By KBB.com Editors
At the time the Escalade EXT was created, its purpose was to give Cadillac an entrant in the then-growing market for big sport utility vehicles and full-size pickups, and with features not available on the competition. While the Escalade ESV is derived from the long-wheelbase Chevrolet Suburban, the EXT is Cadillac's take on Chevy's innovative Avalanche truck, which quickly converts from a closed SUV to a surprisingly capable pickup via a removable Midgate Panel divider system that extends the usable bed into the rear-seat area. The 2008 Cadillac Escalade EXT boasts GM's latest chassis, body, interior and powertrain upgrades, as well as a generous allotment of new convenience and safety features.
If you need or want full-size truck towing capabilities, along with upscale Cadillac luxury and image and the versatility to change from a quiet, comfortable closed SUV to a pickup with more cargo capacity, this is the one.
If convert-a-truck flexibility and Cadillac crests are not important to you, any modern full-size crew-cab pickup can be equipped to do the job of serious hauling and comfortable occupant-coddling at well below the EXT's price. And Chevy's Avalanche offers the same Midgate Panel feature for a lot less money.
No major changes for 2008.
Driving Impressions This heavy full-frame luxury truck 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, at least in part due to its fully-boxed frame, redesigned suspension, wider tracks and new rack-and-pinion steering. Both braking and steering feel, especially, are vastly improved compared to previous GM trucks. The 6.2-liter V8 idles aggressively at rest and roars impressively at full throttle as it thrusts the big vehicle forward with eye-opening authority. One unpleasant surprise: There's an auxiliary input jack for the rear audio system, but none for the front.
Remote Vehicle Starting
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.
Convert-a-Cab Midgate Panel
This clever removable divider system quickly converts the EXT from a closed-cabin SUV with a five-foot pickup bed to a surprisingly capable pickup by extending the bed nearly three feet into the rear seat area.
The 2008 Cadillac Escalade EXT's interior is luxury-plush, 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. And then there's the manually-folding Midgate Panel bulkhead that allows the five-passenger EXT to convert into a two-passenger pickup with an eight-foot bed. It's pretty slick, but one potential down-side is that, in that configuration, the entire interior is open to the great outdoors and all the security, weather and dirt issues that includes.Exterior
Those who liked the original Escalade EXT will love the 2008 model, beginning with its styling. Slightly larger and heavier due to added structure and features, it appears perhaps somewhat smaller thanks to its more sleek and crisp new body. The swept-back 57-degree windshield contributes to an impressive 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.
The 2008 Cadillac Escalade EXT's comprehensive standard content begins with all-wheel drive, road-sensing suspension, automatic rear leveling, Ultrasonic Rear Park Assist, a three-piece rigid cargo cover and remote vehicle starting. Interior features include leather-covered 14-way power heated front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, 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. Additional safety and convenience features include advanced front air bags with passenger sensing, head-curtain side air bags for both rows, four-wheel antilock disc brakes (ABS), Stabilitrak stability control, rain-sensing wipers and heated washer fluid.
With so much standard equipment, the EXT's option list is not long, and includes 22-inch tires on chromed aluminum wheels, rear-seat entertainment system, power adjustable 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.
Powering every 2008 Cadillac Escalade EXT is a new 6.2-liter all-aluminum 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.
403 hp at 5700 rpm
417 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4300 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 12/18)
By Zanman (AK) on Saturday, April 06, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 24,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Beautiful Truck,Great ride,great to drive"
Cons: "Can be expensive to take care of, correctly."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"Well taken care of, it's a great vehicle.Rides and drives excellent,It's a Cadillac.Black is the best eye catcher."
By TOM (WA) on Monday, February 18, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 48,500overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"TOO MUCH PLASTIC ON BOTH INTERIOR AND EXTERIOR AND ASSEMBLED IN MEXICO. QUALITY CONTROL COULD BE BETTER!"
By Jim (GA) on Tuesday, September 04, 2012
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 235,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Fun to Drive and ride in"
Cons: "None that I can think of."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"This vehicle has been on the road since I bought it in September 2007 with no down time for repairs or problems. I have done maintenance when needed and serviced when due. I have had the joy of driving one of the most comfortable vehicles on the road and averaged 16 MPG or better. I would recommend this truck to anyone who appreciates quality,and dependability in their ride. I like it well enough that I bought another one two month's ago."
By Gene (AZ) on Saturday, January 28, 2012
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 49,000overall rating 6 of 10rating details
Pros: "beautifil vehicle"
Cons: "too badd quality is poor"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"Rattling noises, Air leakage in windows, cracks in interior, interior plastic falls off or comes loose."
1 person out of 1 found this review helpful
By ejs (NM) on Tuesday, May 24, 2011
overall rating 10 of 10rating details
"Can't say enough about this vehicle. Vary reliable and surprisingly good gas mileage. Elegant to drive and at the same time fun with the flexibility of an open back end plenty of power for towing our custom hot rod 32 ford. We would highly recommend this vehicle to our family and friends."
6 people out of 6 found this review helpful
By in Santa Barbara, CA (Santa Barbara, CA) on Monday, March 28, 2011
overall rating 10 of 10rating details
"First had a 2004, traded up for 2007. Been an excellent vehicle! Love it in the snow; great to put all gear in the back; tow our large boat with NO problems. ONLY one part on the entire vehicle I don't like: Beware of pulling items out of the back when the tailgate is down - poor design by Cadillac (guess they didn't think we'd actually use it as a pickup truck) top lip of the tailgate sticks up (when it's down) and it got destroyed - not a warranty item. Otherwise, LOVE this vehicle!!! Hoping for a hybrid so I can upgrade..."
2 people out of 2 found this review helpful