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2008 Cadillac Escalade ESV

Overview
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2008 Cadillac Escalade ESV Review

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Called the luxury king of SUVs, Cadillac's three-row Escalade ESV offers 103 more horsepower and nine more cubic feet of cargo space than Lincoln's equally-new long-wheelbase Navigator L. Though the Navigator L offers a few competitive advantages, including its fold-flat third seat, more towing capacity and a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of nearly $9,000 less, the 2008 Cadillac Escalade ESV dominates the image arena. The full-size Escalade ESV has become the status symbol of choice for country clubbers and the urban cool affluent, and this 21-inch longer version offers even more than the previous generation.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you want or need and can afford a truck this size with these levels of luxury and capability, along with the fast-rising Cadillac brand image, there is no better choice.

You May Not Like This Car If...

If want or need Escalade ESV capabilities without the Cadillac price, GM's three-row Chevy Suburban or GMC Yukon XL are available with nearly as much power for much less money. Lincoln's Navigator L is an excellent domestic alternative, while import-brand luxury SUV competitors are available from the likes of BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Lexus.

What's Significant About This Car?

The Platinum Series makes a comeback, while a two-wheel drive model joins the ESV lineup.

Driving the Escalade ESV

Driving Impressions This heavy full-frame truck-based SUV drives like a very large car. It's no sport sedan, but it is more agile, sure-footed and Cadillac-comfortable than most any other full-size...

truck you'll encounter. Rival Lincoln's new Navigator is very good as well, and has the advantage of independent rear suspension, but we judge the Escalade ESV as better overall in ride and handling. Most of this is due to its fully-boxed frame, redesigned suspension, wider tracks and new rack-and-pinion steering. The 6.2-liter V8 idles aggressively at rest and roars impressively at full throttle as it surges the big Caddy forward with eye-opening authority.

Remote Vehicle Start
This is one of those features that you may not want to live without once you've become used to it, especially in hot summer or cold winter weather. At the touch of a key-fob button from afar, it can start the engine and begin cooling or heating the cabin before you're even inside.

Heated Windshield Washer Fluid
Forget frozen washer fluid with this long-overdue feature. What could be better than warming it before you need it to melt annoying and dangerous windshield ice?

2008 Cadillac Escalade ESV Details
Interior

The 2008 Cadillac Escalade's interior is luxury-car plush and surprisingly quiet, and raises the luxury and refinement bars another couple of notches. The instrument panel, set lower and farther forward to improve real and perceived room, houses quad round gauges with white needles, blue-light inlays and white LED backlighting. "Nuance" leather covers the seats, doors, steering wheel and center console, while the interior pillars wear rich-looking fabric.

Exterior

Those who liked the first-generation Escalade should love this one, beginning with its styling. It looks powerful, purposeful and streamlined, not unlike a 1950s diesel locomotive. Slightly larger and heavier than before, due to added structure and features, it appears somewhat smaller thanks to its sleek, tightly-wrapped new body. The swept-back 57-degree windshield contributes to a segment-best aerodynamic drag coefficient of 0.36, which helps improve fuel economy and reduce wind noise, and careful detailing shows in its large, finely-crafted Cadillac signature grille, front fender vent ports and tasteful chrome accents.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

The 2008 Cadillac Escalade ESV's comprehensive standard equipment begins with all-wheel drive, road-sensing suspension, automatic rear leveling, ultrasonic rear park assist, power liftgate and remote vehicle starting. Inside are leather-covered 14-way power heated front seats, heated fold-and-tumble second-row seats, three-passenger third-row seating, tri-zone automatic climate system, steering wheel radio controls, rear audio controls, power adjustable pedals, DVD/MP3/CD-changer with Bose Surround Sound, XM Satellite Radio and OnStar with Turn-by-turn navigation. Safety features include four-wheel anti-lock brakes (ABS), StabiliTrak stability control, advanced front air bags with passenger sensing, head-curtain side air bags for all three rows, rain-sensing wipers and heated washer fluid.

Optional Equipment

With so much standard equipment, the ESV's option list is not long, and includes 22-inch tires on chromed aluminum wheels, rear-seat entertainment system with second and third-row flip down video screens, power retractable running boards, a power sliding sunroof, a Climate Package (heated and cooled front seats and a heated steering wheel) and an Information package that includes DVD touch-screen navigation, a rearview camera and Intellibeam automatic headlamps.

