The 2008 Cadillac Escalade is plushly lined and comfortable for up to five adults, but it’s difficult to access the third-row seats, and some engine noise intrudes on the high-end experience.
Seating can be outfitted for six to eight passengers, Kelley Blue Book notes. “The seats have sculpted backs to enhance interior space, and both the recline and seat-track travel are quite generous,” they add, though it is “a rather high climb into the passenger compartment.” The power-folding second-row seats are comfortable to sit in, but even their help can’t make the third-row seats any easier to reach. Car and Driver feels the third-row space is “skimpy,” but other sources praise the amount of real-world room in the back. Depending on whether the Escalade is a standard version or the long-wheelbase ESV, the cargo room behind the seats can be expansive or merely adequate.
There is no shortage of luxury inside the 2008 Cadillac Escalade; it "communicates luxury instantly," according to Cars.com. The quality of interior materials is high, too. Automobile reports that, with “the exception of bristly carpet and cheap-feeling upper dashboard material, the three-row interior's soft-touch surfaces and finely damped switches are a step or two above what you'd find in a Tahoe or a GMC Yukon,” but disliked the clock’s permanent glare from the windshield. Motor Trend appreciated the Escalade’s tightly manufactured “1mm interior gaps” and its handsome “blue-lighted gauges,” as well as a large “eight-inch nav screen.” Kelley Blue Book, however, thought the “blue pointers impair readability.”
Noise is an issue for some reviewers. Performance publications tended to like the Escalade’s exhaust note, but ConsumerGuide said the engine "roars loudly during rapid acceleration," while the "exhaust note is nearly always heard." Kelley Blue Book agrees, calling the engine noise not exactly "Cadillac-like." ConsumerGuide also notes sounds from "wind rush" once the speedometer hits 65 mph.
TheCarConnection.com’s editors feel that the SUV’s comfort and quality are its strong points. Despite its very high, trucklike driving position, the 2008 Cadillac Escalade gets a very smooth, low, and attractively styled instrument panel that could be right out of a luxury sedan. Seats are among the most ample and supportive in any vehicle, and the Escalade is virtually unbeatable for elbow and shoulder room because of its wide cabin. In both Escalade 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.