- Combination of soft, plush interior and bold, macho exterior
- Good handling for such a tall, heavy vehicle
- Big V-8 with lots of torque
- Drinks gas like water
- Not enough high-tech optional equipment
- Third-row seat design doesn't fold neatly
Considering the weight of the Escalade’s image and its segment-leading performance, the 2009 Cadillac Escalade is hard to beat.
The 2009 Cadillac Escalade is available in either standard or extended length, which brings a 21-inch increase with seats for as many as 8.
The Escalade shares most of its running gear with the Chevrolet Tahoe and GMC Yukon SUVs.
This year, the Escalade adds E85 flex-fuel operation to its 6.2-liter, V-8 and features Magnetic Ride Control partnered with all 22-inch wheel/tire combinations. Both rear- and all-wheel drive are available. Although teamed with a 6-speed automatic, dismal gas mileage still is the rule of thumb for this gargantuan SUV. EPA ratings check in at 12 mpg city and 18 or 19 mpg highway. We've seen single-digit numbers in everyday driving.
Even on steep upgrades with full loads, the engine has plenty of power. The 6-speed automatic has a knack for finding the best gear. Brakes are powerful enough to slow the big SUV, and though the Escalade doesn't handle nimbly, it's among the best big SUVs. it has an even-keeled rode that's absorbent, and an impressively silent interior that lets in just a little engine noise.
The Escalade is virtually unbeatable for elbow and shoulder room because of its wide cabin. Seats are among the most ample and supportive of any vehicle. In both models, the second row is nearly as comfortable as the first, and in the ESV, the third row is quite roomy, though a bit difficult to access. Despite its high, truck-like driving position, the 2009 Cadillac Escalade is graced with an attractive dash that would look fine in a luxury four-door sedan.
All Escalades have side and curtain airbags and stability control, but the NHTSA gives it a three-star rating for rollover resistance. It does better in front and side tests, earning five stars.