2008 Cadillac Escalade ESV SUV Review | Edmunds.com

2008 Cadillac Escalade ESV SUV

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Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) is a category of used car. Often late-model vehicles, they have been inspected, refurbished, if necessary, and are under warranty by the manufacturer.
Cadillac Escalade ESV Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 6.2 L V 8-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Rear Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 6-speed Automatic
  • Horse Power 403 hp @ 5700 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 12/19 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation Yes
  • Heated Seats Yes

Review of the 2008 Cadillac Escalade ESV

  • If you're looking for an SUV that looms large in terms of roominess, luxury and power, the 2008 Cadillac Escalade ESV is an ideal choice.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Beefy V8 engine, relaxing highway ride, relatively tight turning circle, sharp interior design, class-leading cargo capacity.

  • Cons

    Lacks a fold-flat third-row seat, cabin marred by a few low-end plastics.

  • What's New for 2008

    For 2008, two-wheel drive becomes available on the Cadillac Escalade ESV (late availability). A new Platinum trim level also debuts.

Gas Mileage


  • 12
  • cty
  • 19
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs
What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

Should have read the reviews

by on
Vehicle: 2007 Cadillac Escalade ESV

I wish I would have read the reviews. Just bought a 07 ESV and After reading some of the reviews. I totally agree with the post about the Wind noise...It is extremely too Noise...I hate it. I had to replaced the stereo and it makes this funny/weird noise when it is running. The dealership always says there's nothing wrong or they can't hear it. Believe me I look good in it, but the price and quality I wish I would have chose something else. I can't wait until another year or two to sale it!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful


by on
Vehicle: 2007 Cadillac Escalade ESV

Its been about 20 months since we purchased her used with 2800 miles. Bose stereo died this week and the dealer says that it isnt covered under warranty. The plastic trim around the windows has bubbled and the driver seat leather is wearing out. Bought new tires with only 30K on the original Bridgestones. Lousy mileage around town, but she is built for the freeway. Love her on the open road. Still not worth the price new they are asking. So look for low mile used with a warranty. And also an independent repair facility that can work with the warranty. The dealers just dont get it, the quality of American autos are crap. Wish that the paint was as high quality as we have on our Lexus

Good big highway cruiser

by on
Vehicle: 2007 Cadillac Escalade ESV

We bought this car to travel back and forth between WV Mts. and FL and it is perfect for that. Lots of room as long as you remove the heavy 3rd row seats. We have had no mechanical issues with 45k miles on it now. I traded out for the 22 inch factory wheels and gave up some highway comfort for looks. The 18" factory tires soak up the road far better than the good looking 22" factory wheels/tires. Great in the Mountains powerwise and with the transmission grade brake. It is big and powerful enough to power through high snow drifts. Pretty quiet on Highway, and you can drive with little effort as the long wheel base makes it very stable. The computerized suspension works well.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

A great luxury suv

by on
Vehicle: 2007 Cadillac Escalade ESV

I couldn't be more pleased with my 2007 Escalade ESV. I can't believe all the negative reviews. I have to think they're not all legit. It's very quiet, the ride is great, the interior and exterior are beautiful, it's solidly built, and it's very safe. We were just rear-ended by an F150 and all we had was a scratch on the rear bumper the size of my thumb. The F150 had $3,000+ damage. We took a 3,500 mile road trip this summer from TX to the Rockies, and I assure you there is no finer road-trip machine. 17 mpg hwy. We've had one minor problem, which was a seal on the transfer case (under $100), and it has been back to the dealer for repair ONCE since new. This is 100% fact.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Just towed to repair shop

by on
Vehicle: 2007 Cadillac Escalade ESV

Latches on center counsel don't work, have to wrestle the cup holders open, told by dealership engine has major problems, heated seats went out, trailer hitch cover wont stay fastened, rubber on side of luggage rack is coming off, black insulation showing in between front bumper, passenger side door handle is half way detached! On star makes a weird noise in winter, drivers side seat motor is on its way out, oil level light won't go off even after resetting after oil change, engine is loud, battery tested bad, rust between front & rear door, factory remote start has like a 10 ft capability,

