Because bling is the thing, the 2007 Cadillac Escalade is endowed with chrome, polished wood, and electronic toys. Underneath, it sports a stiffer frame, larger brakes, improved suspension, and a more potent engine. But can this gilded cruiser handle a typical boat-towing job? We couldn't wait to hitch up our 24' Galaxie to find out.
The Escalade's new 6.2-liter V-8 has variable valve timing for more power and aluminum construction to save weight. It generates a meaty 403 hp and 417 lb-ft of torque, topping BMW, Infiniti, Lexus, Lincoln, and Mercedes models with ease. To top that muscle in the luxury SUV market, you'd need a supercharged Land Rover costing more than $90,000. GM's six-speed automatic transmission helped hustle my 2.5-ton rig into traffic. With a hearty exhaust note, the Escalade hunkered down and hit 60 mph in 14.5 seconds, an impressive feat. This new automatic's manual mode lets you shift by touching a button, a feature especially useful when towing the full-rated 7,400 pounds in mountainous terrain. Premium fuel is recommended but not required, so you can save a few bucks when the engine is in leisure mode. In work mode, we measured only 8 mpg. Ah, the price of power.
Standard all-wheel drive working through a single-speed transfer case provides traction aplenty. The blingy 22" wheel and tire package ($2,995) demonstrated surprising grip on a slippery launch ramp. The Escalade is heavy, so it's no surprise that braking distances were long. The squishy brake pedal offered little help. Without a load, the Escalade rode sweetly over southeast Michigan's pockmarked byways. Unfortunately, the soft suspension and low-effort steering don't work well for towing boats. There's noticeable wander at cruising speeds, and the Cadillac's road-sensing dampers don't react to tugging forces applied via the trailer hitch. Side winds had no difficulty swaying this rig. The experience reinforced my conviction that any soft-riding SUV lacks the stuff to make a good vehicle for towing boats.
- Engine 6.2-liter OHV V-8
- Net hp @ rpm 403@5700
- Net torque (lb-ft @ rpm) 417@4400
- Transmission 6-speed automatic
- Front suspension control arms, coil springs
- Rear suspension rigid axle, coil springs
- Brakes (front/rear) disc/disc, ABS standard
- Tires Bridgestone 285/145HR-22 M+S
- Wheelbase (in.) 116.0 Length (in.) 202.5 Width (in.) 79.0 Height (in.) 74.3
- Curb weight (lbs.) 5818
- Towing capacity (lbs.) 7,400 Cargo volume (cu. ft. behind third/second/first row seats) 16.9/60.3/108.9
- Fuel capacity (gal.) 26.0
- 0-60mph acceleration (w/o, w/ 5,140-lb. towed load, sec.) 7.6/14.5 30-60mph passing (w/o, w/ 5,140-lb. towed load, sec.) 6.1/11.2
- 60-0mph stopping distance (w/o, w/5,140-lb. towed load, ft.) 142/259
- Observed towing fuel economy (mpg. avg.) 8
- Price (as tested) $66,110