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2013 Cadillac Escalade ESV Overview
For those who have it all, and need to carry it all with them, Cadillac offers its 2013 Escalade ESV. A carryover from last year, this stretched-out full-size luxury SUV, a distinct cut above its Suburban and Yukon XL stablemates, remains unchanged for this year in once more offering three rows of seating for 7—or 8 with the optional rear bench seat—as well as a best-in-class 137.4 cubic feet of cargo space with the rear seats folded. Even with all three rows occupied, almost 30 cubic feet of cargo area allows everyone aboard to keep laps luggage-free. This extended-length Escalade—20 inches longer than the standard model—allows plenty of individual space and comes with all the bells and whistles that have helped make Cadillac famous. Only Lincoln’s somewhat underpowered Navigator L can approach this behemoth in posh and size, though families that don’t have to bring quite everything with them might want to look into something equally ostentatious but less unwieldy in either Infiniti’s QX or the Mercedes GL-Class.
Four trims, each more plush than the last, constitute this luxurious SUV’s lineup. The ESV Base is far from basic, with its standard 18-inch alloy wheels, roof rack, step running boards and trailer equipment. The Luxury trim tosses in 22-inch chrome alloy wheels and a power sunroof, with the Premium and flagship Platinum trims throwing in power-folding step running boards. All trims are delivered in standard rear-wheel-drive configuration (RWD), but all should remain eligible for available all-wheel drive (AWD), a huge advantage when encountering winter driving conditions.
A potent 6.2-liter, ethanol-capable Flex Fuel V8 engine is once again expected to power all 2013 Escalade ESV trims. Combined with the standard 6-speed shiftable automatic transmission, this potent V8 should pound out 403 hp and 417 lb-ft of torque, with mileage figures estimated at 14 mpg city/18 highway in RWD trims and 13/18 in AWD versions. With the proper equipment, the RWD Escalade ESV should be able to tow a maximum of 8,000 pounds.
Traditionally, the essence of any Cadillac lies in its over-the-top luxury cabin features, and the 2013 Escalade ESV should prove no exception. The Base trim, for example, likely will again boast leather upholstery, heated power-adjustable front seats, reclining and easy-fold second-row captain's chairs, full power accessories, including reverse-tilt heated outside mirrors, a tilting steering wheel and adjustable pedals, cruise control, a universal remote garage door opener, tri-zone climate control, a rear-view camera and rear parking sensors. Memory for driver's settings and leather, simulated wood and simulated alloy trim accents also help distinguish this top-shelf sport ute from its more mundane brethren. Entertainment, meantime, consists of a single-CD player with 6 Bose premium surround-sound speakers, satellite radio (with NavTraffic), a music memory card slot and a USB port, while standard voice-directions navigation is complemented by Bluetooth-integrated OnStar telecommunications service.
The Luxury, Premium and Platinum trims ought to continue adding in such increasingly posh goodies as a heated steering wheel, real-time traffic information and rear-seat DVD entertainment. The top-shelf Platinum Edition takes the entertainment system a step further with individual front-headrest-mounted 7-inch video screens, each with its own separate controls. Of course, all trims except the Platinum Edition can be equipped with a second-row bench seat for 8-passenger capacity, while lower trims can be delivered with many of the features found standard on the higher trims.
Besides sheer bulk, all 2013 Escalade ESVs should continue offering such standard safety equipment as 4-wheel antilock braking (ABS), traction and stability control, three-row head airbags and front side-mounted airbags. Additional standard safety equipment includes daytime running lights, front fog/driving lights, xenon high-intensity-discharge (HID) headlights, turn-signal-integrated mirrors, OnStar emergency services and alerts, a post-collision safety system and a remote antitheft alarm.
The Escalade ESV’s adaptive suspension ought once more to provide an acceptable balance between a smooth, comfy ride and tolerable handling characteristics, though the higher trims, with their 22-inch tires, will likely increase the harshness factor considerably on rough surfaces. Alas, maneuverability with a vehicle of this size in tight spaces is, shall we say, challenging, and reviewers doubtless will continue to lament its woefully extended braking distances. Nevertheless, expect to see the 2013 Escalade ESV in dealer showrooms late this summer.
by Eric Tallberg
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