When the Cadillac Escalade was introduced in 1999, it was the first light truck in the history of the Cadillac brand. It is largely responsible for Cadillac’s transformation from traditional to bold. With large proportions inside and out, a bold, angular face, and prominent wreath-and-crest badging, the Escalade projects an over-the-top attitude. It is part of the second generation, sold from 2002 to 2006. It is available in two trims, one with two-wheel drive (2WD) and one with all-wheel drive (AWD). Escalade 2WD models built early in the 2005 model year have either a 5.3-liter V-8 or a 6.0-liter, V-8 engine. Later in the model year, the 6.0-liter engine becomes standard for the 2WD version. AWD models all come equipped with the 6.0-liter engine. It offers a stable, soft ride, and is a highly capable towing vehicle. Cadillac also makes an extended-length ESV and a unique pickup/SUV crossover called the Escalade EXT.
Body style: truck
Engines: 5.3-liter V-8, 6.0-liter V-8
Transmission: four-speed automatic with overdrive
Models: Cadillac Escalade 2WD, Cadillac Escalade AWD
The 2005 Cadillac Escalade gets a redesigned gauge cluster and door panels with bright chrome trim, touch-screen capability with the optional navigation system, and a more user-friendly driver information system. Burled walnut trim replaces 2004’s Zebrano wood. Standard amenities for 2005 now include XM Satellite Radio, a trailering package, second-row bucket seats, and a tire pressure monitoring system. A second-row bench seat is a no-cost option.
The Cadillac Escalade was the first vehicle to display Cadillac’s ""Art and Science"" design theme when it debuted in 2002. It features sharp, angular lines, inside and out. Squared-off headlights with chrome bezels flank a large, satin-nickel plastic grille inspired by the Evoq concept car. Cadillac’s wreath-and-crest insignia tops the grille and also adorns the liftgate in the rear. The front fascia incorporates recessed tow hooks and rectangular foglamps. The nameplate, running boards, and roof rack feature chrome trim. Built on a 116-inch wheelbase, it measures 198.9 inches long overall and stands 76.5 inches tall. The base model is equipped with 17-inch cast-aluminum wheels, Xenon high-intensity discharge headlights, and an optional glass sunroof.
The 2005 Cadillac Escalade base model seats seven people or eight with the optional second-row bench seat. The front seats are 14-way power adjustable, and both front and second-row seats are heated. The third row has a 50/50-split bench seat. Power-adjustable pedals with memory function and automatic climate control are both standard. Also standard are leather upholstery, burl walnut interior trim, a Bose Acoustimass audio system with six-CD changer, XM Satellite Radio, rear-seat audio controls with headphones, and removable third-row seats. The OnStar communications system with Personal Calling allows drivers to make hands-free, voice-activated calls. A voice-activated Virtual Advisor provides headlines, scores, weather, and personalized stock quotes. A rear-seat DVD entertainment system and touch-screen navigation built into the audio system are optional.
Performance & Handling
Early 2005 Cadillac Escalades are powered by either a 5.3-liter or a 6.0-liter, V-8 engine. The 5.3-liter V-8 is capable of 295 horsepower and 335 lb-ft of torque. The larger V-8 is standard on later 2005 2WD models and all AWD models. This engine produces 345 hp and 380 lb-ft of torque. All models use a four-speed automatic transmission with overdrive. The transmission is also equipped with a tow/haul mode that helps reduce heat buildup in the transmission by delaying gearshifts and making them more abrupt. Properly equipped, the AWD model can tow up to 8100 pounds.
The 2005 Cadillac Escalade comes with standard safety features, including four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes, all-speed traction control, front-seat side-impact airbags with passenger-sensing system, and Stabilitrak electronic stability control. A rear parking assist system warns drivers of obstacles when backing up. In National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) frontal-impact crash testing, the Escalade receives four out of five stars for both driver and front passenger protection and three out of five stars for rollover resistance.
EPA Fuel Economy
Cadillac Escalade 2WD, 5.3-liter V-8: 14/19 mpg city/highway
Cadillac Escalade 2WD, 6.0-liter V-8: 13/17 mpg city/highway
Cadillac Escalade AWD: 12/16 mpg city/highway
- Up to eight-passenger capacity
- Performance with 6.0-liter V-8
- Luxury amenities
You Won't Like
- High step-up
- Poor fuel economy
- Exterior dimensions interfere with visibility and maneuvering
One of the most luxurious SUVs on the market with powerful performance to match its flashy styling.
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