2007 Cadillac Escalade EXT review:

2007 Cadillac Escalade EXT

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Other interior tech features on the 2007 Cadillac Escalade EXT include XM Satellite Radio prewiring (a three-month subscription is included in the sticker price); an optional rear-screen entertainment system with an 8-inch wide-screen display; an optional rear-view camera; optional heated and cooled front seats; and an optional heated steering wheel. As part of its Information Package, our tester car also came with GM's Intellibeam headlight-control system, which uses a forward-looking digital camera mounted to the front of the rearview mirror to enable the car to turn on its high beams at night when no other vehicles are detected on the road ahead.

Going down the tech scale, we were less impressed with the dash-mounted analog clock in the EXT. While we do like the presence of an old-fashioned timepiece that allows us to tell the time without digging around in touch screen menus (a la the 2007 Audi Q7), the clocks in both the Escalade EXT and the 2007 Cadillac Escalade fall short in aesthetic design and function. The EXT clock shows only the numerals "9" and "3" on the face, and it's set at such an angle that glare makes it almost unreadable even when not in direct sunlight.

Off the EPA charts
At 222 inches in length, the 2007 Cadillac Escalade EXT is a huge vehicle, and the few customers who buy it to use as a utility vehicle will be able to take advantage of more than 100 cubic feet of cargo space when the midgate is open. The towing capacity of 7,600 pounds is impressive, but not in the league of the 2007 Toyota Tundra, which will be able to haul more than 10,000 pounds.

The EXT comes with the same aluminum 6.2-liter Vortec V-8 engine that we saw in the regular 2007 Escalade. This plant makes 408 horsepower and drives all four wheels via a six-speed automatic transmission. Although the EXT comes with road-sensing suspension, the ride around town is a clumsy, lunging one, with the EXT's huge, 6,013-pound bulk slow to respond to steering inputs. The overcapacity of the EXT's engine is most apparent during urban driving, when the huge V-8 takes an age to respond to throttle inputs and growl its way up to speed. When cruising on the freeway, the V-8 chugs along at around 2,000rpm, making for a smoother ride.

For the few who fold up the rear seats and make use of the EXT's 8-foot pickup bed, there is 100 cubic feet of storage space in the back.

Due to its immense weight, the EPA does not list fuel-economy figures for the Cadillac EXT. Our recorded consumption after 600 miles of freeway-heavy driving was 14.3mpg, which, surprisingly, is better than both the 2007 GMC Yukon Denali, and the 2007 Cadillac Escalade, although that is nothing to boast about. Occupants of the 2007 Cadillac Escalade EXT are pretty safe in their bling fortress. The EXT scores a full five-star safety rating for frontal and side impact, as well as a four-star rating for rollover safety. Dual frontal airbags with front-passenger occupant-sensing system are standard features, as are head curtain side airbags. The 2007 Escalade EXT also comes with GM's StabiliTrak, which corrects the vehicle's path through steering and braking inputs if sensors detect a difference between the direction of steering and the actual turning angle. Other standard safety equipment includes ultrasonic rear park assist, a tire-pressure monitor, rain-sensing wipers, and a one-year subscription to GM's OnStar Safe and Sound plan.

A rearview camera comes as part of the EXT's Information Package.

Our tester 2007 Cadillac Escalade EXT came with four major options: the $2,495 Information Package comprising the navigational system, the rearview camera, and Intellibeam; the $625 Climate package, which added heated and cooled front seats and a heated steering wheel; a power sunroof for $995; and 18-inch chrome aluminum wheels for $795. With a base price of $53,335, plus an $875 destination charge, our EXT review car came with a price tag of $59,120.

The 2007 Cadillac Escalade EXT doesn't have many competitors in the auto marketplace: the Chevrolet Avalanche and the Honda Ridgeline at least put up some argument for being utility vehicles, whereas the Caddy struggles to come across as anything but sheer vehicular excess for its own sake. We hope that GM holds at least one of these EXTs back to show future generations how wastefully indulgent this era of gas-hog SUVs really is.

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