the “front fender vent ports,” which neither vent nor port. Check the “layers of chrome accents.” Check the optional 22-inch chrome alloy wheels. Got bling? Oh, yeah.

    Of course, Cadillac wants us to look past any perception of pandering to the 15-minutes-of-fame folks and look at vehicle virtues. Of which there are many — for a vehicle of this type. The foundation, for example, is the new GMT900 full-size SUV and truck platform, a whole order of magnitude stiffer than its predecessor — 49 percent improved in torsional rigidity, according to Cadillac. That sounds like the difference between linguine al dente and the Brooklyn Bridge, but a little time at the big Caddy’s helm does seem to vindicate this assertion. Firmer underpinnings, a wider track (plus three inches front, one inch rear), a new coil-spring front-suspension system, stiffened suspension mounting points, a new power rack-and-pinion steering system, revised four-wheel drive, and an upgraded braking system combine to make this Escalade noticeably more responsive than the previous edition, with shorter stopping distances.

    But let us not confuse “noticeably more responsive” with nimble. We’re talking agility distinctions among members of a herd of elephants, perceivable within the group but hard to discern by the gazelles prancing around the periphery.

    The chassis and suspension enhancements are easier to appreciate in the realm of ride quality. Cadillac publicity materials refer to this trait as an “unwavering ride,” which conjures up some intriguing images. Let’s say taut but supple, with less of the up-and-down motion of the previous generation, which adds up to a stronger sense of control. The Escalade irons out unruly patches of pavement without resorting to the mushy suspension tuning that still afflicts so many big SUVs, and the steering actually lets the driver know what’s going on, a welcome improvement on the overly assisted recirculating-ball system previously employed.

    The most tangible dynamic upgrade, though, is one that will be the easiest for customers to appreciate, simply by tramping on the gas pedal. The previous Escalade offered two V-8 engine choices: a 285-hp, 5.3-liter edition in the rear-drive model, and a 6.0-liter version rated for 345 horsepower and 380 pound-feet of torque. That’s not exactly tepid, but the ’07 Escalade trumps it with a new 6.2-liter all-aluminum cam-in-block (the word pushrod has been banished from the GM lexicon) eight whose increased displacement is enhanced by variable valve timing. Active Fuel Management (formerly known as Displacement on Demand) isn’t a feature yet, but GM says it’s coming. In any case, it adds up to 403 horsepower at 5700 rpm and 417 pound-feet of torque.

    Better still, the bigger, lighter engine (the previous Escalade eights had iron blocks) is paired with a new six-speed automatic transmission (6L80), a vast improvement on the previous four-speeds. It also includes a manumatic function that allows the driver to shift for him- or herself, although that sporty touch seems superfluous in a vehicle weighing almost three tons. But never mind. The added gearsets make the most of the engine’s robust output, and the bottom line is a dramatic improvement in the fast-forward department.

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    Although it has slightly higher power ratings than the version of the engine used by GMC (plus 23 horsepower), our tester was a tick slower to 60 mph than the Yukon Denali we put through its paces last month, a disparity we ascribe in part to the Escalade’s slightly higher mass (5793 pounds versus 5610) and green engine — there were fewer than 200 miles on the odo when the Escalade showed up at Hogback Square.

    But beyond 60 the Escalade took charge, covering the quarter-mile in 14.8 seconds at 95 mph versus 15.0 seconds and 94 mph for the Denali. More to the point, the last Escalade we tested (December 2000) needed 7.8 seconds to achieve 60 mph and 16.0 seconds to hit the quarter-mile at 86 mph. Is this important? Hey. You have to ask?

    So, improved dynamics and all-around hustle. But aside from vigorous throttle response, and that unmistakable face, the update elements that will matter most to buyers are inside. And we think what they’ll see will make them happy. The biggest single improvement is the instrument panel, which not only looks thoroughly contemporary but, at least as important, has also been moved forward and down, opening up sightlines and expanding the sense of cockpit roominess. There’s also more fore-and-aft front-seat travel, more second-row leg- and kneeroom, and more headroom in the third row, although the accommodations back there still won’t make adult-size people comfortable for long, and headroom in general isn’t really scaled to NBA-size occupants.

