The Cadillac Escalade is one of the few truly truck-based body-on-frame SUVs left on the market. With roots that extend to GM's full-size pickups, the Escalade has a boxy look and rugged body-on-frame layout that contrasts sharply with a host of luxury-car details and bright-chrome trim pieces.
Even from the potentially overbearing grille and front end--a tall wall of chrome and bumper, with large headlamps extending upward--Cadillac has done a good job in adapting its Art & Science design theme from its cars. Up close the ports alongside the fenders are ornate and showy. And while the wheel wells themselves aren't as sculpted and flared are much as other recently redesigned vehicles, the wheels themselves (like the huge 22-inchers) are like glitzy rolling jewelry.
There are two body styles of the 2012 Escalade: the standard version, and the ESV, which is 20 inches longer. And while the two models have the same details, they end up having quite different proportions from a few paces back.
The cabin of all the Escalade models is quite conventional in appearance. The instrument panel looks much more like that of a truck, not at all resembling the dashes of other Cadillac models like the SRX or CTS, yet its rather low-set considering the tall cabin. There's an underlying opulence throughout the interior, but it's more a product of the materials than the design. Throughout, there are plenty of soft leather, metallic highlights, and wood trim, no matter which model.