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2012 Cadillac Escalade

If you’ve ever heard the Escalade being mentioned in a song, you’ll know its appeal has long been associated with being rich and cool.  The not yet iconic Escalade is still a status symbol, both for law abiding types and car thieves the nation over.  But enough of the negative; hey, at least it’s in demand.

Here’s what makes the 2012 Cadillac Escalade worth actually paying for.

Cadillac Escalade Trims and Features

The 2012 Cadillac Escalade is a large luxury SUV offered in a variety of styles.  The ‘base’ Escalade starts just north of $63,000 and comes in Standard, Luxury, Premium, and top line Platinum trims.  A super-size edition is available- dubbed the Escalade ESV, it offers 28.5 more cubic feet of cargo along with a longer wheelbase (14”), and about 240 extra pounds.  Cadillac also offers an Escalade Hybrid for $73,850, which, at 21 combined MPG, is kind of a slap in the face as far as mileage goes, but is nonetheless introduced as “the world’s first and only luxury hybrid SUV.”  And its hybrid logo looks uncannily like the University of Hawaii logo.  The Escalade EXT has a pick-up truck style bed, and is offered in the familiar Standard, Luxury, and Premium trims.

Escalade traits include V8 performance, seating for 7 or 8, upscale interior perks like heated and cooled leather seats, and big shoes- 18” wheels come with the base trim, but all other models carry 22’s.  In short, there’s plenty of decadence to go around.  

Cadillac Escalade Performance

All three gasoline Escalades come with a 6.2 liter V8 that’s capable of 403 horsepower and 417 lb.-ft. of torque.  The ‘regular’ Escalade and Escalade ESV are offered in either rear-wheel or all-wheel drive, while the EXT comes in all-wheel drive only.  All three choices come with a 6-speed automatic transmission with a tow/haul mode for moving stuff.  Hybrid Escalade is fitted with a gas/electric engine that combines a 6.0 liter V8 with a pair of electric motors & battery pack to that produces 379 total horsepower.  Like its slightly less fuel efficient brethren, Escalade Hybrid is available in 2-wheel or 4-wheel drive, and utilizes a specialized electronically variable automatic transmission.

Towing numbers range from 7,600- 8,300 lbs. for gas Escalade, or 5,600- 5,800 with the Hybrid.

Cadillac Escalade Fuel Economy

EPA estimates tag regular gasoline rear-wheel drive Escalades at 14/18/16 (city/highway/combined) MPG, while all-wheel drive editions lose 1 city MPG to end up staggered at 15 (regular Escalade) and 14 (Escalade ESV) combined MPG, respectively.  Hybrid numbers improve to 20/23/21 for both rear and all-wheel drive models.

Cadillac Escalade Interior Highlights

Style and luxury provide the basis for a nice, mostly comfortable cabin experience.  Reviews consistently berate the cramped 50/50 split 3rd row, but everything north is exceptional.  Buyers do have the choice of either 2nd row captain’s chairs, or a 3-person bench that creates room for 8.  Standards like heated/cooled front seats and a Bose sound system intermingle nicely with an organized dash layout.  Cargo space maxes out at 108.9 cubic feet (the 3rd row must be removed) or 137.4 cubes with the ESV.  Escalade EXT’s unique setup allows for 101 cubic feet overall, with 45.5 cubes belonging to the cargo bed.

Cadillac Escalade Safety

Escalade standards include 4 wheel antilock disc brakes, stability/traction control, rearview camera, rear parking sensors, and full length side curtain airbags.  A blind-spot warning system is available or standard on all trims save the Standard.  Size helps Escalade get 4/5 stars overall from government crash testing, with the only blemish for regular, ESV, and Hybrid models coming from a 3/5 rating for rollover damage.  Expect similar numbers from Escalade EXT when results are given.

Escalade’s Bottom Line

The Escalade is consistently rated as the top full-size luxury SUV available.  If you’ve got the cash, you’ll do well with Escalade’s almost clichéd, but still flashy bravado. 

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