Cadillac Escalade

Because Bling is the Thing, 2007 Cadillac Escalade is Endowed With Chrome...

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