    On the other hand, there’s more cargo space behind the rearmost seats, and the second-row seatbacks have a power-fold feature that makes it easier to load stuff or expedite entry to the third row. And getting at the post-third-row storage is easier, thanks to the power liftgate. Power-assisted elements like these may sound a little hedonistic, but like ATM cards, they’re features that make you wonder how you managed to exist before they were invented. Besides, hedonism is part of the deal here.

    More inside story. In addition to its IP, which is not shared with GM’s other full-size utes, the Escalade’s interior is finished in soft-touch, low-gloss materials, tight seams, and, of course, Nuance leather. Don’t forget the three-row curtain airbags. And the giant (by in-vehicle standards) 8.0-inch flip-down rear-seat DVD option. Or the 5.1 Bose digital surround-sound audio system, with DVD, CD, MP3, and satellite-radio capabilities. Consistent with the bling mission, there’s enough bass in this system to provoke seismic tremors.

    There are other goodies — remote starting, rear parking assist, a heated-steering-wheel option. Still, we have questions. For example, where’s the one-touch-up power-window feature? Why has GM failed to figure out a way to install a dead pedal in its large SUVs? Where’s the steering-wheel telescoping feature? Why is the tilt feature manual rather than powered? Why is the ignition switch still set into the steering column, when there’s no column lock? Why isn’t there an entry-assist handle for the driver? Why does this pricey SUV have a heavy, removable third row that folds, but not flat, instead occupying a lot of space? The six-speed is a smoothie, but will it be worth the diminished towing capacity — 7400 pounds versus a max of 8100 for the previous incarnation — to people who drag big trailer boats across the landscape?

    We also note a disparity between interior noise levels of our previous Escalade tester and the new version. Although the development team paid a lot of attention to this, achieving commendable results in the area of wind noise, our decibel meter showed across-the-board higher readings (idle, wide-open throttle, 70-mph cruise) for the new Slade versus its predecessor. And even though Cadillac is proud of the Escalade’s fuel-consumption ratings — 13 city, 19 highway — these numbers won’t inspire hosannas at the gas pump.

    Still, there’s no question that this is a better Escalade. And pending a head-to-head confrontation, there’s no question — in our minds, at least — that the new Escalade visually upstages the Lincoln Navigator due in showrooms this fall. In fact, the folks at Cadillac see the Lexus LX470, Mercedes GL-class, and Infiniti QX56 as stronger competition. Predictably, they omit the GMC Yukon Denali, which is essentially the same vehicle, minus the Escalade’s fancier interior and minus the bling. Whether those elements will be worth the extra nine or so grand that separates these two new upscale big rigs is something buyers will have to decide for themselves.

    THE VERDICT

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    Highs: Major-league muscle, improved dynamics, posh new interior.

    Lows: Reduced towing capacity, increased curb weight, still thirsty at the gas pump, cramped third row.

    The Verdict: Unbeatable if your SUV needs include flash as well as function.


    COUNTERPOINT

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    CSABA CSERE
    I believe those who drive giant vehicles for the sake of their bigness are in dire need of professional therapy, but mine is a minority opinion, as strong Escalade sales have demonstrated since 1999. This second-gen Slade is as big as the original, with even bolder and brassier styling and a rorty 403 horsepower. It’s fast enough, in an irresistible-force-versus-immovable-mountain way, and the new chassis feels solid and surprisingly responsive and precise. The interior is also hugely improved, although it remains shy of Range Rover elegance. But if you’re turned on by 6000 gleaming pounds, exquisite finish is probably not your priority.

    PATTI MAKI
    “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything.” Okay. So here goes with the nice: Awesome blue gauge needles. Fabulous stereo. Surprisingly adroit turning circle for a “jumbo.” Now the not so nice: Too jumbo? For my size and taste, yes. The Escalade is beautifully appointed, but why a detent-limited tilt-only steering wheel? Why cup holders the size of a medicine bottle not a Slurpee? The interior has light, bright leather and carpet, which is already looking dim at 500 miles. The enormous console bin is immobile and intrusive. I want it out of my way! And the grille? Think Mack truck, not Cadillac.

