Beneath the pearlescent skin of the Cadillac Escalade EXT lies the humble bones of an Chevrolet Avalanche. But this pickup truck is festooned with nearly $40,000 worth of extra bling.
If a luxurious yet functional pickup truck is tantamount to having your cake and eating it too.. then the Escalade is a decadent two-tier triple-layer torte with heavy cream frosting.
The enormous prow is garnished with a toothy chrome grill bearing a Christmas-wreath-sized Cadillac badge. It rides on 22 inch (double deuces in custom-car parlance) chrome wheels. Styling cues inspired by the outrageous Cadillac Sixteen concept car include the grille design and chrome, gill-like ports in the front quarter panels.
Twin exhaust pipes peep beneath a considerable, square-ish rump.
Underhood a 6.2 litre V8 puts out 403 horsepower and 417 lb. of twist.
Of course, the Cadillac name is synonymous with pampering and the cabin abounds with luxurious touches. Seats (no, chairs) are sumptuous fragrant leather - and if their plush comfort isn't enough - they're 14-way power equipped, heated and chilled. A segment-first Bose 5.1 Digital Surround Sound system plays DVD audio/video, CD audio/video, MP3s and XM Satellite Radio (with three months free subscription).
An enormous, eight inch screen displays Navigation graphics and the view behind as projected by the rear-view backup assist camera. And -there's another drop down DVD screen for rear passengers. Rain-sensing wipers, power folding mirrors with LED turn signal markers, washer fluid heater, tri-zone air conditioning and OnStar satellite communications are all standard. A heated wood and leather trimmed steering wheel and power moonroof round out the list - although I'm sure I've forgotten something.
I found the Optional tip-shift located on the column shifter awkward to use. A vehicle in this segment would be more finished with an upscale, console mounted, gated shifter.
The polished wood centre stack sweeps down to join a voluminous, square leather console that I liked to call the "turtle suitcase." It contains multi-levels of storage capacity with outlet for cell phone.
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