Despite its reputation as a ride for gangsters and rappers, the Cadillac Escalade has emerged as the most impressive luxury SUV on the market. The 2008 Cadillac Escalade remains basically unchanged from the previous model when GM revamped the vehicle. The only noticeable difference for 2008 concerns a new Platinum Edition that offers even more luxury than the standard Escalade.
The best thing about the Escalade is that it offers the speed, handling, and luxury of Cadillac’s famed luxury sedans in a full-size SUV. GM recognizes that people who drive the Escalade do not take it out into the wilderness, so it emphasizes luxury.
Like some of Cadillac’s other models, the Escalade’s appeals to drivers because of its size. There is nothing nimble, quick, or subtle about it.
Body Styles: full-size four-door SUV
Engines: 6.2-liter V-8
Transmissions: six-speed automatic
Models: Cadillac Escalade, Cadillac Escalade Platinum Edition
The even more luxurious Platinum Edition premieres mid-year. The Platinum marks the first SUV to feature GM’s Magnetic Ride Control technology—a suspension that uses electronically controlled, fluid-filled shocks to adjust the damping and provide a smoother ride. Platinum Escalades made after Summer 2008 feature LED headlights. The Platinum trim includes 22-inch chrome wheels, upgraded interior upholstery, a special grille inspired by the Cadillac CTS, and a special rear-seat entertainment system with additional video monitors so every member of the posse can see the game.
The base features 18-inch alloy wheels, xenon headlamps, and a distinctive grille. An optional package called the V-8 Ultra Luxury Collection adds Intellibeam adaptive headlights, power-retractable running boards, 18-inch or 22-inch chrome wheels, and a sunroof. The sunroof remains available as a standalone option, as well. The most interesting standard exterior feature on the 2008 Escalade is a heater for the windshield washer fluid.
The 2008 Escalade’s interior really stands out. It represents one of the most luxurious vehicles on the market, offering creature comforts that rival or exceed any luxury sedan out there. Standard features include alloy trim and walnut inlays. The base features triple-zone automatic climate control, leather upholstery, power-adjustable pedals, heated first- and second-row seats, OnStar, a Bose surround-sound system with 10 speakers, satellite radio, and an in-dash CD player capable of changing six CDs.
The V-8 Ultra Luxury Collection package adds a navigation system, power-release second-row seats, a heated steering wheel, and cooled front seats. A rear-seat entertainment system provides an option. The 2008 Cadillac Escalade offers plenty of room, along with a third row of seats, making it easy to haul an entire troop of friends.
Performance & Handling
Although designed for city driving, the 2008 Cadillac Escalade is one powerful vehicle: the 6.2-liter V-8 puts out 403 horsepower and 417 lb-ft of torque. It offers no dual-range transfer case so the Escalade cannot go offroad. A towing package provides an option and with all-wheel drive it can pull up to 7400 pounds, making it simple to tow a boat to the lake.
The Escalade does well as a highway cruiser because it moves very fast for its size. Not surprisingly, it proves hard to turn and park in the city despite all the additions. The Magnetic Ride Control technology makes the Platinum Edition a little bit easier to turn and park. When driving around town, drivers highly recommend the rear-view camera.
The Escalade still provides one of the safest rides on the road today. Stability control, traction control, park assist, anti-lock disc brakes, side-curtain airbags for all passengers, and GM’s OnStar telemetry system come standard on the 2008 Cadillac Escalade. A rear-view camera comes standard with the V-8 Luxury Collection. The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration awards the Escalade five stars for its ability to protect passengers during head-on crashes.
EPA Fuel Economy
Cadillac Escalade: 12/19 mpg city/highway
- Gigantic size makes drivers feel like kings
- Powerful 6.2-liter V-8
- Luxurious interior rivals or exceeds any luxury sedan
- User-friendly controls for electronics
- Easy ride, particularly on the freeway
- Plenty of extra interior room
You Won't Like
- Difficult to turn on narrow city streets
- Lack of visibility in some traffic situations
- Hard to park
- Poor fuel economy
A big, luxury vehicle that makes a splash and attracts attention.
If You Like This Vehicle
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