The 2012 Cadillac Escalade is a big, heavy, truck-based luxury vehicle. But you can almost forget about its heft and truck roots thanks to an amazingly strong, responsive engine and expert chassis tuning that makes the Escalade feel quite responsive. You might expect the 2012 Cadillac Escalade to feel unwieldy, yet thanks to a brawny, responsive engine and expert chassis tuning, it can actually feel quite responsive. With a huge (and thirsty) 6.2-liter V-8, making 403 horsepower and 417 pound-feet of torque, the Escalade can move quickly--to 60 mph in only about 6.5 seconds, according to some sources, even though its weight can total almost 6,000 pounds. The six-speed automatic transmission functions as a willing companion most of the time. And all the while, the V-8 has a rumbly, vocal exhaust note that's not so typical for a luxury vehicle, but memorable.
The key to getting this monstrosity to behave and handle well, without busting your bum on rough pavement--despite those huge 22-inch wheels--is GM's excellent Magnetic Ride Control; it's offered on most of the Escalade lineup. While the Escalade is hardly maneuverable, it corners with a verve and responsiveness that will catch driving enthusiasts completely off guard. Stopping power is provided by large, powerful brakes that work so well that, again, you can forget entirely that you're hauling three tons or more.
Once again the Escalade is be available as either a rear- or all-wheel-drive model. Towing capacity remains at 8,100 pounds for the all-wheel-drive model and a hefty 8,300 pounds for the rear-wheel-drive variant.