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FEATURES | 8 out of 10
Quickly converts from a closed SUV to a surprisingly capable pickup
Kelley Blue Book
Park-assist technology and a remote-starting feature
The EXT can do the work of a real pickup when its Midgate is folded down, which creates a much longer cargo bed
The Escalade EXT has only been offered in one trim level by Cadillac; 2008 sees that unchanged, but with its complement of standard equipment, only one is needed.
The 2008 Cadillac Escalade EXT has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price starting at $55,000 and topping out near $68,000 when fully loaded, according to Kelley Blue Book. That's a pretty expensive pickup truck, but it does cover a lot of stuff. Kelley Blue Book goes on to list standard equipment as including "all-wheel drive, road-sensing suspension, automatic rear leveling, Ultrasonic Rear Park Assist, a three-piece rigid cargo cover and remote vehicle starting. Interior features include leather-covered 14-way power heated front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, steering wheel radio controls, rear audio controls, power adjustable pedals, DVD/MP3/CD-changer with Bose Surround Sound, XM Satellite Radio and OnStar with turn-by-turn navigation." Oddly, there's an auxiliary input jack for the rear audio system, but none for the front. Kelley Blue Book also points out that Chevy's Avalanche comes with the same Midgate feature for a price much less dear than that of the 2008 Cadillac Escalade EXT.
Edmunds chimes in, "Large instruments with blue needles allow a quick read of vital stats, while a trip computer provides secondary information, such as average fuel mileage. The [optional] nav screen has a user-friendly touchscreen interface, and all controls are easy to find and use."
Of course, the main feature of the Cadillac Escalade EXT 2008 model is the Midgate, which allows the EXT to transform from a five-seater luxury SUV to a two-passenger pickup with an 8-foot bed, and a few different configurations in between. Kelley Blue Book quips, "It's pretty slick, but one potential down-side is that, in that configuration, the entire interior is open to the great outdoors and all the security, weather and dirt issues that includes." However, ForbesAutos takes a sunnier view of the Cadillac Escalade EXT 2008 edition, pointing out, "On a nice day, the window can be removed independently of the midgate to let the breeze flow through the cabin."
For Cadillac, 2008 is a year of short option lists where Escalades are concerned. As Kelley Blue Book puts it, "With so much standard equipment, the EXT's option list is not long, and includes 22-inch tires on chromed aluminum wheels, power adjustable running boards, a power sliding sunroof, a Climate Package (heated and cooled front seats and a heated steering wheel) and an Information Package that includes DVD touch-screen navigation, a rearview camera and Intellibeam automatic headlamps," which smoothly dim their high beams when they sense the light from the headlamps of an oncoming car. ForbesAutos also notes the "optional Dolby Digital Surround audio system" available on the Cadillac Escalade EXT 2008 model.
The 2008 Cadillac Escalade EXT brims with cool technology in its standard form, and for significantly more money, even more can be had.