Best Of The Best 2006: Cadillac Escalade

The 2007 Cadillac Escalade dem­onstrates that General Motors remains capable of producing a world-class vehicle. This completely redesigned full-size luxury sport utility has a number of impressive new features, and all are engineered to work harmoniously, which was once a trademark of all Cadillac vehicles.

This harmony is evident in the pairing of the 6.2-liter aluminum V-8 with a 6-speed automatic transmission. The engine puts forth a discreet rumble and a noticeable 403 hp and 417 ft lbs of torque. The high output, derived from variable valve timing, propels the nearly three-ton Escalade from zero to 60 mph in 6.5 seconds, and widely spaced top gear ratios allow the big V-8 to cruise freeways barely above idle (1,500 rpm at 60 mph in sixth gear), delivering a best-in-class highway mileage rating of 19 mpg.

The stiffer new frame with wider front and rear tracks, along with a new coil-over-shock front suspension provides cushy street cruising and improved handling around the sort of curves found on Sunset Boulevard. The rack-and-pinion steering en­hances road feel with quick, precise responses to driver input. Larger brakes easily keep up with the added power and speed. Even on the op­tional 22-inch wheels (versus the standard 18-inch diameters), for which ride and handling was specifically calibrated, the Escalade is a more enjoyable ride than even the STS-V sport sedan.

The $57,000 Escalade is more spacious than past versions, and it has more comfortable seating. The exterior displays less chrome than past models, but it appears bolder, projecting the sporty swagger that distinguishes the best Cadillacs.



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