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Forget the rest, this is

by on
Vehicle: 2007 Cadillac Escalade ESV

Guys and girls let me just say we have had them all. Mercedes, Lexus BMW, and several Suburbans. Don't get me wrong they are all fine cars in their own way but if you have 3 kids like we do and travel to the lake etc this is the best way to do it! After several Suburbans we tried a 2003 Cadillac Escalade ESV and my wife loved it. So much so that we put 100,000 miles on it in 3 years and never had a problem. As a matter of fact she wanted to keep it she loved it so much. Now we have the new style and the Best just got Better! Make you wife and kids happy guys get them one and they will love you for it. Best SUV made!!!


Full 2008 Cadillac Escalade ESV Review

What's New for 2008

For 2008, two-wheel drive becomes available on the Cadillac Escalade ESV (late availability). A new Platinum trim level also debuts.


For the first half of 2007, overall sales of full-size SUVs were down relative to the previous year's figures, but it was a different story for a subset of this group. Full-size luxury SUVs, a glamorous bunch that includes the Cadillac Escalade ESV, saw a slight sales increase. Apparently, not even high gas prices and changing consumer tastes can slow the demand for rides that are big on flash and prestige.

Benefiting from a redesign last year, the 2008 Cadillac Escalade ESV is the extended-wheelbase sibling of the Escalade, with a 130-inch wheelbase that eclipses the Escalade's by 14 inches. This attribute contributes to its huge cabin; the SUV easily seats up to eight passengers, offering enough room for the neighborhood flag football team, or perhaps a hip-hop mogul and his entourage. Of course, schlepping eight people means toting their gear, and with 46 cubes of luggage capacity behind the third-row seats, the Escalade ESV is up for this challenge.

Power is another of this SUV's strengths. The ESV, like the regular Escalade, comes with a 403-horsepower V8. Of course, with a curb weight approaching 3 tons, the Escalade ESV is most definitely a plus-sized model, and you'll never find yourself bragging about fuel economy. Still, acceleration is vigorous, and there's enough towing capacity to make short work of most hauling tasks.

Given its deluxe price tag, you expect lots of luxury from this Caddy, and for the most part, it delivers. Its interior scores high marks for comfort. Overall materials quality is respectable and ergonomics are spot on, with user-friendly controls -- particularly the large, optional navigation touchscreen. Though the 2008 Cadillac Escalade ESV is awash with convenience features (standard amenities include a power liftgate, surround-sound audio and three-zone climate control), it's missing one very useful feature: fold-flat third-row seating.

This is something the ESV's main competitor, the Lincoln Navigator L, happens to offer. But given the Escalade's superiority in terms of engine performance and handling, we think it's a better choice overall. Luxury SUVs still might run counter to America's changing consumer tastes for 2008, but for this group, the Cadillac makes plenty of sense.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2008 Cadillac Escalade ESV is a full-size SUV that's offered in two supremely loaded trim levels. Explore its standard features and you'll find xenon headlights, 18-inch alloy wheels, leather upholstery, power-adjustable heated front seats with memory settings for the driver, and tri-zone automatic climate control. Additional standard amenities include a 10-speaker 5.1 surround-sound Bose audio system with a CD/DVD changer and satellite radio, a power rear liftgate, power-folding mirrors and a remote start feature. Second-row passengers will never be less than toasty in the Escalade ESV, thanks to its heated second-row captain's chairs. A second-row bench seat is also available.

Choose to upgrade with the V8 Ultra Luxury Collection Package and you'll get adaptive headlights, 22-inch wheels, a heated steering wheel, multilevel cooling for the front seats, a navigation system with a rearview camera, a rear DVD entertainment system, a sunroof and power-folding second-row seats. Of these, only the rear DVD entertainment system and sunroof are available as stand-alone options. Power-retractable running boards are also available, but only when the Ultra Luxury Collection Package is ordered.

