By KBB.com Editors
Fast-living rappers and bling-dazzled celebrities swooned over the previous-generation Escalade but, in addition to more power and a greater length, the 2008 Cadillac Escalade stresses finesse over flashiness. Refinements are easily noticeable, inside and out, and the newest Escalade behaves more admirably on the road than its predecessor. Marketers claim segment-leading horsepower and torque for the "Gen IV" 6.2-liter V8 and, at 60 mph, the engine cruises along at just 1500 rpm.
If your driving life demands plenty of room for people plus cargo, along with luxury amenities and a brash aura, the Escalade could be your breed of SUV. Though not quite as glitzy in this iteration as the last, the audacious Escalade continues to get you noticed.
Full-size dimensions translate to improved but still only so-so gas mileage, plus a rather high climb into the passenger compartment. So, if you can survive with a less-bulky luxury SUV, you may want to consider the Escalade an also-ran.
Fresh from its 2007 makeover, the 2008 Cadillac Escalade has only minor changes. The biggest news is the arrival of a hybrid version due later in 2008.
Driving Impressions The 2008 Cadillac Escalade's performance is energetic, but not exactly dramatic; hitting the gas at lower speeds doesn't always produce vigorous response, while engine noise during acceleration doesn't sound exactly...Cadillac-like. Automatic-transmission shifts are impressively smooth, though on upgrades it sometimes seems uncertain what to do next. Handling isn't really truck-like but, in curves, it doesn't feel like a sports car, either, although the steering feel is more pleasing and precise than with previous Escalades. Expect a smooth ride on good surfaces, although minor bumps will get through, especially with the larger-diameter tires and wheels.
Manual-mode Transmission Operation
Placing the + and - (upshift/downshift) buttons on the column gearshift might not seem like a good idea at first, as most vehicles with a manual-shift provision have a floor lever. Even so, these buttons are easy to find and use, and the transmission responds with satisfying promptness.
Power Fold-and-Tumble Second-row Seating
Third-row access is a serious issue in big SUVs and an easy-folding second-row seat can save a lot of irritation. This feature operates with buttons on the console and door pillar.
Seating is available for six to eight passengers. No exposed fasteners are visible, close-out panels conceal seat hardware, pillars are fabric-wrapped and the instrument panel's low and forward placement provides more interior room. The seats have sculpted backs to enhance interior space, and both the recline and seat-track travel are quite generous. Gauges are large enough, but blue pointers impair readability. Sadly, there's no driver's grab handle, and the passenger handle is a long reach.Exterior
Besides concentrating on proportions and execution, designers strove toward such detail refinements as reduced body gaps. All major components were new for 2007, including front and rear fascias, triple-stack HID headlamps, a unique D-pillar treatment and doors that wrap over the rocker panels. Ventiports adorn the front fenders and the windshield is steeply raked for both style and aerodynamic efficiency. The track width grew by three inches up front, a coil-over-shock suspension replaced the prior torsion bars and the boxed frame delivers 49-percent greater torsional stiffness. Standard wheels and tires are 18-inch, but hard-to-miss 22-inch versions are available.
A power rear liftgate heads the list of standard features in the amply-equipped 2008 Cadillac Escalade. Compatibility brackets, built into the front frame, are intended to reduce damage to other vehicles in certain collisions. Side-curtain airbags include tethers for enhanced rollover protection, front seatbelt pretensioners activate in rear impactssaid to be an "industry-exclusive" featureand the StabiliTrak stability control system incorporates rollover mitigation technology. Audiophiles can enjoy Bose 5.1 Digital Surround Sound, while everyone benefits from Cadillac's Auto Ride suspension. Integrated tow hooks are standard. A tap-up/tap-down manual mode for the transmission works easily and promptly, using buttons on the column-mounted gearshift lever.
Power fold-and-tumble second-row seats are convenient to operate and cooled seats are offered in all models as part of the Ultra Luxury Collection package. Rear parking assist is available, along with a rearview camera; both are incorporated into a package that also includes Cadillac's navigation system. Power-deployable running boards are another appealing option and, when properly equipped, an all-wheel-drive Escalade can tow up to 7,700 pounds; good news for boaters and RVers.
