About the Cadillac Escalade EXT
The Cadillac Escalade EXT is a combination of a full-size luxury SUV and a crew-cab pickup. Essentially, the only vehicle of its kind, the EXT is massively sized, extravagantly luxurious, and somewhat over-the-top. In spite of all this, the EXT is, in fact, quite functional. While the EXT is definitely a niche vehicle, it has sold reasonably well since its introduction about a decade ago.Cadillac Escalade EXT Features
The 2012 Escalade EXT is essentially unchanged compared to the 2011 model. Hence, it maintains the same four-door crew-cab pickup body design and is available in three trim levels: base, luxury, and premium. The vehicle also comes equipped with a standard 6.2-liter V-8 engine that’s capable of generating 403 horsepower and 417 lb-ft of torque. Transmission-wise, the new Escalade EXT features a six-speed automatic transmission equipped with overdrive. The EXT’s flexible fuel engine enables it to achieve 13/18 mpg city/highway. It is capable of seating five passengers.
Mechanically, the EXT is equipped with the same suspension and powertrain as the standard Escalade. In fact, the vehicle is basically identical to the standard Escalade except that from its rear doors to the back, it’s a pickup. The EXT is equipped with a unique midgate system that enables it to accommodate extra cargo. For storing longer items, it’s possible to fold down the rear seats and rear windows. The pickup bed is also outfitted with an automatic tonneau cover in order to protect items from sun, rain, and other weather conditions. The EXT rides on 18-inch wheels, and features HID headlights.
Being an Escalade, the EXT boasts an opulent and luxurious interior. The upholstery is leather and the trim is genuine wood. The power seats are heated and feature 14 different settings. Other interior comforts include a tri-zone climate control system, a touch-screen navigation system, and a rearview camera. The EXT is also equipped with Bose 5.1 surround-sound audio system that boasts 10 speakers.
Additional features available on higher trim levels include a heated steering wheel, adaptive suspension, retracting power side steps, rear-seat entertainment system, and 22-inch chrome wheels.
In terms of drivability, the Escalade EXT receives relatively high marks for such a massive vehicle. The vehicle’s powerful V-8 facilitates brisk acceleration and the steering has been noted for its lightness. Like the standard Escalade, the EXT has been engineered to provide a stable and controlled ride. The EXT is equipped with a rack-and-pinion steering system.
While the EXT’s fuel economy isn’t impressive, the new models from 2010 forward have slightly improved from older versions by adapting GM’s Active Fuel Management system that shuts down up to four of the vehicle’s engine cylinders when the vehicle is being driven lightly.Cadillac Escalade EXT Evolution
The EXT was introduced in 2002 and the first generation of the vehicle continued through 2006. Early versions were less refined than the more recent models. However, first-generation EXTs offer the same amount of passenger and cargo capacity as newer models. The 6.0-liter V-8 engines on earlier models were slightly smaller than the 6.2-liter V-8s that are now standard for all trim levels on newer models. These 6.0-liter V-8s offered 345 horsepower and 380 lb-ft of torque. Transmission-wise, first-generation EXTs were fitted with four-speed automatics. They were also noted for being less responsive due to a recirculation-ball steering setup that was eventually discontinued in favor of the current rack-and-pinion system.
The 2003 model represented a big step forward from the model’s inaugural year. Starting in 2003, all EXTs came with better safety features, HID headlamps, and better interiors. The option of a rear-seat entertainment system was also introduced in 2003, while the power tonneau wasn’t incorporated until 2006.
The second and most current generation of the EXT was introduced in 2007. While the 2007 and 2008 models were an improvement over what had come before, it wasn’t until the 2009 models were introduced that the EXT really came into its own. The year of 2009 saw the introduction of many of the EXT’s current features such as navigation systems with real-time traffic info, blind-spot alert systems, satellite radio, Bluetooth capability, adaptive dampers, and E85 fuel compatibility. 2010 saw further improvements with the introduction of Active Fuel Management and a USB port for the audio system. It was also in 2010 that the additional trim levels were introduced for the first time.