    DAVE VANDERWERP
    We’ve already told you how satisfying GM’s new full-size SUVs are to drive, so like its customers appear to, I’ll stick to the Escalade’s superficial stuff. There’s the showy, chrome-covered front end as well as appreciable interior enhancements including soft-touch plastics, lovely aluminum accents, and a huge eight-inch nav screen. Things I categorize as “trying too hard” are 22-inch wheels that make the brake discs look hopelessly undersized, electric blue gauge needles, and an overly stylized, hard-to-read clock. The Escalade costs $9000 more than the 380-hp Denali, but performance gains are few. Isn’t there a better way to self-promote?

    2007 CADILLAC ESCALADE

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    Vehicle type: front-engine, 4-wheel-drive, 7-passenger, 5-door wagon
    Price as tested: $66,110
    Price and option breakdown: base Cadillac Escalade (includes $875 freight), $57,280; 22-inch chrome aluminum wheels, $2995; Information package (includes DVD navigation system, rearview camera, IntelliBeam headlamps), $2495; DVD entertainment system, $1295; sunroof, $995; Climate package (consists of heated and cooled seats, heated steering wheel), $625; power-folding middle-row seats, $425
    Major standard accessories: power windows, seats, and locks; remote locking; A/C; cruise control; tilting steering wheel; rear defroster and wiper
    Sound system: Bose AM-FM-XM satellite radio/CD changer/DVD changer, 9 speakers

    ENGINE
    Type: V-8, aluminum block and heads
    Bore x stroke: 4.06 x 3.62 in, 103.3 x 92.0mm
    Displacement: 376 cu in, 6162cc
    Compression ratio: 10.5:1
    Fuel-delivery system: port injection
    Valve gear: pushrods, 2 valves per cylinder, hydraulic lifters, variable intake- and exhaust-valve timing
    Power (SAE net): 403 bhp @ 5700 rpm
    Torque (SAE net): 417 lb-ft @ 4400 rpm

    Redline: 5900 rpm

    DRIVETRAIN
    Transmission: 6-speed automatic with manumatic shifting
    Final-drive ratio: 3.42:1
    4-wheel-drive system: full time with open front and center differentials and automatically locking rear differential, brake-based traction control
    Gear, Ratio, Mph/1000 rpm, Max test speed
    I, 4.03, 6.7, 40 mph (5900 rpm)
    II, 2.36, 11.4, 67 mph (5900 rpm)
    III, 1.52, 17.8, 105 mph (5900 rpm)
    IV, 1.15, 23.5, 107 mph (4550 rpm)
    V, 0.85, 31.8, 107 mph (3350 rpm)
    VI, 0.67, 40.3, 107 mph (2650 rpm)

    DIMENSIONS
    Wheelbase: 116.0 in
    Track, front/rear: 68.2/67.0 in
    Length/width/height: 202.5/79.0/74.3 in
    Ground clearance: 9.0 in
    Drag area, Cd (0.36) x frontal area (35.8 sq ft, est): 12.9 sq ft
    Curb weight: 5793 lb
    Weight distribution, F/R: 50.4/49.6%
    Curb weight per horsepower: 14.4 lb
    Fuel capacity: 26.0 gal

    CHASSIS/BODY
    Type: full-length frame
    Body material: welded steel stampings

    INTERIOR
    SAE volume, front seat: 63 cu ft
    middle seat: 57 cu ft
    rear seat: 33 cu ft
    cargo, seats in/out: 17/109 cu ft
    Practical cargo room, length of pipe: 147.5 in
    largest sheet of plywood, l x w: 67.0 x 48.3 in
    no. of 10 x 10 x 16-in boxes, seats in/out: 5/58
    Front-seat adjustments: fore-and-aft, seatback angle, front height, rear height, lumbar support
    Restraint systems, front: manual 3-point belts, driver and passenger front and curtain airbags
    rear: manual 3-point belts, curtain airbags

    SUSPENSION
    Front: ind, unequal-length control arms, electronically controlled shock absorbers, coil springs, anti-roll bar
    Rear: rigid axle located by 4 trailing links and a Panhard rod, electronically controlled shock absorbers, coil springs, anti-roll bar

    STEERING
    Type: rack-and-pinion with hydraulic power assist
    Steering ratio: 17.8:1
    Turns lock-to-lock: 3.4
    Turning circle curb-to-curb: 39.0 ft