Cadillac's V8 engine now displaces 6.2 liters and generates significant horsepower and torque. With its two overdrive ratios and wide gear-ratio spread, the Hydra-Matic 6L80 six-speed automatic transmission is said to be nearly equivalent to a seven-speed. The manual-shift mode uses column-lever buttons.
403 horsepower at 5700 rpm
417 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4300 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 12/19 (2WD), 12/18 (AWD)
By Escalade (not Cadillac) on Tuesday, March 24, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 8,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Powerful, Stylish, Tons of Torque, Sophisticated"
Cons: "No spare tire, rigged exhaust."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"I always keep an SUV in the driveway to pull our family ski boat. Traditionally, I've been a Navigator person because of the value and overall cost. Cadillac cut me a great deal on a Platinum loaded and it's been a real gem. My wife owns a Range Rover HSE and we attempted to pull the boat a few times with it. That was not a good idea! It was too much of a chore for it. The HP and torque is perfect and the seats are comfortable. Granted we use premium fuel and get about 17 MPG on the highway but, that's with the boat behind us. It does have the 4 cylinder disable option so, I'm sure we would get much better mileage if we weren't pulling anything and driving 65 MPH. On the negative side. There isn't a SPARE TIRE! Because of GM (and their infinite wisdom to incorporate a dual exhaust. They removed the spare and rigged the exhaust to accommodate the two tips. In summary. I believe Cadillac makes substandard cars (I owned a poor quality (CTS-V) but, they make a great SUV."
By Tinaslilies on Friday, February 20, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 53,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Awesome drive, and beautiful vehicle"
Cons: "Don't keep value"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"II love Cadillac and their service is amazing. I feel so happy when I go into my local dealership knowing I'm completely taken care of. love my Escalade. It's my 3rd Cadillac and my 2nd Escalade. I've been very satisfied with all of my Cadillac vehicles except that they unfortunately don't keep their value. This is a huge issue for me and honestly may keep me from investing in another Cadillac. As much as I love the vehicle I'm leaning more towards the Lexus luxury SUV that keeps it's value much better long term."
7 people out of 9 found this review helpful
By Stacey on Sunday, February 15, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 108,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Smooth comfort, easy to handle, safe family car"
Cons: "Bad gas mileage and expensive to repair."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"The only downside to owning this car is the bad gas mileage and if it breaks down the price to get it fixed."
6 people out of 9 found this review helpful
By Knicky on Saturday, January 03, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 60,000overall rating 7 of 10rating details
Pros: "very quiet and truly comfy ride"
Cons: "cosmetic issues were toooo many, back seats do not"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 2
"The appliqué literally fell off the back side of the vehicle. The passenger door handle came very loose. The leather in the passenger row is worn with not much use at all, had to have been inferior quality. too many issues to mention. Never again will I buy American. Back to Lexus!!…Pretty SUV but not nearly worth my $85K… Cadillac emblem faded in less than a year of ownership (vehicle is not left in the sun for any extended period). They replaced it and It faded again just as quickly. HORRIBLE QUALITY in the cosmetic details. Back seats do no recline,really Cadillac??"
27 people out of 53 found this review helpful
By Charlie705 on Saturday, December 27, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 132,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great deal used, looks great, super comfortable,"
Cons: "Gas mileage, 3rd row seats dont flatten"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"We love this truck. My wife prefers it to our 2007 Mercedes S550 and our 2007 Maserati QP. Its like driving a comfortable couch. Everything is easy. The 6.2 liter engine is silky smooth. Great for taking kids around. Just feels strong, hard to describe. Only downside is the gas mileage."
14 people out of 29 found this review helpful
By Chuck on Sunday, October 05, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 74,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Easy transition to multiple uses, no need for a 2nd car; good for towing, carrying loads, cleans up nice for formal occasions"
37 people out of 66 found this review helpful