1999 Cadillac Escalade Review

Pros & Cons

  • Curb appeal, powerful V8 performance, fancy gadgetry and features.
  • Doesn't hide regular old Yukon underpinnings well enough, high price.
List Price Estimate
$835 - $1,466

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Vehicle overview

Cadillac dealers weren't too happy watching thousands of new luxury sport/utility customers walk into rival Lincoln showrooms and snap up the big Navigator SUV. General Motors had been working on a new, full-size Cadillac sport/utility project, but it was still a ways off, and those Caddy dealers were getting mighty antsy. So GM brand managers came up with an idea to clone GMC's new-for-?99 premium SUV, the Yukon Denali, and rebadge it as Cadillac to give those dealers something to sell until GM's next big SUV project is ready.

Enter the 1999 Cadillac Escalade. The first truck-based vehicle in Cadillac's 96-year history, Escalade is meant to combine the best features of a luxury car with those of an all-weather, all-terrain vehicle. Exterior styling differs from the donor Denali by the use of a more distinct grille with bright chrome bezel and the Cadillac wreath-and-crest logo affixed smack dab in the middle.

Reflector-optic halogen headlamps and recessed projector-beam fog lamps reside in a smoothie-style front fascia. Body-color cladding and integrated running boards spruce up the flanks, with textured body-color door handles, outside rearview mirrors and color-keyed rails on the flush roof rack completing the monotone look. Out back, a functional step bumper conceals a standard trailer hitch.

The Escalade's interior features upper and lower consoles packed with storage cubbies and other conveniences such as reading lamps, cupholders, a rear power point and audio controls. Instrumentation is backlit in blue with white pointers and includes a tachometer. Luxury touches abound, with Zebrano wood trim, leather-trimmed front and rear heated seats, and a premium Bose sound system with six-CD changer and single-CD in-dash player. GM's OnStar mobile communications system is standard, as are dual front next-generation airbags and keyless remote entry with an adjustable, shock-sensing anti-theft system.

Powering all this opulence is 5.7-liter pushrod V8 packing 255 horsepower. The Vortec 5700 puts its 330 foot-pounds of torque to the ground via a four-speed automatic transmission and the AutoTrac full-time four-wheel-drive system. When activated, the AutoTrac transfer case will automatically shift from two-wheel drive to 4WD when it senses wheel slippage. Escalade rides on unique six-spoke chromed aluminum wheels wearing Firestone 265/70R-16 touring tires designed especially for sport/utility applications on- and off-road in both wet and dry conditions.

The Escalade provides a "look-at-me'' driving experience around town and a king-of-the-road feel out on the highway. There's no question that the big Caddy SUV has gobs of curb appeal, but understand that it is all riding atop a 10-year-old pickup truck design, with all the flaws inherent to its humble underpinnings. The steering is vague, brakes are on the numb side and the ride quality is not as highly tuned as the price tag. What's worse, use of standard GM interior plastics is not in keeping with the Escalade's image.

If you need to be the first one on your block with the latest the luxo-SUV world has to offer, there's no doubt the Escalade is made for you. But if you happen to think, as we do, that the price walk from an optioned-out GMC Yukon to the dolled-up Cadillac Escalade is rather steep, then maybe you should be shopping elsewhere. For our money, the Escalade model will lose much of its luster every time you see a GMC Yukon Denali pass by. We prefer to wait and see what the next-generation big luxury SUV GM is working on will be like.

1999 Highlights

The 1999 Cadillac Escalade is really more a GMC Yukon Denali than it is a Cadillac. (And GMC's Yukon Denali is really more Yukon than anything else -- except, perhaps, a Chevrolet Tahoe, but that's another story). Regardless of its origins, think of the Escalade as a big four-wheel-drive Cadillac limo for well-heeled outdoorsy types. Loaded with luxury touches and every possible convenience (even GM's OnStar mobile communications system), Escalade comes in four special colors and lacks only one thing: an options list. Why? It's got it all.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the Used 1999 Cadillac Escalade.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

Too Good to Give Up
After owning many a car including over 24 other classic autos, I've never been as happy with the comfort of this SUV. It had a few flaws in it that I've had to deal with...the CD player not working, turning the brake drums for a smooth ride, attaching the battery cables better on a side battery and a rattle that was found as a broken plastic piece in the cowl area. Small stuff for a great ride, of course, these days I wish it would have better mileage, but with it's weight and its performance it was a quality product.
This vehicle was bought used with only 19000 miles - now, at 40k the bottom has fallen out. The truck has been in the shop no less than 9 times with drive train related failure (t/m, t/c, etc.).
One Great Vehicle
This has been one great vehicle. I bought my Escalade when it had only 6000 miles on it. It now has almost 120,000 miles on it and I have not had a single maintenance issue with it. I always get the regular routine maintenance done and as a result this vehicle is still like brand new both inside and out. I get it detailed every six months and people often mistake it for a brand new Escalade. I am going to drive it for another 10 years. I am sure it will last that long.
Lots of problems from the get go
I bought this vehicle in 1999 in Colorado a few months later moved to California on my road trip to California noticed a hesitation in the vehicle took it into the Dealership under warranty couldn't find the problem. The Brakes went out on me, one thing after another I have had it 11 years finally at 10 years I was told that hesitation was the Transmission so I got that replaced. I think I have almost everything replaced even the carpet in the back because the back air was leaking. Just today I replaced the Computer because nothing was running right and it kept showing problem after problem. I could go on GM was not too helpful at all and kept insisting it was nothing. No Warranty $$ then help


NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver4 / 5
    Passenger4 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
  • Side Barrier Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    DriverNot Rated
    PassengerNot Rated
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front SeatNot Rated
    Back SeatNot Rated
  • Rollover
    RolloverNot Rated
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of RolloverNot Rated
IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Not Tested
  • Roof Strength Test
    Not Tested
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Not Tested
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test

More about the 1999 Cadillac Escalade

Used 1999 Cadillac Escalade Overview

The Used 1999 Cadillac Escalade is offered in the following submodels: Escalade SUV. Available styles include 4dr SUV AWD.

What's a good price on a Used 1999 Cadillac Escalade?

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Which used 1999 Cadillac Escalades are available in my area?

Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 1999 Cadillac Escalade for sale near. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 1999 Cadillac Escalade.

Can't find a used 1999 Cadillac Escalades you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Cadillac Escalade for sale - 5 great deals out of 22 listings starting at $12,886.

Find a used Cadillac for sale - 1 great deals out of 15 listings starting at $14,947.

Find a used certified pre-owned Cadillac Escalade for sale - 5 great deals out of 14 listings starting at $8,691.

Find a used certified pre-owned Cadillac for sale - 2 great deals out of 9 listings starting at $25,536.

Should I lease or buy a 1999 Cadillac Escalade?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

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Check out Cadillac Escalade lease specials