    BRAKES
    Type: hydraulic with vacuum power assist and anti-lock control
    Front: 13.0 x 1.2-in vented disc
    Rear: 13.6 x 0.8-in disc

    WHEELS AND TIRES
    Wheel size/type: 9.0 x 22 in/cast aluminum
    Tires: Bridgestone Dueler H/L Alenza M+S, P285/45R-22 110H
    Test inflation pressures, F/R: 35/35 psi
    Spare: full size on steel wheel

    C/D Test Results
    ACCELERATION: Seconds
    Zero to 30 mph: 2.3
    40 mph: 3.4
    50 mph: 4.8
    60 mph: 6.3
    70 mph: 7.9
    80 mph: 10.5
    90 mph: 13.1
    100 mph: 16.3
    Street start, 5–60 mph: 6.5
    Top-gear acceleration, 30–50 mph: 3.5
    50–70 mph: 4.7
    Standing ¼-mile: 14.8 sec @ 95 mph
    Top speed (governor limited): 107 mph


    BRAKING
    70–0 mph @ impending lockup: 187 ft

    HANDLING
    Roadholding, 300-ft-dia skidpad: 0.74 g
    Understeer moderate


    FUEL ECONOMY
    EPA city driving: 13 mpg
    EPA highway driving: 19 mpg
    C/D-observed 11 mpg

    INTERIOR SOUND LEVEL
    Idle: 44 dBA
    Full-throttle acceleration: 77 dBA
    70-mph cruising: 69 dBA

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  2. TMoNeE

    TMoNeE OT Supporter

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    One pulled up next to me a little while ago while I was at rally's.. had 24" rims on it... looked pretty sweet although i thought the rims were a bit much
     
  3. Dave

    Dave This is no motherfucking game OT Supporter

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    I suppose if you can afford it, $3.00 per gallon is nothing to bat an eye at
     
  4. Girth

    Girth ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ OT Supporter

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    Nice Tahoe. :o
     
  5. hypermonkey

    hypermonkey Tastes just like raisins.

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    Escalade > *
     
  6. FreakinSyco

    FreakinSyco OT Supporter

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    Wow.. pretty quick for 2+ tons.

    Thanks for bolding the good parts.
     
  7. Delt Smasher

    Delt Smasher Guest

  8. m1lk

    m1lk New Member

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    aww nigga
     
  9. Justin

    Justin Guest

    i'd hit it
     
  10. Light Speed

    Light Speed Guest

    lens flare

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  11. Girth

    Girth ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ OT Supporter

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    Its a GM... it'll lose half its value in 2 years. :o
     
  12. ChosenGSR

    ChosenGSR Mama always said you'd be the chosen one

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    EPA city driving: 13 mpg


    :rofl::rofl::rofl::rofl::rofl::rofl::rofl::rofl::rofl::rofl:
     
  13. Jobe

    Jobe keke ^_^

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    3 tons.. wow
     
  14. 02SS

    02SS New Member

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    damn. pure hottness.
     
  15. Bobby Ballsack

    Bobby Ballsack I could be a friend to you

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    Fugly as fucking fuck.
     
  16. BLKDVLGSX

    BLKDVLGSX OT Supporter

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    .
     
  17. clarus

    clarus OT Supporter

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  18. Light Speed

    Light Speed Guest

    [​IMG]
    :bowrofl:
     
  19. miamiheat13

    miamiheat13 New Member

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    Fucking heavy at 3 tons... But I love it. :bigok:
     
  20. wangatang

    wangatang backing it in your mom

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    it still kinda reminds me of a minivan :hs:

    the rear windows look similar to navigators/expeditions
     
  21. wangatang

    wangatang backing it in your mom

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    i like it more than the new tahoe
     
  22. BLKDVLGSX

    BLKDVLGSX OT Supporter

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    i think it's funny this turd will beat a RSX/civic SI/ion redline/cobalt ss/ VW golf etc... in the 1/4 mile :rofl:
     
  23. MIK3

    MIK3 New Member

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    that shit is hot yO
     
  24. HisXLNC

    HisXLNC ๑۩۞۩๑ Hot ๑۩۞۩๑

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    Gangster.
     
  25. Bloke

    Bloke Banned

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    is this the first GM engine with pushrod and varaible valve timing. anyone have a link on how it works
     

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