Under the Hood

Powering every 2008 Cadillac Escalade is a 6.2-liter V8 with variable valve timing (VVT), which optimizes camshaft timing to improve low-rpm torque and high-rpm power, along with emissions and fuel economy. This engine does not yet have GM's Active Fuel Management (AFM), which deactivates half of the cylinders under light load.

6.2-liter V8
403 horsepower @ 5700 rpm
417 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4300 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 12/19 (2WD), 12/18 (AWD)

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2008 Cadillac Escalade ESV Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
9.1
Out of 10

Based on 182 Ratings for the 2002 - 2006 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    9.0/10
    Quality
    9.4/10
  • Reliability
    9.4/10
    Performance
    9.4/10
  • Comfort
    9.6/10
    Styling
    9.5/10

It practically drives itself.

By on Wednesday, November 05, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 105,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Comfort, ease, reliable"

Cons: "Gas mileage (its an suv so expect that)"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"Best car ever. I don't want to ever drive anything but this. It practically drives itself. My husband & I & our 3 kids drove to California and back. Straight through. We were all comfortable and I had no problems driving a 10 hour shift. Amazingly comfortable and fun to drive."

21 people out of 32 found this review helpful

This is a very reliable nice driving SUV.

By on Wednesday, September 10, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 107,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Great SUV in better shape than the years should be"

Cons: "One running light needs replaced and a driving lt"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"This has been my wife's car and she really likes it. We are selling because we don't need it any more. It has never been a problem and have always kept it serviced. We bought it new in 04 and it has always been a second car, the mileage shows it."

9 people out of 16 found this review helpful

Very comfortable and reliable vehicle

By on Sunday, March 23, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 160,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "comfortable and reliable"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I've purchased this new and have had no issues other than regular maintenance. Super comfortable and roomy interior. Two features that I wish this had is a power tailgate and bluetooth. It averages 15MPG for overall driving (mostly around town)"

15 people out of 24 found this review helpful

Great Looking Car, Poor MPG, $$$ to fix

By on Wednesday, January 15, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 121,000

10 7.0
overall rating 7 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
7/10
Value
6/10
Reliability
8/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Great looking, drive well"

Cons: "poor MPG, High cost to maintain."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 6

"My 2004 Escalade has been a show piece and head turner from day one, awesome to drive, has lots of bells and whistles. Downside: poor gas mileage (11 MPG), and unbelievably expensive to fix. Example: one headlight went out. Cost to replace $1300 !!!!! Would not buy again based on cons above"

19 people out of 23 found this review helpful

Money Pit and cheaply made

By on Thursday, October 24, 2013

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 110,000

10 4.0
overall rating 4 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
4/10
Value
1/10
Reliability
4/10
Quality
2/10
Performance
7/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "looks great on the outside"

Cons: "JUNK! Read the review"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1

"This was the car that my wife and I wanted for a long time but said not until we can afford it. Well, we bought an 06 in mint condition from the original owner. WORST MISTAKE EVER! This is still the best looking SUV on the exterior, but that is it. This is the last GM I will ever own. The interior is very cheaply made. plastic everything. the center console paint is chipping, the plastic wood grain is loose and the doors rattle. We have always taken it in to the shop for everything immediately and never abused the truck off road. other than exterior design, this thing is a pile of junk. Save yourself $20k and get a tahoe. Not to mention value. There is none. Our sticker price was $72k and 7 years later we are being told that it is worth $12-$14k on a trade in. I understand that all dealers low ball, but c/mon!! Just for fun, this is what I have repaired: air compressor for suspension (600) water pump(400) tailgate lock acuator(500) driver side lock switch(300) heated seat electronics(300) steering wheel radio control components(200) entire navigation system(1200) front differential(1500) front wheel barrings(400) Total: $4300!!"

43 people out of 50 found this review helpful

I love my Esclade

By on Sunday, September 29, 2013

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 99,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"We purchased this pr owned Escalade in 2006. It is the vehicle I use about 99% of the time, as my husband has a pickup. I love this car for everything."

9 people out of 19 found this review helpful

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Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

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