2007 Cadillac Escalade is big on bling and power | SummitDaily.com

2007 Cadillac Escalade is big on bling and power

In this photo provided by Cadillac, the 2007 Escalade is shown. (AP Photo/Cadillac)

The Cadillac Escalade, the full-size sport utility vehicle with the reputation as the “king of bling” on America’s roads, won’t be losing its crown anytime soon.An early introduction 2007 model that’s in showrooms now, the new Escalade is even more bold and expressive than its predecessor. It’s a tad longer and wider and a good deal heavier than the 2006 model, though new, streamlined styling doesn’t make the new Escalade appear any larger.But the headlamps are more striking now, the grille is larger and there’s considerably more power under the hood. Horsepower goes from 345 in the 2006 Escalade to 403 now, thanks to a new, 6.2-liter overhead valve V-8.Glittery 22-inch wheels – chrome, of course – that are the largest ever offered from the factory add the kind of flair that formerly was reserved for ‘Slades owned by celebrities who customized their wheels after their vehicle purchase.Starting manufacturer’s suggested retail price, including destination charge, for the 2007 Escalade is $54,725 for a two-wheel-drive model. A new Escalade with all-wheel drive starts at $57,280.Competitors include the first full-size Mercedes-Benz SUV, the 2007 GL-Class, which starts at $55,675 and has standard four-wheel drive, and the 2006 Lincoln Navigator, which starts at $50,145 for a two-wheel-drive model.

Introduced in 1999 as Cadillac’s first SUV, the Escalade quickly became an iconic SUV in America. Featured in numerous music videos, Escalades are driven by professional athletes, Hollywood elite and other celebrities.But you don’t have to be a celebrity to enjoy the newly improved ride, luxurious appointments and new features.The test vehicle, with all-wheel drive and the 22-inch wheels, rode and handled with impressive composure, especially considering it weighed more than 5,500 pounds and stretched nearly 17 feet long.With a new, stronger frame and chassis underneath and a revamped suspension, the Escalade kept many road bumps away from passengers. The ride was well-managed and rather refined for an SUV, with less jostling and bobbing for passengers.Cadillac officials tout this Escalade as the most fuel efficient ever. With a rating of 19 miles a gallon on the highway, the 2007 Escalade with all-wheel drive is better than the 2006 Escalade’s 17-mpg rating.But city mileage rated at 13 mpg is the same as for the comparable, earlier vehicle, and filling the 26-gallon tank with the Escalade’s recommended fuel of premium gasoline could lead to a bill of at least $80 at today’s prices.

Engine sounds are hale and hearty during acceleration but don’t intrude much otherwise. Indeed, the interior of the Escalade tester was impressively quiet.That is, unless the Escalade’s stereo, a Bose 5.1 surround system, is on. Cranked up some, this system’s clear tones and strong sounds were so awesome, I found I was in a musical reverie in no time.But I had to keep alert for driving and, most especially, for staying within the speed limit. This Escalade’s power just comes on so smoothly, it’s easy to get going faster than you know.Seats have a special, Nuance leather trim, which feels smooth and rich – not at all like some of the cheaper leather grains. I noticed that the leather smell in this Cadillac, like all Cadillacs it seems, is sweeter and more pungent than in many other vehicles. Some people like this stronger leather smell, but others would prefer it be toned down a bit.One optional feature that’s not to be missed is the power release for second-row seats. With the touch of a button, each of the outer seats folds and flips out of the way to make it easy for people to climb into the third-row seats.GM is the first with this feature in a passenger SUV, and it’s oh-so-much easier than fussing with levers and having to heave the seat forward on your own.

Also worth considering is the optional rear-view camera, which helps drivers see what’s behind them as they back up.- Base price: $53,850 for 2WD model; $56,405 for AWD model.- As tested: $67,105.- Type: Front-engine, all-wheel-drive, seven-passenger, full-size sport utility vehicle.- Engine: 6.2-liter, overhead valve V-8 with VVT.- Mileage: 13 mpg (city), 19 mpg (highway).

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