Much of the base model's optional equipment comes standard on the new Escalade ESV Platinum. Ponying up for this special-edition trim level gets you unique 22-inch chrome wheels, a CTS-inspired front grille, upgraded interior leather upholstery and a special rear-seat entertainment system with additional video monitors. It's also GM's first SUV to sport Magnetic Ride Control, a suspension system that utilizes electronically controlled fluid-filled shocks to continually adjust the damping. Platinum-edition Escalades produced after the summer of 2008 will feature LED headlights.

Powertrains and Performance

The Escalade ESV is available with either two-wheel drive (late availability) or all-wheel drive. All models are powered by a 6.2-liter V8 that boasts 403 hp and 417 pound-feet of torque. The standard six-speed automatic transmission features both a tow/haul and a manual shift mode. According to revised EPA fuel estimates, the 2008 Cadillac Escalade ESV gets 12 mpg in the city and 18 mpg on the highway -- figures that are right in step with those offered by others in its segment. This Cadillac tows up to 7,800 pounds.


Standard features in this area include antilock disc brakes, stability control, traction control, full-length side curtain airbags and the OnStar communication system. Airbags inflate not just in side-impact collisions and rollovers, but in major frontal-impact collisions as well. The Cadillac Escalade ESV employs a sensor that identifies rear impacts and activates the seatbelt pre-tensioners to help front-seat occupants avoid whiplash. All Escalade ESVs come with rear parking sensors, and those equipped with the optional navigation system also feature a rearview camera system. In National Highway Traffic Safety Administration crash tests, this Caddy scored a perfect five stars in all frontal- and side-impact categories.

Interior Design and Special Features

Within the Escalade ESV's doors lies a sleek two-tone dash with a large, colorful navigation screen. Faux walnut inlays are attractive enough, but given its price range, there should be some real wood in evidence. Working with the nav screen is easy, thanks to its user-friendly touchscreen interface, and all controls are ergonomically placed and a snap to operate. Soft-touch surfaces proliferate, but the picture is sullied by a few low-grade plastics.

The Escalade may accommodate six, seven or eight occupants, depending on the configuration of second- and third-row seats. A power fold-and-flip for the second-row seats is offered, to enhance access to the third row. Fold-flat third-row seating isn't available; removing the third-row seat's 50/50 sections boosts capacity, but these sections are large and heavy to work with. At 137 cubic feet, cargo capacity is class-leading, and there are a generous 46 cubes up for grabs behind the third row.

Driving Impressions

The 2008 Cadillac Escalade ESV weighs nearly 3 tons, but with prodigious torque on tap, acceleration is effortless in pretty much all situations. Its six-speed automatic transmission offers shifts that are crisp and well-timed, and when traversing slick or winding roads, the manual mode proves quite useful. The SUV's suspension endows it with a ride that's controlled and smooth over all but the most compromised surfaces, though selecting the optional 22-inch wheels reduces the suppleness somewhat. Handling and steering are predictable around corners, and at 39 feet, the Escalade ESV's turning circle is among the tightest in its segment. Nevertheless, care has to be taken when parking this vehicle, even when it's equipped with the rearview camera system, as the Escalade ESV's size and heft causes it to fall short of feeling nimble.


Talk About The 2008 Escalade ESV

2008 Cadillac Escalade ESV Discussions See all Started By

Bought a 2008 Escalade ESV AWD with Luxury package (in August 2012). Paid $40.5K for vehicle (+tax/title/license/3-yr warranty... out the door cost $47K). All is well overall, now just over 1 year l...

We bought a 2008 Escalade ESV Luxury AWD in August 2012 with 55K miles on it. Nothing has stranded us (now with 68K miles). Just took it in for new rear brakes, oil, fluid changes (transmission, coo...

I got a 2008 Escalade ESV with Direct TV antenna on top 22" rims and custom 14" flipdown monitor in the middle instead of the OEM one.....so far only problem i had was with my gas gauge goin...

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