Cadillac Escalade 6.0 litre V8 AWD 345bhp

The Most Powerful Full Size (8 Seats) Luxury SUV In The World



USA Today


Pleasant: Escalade, a full-size sport-utility vehicle loosely based on the Chevrolet Tahoe and GMC Yukon, has a tempting 6-liter V-8 engine. Not nailing it hard, fast and often was an exercise of restraint beyond imagination. Teasing it into bursts of belligerence was a lot of fun. Even a 3-ton truck can hike up its skirts and dash if it has the right engine

On the Cadillac side, you get:

Anti-lock brake system: It didn't kick in too soon or vibrate too violently, as happened on previous GM trucks. The brakes simply seemed to work fine.

Frame: Much stiffer, eliminating the loose, willowy feel of predecessors. That translated into a truck that felt secure and solid and quiet, and that handled sudden manuevers gracefully for its size.

Engines: In the Chevy and GMC SUVs, they're notable because they are as powerful as the ones they replace, but they use less fuel. In the Caddy, massive torque is the point. The Caddy's 6-liter gulps fuel, but in return gives exciting performance and a big safety margin when passing and merging. And it uses no more gas than many smaller SUVs.

The interior is a partial success. It resembles other GM SUV interiors, past and present. But Escalade tries to eliminate the cheap look and feel of the generic GM truck dashboard using different surface materials. It helped, but didn't quite feel like an authentic Caddy touch. Upholstery, though, was spot-on.

Escalade's all-wheel-drive system is automatic and worked without a hitch on slick roads. The setup sends 38% of the power to the front wheels and 62% to the rear ones in normal, dry-road driving. It can shift all power to the end with traction. A limited-slip rear differential enhances traction. Because the system starts with significant power at both ends, there's no risk that the end needing power has to wait a moment too long to get it while the AWD system reacts.

Escalade also has traction control, which can defeat AWD by slowing or stopping a vehicle instead of keeping it going. That never happened in the test, and Caddy insists it programmed the system to minimize that.

The place where space feels most luxurious is width. If you don't feel crowded, you stay relaxed, alert and tolerant longer. That improves the climate for passengers and, more important, others on the road. Escalade has more than 5 feet of hip room and nearly 5 feet of shoulder room in the first two rows. That's nearly a foot more than in some midsize SUVs.

Furnishings and features seemed fine. Cup holders were sufficient in number and placement. The console was big enough to lose toll-road tickets and much else. Wipers were effective in post-snow grime. The Bose stereo was pleasant. Overhead map lights were well-sited to illuminate without distraction.

And the Caddy sports a version of the latest gadget backup alarms. They beep inside the vehicle when sensors determine you're about to whack something while parking.

Escalade is moving closer to being the Cadillac its handlers want, and certainly has a nice array of premium features. But it remains some distance from being a purebred Cadillac in the way that, say, DeVille is. Like a kid with a bad reputation who is trying to go good, Escalade hasn't completely shaken off its questionable past or still-too-recognizable links to the workaday Tahoe.

But, boy, that 6-liter V-8 is fun.

2002 Cadillac Escalade

What is it? Ground-up redesign of Cadillac's luxury sport-utility vehicle, using General Motors' newest full-size truck/sport-utility-vehicle platform, similar to Chevrolet Tahoe and GMC Yukon SUVs. Escalade is a full-size four-door with three rows of seats. First models will have all-wheel drive (AWD); rear-wheel-drive (RWD) model comes a few months later.

How much? AWD is $49,290. RWD is the same, but Cadillac gives an immediate $2,000 credit.

Dealer invoice price is $45,100, or 91.5% of sticker price, according to That invoice price includes an extra profit, called holdback, equal to 3% of the sticker price, which brings the dealer cost down to $43,622 for the AWD model. Dealer gets an additional discount of $1,830 on the RWD version, reports, bringing the dealer cost on that model down to $41,8511, according to

Prices and costs listed do not include destination charge of $700.

The only factory option is a power sunroof, priced $1,550. Dealer pays $1,318 for that option, or 85% of sticker, says.

How soon? AWD models were being shipped to dealers this week and should be ready to sell shortly. RWD models went into production this week and should be on sale in March.

What do you get? AWD model comes with 6-liter, pushrod-style V-8 engine rated 345 horsepower, 380 pounds-feet of torque; heavy-duty four-speed automatic transmission; full-time, all-wheel drive with limited-slip rear differential; anti-lock brakes; StabiliTrak anti-skid and traction and suspension control system; leather upholstery; zebrano wood interior trim; automatic climate control; heated front and second-row seats; AM/FM/cassette/6-disc CD stereo; power steering, brakes, windows, mirrors, locks, seats; memory settings for driver's seat; cruise control; remote-control locks; Homelink built-in remote control; rear air conditioning; OnStar help service; folding, removable third-row seat; fog lamps; tow hooks; trailer hitch; automatic-on headlights; aluminum alloy wheels with P265/70R 17-inch Goodyear all-season radial tires.

RWD model will have 5.3-liter V-8, rated 285 hp, 325 lbs.-ft. and standard-duty automatic transmission.

How big? Full-size, same as Tahoe or Yukon. Escalade is 198.9 inches long, 78.9 inches wide, 74.2 inches tall, on a 116-inch wheelbase.

How brawny? AWD Escalade's weight of 5,809 pounds subtracted from its gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 7,000 pounds equals capacity to haul up to 1,191 pounds of people and cargo. RWD Escalade's weight of 5,553 pounds subtracted from the 6,800-pound GVWR leaves capacity for 1,247 pounds of people and cargo.

AWD tows up to 8,500 pounds. RWD tows 7,700.

Escalade has room for 63.6 cubic feet of cargo with the third-row seat removed, 108.2 cubic feet with the third row removed and the second row folded.

How thirsty? AWD is rated 12 miles per gallon in town, 16 mpg on the highway. RWD is 14/17 mpg.

Who'll buy? Caddy expects them to be 40 to 55 years old (vs. the brand's average age of 62), from households with at least $125,000 annual income, about 45% will have college educations and about 55% will be men.

Overall: Darn nice truck, as it should be for the price, and wonderfully powerful, but a bit too close to its non-luxury origins to be perfectly convincing.

Extended data and reviews here

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General information
Model: Cadillac Escalade
Year: 2001
Category: SUVs
Main features, safety and ecconomy
Engine size: 5967 ccm (364.11 cubic inches)
Fuel type: Gasoline
Seats: 7
Drive: 4WD
Transmission: Automatic, 4-speed
Engine and transmission
Engine location: Front
Displacement: 5967 ccm (364.11 cubic inches)
Engine type: Inline, 8 cylinder
Fuel system: Injection
Gearbox: Automatic, 4-speed
Speed and acceleration
Exterior and interior
Steering, brakes and tires
Turn circle: 13 m (511.8 inches)
Dimensions and weight
Weight: 2,490 kg (5,489.5 pounds)
Wheelbase: 2,960 mm (116.5 inches)
Overall length: 5,060 mm (199.2 inches)
Overall width: 2,010 mm (79.1 inches)
Overall height: 1,890 mm (74.4 inches)
Ground clearance: 250 mm (9.8 inches)
Other specifications
Country of origin: USA

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