Full 2007 Cadillac Escalade EXT Review
What's New for 2007
The 2007 Cadillac Escalade EXT has been fully revamped. Highlights for this SUV/pickup truck include an all-new fully boxed frame, a more powerful V8, a six-speed automatic transmission and a significantly upgraded cabin.
Introduced for 2002 and completely revamped for 2007, the Cadillac Escalade EXT is a vehicle that doesn't conform to any convenient categorization. Is it a crew-cab pickup with a luxury SUV's cabin, or is it a luxury SUV with a pickup bed in place of an enclosed cargo area? Either way, this Caddy has proven to be as popular with image-seekers as it is with those who actually use its impressive capabilities.
Like its cousin the Chevy Avalanche, the Escalade EXT features a special extendable utility bed that gives it a half-truck/half-sport-ute character. And, being a Cadillac, it has upgrades in all the important areas such as performance, luxury and style. The brash grille, imposing headlight treatment and liberal splashes of chrome affirm the Escalade EXT's social standing, and a handsome new interior design provides the kind of cabin ambience expected in a high-dollar SUV.
The 2007 Cadillac Escalade EXT has an all-new, fully boxed frame for more refined ride and handling dynamics than before, and the adoption of rack and pinion steering (which replaces the old recirculating-ball setup) provides a 4-foot-smaller turning circle. Of course, this is still a large, heavy vehicle but a new 403-horsepower, 6.2-liter V8 paired with a six-speed automatic transmission means there's always plenty of thrust on tap.
Currently, the only vehicle that might be considered competition for the Escalade EXT is Lincoln's Mark LT, which is little more than a glitzy version of a Ford F-150 SuperCrew pickup. With the Cadillac's advantages in performance, versatility and curb appeal, the Escalade EXT is essentially in a class of its own.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2007 Cadillac Escalade EXT is essentially a full-size crew cab pickup truck with the innovative Midgate that allows the cargo bed to be opened up into the cabin. With the rear seats folded, long items can be carried inside, protected from the elements, with the tailgate and tonneau cover shut. Standard equipment includes 18-inch alloy wheels, an automatic suspension damping system, HID headlights, 14-way power/heated front seats, leather upholstery and wood trim. Tri-zone automatic climate control, a 10-speaker Bose audio system with an in-dash CD/DVD changer, a remote start feature, heated rear seats and power-folding exterior mirrors are also standard. Options include 22-inch chrome wheels, power sunroof, cooling for the front seats, a heated steering wheel, a navigation system with a rearview camera and a rear DVD entertainment system.
Powertrains and Performance
The Escalade EXT comes in all-wheel-drive configuration only. Its sole power plant is a muscular 6.2-liter V8 that develops 403 hp and 417 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed automatic transmission is standard, and it includes both a tow/haul and a manual shift mode. Manual shifting is a tad awkward with the Escalade's old-fashioned column shifter. Trailering preparation is standard, and the EXT can tow a maximum of 7,600 pounds.
Standard are four-wheel antilock disc brakes, the StabiliTrak stability control system and full-length side curtain airbags. In addition to offering protection in side-impact and rollover incidents, the curtain bags can also inflate in serious frontal-impact collisions to provide additional protection. In rear-impact collisions, the front seatbelt pre-tensioners automatically activate to help front-seat occupants avoid whiplash. Rear park assist, a tire-pressure monitor, adjustable pedals and the OnStar communications system are also standard. EXTs equipped with the navigation system incorporate a rear camera system as well.
Interior Design and Special Features
The Cadillac Escalade EXT's five-passenger cabin has an elegant, upscale ambiance thanks to the use of finely stitched leather and accents of wood and metal. Most surfaces are of the soft-touch variety, though a few cheap plastic trim pieces can still be found. Large instruments with blue needles allow a quick read of vital stats, while a trip computer provides secondary information, such as average fuel mileage. The nav screen has a user-friendly touchscreen interface, and all controls are easy to find and use. The Midgate feature allows the pickup bed to be opened up into the cabin, allowing a maximum of 101 cubic feet of cargo capacity. A locking, removable tonneau cover and a roof rack are standard as well.
Cadillac's Escalade EXT may weigh almost 3 tons, but with more than 400 pound-feet of torque on tap, acceleration comes easily in almost any situation. Shifts from the six-speed automatic transmission are crisp and well-timed, and the manual mode is helpful on slick and winding roads. The all-new frame and revised suspension provide a comfortable, controlled ride over all but the most severe bumps and ruts. Handling is predictable around corners, but as heavy as it is, the Escalade EXT never feels particularly nimble. The steering is light and precise, however, and the turning radius is a relatively tidy 39 feet.